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Filed under: projects Bengals’ starters

The No. 2 defensive end spot should be a fun battle.

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports recently projected what they think the Bengals’ starting lineup will look like in 2019:

You’d be hard pressed to argue with most of these picks in terms of how it ‘should’ play out.

There will be a battle for the second defensive end spot between Sam Hubbard, Kerry Wynn and Jordan Willis, but there’s no question Hubbard has the highest upside of them after a promising rookie season.

Preston Brown isn’t listed because this is a projected starting nickel defense, where Evans and Vigil are much better fits since they actually show some semblance of pass coverage. But Brown will be the starting middle linebacker in 4-3 packages.

You could argue for Germaine Pratt being a starter, but he’s a rookie third-round pick who was projected by some as a Day 3 prospect. He probably needs a year of developing before he’s ready for a starting spot, though he does have the highest upside of any linebacker on this roster.

The only real issue I have with this is C.J. Uzomah. Yes, the Bengals also overpaid for him signed him to a deal that should make him a starter, but a healthy Eifert should get the nod every time. You could also take out the third receiver (John Ross) and make Eifert the second tight end, but this projection is obviously for three-receiver sets.