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ESPN projects Bengals’ 53-man roster

The projections are in, and they aren’t shocking.

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The season hasn’t even started and the Cincinnati Bengals have already been crippled by injuries. While that’s no excuse for their play in the near future, it has certainly has an impact on their roster.

ESPN’s most recent roster projections had the Bengals keeping nine players that’ll line the offensive line. Columnist Katherine Terrell noted O’Shea Dugas as the potential tackle to watch on the line.

In that full roster projection, Terrell notes a few other things. One is about Bengals’ sixth-round draft pick, running back Rodney Anderson. She has him not making the roster due to an ACL injury sustained in college. However, it’s possible Anderson opens camp on NFI and remains there into the regular season, allowing the Bengals to hold onto him while not having him part of the 53-man roster.

That means that Trayveon Williams would secure the Bengals third running back spot behind Giovani Bernard and Joe Mixon. While both have skill, Williams may have the lead right now.

As for the potential Andy Dalton replacement, yes, Terrell also is predicting that fourth-round pick Ryan Finley makes the roster.

“The Bengals would probably like to make fourth-round pick Finley Dalton’s only backup, but based off OTAs, he certainly doesn’t look ready for that role yet. Driskel has a lot of experience now after filling in for an injured Dalton last year, so it’s likely he gets at least one more season while they develop Finley.”

For Cincinnati, it’s still obvious that linebacker will be the team’s weakest position.

While Preston Brown’s return should help, their depth there is certainly less than ideal. Malik Jefferson will likely see a majority of the snaps with Brown. The team opted not to re-sign veteran Vincent Ray.

Some other notable roster moves in this projection include:

  • Mason Schreck as a fourth tight end. He hasn’t exactly proven he deserves a spot on the 53-man roster
  • Only five receivers means no Stanley Morgan, Auden Tate or Cody Core.
  • Kent Perkins makes it as a backup tackle.
  • 10 defensive linemen is a lot, but with Ryan Glasgow and Carl Lawson coming off ACL tears, it makes sense to keep extra depth while they work their way back.

Overall, there likely won’t be any major surprises with the Bengals’ 53-man roster come opening week, which is just under over a month away.