Linebacker has typically been a strength for the Bengals ever since Mike Zimmer came to the Queen City in 2008.
Zim helped build this unit from being one of the NFL's worst to being a unit no offense wanted to face, and Paul Guenther has done a good job of picking up where Zim left off. They've both done so by using mostly players drafted after Round 1, and many even being undrafted free agents.
Vinny Rey, Vontaze Burfict, Emmanuel Lamur and Jayson DiManche have all made the final 53-man roster as rookies, while Burfict has become one of the game's best backers. In other words, going undrafted isn't really a bad thing if you sign with the Bengals.
Last year, Nebraska Cornhuskers linebacker Trevor Roach signed with the Bengals quickly after the 2015 NFL Draft ended. Few scouting services even bothered to rank Roach, but he still went on to have a good training camp and solid preseason with Cincinnati.
Because the roster was full of quality backers, Roach began the year on the practice squad, but was eventually called up once Emmanuel Lamur went on I.R. before the playoffs began. Now, Roach looks to make the Bengals' roster once more while facing long odds to do so.
Weight: 237 pounds
Hometown: Elkhorn, Neb.
Experience: First-Year Player because he wasn't on active roster for fewer than six games.
Roach joined the Bengals in 2015 after a standout career with the Cornhuskers. In 2014, Roach accounted for 63 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries. In the Huskers' game against Michigan State, Roach was responsible for 18 tackles, four of which were for a loss.
Roach then went on to have a great preseason with the Bengals before ultimately being waived during final roster cuts, and then joined the practice squad. While he wasn't on the 53-man roster all season, he had been practicing with the team all year, not to mention going through all of the OTAs, so he should know the playbook well coming into next season.
All of this should, in theory, have Roach's stock on the rise heading into training camp. However, the Bengals have loaded up on linebackers this offseason, leading to a steep decline for Roach's stock in 2016.
Chances of Making Roster
While the Bengals did lose Emmanuel Lamur this offseason while Vontaze Burfict is suspended the first three games of 2016, they also bring back Marquis Flowers from injury while signing Karlos Dansby in free agency after spending a third-round pick on Nick Vigil.
Add that to a group that already includes Vinny Rey, Rey Maualuga, P.J. Dawson and Tez after he returns, and you've got some long odds for any other backer to make the roster. That's the case with Roach as he'll need to have a great showing in camp and through the preseason just to make the initial 3-man roster.
Then, Roach has to convince the Bengals he's worth keeping once Burfict returns from suspension. The good news for Roach is he's in a good position to earn a spot on the practice squad, which is where his best chances of remaining in Cincinnati are.