Not every player on the Cincinnati Bengals’ offseason roster can make it through final cuts. It is an unfortunate situation, due to the business of the NFL, resulting in teams being forced to make tough decisions in regards to good NFL players. As we continue to categorize the Bengals’ current roster by their importance, the next group is highlighted by players the Bengals who will make the Bengals answer tough decisions come September. No one will enjoy seeing these players go, but without further ado, here are the players ranked 61-70 on the 90 man roster, in no particular order:
Bryson Albright, linebacker
Albright failed to stick to the Buffalo Bills’ roster permanently, although he did manage to survive his practice squad demotion, only to find his way back to the active roster before ending up back on the practice squad again. The Cincinnati native recorded five tackles, three QB hits, and a fumble recovery last preseason with the Bills and could easily see similarly impressive numbers with the Bengals in 2017. Albright has a lot of competition ahead of him at linebacker, although there is an opportunity for a sufficiently impressive preseason player to make their mark. Assuming he can live up to expectations, he could easily break into the roster bubble discussion as a player with a real chance to make the Bengals’ final 53-man roster.
Brandon Wilson, safety
A multi-talented player at running back, cornerback, and safety, Brandon Wilson has most of the measurables you would want from a player at any of those positions. Unfortunately for him, his 5’11”, 200 pound stature makes him seem extremely undersized for an NFL running back and cornerback, although it does justify the Bengals’ decision to develop him as a safety. However, safety is going to be a difficult position for the former sixth round pick to break into right away. The Bengals won’t have a natural opening at the position until 2019, when former sixth round pick Derron Smith becomes a free agent. Due to inexperience, Wilson likely won’t beat anyone out for a roster spot, although the team could make room for him as a special teams ace or, he could sit on the practice squad, biding his time until a spot opens up. Since the Bengals both drafted and traded up for Wilson, they’re going to want to find a roster spot for him, but will they be able to?
Jeff Driskel, quarterback
The former Florida and Louisiana Tech quarterback took NFL scouts by storm when he transferred to LTU in his senior year and put up a 4,000 yard season in the process. He failed to catch on with the 49ers, who drafted him in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, but the Bengals saw potential and picked him up to serve as a third option behind Andy Dalton and AJ McCarron. The Bengals shouldn’t have much reason to need three quarterbacks on the roster in 2017, although the Bengals seem to like Driskel enough to make an exception if he proves himself worthy.
Jake Kumerow, wide receiver
Kumerow could very well be the most-praised player on the Bengals’ current roster who won’t make it past final cuts. Last year, he was regularly mentioned as a dark horse candidate to break into the Bengals’ rebuilding receiving corps and become a surprise addition to the final roster. However, he was injured during training camp and ultimately lost his bid for a roster spot. There has been a lot of talk about him potentially making a run for a spot this year, but with so much competition, the position seems too crowded for him to make enough of an impression.
Tra Carson, running back
Carson made his mark last season as he battled Bronson Hill for a reserve running back role with the Bengals. Ultimately, he won out and spent the majority of the season on the Bengals’ practice squad before being called up for the final game of the season. He will have some stiff competition to keep the reserve role this year with guys like Stanley ‘Boom’ Williams being brought in to challenge for the job. But, for now, Carson’s experience with the team puts him in the driver’s seat for the practice squad spot.
P.J. Dawson, linebacker
The Bengals selected Dawson in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft, although some draft analysts had him graded as high as a second or even late first round pick. Unfortunately, the reason he fell, a questionable work ethic, has been his downfall at the NFL level. He failed to make the final roster in 2016, spent the year on the practice squad, though he made it back to the active roster for the final game of the season. He has yet to show much reason to think 2017 will be different and this offseason is likely his last chance to impress in Cincinnati.
DeShawn Williams, defensive end
In many ways, Williams can be seen as Dawson’s opposite. Williams entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Bengals as a result of his small stature, poor mechanics, and uninspired play strength. However, he absolutely thrilled the Bengals in his rookie training camp, earning an unexpected practice squad spot, and made the roster in 2016, playing four games throughout the year. The Bengals saw an influx of talent at defensive tackle this offseason with the return of Andrew Billings and Brandon Thompson as well as the addition of Ryan Glasgow. So, the practice squad could, once again, be in Williams’ future. But, don’t count him out, because that hasn’t worked well before.
David Dean, defensive tackle
Another undrafted player who impressed last preseason, but was ultimately relegated to a practice squad spot, Dean never received as much hype as Williams did in his rookie year. He recorded eight tackles in the 2016 preseason, despite being way down on the depth chart. He’s unlikely to make the roster this year, but an impressive summer could change things.
Marquis Flowers, linebacker
Although he regularly floats near the bottom of the Bengals’ roster, Flowers has managed to stick around with the Bengals since 2014. Granted, he was not on the roster in 2015 due to a season-ending shoulder injury. But, he has played in all 16 games in each of his other two seasons, even starting one game in his rookie year. With a career stat line of seven tackles, one fumble recovery, and one pass deflection, Flowers’ spot on the final roster doesn’t look safe. But, he has enough experience for a decently impressive preseason to vault him back into consideration for one of the final linebacker spots.
Pat Sims, defensive tackle
In 2013, Sims started all 16 games for the Oakland Raiders in his first season away from the Bengals. However, he failed to produce much that year and started only two games the following season. Since 2012, those are the only starts he has earned. Granted, before 2011, he was a rotational lineman with the Bengals. But, after his rookie contract ran out, he never managed to maintain the same role. Due to his run blocking ability, he’s managed to stick around as a reserve defensive tackle option with the Bengals. In 2016, he had one of his best seasons with the team, producing 37 total tackles and 1.5 sacks. At 31-years-old, the Bengals will likely want to find a younger player who can put up those numbers, but shows promise for the future. However, the Bengals like the stability veterans bring to the roster, so he certainly won’t be an easy player to part with.