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Ridiculously early Bengals 53-man roster projection following NFL Draft

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The draft added a plethora of young, fast and athletic talent to the Bengals’ roster. So, who’s in and who’s out for the 2017 season? We take a way-too-early look.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

It’s May.

The NFL season is four months away and training camp has yet to begin. In fact, the rookies haven’t even had their first NFL practice yet.

But, with the addition of 11 draft picks and many more undrafted free agents following the 2017 NFL Draft, let’s take a way-too-early look at a projection for the Cincinnati Bengals’ 53-man roster in 2017.

Offense

Quarterback (2)

Andy Dalton

AJ McCarron

Wide Receiver (7)

A.J. Green

Brandon LaFell

Tyler Boyd

Cody Core

Alex Erickson

John Ross

Josh Malone

Running Back (3)

Jeremy Hill

Joe Mixon

Giovani Bernard

Tight End (4)

Tyler Eifert

C.J. Uzomah

Tyler Kroft

Ryan Hewitt

Offensive Line (9)

Cedric Ogbuehi

Jake Fisher

Russell Bodine

Clint Boling

Andre Smith

T.J. Johnson

Eric Winston

J.J. Dielman

Christian Westerman

Total on offense: 25

Defense

Cornerback (6)

Adam Jones

Dre Kirkpatrick

Darqueze Dennard

William Jackson III

Josh Shaw

KeiVarae Russell

Safety (4)

George Iloka

Shawn Williams

Derron Smith

Brandon Wilson (also RB4)

Linebacker (6)

Vontaze Burfict

Kevin Minter

Vincent Rey

Nick Vigil

Carl Lawson

Jordan Evans

Defensive End (4)

Carlos Dunlap

Michael Johnson

Jordan Willis

Wallace Gilberry

Defensive Tackle (5)

Geno Atkins

Andrew Billings

Ryan Glasgow

Marcus Hardison

DeShawn Williams

Total on defense: 25

Kicker

Jake Elliott

Long Snapper

Clark Harris

Punter

Kevin Huber

Total on special teams: 3

Total on roster: 53

Biggest surprises

  • The Bengals move on from veterans Brandon Thompson and Pat Sims. The youth movement is here and these veterans were spared.
  • Will Clarke gets cut before the end of his rookie contract. Clarke has provided back-end depth to the defensive end group, but with Jordan Willis and Carl Lawson drafted this year, those players can easily take over his role. Lawson is being considered a linebacker by the Bengals, but should be more effective as a pass rusher than Clarke proved to be during his three years in Cincinnati. Additionally, Marcus Hardison is healthy and hoping to see the field for the first time. He can serve as both a tackle and end.
  • The Bengals have gone with four running backs for as many years as I can remember. But, defensive back Brandon Wilson can be used as a running back and on special teams, eliminating the need for Cedric Peerman. If Bernard opens the year on the Physically Unable to Perform list, Peerman could initially make the roster.
  • After just one promising year, safety Clayton Fejedelem is eliminated from the roster following his seventh round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft. Hypothetically, the Bengals would try to get him onto the practice squad.

What do you think about this 53-man roster? It includes no undrafted free agents, first off because they’ve yet to be officially announced. But also because I believe it will be extremely hard for any undrafted player to make the roster with 11 draft picks in the fold.