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.
Wide Receiver (7)
Running Back (3)
Tight End (4)
Offensive Line (9)
Total on offense: 25
William Jackson III
Brandon Wilson (also RB4)
Defensive End (4)
Defensive Tackle (5)
Total on defense: 25
Total on special teams: 3
Total on roster: 53
- 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.