Training Camp and the preseason are times for the Cincinnati Bengals to decide which players will make it to the team’s 53-man roster, due just before the regular season starts. Right now, there are 90 players on the Bengals’ roster. That means 37 of those players will be on the outside looking in when early September rolls around. Most players should provide a fair amount of competition for each of the depth spots on the team, but you can go ahead and assume the following players won’t get much of a chance to make the final roster. That said, some of them most certainly could appear on the team’s practice squad this year.
Jonathan Brown, kicker
The Bengals have been insistent on fostering a competition for the open kicking position. Brown joins Randy Bullock and Jake Elliott in a supposedly nearly-even competition, but it will be an uphill battle for the former soccer player. Going up against an established NFL kicker and the first kicker selected in the 2017 NFL Draft does not make for favorable circumstances.
Jarveon Williams, running back
The Bengals signed Williams after the draft, following a nice college career at University of Texas at San Antonio. However, the Bengals are simply overcrowded at the running back position. Yes, Rex Burkhead is gone, but the team added Joe Mixon and Stanley “Boom” Williams in addition to Jarveon Williams this offseason.
Tony McRae, cornerback
Speaking of players competing at overcrowded positions, McRae looks to be facing an equally impossible task as Williams. The Bengals are absolutely stacked at cornerback with four former first round picks and a few high-performing youngsters. McRae’s best chance to make the roster would be to beat out both KeiVarae Russell, a talented up-and-comer and Bene Benwikere, an offseason addition with starting experience.
Brandon Bell, linebacker
Bell is the kind of player who knows all about overcoming the odds to make an impression. He was a big producer at Penn State, despite size, speed, and injury issues. However, beating out any of the other players currently competing at linebacker should be an order even he can’t fill. There’s a chance for Bell to land on the practice squad, depending on how many linebackers the team keeps there.
Josh Tupou, defensive tackle
Off-field issues—he was charged with assault at a college party and suspended for all of 2015—combined with weight problems and an overall lack of effectiveness mean Tupou will likely struggle to compete with other players in the Bengals’ camp, especially with a crowded defensive line. That said, the Bengals do see promise with him and he could make a good push this summer for recognition.
Ryan Brown, defensive end
For the second year in a row, Brown’s lack of play strength could spell his roster doom when going up against guys like Jordan Willis, Chris Smith, Will Clarke, and Wallace Gilberry. He spent 2016 on the practice squad so the Bengals know what they have in him and this summer he’ll have a (slim) chance of making the move to the practice squad. As of now, it doesn’t seem all too likely.
Cethan Carter, tight end
Carter was not drafted in 2017 after having issues with drops throughout his college career, and an inability to do much with the ball if he did happen to catch it. He seems unlikely to stick around even as a practice squad option with seventh round draft pick Mason Schreck in the mix.
Cameron Lee, offensive guard
The former Illinois State guard was originally projected to be drafted in 2017, albeit in the sixth or seventh round. But, teams were put off by his poor athleticism and bend, enough to skip over him all together. He originally signed with the Saints after the draft, was cut and just joined the Bengals this week. That will likely make it extremely difficult for him to keep up with other players at the position, even other undrafted rookies like Kent Perkins and Dustin Stanton.
Monty Madaris, wide receiver
A Cincinnati Native who is excited to compete with his hometown team, injuries hampered Madaris’ college career, resulting in very low production. When he was healthy at Michigan State, his production was impressive. But, he saw the field so little, he didn’t have time to develop his talent. He almost certainly won’t have a shot at the 53-man roster, and will likely struggle to keep up with potential practice squad players like Jake Kumerow, Alonzo Russell, and Karel Hamilton.
Chris Brown, wide receiver
Despite quietly playing well in his college days next to Will Fuller at Notre Dame, Brown has yet to do much in the NFL, beyond playing well for the Cowboys last preseason. He spent 2016 on Injured Reserve as a result of a broken foot and was claimed by the Bengals in the offseason after being released by the Cowboys. It would be an absolute shock to see him compete for a roster spot at a crowded receiver position, but making the practice squad is not out of the question.