With Cincinnati Bengals training camp over and the preseason beginning, it’s time for a look back to see what we learned about various players on the roster during the last three weeks of camp. Save for a few key members of the team, everyone has something to prove heading into 2017, and training camp went a long way toward the rise and fall of players’ respective stocks. For some players, the changes were more notable than others.
There might not have been a single player with more to prove in this year’s training camp than rookie running back Mixon. Going into the 2017 NFL Draft, Mixon’s stock was affected by off-field incidents, which at this point everyone knows about. But, the Bengals decided to take a chance on him and, so far, his performance in training camp has looked nothing but astounding.
Seriously watch how fast @Joe_MainMixon hits this hole and then low fives #Bengals fans all the way back #Awesome #SpeedKills @WLWT pic.twitter.com/237uTOPtvg— Mark Slaughter (@MarkVSlaughter) July 31, 2017
Mixon is fast, fierce and looks ready to prove he’s going to be a star in the NFL. That begins Friday night in the preseason opener.
The general thought surrounding Hopkins this offseason was he possesses plenty of talent, but will face an uphill battle making the Bengals’ final roster. But, he has been one of the Bengals’ most impressive lineman this summer. He is consistently praised by the coaching staff for his work ethic and performance, and has even been floated as a potential starter. The preseason will be huge for him in proving he deserves the right guard spot over Andre Smith. But, he couldn’t have had a better training camp as he frequently was playing with the first team line.
When Bernard tore his ACL in Week 11 of the 2016 season against the Buffalo Bills, there was a lot of worry he would still be recovering early in 2017 and would be unavailable to start the year. However, he not only surprised a lot of people by being a full participant in training camp, but has been absolutely stunning to watch during practices.
Just 8 months removed from tearing his ACL Giovani Bernard (@G_Bernard25) showing a burst @bengals Camp pic.twitter.com/1z73QLJKix— Evan Washburn (@EvanWashburn) July 28, 2017
Bernard even absorbed a controversial hit from Vontaze Burfict in training camp and came out perfectly fine, showing off the stability of his recovered knee. He’s reportedly exceeding his weight room numbers from before the injury, further proving he’s ready to get back on the field. We’ll see how much Bernard is involved in the preseason, but he’s certainly going to be back in full force for Week 1 of the regular season and that’s great news for Bernard, the Bengals and fans.
Dawson has been in an arm cast for more than a week now and and has been out of commission since. For a formerly exciting player who has already been cut once and is now fighting for a roster spot at a crowded linebacker position, the injury does not bode well for his chances going forward. If he can not return to the field and step up his performance in the preseason, his time with the Bengals could come to a swift close. The former third round pick is approaching bust status.
Performance has continued to be a point of contention for the Bengals’ former first round pick. He was benched as the team’s starting right tackle last season and made the switch to left tackle late in the year, as a backup. Now he’s taking on Andrew Whitworth’s starting spot and will be tasked with protecting Andy Dalton’s blindside. Whitworth’s are massive shoes to fill and Ogbuehi needs to do remarkably better than he did last year at right tackle.
Unfortunately, he has continued to disappoint in training camp, getting regularly beat by Jordan Willis, Carl Lawson and Will Clarke. That shows Ogbuehi still has a long way to go as a starter.
I'll follow that Lawson tweet up w/ this: 2 minute drill, Lawson comes around the edge to beat Ogbuehi and sack Dalton to end that series— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) August 4, 2017
18 yard throws to Green and LaFell, but DE Chris Smith went past LT Ogbuehi and would have had sack on TD— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) August 5, 2017
Rough play for young tackles on latest drive. Same play Ogbuehi called for illegal formation and Fisher for a hold.— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) August 5, 2017
Will Clarke gets the best of Ogbuehi #Bengals #NFL— J. Angelo Carriero (@AngeloCarriero8) August 3, 2017
By his third season, the Bengals were hoping he would have developed into a consistently effective player and someone on whom they could rely. Although it is understandable that injuries early in his career took a toll on his development, it is getting close to put up or shut up time for the Bengals’ embattled tackle. He has the preseason to change the narrative, but so far, news hasn’t been positive regarding Ogbuehi this summer.