The Cincinnati Bengals released their first depth chart of 2015 on Monday.
As is the case on training camp depth charts, most of the rookies, even the high draft picks, are at or near the bottom of the depth chart at their respective positions. Players like Mario Alford, Jake Kumerow, Marcus Hardison, DeShawn Williams, and P.J. Dawson are low on the initial depth chart, despite strong showings in training camp thus far.
It is worth pointing out though that rookie tackle Jake Fisher is the No. 2 left tackle behind Andrew Whitworth. That's how close Fisher is to potentially going from the bench to a starting role. Here are some other interesting depth chart observations.
With a host of position battles throughout the roster, there are a few interesting developments at several key spots. Perhaps the most notable is Mohamed Sanu being ahead of Marvin Jones at the No. 2 wide receiver spot. Jones is clearly the better receiver when healthy, but it's Sanu who's been more durable thus far in his career.
At tight end/H-back, Ryan Hewitt and Tyler Eifert are the projected starters to no surprise. However, just like at left tackle, there's a rookie sitting there at the No. 2 spots in case the starters go down. Tyler Kroft and C.J. Uzomah are already the No. 2 guys if either Hewitt or Eifert get injured this year.
The fact that Uzomah is already ahead of Jake Murphy is also telling of how well the fifth-round pick has looked. Murphy was on the Bengals' practice squad last year and has had a good showing in OTAs and training camp.
At quarterback, AJ McCarron has managed to take hold of the No. 2 spot behind Andy Dalton. Despite a slow start in training camp, McCarron is improving daily and is still expected to be Dalton's backup this year with Cincinnati keeping only those two quarterbacks on the final 53-man roster.
At defensive end, Will Clarke is listed as the third-string right end behind Wallace Gilberry and the injured Michael Johnson. On the other side, Margus Hunt is the No. 2 left end behind Carlos Dunlap. To this point, many thought Clarke had done enough to be ahead of Hunt on the depth chart, but that's not the case for now. Then again, with Johnson out for the time being, Clarke is essentially the No. 2 right end behind Gilberry, who likely will start as long as Johnson is out with his sprained MCL. Though, Johnson is not expected to miss regular-season games.
And last but certainly not least, cornerback reflects what has been the case in training camp thus far. Adam Jones and Dre Kirkpatrick are the primary boundary corners with veteran Leon Hall and second-year man Darqueze Dennard behind them. Though the Bengals play primarily in a nickel defense with three corners, they opted to go with a traditional 4-3 alignment in their first depth chart. That leaves a bit of a question as to who that slot corner is between Hall and Dennard. We'll have to wait for actual preseason games to get more clarity there.
Here is a look at the full depth chart:
|WR1||A.J. Green||Brandon Tate||Denarius Moore||Tevin Reese
|LT||Andrew Whitworth||Jake Fisher||Cedric Ogbuehi|
|LG||Clint Boling||Trey Hopkins||Tanner Hawkinson|
|C||Russell Bodine||T.J. Johnson||Chris Jasperse||
|RG||Kevin Zeitler||Dan France|
|RT||Andre Smith||Eric Winston||Matthew O'Donnell|
|TE||Tyler Eifert||C.J. Uzomah||Jake Murphy||
|TE||Ryan Hewitt||Tyler Kroft||John Peters|
|WR2||Mohamed Sanu||Marvin Jones||Greg Little||Onterio McCalebb
|QB||Andy Dalton||AJ McCarron||Josh Johnson||Keith Wenning
|RB||Jeremy Hill||Giovani Bernard||Cedric Peerman||Rex Burkhead
James Wilder Jr.
|LDE||Carlos Dunlap||Margus Hunt||Sam Montgomery|
|NT||Domata Peko||Pat Sims||Kwame Geathers||
|DT||Geno Atkins||Brandon Thompson||Devon Still||Marcus Hardison
|RDE||Michael Johnson||Wallace Gilberry||Will Clarke|
|SLB||Emmanuel Lamur||Marquis Flowers||Jayson DiManche||
|MLB||Rey Maualuga||Vincent Rey||Nico Johnson||
|WLB||Vontaze Burfict||A.J. Hawk||P.J. Dawson||Sean Porter
|LCB||Dre Kirkpatrick||Darqueze Dennard||Brandon Ghee||
|RCB||Adam Jones||Leon Hall||Chris Lewis-Harris||
|SS||George Iloka||Shiloh Keo||Derron Smith||
|FS||Reggie Nelson||Shawn Williams||Erick Dargan|
|KO||Mike Nugent||Tom Obarski|
|PR||Adam Jones||Brandon Tate||Giovani Bernard||Mario Alford
|KR||Brandon Tate||Adam Jones||Mario Alford||Onterio McCalebb|