It started with highlight reel catches during practice, and now, according to Jay Morrison of The Athletic, Tate has made the final cut for the Bengals 53-man roster.
After missing the roster last season and ending up on the practice squad, Tate is taking one of the most contested spot on the Bengals roster heading into the regular season. With A.J. Green expected to miss the beginning of the regular season due to injury, the Bengals will probably end up keeping six or seven receivers until he returns. After Tyler Boyd, John Ross and Alex Erickson the final two or three spots became one of the fiercest competitions of the preseason.
Undrafted rookie Damion Willis already secured his spot as Zac Taylor has already announced he will be starting in place of Green Week 1. That only left a spot or two between Tate, Cody Core, Josh Malone, Stanley Morgan and Ventell Bryant. With the news that Tate has made it and Core and Bryant have been released, it is starting to look like Malone’s spot on the 53-man roster could be safe for now,
It should also be noted that whenever Green does return from his injury one of these receivers will be losing their roster spot, so this competition isn’t over just quite yet.
Tate had an impressive preseason; catching eight passes for 68 yards and a touchdown. He was also named a starter for the team’s third preseason game alongside Willis, which gives you an idea of how highly the coaching staff thinks of him. He suffered a knee injury that knocked him out of that game though, and he didn’t appear in the team’s final preseason game.
He has also gotten plenty of run on special teams, and special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons has gone out of his way to compliment Tate on his growth in the phase of the game several times this offseason.
It is safe to say Tate put in the work to make the roster via his play at receiver and as a special teams contributor. Now he has a chance to become a roster lock for years to come.