Throughout training camp, every player on the Bengals’ roster will have good days and bad days.
While it seems like there is a long time between now and September 9 when the Bengals kick off the regular season against the Colts, every rep is important in determining roster status and standing for 2018.
Camp has just begun, but already there are players who are improving their stock, as well as players who are trending in the opposite direction.
Tate was a highly acclaimed college player who was never expected to be available in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Drafting Tate created a lot of buzz for Bengals fans and he is proving in the early part of training camp that this excitement was well founded.
Tate is 6’5”, 227 pounds and an incredible athlete. He has shown already in camp that he can high point the football and win in contested situations. As a seventh-round pick at a position where the Bengals have a lot of depth, some thought it would be hard for Tate to make the roster, but if he continues to turn heads the way he has been, he will likely find a way to make the cut.
Tate may be stealing the headlines, but Boyd’s status has risen more than any other player on the Bengals’ roster in the first few days of training camp. If his first two seasons, the second-round pick failed to dethrone Brandon LaFell and establish himself as the second receiver.
Year three has started off differently. Boyd has not only been getting first-team reps opposite A.J. Green, but he has been proving he deserves them. Boyd is building on the momentum of his performance late in 2017 and putting himself in the driver’s seat to be the Bengals’ number two receiver in 2018.
Taking Ross with the ninth-overall pick was a huge investment for the Bengals in 2017 and one that unfortunately it has not yet paid off. Injury defined the beginning of Ross’ career as in his rookie season he started only one game and failed to make a single reception.
Fast forward to 2018, and Ross now has a clean bill of health. He is showing his athletic ability and skill for route running and has made some impressive plays. Oddly enough, Ross has gotten the most attention for a play he didn’t make.
On a deep route, Ross gave cornerback William Jackson all he could handle and forced Jackson to commit pass interference to prevent the touchdown.
John Ross ran past Tony McRae in this drill. McRae answered by knocking the ball away from Brandon LaFell during his next rep pic.twitter.com/TVwbB5dhEa— James Rapien (@JamesRapien) July 26, 2018
After having an excellent year in 2016, Kirkpatrick struggled in 2017 once rewarded with a contract extension. Now as camp starts, Kirkpatrick has been up and down with some noticeable struggles. In fact, it seems like every time one of the aforementioned wide receivers makes a play, Kirkpatrick is on the other end of it.
To be fair, Kirkpatrick has also had some highlights of his own, coming down with at least two interceptions already, but giving up big plays is a concern. Hopefully, seeing such high-level receiver play from Green, Boyd, Ross, Tate and others will help Kirkpatrick fix his problems in a hurry.
Here’s one of his interceptions:
But on the flip side, these Tweets are from three different days:
First 'oooooh' of the day goes to Auden Tate (late round wide receiver). Out jumped Dre Kirkpatrick down field for a ball. Also, had a one-handed TD on a fade in a red zone drill. #Bengals— Joe Danneman (@FOX19Joe) July 30, 2018
Bengals just did 1x1 drills. John Ross looked good beating Dre Kirkpatrick deep. Matt Barkley ... did not look good.— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) July 27, 2018
And, here’s a closer look at a play from July 27.
Used our editing equipment to look deeper at the John Ross double move...— Joe Danneman (@FOX19Joe) July 27, 2018
The moment captured in this picture is the separation moment. He separated from Kirkpatrick with a 20 yard burst in 2.1 seconds. Peak separation of three yards. #Bengals pic.twitter.com/vUYfgAQKHc
And a play in which he went up against Ross:
Taylor, another seventh-round pick of the Bengals’ in 2018 saw his camp end almost before it began as he tore his ACL on the first day. It is a shame to not see him even get the chance to showcase what he can do. The silver lining is that he will likely spend the year on injured reserve and have a full offseason to prepare to compete in training camp in 2019.
Woodside, who the team also selected in the seventh round, is expected to compete for the third-string quarterback role for the Bengals, should they keep that many quarterbacks. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, “you can’t make the club from the tub.”
The promising young signal caller has been sidelined the past couple of days, which is not going to help him get ahead of Matt Barkley or Jeff Driskel on the depth chart. It’s unknown why he hasn’t been practicing.