Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis has a spotty track record of playing youngsters in prominent roles early in their careers. Usually when he does, it’s out of necessity and he may be facing that issue in 2018.
If so, which positions are the youngest on the Bengals’ roster? Here are some of the groups that seem to be infused with quite a bit of youth.
The newbie of the group is Billy Price, and by almost every indication, he’ll be handed the team’s starting job this year. Obviously, with his lack of NFL experience, it makes the group an overall young one.
T.J. Johnson will be backing him up in his fifth season, while Trey Hopkins might be a swing guard/tackle player. Regardless, this is a pretty young position group on the 2018 Bengals.
Outside of Giovani Bernard, this group is a pretty young one. It’s to be expected because of the wear-and-tear that comes with the position, but Cincinnati has to hope for young players to step up in 2018.
Joe Mixon has been given the baton after Jeremy Hill left for the Patriots and it appears as if Mark Walton will be the third guy. Quinton Flowers, a converted quarterback, and Ray Lawry join Walton as rookies vying for a spot.
There are a slew of second-year guys also looking to grab onto the team’s fourth running back designation they usually carry on the 53-man roster. Jarveon Williams, Brian Hill and Tra Carson will need to have big springs and summers to do so.
Between Preston Brown, Vincent Rey and Vontaze Burfict (the three possible starters throughout much of 2018), the Bengals have 20 years of NFL experience there. However, behind them are a bunch of young and unproven guys.
Jordan Evans is entering his second season, while Nick Vigil is entering his third with limited NFL playing time. Technically, Carl Lawson is listed as an outside linebacker, and as such, he’s also a second year player.
Beyond them, three rookies (Malik Jefferson, Junior Joseph and Chris Worley) comprise part of the 10 players in the group, as do second-year players Hardy Nickerson and Brandon Bell, who saw some 2017 playing time.
Over the past couple of years, the Bengals have let long-tenured tackles Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith leave in free agency. Jake Fisher and Cedric Ogbuehi are oddly now two of the most tenured tackles on the roster, as they both are entering their fourth season.
Cincinnati struck a trade for former Bills tackle Cordy Glenn, who is entering his seventh year, but behind him are three second year players and Bobby Hart, who is entering his fourth year.
Really, this group has some experience on paper, but not necessarily on-field experience. Fisher has missed extensive time because of injury, while others haven’t found their roster spots.