Kermit Whitfield was one of the more electrifying players in college football during the course of his career.
However, the former Florida State Seminoles standout will have a tough time cracking the Cincinnati Bengals’ final roster, being that wide receiver is easily the team’s deepest position. He also joined the team after training camp had already begun, which always makes for a tough task when considering someone’s path to the 53-man roster.
Before joining the Bengals, you may have known Whitfield for this kick return touchdown in Florida State’s College Football Playoff Championship win against Auburn:
Weight: 184 pounds
Position: Wide receiver
College: Florida State
Whitfield is signed to a 3-year, $1,665,000 contract, including an average annual salary of $555,000. In 2017, Whitfield will carry a cap hit of $465,000 if he makes the final roster, according to Spotrac.
Whitfield is a rookie out of Florida State who signed with the Chicago Bears as a college free agent on May 11. The Bears waived him on May 14, and he wasn’t picked up until the Bengals signed him on July 29, shortly after training camp began.
Whitfield has been called versatile, a trait the Bengals love, due to his ability to catch, run and do kick returns. At the NFL Combine he ran a 4.44 second 40-yard dash, bench pressed only 8 reps, had a 32.5" vertical jump and a 120" broad jump. He ran the three-cone drill in 7.17 seconds and the 20-yard shuffle in 4.37 seconds.
In three seasons at Florida State, Whitfield recorded 102 receptions for 1,338 yards and 7 receiving touchdowns as well as 16 rushing attempts for 148 yards (9.3 yards per carry average) and 1 rushing touchdown. He also had 77 kick returns for 1,767 yards (22.9 yards per kick return average).
Despite that great college production, Whitfield has been a ghost in training camp and through two preseason games. He has just one catch for 15 yards, one rush for one yard and one kickoff return for 17 yards. That’s not going to have him even sniffing the 53-man roster. He has a lot of work to do just to be in contention for the practice squad.
The Bengals are stacked at the wide receiver position and Whitfield’s addition was more for roster depth during camp than anything else. At wide receiver, the Bengals have A.J. Green, Brandon LaFell, Tyler Boyd, Cody Core, John Ross, Josh Malone and Alex Erickson at the top of the depth chart. Third year wide receiver Jake Kumerow was injured early in training camp before being waived, which helped lead to Whitfield getting signed by the Bengals and actually having a shot at the practice squad.
However, Alonzo Russell has been the superior player in terms of receivers vying for spots on the practice squad. it’s possible the Bengals keep two receivers on the 10-man squad, which seems to be Whitfield’s best chance at remaining with the Bengals this year.
Odds: 3 percent.