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Bengals 53-man roster projection: Reassessing following training camp

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The Bengals are finished with the open-to-the-public portion of training camp. Now heading into the second preseason game of the year, here’s an updated look at our 53-man roster projection.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals have wrapped up the open-to-the-public portion of training camp and won their first preseason game of the year. We’re less than one month away from the start of regular-season football and the roster is starting to take shape.

Still, things will change between now and the start of the season. But for now, here’s our latest take at who will make the Bengals’ 53-man roster. You can check our our previous editions here (7/26/2018) and here (5/8/2018). I’ve also noted throughout this article the changes from the last version.

OFFENSE

QUARTERBACK (2)

Andy Dalton, Jeff Driskel

The Bengals may want to have a veteran with in-game experience backing up Andy Dalton, but Matt Barkley has just not proven worthy of such a role. If basing the decision on preseason and training camp performance, Jeff Driskel should win the job.

Cut: Logan Woodside, Matt Barkley (2)

Changes from last edition: None.

RUNNING BACK/H-BACK (4)

Joe Mixon, Giovani Bernard, Mark Walton, Tra Carson

Tra Carson may be the guy to watch between now and the start of the season as he looks to earn a spot on the 53-man roster. He got injured in the preseason last year, killing his roster chances. But after a lengthy wait, this might be his year. Meanwhile, the Bengals have shown no reason to believe Ryan Hewitt’s role is going to increase this year. He played just nine snaps in the first preseason game and he could be a surprise (though, not that surprising) cut in the coming weeks. Look for Quinton Flowers to land on the practice squad.

Cut: Ryan Hewitt, Brian Hill, Jarveon Williams, Quinton Flowers (4)

Changes from last edition: Carson in, Flowers out, Hewitt out, Ray Lawry cut by Bengals.

WIDE RECEIVER (6)

A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, John Ross, Josh Malone, Auden Tate, Alex Erickson

With Brandon LaFell out of the picture, the wide receiver group is shaping up with a lot of young and inexperienced guys behind A.J. Green. The final roster spot looks to be coming down to Alex Erickson versus Cody Core and since no one has pulled ahead of Erickson in the kick/punt return battles, Erickson should be getting the nod. Core hasn’t done much of anything since the 2016 season and is likely to be the odd man out.

Cut: Kermit Whitfield, Cody Core, Devonte Boyd, Ka’Raun White, Jared Murphy, Kayaune Ross (6)

Changes from last edition: Erickson in, Brandon LaFell cut by Bengals, Kayaune Ross signed by Bengals.

TIGHT END (3)

Tyler Eifert, Tyler Kroft, C.J. Uzomah

As long as these three guys are healthy, they should be the tight ends making the roster. It’s possible a fourth guy rises to the occasion, but for now, I’m rolling with the veteran trio.

Cut: Mason Schreck, Cethan Carter, Jordan Franks (3)

(Automatic) practice squad: Moritz Böhringer (1)

Changes from last edition: None.

OFFENSIVE LINE (9)

Offensive tackles: Cordy Glenn, Jake Fisher, Cedric Ogbuehi, Bobby Hart

Offensive guards: Clint Boling, Trey Hopkins, Christian Westerman, Alex Redmond

Centers: Billy Price

T.J. Johnson’s lack of versatility may be his downfall this year. Trey Hopkins can be an emergency center in the event that Billy Price gets injured and the team may want to role with more tackles/guards than having a second center on the roster. This group of nine is all but locked in with the potential for one guy to rise up and join their ranks.

Cut: Justin Murray, Kent Perkins, Brad Lundblade, T.J. Johnson, Cory Helms (5)

Injured/Reserve: Rod Taylor

Changes from last edition: Austin Fleer cut by Bengals, Rod Taylor placed on Injured/Reserve, T.J. Johnson out, Cory Helms signed by Bengals.

***

Total on offense: 24

Total players cut on offense: 20

Roster exemption for International Program: 1


DEFENSE

DEFENSIVE LINE (10)

Defensive ends: Carlos Dunlap, Jordan Willis, Michael Johnson, Sam Hubbard, Carl Lawson

Defensive tackles: Geno Atkins, Chris Baker, Andrew Billings, Ryan Glasgow, Andrew Brown

For starters, Josh Tupou is likely to remain injured at the start of the season, so he’s bound to end up on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Andrew Brown is also currently hurt, but should be healthy soon and I can’t imagine the fifth round rookie being cut just yet. But, if the Bengals end up going with nine defensive lineman, he may be the odd man out. With that said, I see 10 being kept in this group to start the year as there’s significant promise from the youth of the unit. Eddy Wilson has been a nice surprise since his signing, but he’s more likely a practice squad player this year.

Cut: Josh Tupou, Chris Okoye, Simeyon Robinson, Eddy Wilson (4)

Changes from last edition: Ja’Von Rolland-Jones cut by Bengals, Simeyon Robinson and Eddy Wilson signed by Bengals.

LINEBACKERS (6*)

Preston Brown, Nick Vigil, Vincent Rey, Jordan Evans, Malik Jefferson, Hardy Nickerson Jr.,

Junior Joseph had a strong special teams performance in the Bengals’ first preseason game, but Hardy Nickerson did, too and has regular-season NFL experience. I think it will come down to the two of them taking the final spot during Vontaze Burfict’s four-game suspension to start the year. Another linebacker — or even two — could land on the practice squad. When Burfict returns in Week 5 one of the linebackers will have to go.

Cut: Brandon Bell, Junior Joseph, Chris Worley (3)

Suspended: Vontaze Burfict* (1)

Changes from last edition: Nickerson in.

DEFENSIVE BACKS (10)

Safeties: George Iloka, Shawn Williams, Jessie Bates III, Clayton Fejedelem, Brandon Wilson

Cornerbacks: William Jackson, Dre Kirkpatrick, Darqueze Dennard, KeiVarae Russell, Darius Phillips

It’s looking like special teams impact will play a big role on who makes the cut at cornerback and safety, which is why Brandon Wilson is now in and why Darius Phillips remains in, but Davontae Harris is out. Clayton Fejedelem is now one of the Bengals’ top special teams players, and is a roster lock. Wilson and Phillips both had nice special teams plays in the Bengals’ first preseason outing and have been showing that same ability — and impressive speed — in practice, too. KeiVarae Russell has impressed when given the chance and it looks like he’ll get another opportunity to show his skills on the roster this season. Josh Shaw looks to be the odd man out as he’s slowly lost relevance in Cincinnati.

Cut: Tony McRae, Sojourn Shelton, Josh Shaw, Trayvon Henderson, Tyrice Beverette, C.J. Goodwin, Davontae Harris (7)

Changes from last edition: C.J. Goodwin signed by Bengals, Russell in, Wilson in, Harris out.

***

Total on defense: 26

Total players cut on defense: 14

Total players suspended: 1


SPECIAL TEAMS (3)

Kicker: Randy Bullock

Punter: Kevin Huber

Long-snapper: Clark Harris

Jon Brown has had a nice summer, but the inexperienced kicker is still not beating out Bullock for a roster spot.

Cut: Jon Brown (1)

Changes from last edition: None

***

Total on special teams: 3

Total players cut on special teams: 1