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Bengals roster breakdown, 90-in-90: Bene Benwikere

The veteran corner is facing some tough odds of cracking the Bengals’ final roster, but he’s got the talent and ability to do so.

Carolina Panthers Rookie Minicamp Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

One of the most crowded positions on the Cincinnati Bengals’ roster is cornerback.

That’s where Bene Benwikere faces the unenviable task of earning a spot on the 53-man roster. Where does he stand on the current depth chart, and what are his odds of making the Bengals’ roster in September? We assess that and more in taking a look at one of the offseason additions in Cincinnati.

Bene Benwikere

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 195 pounds

College: San Jose State

Hometown: Fontana, CA

Experience: Fourth-year player in 2017.

Cap Status

Benwikere signed a 1-year, $690,000 contract with the Bengals this offseason. In 2017, Benwikere will have a cap hit of $690,000. According to Spotrac, there will be no dead cap if Benwikere does not make the final 53-man roster.

Background

Benwikere, a fifth-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft by way of the Carolina Panthers, started 10 regular season games in his first two years and appeared in 23 total games from 2014-2015. He was a solid corner early on in his career who appeared to have a bright future ahead of him.

In 27 career games, Benwikere has accounted for 102 total tackles, 20 pass deflections, two interceptions and one sack. He also made two postseason starts as a rookie, but missed the team’s Super Bowl run in 2015 due to a broken leg.

That made him one of the more experienced members of the cornerback group in Carolina when the 2016 began after Josh Norman was let go. However, after playing most and best in the slot, Benwikere struggled as the team’s No. 1 corner in 2016 when pushed into a bigger role. He was ultimately released after starting four games in 2016 due to significant struggles on the boundary, including a 300 yard game allowed to Falcons star wide receiver Julio Jones. Benwikere has been bouncing around with different teams ever since.

The Miami Dolphins briefly signed him last year, and he later joined the Green Bay Packers’ practice squad after he was cut in Miami. Once the offseason hit, Benwikere was free to sign with whoever he wanted, and Cincinnati ended up being his pick after four teams reportedly offered him a contract.

Roster Chances

It was an interesting decision for Benwikere to sign with the Bengals when he did. At the time, Adam Jones had just been arrested, which had many wondering if he would be cut soon after. Dre Kirkpatrick was also an impending free agent who was being pursued by other teams.

There was a chance one, if not both would not be on the Bengals’ roster in 2017, but Kirkpatrick ended up re-signing, and Jones was kept on the roster. That means Benwikere will be facing a tough challenge to make the 53-man roster in 2017.

The Bengals also have William Jackson III, Darqueze Dennard, Joshua Shaw and KeiVarae Russell under contract for several more years, not to mention rookie Brandon Wilson who can play corner and safety.

As of now, I’d put Benwikere at sixth on the current depth chart, behind the likes of Jones, Kirkpatrick, Dennard, Shaw and Jackson. That leaves him to battle Russell and Tony McRae for the final corner spot on the 53-man roster, though I think it’s very possible the Bengals keep only five true corners since Wilson can play there too. Though, if Jones is suspended by the NFL for any length of time, that could change the Bengals’ plans and the chances Benwikere can claim a roster spot.

Roster Odds: 35 percent.