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Bengals 53-man roster and practice squad projection: Final week of preseason edition

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The Bengals completed their dress rehearsal and play their final game of the preseason on Thursday. Here’s where the roster stands heading into the final days before cuts are made.

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

One week from now, the Bengals will have a 53-man roster and 11-man practice squad. Yes, they get an extra player this year as German tight end Moritz Böhringer will remain in Cincinnati via the International Player Pathway Program.

There’s one more preseason game to go, a contest that most if not all of the starters will sit out. That’s especially true as the Bengals face the Colts in both the final week of the preseason and first week of the regular season. So, with just a few more days left for players to prove themselves, who’s looking likely to make the cut and who has a lot left to prove? Here’s our latest Bengals 53-man roster projection.

You can check our our previous editions here (8/15/2018) and here (7/26/2018) and here (5/8/2018). I’ve also noted throughout this article the changes from the more recent version.

OFFENSE

QUARTERBACK (2)

Andy Dalton, Jeff Driskel

Matt Barkley was QB2 against the Bills but he did nothing to prove he should keep that role. He went 9/16 for 112 yards, 1 interception and a 52.1 rating. Meanwhile, Jeff Driskel played with the third stringers and went 4/7 for 75 yards and a rating of 94.3. I’d still say it’s possible, if not likely, the Bengals pluck a quarterback from another team’s cuts next week. Robert Griffin III, anyone?

Cut: Logan Woodside, Matt Barkley (2)

Changes from last edition: None.

RUNNING BACK/H-BACK (4)

Joe Mixon, Giovani Bernard, Mark Walton, Tra Carson

Hewitt played seven snaps on Sunday, which was how many snaps deep backups like tight end Jordan Franks and running backs Brian Hill and Quinton Flowers were playing. I still can’t see him making the roster as the Bengals have shown no reason to believe they’ll be utilizing a fullback. Meanwhile, Carson has been running hard in an effort to make the team.

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

Changes from last edition: None.

WIDE RECEIVER (6)

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

Cody Core remains hurt and while Auden Tate hasn’t done much in the last two preseason games, he still has something Core does not: availability.

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

Changes from last edition: None.

TIGHT END (4)

Tyler Eifert, Tyler Kroft, C.J. Uzomah, Cethan Carter

Carter played a whole lot on Sunday, both on special teams and on offense. It seems he’ll be the guy to take on the fullback duties Hewitt had been responsible for, while also contributing in other ways.

Cut: Mason Schreck, Jordan Franks (2)

(Automatic) practice squad: Moritz Böhringer (1)

Changes from last edition: Carter in.

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

As long as Westerman’s injury isn’t serious, this looks to be the opening day group, save for a surprise signing or trade. Hopkins will serve as both a guard and backup center, paving the way for T.J. Johnson’s run in Cincinnati to end.

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

Injured/Reserve: Rod Taylor

Changes from last edition: None.

***

Total on offense: 25

Total players cut on offense: 19

Roster exemption for International Program: 1


DEFENSE

DEFENSIVE LINE (9)

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

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

After Chris Baker was cut by the Bengals, it seems the team will role with this group of nine guys to start the year.

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

Changes from last edition: Chris Baker cut by Bengals.

LINEBACKERS (6*)

Preston Brown, Nick Vigil, Vincent Rey, Jordan Evans, Malik Jefferson, Brandon Bell

Vontaze Burfict doesn’t count on the roster during his suspension and though I initially had Hardy Nickerson making it while he’s out, I’ve flipped that to Bell who has played much better this preseason.

Cut: Hardy Nickerson Jr., Junior Joseph, Chris Worley (3)

Suspended: Vontaze Burfict* (1)

Changes from last edition: Hardy Nickerson Jr. out, Brandon Bell in.

DEFENSIVE BACKS (10)

Safeties: Shawn Williams, Jessie Bates III, Clayton Fejedelem, Brandon Wilson, Josh Shaw

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

With George Iloka’s surprising departure, the safety group will look much different this year. Rookie safety Trayvon Henderson and cornerback Tony McRae will be two guys fighting for a spot in the final preseason game. It’s still possible that Wilson (who was injured on Sunday) and/or Shaw don’t make the cut. It also seems Davontae Harris could end up on Injured/Reserve to start the year, paving way for fellow rookie Phillips to make the roster more easily.

Cut: Tony McRae, Trayvon Henderson, Tyrice Beverette, C.J. Goodwin, Davontae Harris (5)

Changes from last edition: George Iloka and Sojourn Shelton cut by Bengals, Josh Shaw in.

***

Total on defense: 25

Total players cut on defense: 12

Total players suspended: 1


SPECIAL TEAMS (3)

Kicker: Randy Bullock

Punter: Kevin Huber

Long-snapper: Clark Harris

Cut: Jon Brown (1)

Changes from last edition: None

***

Total on special teams: 3

Total players cut on special teams: 1


Practice Squad

I’m making some assumptions here, like that if running back Brian Hill is cut he will be signed to another team and that despite Core being cut, the Bengals won’t waste his time by putting him on the practice squad. Here’s my projection of the Bengals’ 2018 practice squad, keeping in mind that these spots will likely come down to the final preseason game and will change quite a bit between its formation on Sunday and Week 1 against the Colts, one week later.

1. QB Logan Woodside

2. DT Chris Okoye

3. RB Quinton Flowers

4. S Trayvon Henderson

5. CB Tony McRae

6. LB Hardy Nickerson Jr.

7. LB Junior Joseph

8. WR Kermit Whitfield

9. OL Kent Perkins

10. C Brad Lundblade

11. TE Moritz Böhringer (does not count toward 10-man limit)