Building a 53-man roster is no easy task, especially when it involves cutting around 30 players in one day. That’s what the Cincinnati Bengals did on Saturday, and with it came some big surprises.
Here is a look at the three most surprising cuts from the Bengals’ initial 53-man roster:
The Bengals spent a fifth-round pick in this year’s NFL Draft on J.J. Dielman, a promising lineman from Utah who could play all along the offensive line. He spent time at right tackle, guard and even center.
Dielman showed some promise in the preseason, enough to think the Bengals would keep him on the initial 53-man roster, especially since he was a fifth-round pick. However, the Bengals opted to cut him and risk losing him on waivers to another team. And that they did. Dielman was claimed by the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.
The Bengals rarely cut draft picks, especially ones as high as the fifth round but they actually cut two fifth round picks this year, the other being Jake Elliott. Elliott remained on the practice squad, but Dielman is now a lost draft pick.
Brandon Bell and P.J. Dawson
The Bengals were forced to keep an extra linebacker on the 53-man roster with Vontaze Burfict serving a three-game suspension. One would have thought that would go to P.J. Dawson, a former third-round draft pick, or Brandon Bell, a promising linebacker who shined in camp and the preseason. Bell was easily the better of the two, but instead, they gave that spot to Hardy Nickerson.
Now, Nickerson had some flashes as well, but Bell looked like the better prospect through camp and the preseason. Plus, Nickerson suffered a scary back injury in the second preseason game, which limited him for much of the past two weeks.
As for Dawson, he’s been in the system for three years now, so he’s more ready to play regular-season snaps than Nickerson or Bell. Yet, the Bengals have now cut ties with Dawson; meanwhile, Bell landed on the practice squad.
No single move came as a bigger surprise than Cincinnati’s decision to cut Brandon Wilson. A sixth-round pick in this year’s NFL Draft, Wilson was actually someone the Bengals traded up to grab, showing they felt good about what he could bring to the table.
However, a mysterious knee injury in rookie minicamp led to him spending training camp and all of the preseason on the Non-Football Injury list (NFI). It looked like he would remain there going into the regular season, allowing him to remain part of the Bengals’ organization while not occupying a roster spot.
Instead, the Bengals activated him days before the fourth and final preseason game, preventing him from getting any real practice time in, and thus getting sparse snaps in Thursday’s preseason finale. It looked like the Bengals were simply getting him some reps before heading into the regular season, but instead, they waived Wilson without ever giving him a real chance.
Thankfully, Wilson made it through waivers and is now on the Bengals’ practice squad. Still, the whole situation seems strange.
Who were you most surprised to see cut from the Bengals’ roster this weekend. Here’s a recap of every roster move made by the Bengals on Saturday.