The Bengals have a number of tough decisions to make at deep position groups before the regular season kicks off. One of those positions is running back and it got more complicated after the preseason opener. Rex Burkhead, James Wilder, Jr., Cedric Peerman and Terrell Watson all impressed in some fashion against the Giants.
Usually, the team keeps four running backs and a fullback when it comes to the final roster. As it stands, Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard are locks with Burkhead looking like one as well because of his receiving ability. Ryan Hewitt is the H-Back, which is to say he is the fullback and emergency tight end. That leaves Wilder, Peerman and Watson scratching for one roster spot.
Granted, there are still three preseason games, but all three showed some positive things last week. Which one of the three would you like to see on the final roster?
Cedric Peerman: The team and fans know what to expect from the incumbent: a quality special teams play in a variety of capacities and an adequate fill-in should injuries occur. Peerman is also a great locker room guy and revered as an-almost chaplain-type amongst the players. Still, some doubts remain if he could be a long-term contributor as a running back if given a large amount of carries.
James Wilder, Jr.: He's got the size, college productivity and flashed some good plays in the preseason opener. However, at 6'3", he tends to run a bit upright, allowing him to get tackled early on. In his two preseasons with the club, he has shown the ability to break a big run, but also get stopped for no-gains or negative plays. They have also been experimenting with Wilder as a potential fullback, but that might prove tricky for him. Wilder has high-potential and great size, but battles inconsistency.
Terrell Watson: He's the wild card of the group. Watson was almost unstoppable against the Giants, always garnering positive yardage. He's a load at 240-plus pounds, but still moves well for his size. It would be nice to see him get work earlier in preseason games against stiffer competition to see how he fares. Watson will also need to show prowess as a receiver (as he did in the NFLPA Bowl game), as well as some special teams ability.