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Bengals 53-man roster projection: Final edition

And a practice squad prediction to boot!

NFL: AUG 30 Bengals Training Camp Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Anyone following NFL training camps this year who aren’t official team-affiliated media have been reduced to mushrooms this year. The mushroom treatment of being “kept in the dark and fed bullsh!t” goes quite well with the circumstances of COVID-19 restrictions.

But a virus, no matter how deadly, is not going to team secrets any more valuable than they already where in previous years.

Nevertheless, the Cincinnati Bengals, like most NFL clubs, have kept personnel groupings and such on the down low for them to know and for us to meticulously discover for ourselves. Our final projection at the 53-man roster is that work manifested.

FYI: players are ordered by number of seasons they will have accrued after 2020

Quarterbacks: 3

  • Brandon Allen (4)
  • Ryan Finley (2)
  • Joe Burrow (R)

Ryan Finley’s entrenched as Zac Taylor’s QB2 and Brandon Allen has established himself as the quar(antine)terback by doing absolutely nothing except staying away from everyone else. There shouldn’t be too much trouble stashing Jake Dolegala on the expanded practice squad.

Running backs: 3

  • Giovani Bernard (8)
  • Joe Mixon (4)
  • Samaje Perine (4)

The migraines that Joe Mixon is currently battling gives us a complication to work around. Reports are that Mixon will be fine when Week 1 comes around and if that’s the case, there’s no real need for four running backs to make the roster, not when Mixon is dominating the market share of touches for running backs. As far as who the third back will be, Perine’s been getting a lot of chances behind the top two.

Wide receivers: 7

  • A.J. Green (10)
  • Tyler Boyd (5)
  • Mike Thomas (5)
  • Alex Erickson (5)
  • John Ross III (4)
  • Auden Tate (3)
  • Tee Higgins (R)

It would be so tough to keep less than seven receivers out of their current crop of 11. Mike Thomas has done enough to stay on and Alex Erickson just won’t fade away; Erickson is the team’s only true backup to Tyler Boyd in the slot, after all. The practice squad is perfect for housing two additional receivers this year.

Tight ends: 3

  • C.J. Uzomah (6)
  • Cethan Carter (4)
  • Drew Sample (2)

A surprise here would involve someone else beating out Cethan Carter for special teams purposes, and there’s just not that much information on that front to make any bold predictions here. Four will likely be too great of a number as well.

Offensive linemen: 9

  • Xavier Su’a-Filo (7)
  • Bobby Hart (6)
  • Trey Hopkins (5)
  • Alex Redmond (4)
  • Billy Price (3)
  • Michael Jordan (2)
  • Fred Johnson (2)
  • Jonah Williams (2)
  • Hakeem Adeniji (R)

Alex Redmond just received the green light to practice for the first time this offseason and his spot is the only real one up for grabs. But Redmond, who was given the original round tender this past March, is still well-liked by the coaching staff and the organization as a whole. He remains the safe bet for the No. 9 spot.

Defensive linemen: 10

  • Geno Atkins (11)
  • Carlos Dunlap (11)
  • Mike Daniels (9)
  • D.J. Reader (5)
  • Carl Lawson (4)
  • Sam Hubbard (3)
  • Andrew Brown (2)
  • Freedom Akinmoladun (1)
  • Amani Bledsoe (1)
  • Khalid Kareem (R)

There’s a decent amount of information we don’t have when analyzing this position group right now. From what we’ve gathered from practice footage and reports from camp, Freedom Akinmoladun has done well with his increase in reps and has been seen working at the 5-tech spot; as has Amani Bledsoe. In order to keep their planned rotation at defensive tackle alive, they could go 10-deep here to make up for their many losses this past month.

Linebackers: 5

  • Josh Bynes (10)
  • Germaine Pratt (2)
  • Logan Wilson (R)
  • Akeem Davis-Gaither (R)
  • Markus Bailey (R)

Jordan Evans may or may not be healthy enough to play in the season opener, provided that he makes the team first. His absence has opened the door for fellow veteran Austin Calitro, but if Bailey continues to stay healthy, there’s no reason to deviate from the five listed above; not when only two linebackers will the see the field.

Cornerbacks: 6

  • William Jackson III (5)
  • Mackensie Alexander (5)
  • LeShaun Sims (5)
  • Tony Brown (4)
  • Torry McTyer (4)
  • Darius Phillips (3)

When the actual roster gets released, odds are Trae Waynes will be on it. He has to stay on the team in order for them to place him on Injured Reserve with the intent of bringing him back sometime this season. Tony Brown, who started for Darius Phillips during the team’s second scrimmage on Sunday, seems like the current favorite over ex-CFL stud Winston Ross. Torry McTyer also got some valuable reps as he appeared to play in Mackensie Alexander’s spot during the scrimmage.

Safeties: 4

  • Shawn Williams (8)
  • Vonn Bell (5)
  • Brandon Wilson (4)
  • Jessie Bates III (3)

Shawn Williams is also a maybe to return for the September 13th opener, but he’s a shoo-in to make the roster anyways. Trayvon Henderson has been playing a lot in his place and that could convince defensive coordinator to go heavy with five safeties. But assuming Williams will be back shortly, four is enough.

Specialists: 3

  • Clark Harris (12)
  • Kevin Huber (12)
  • Randy Bullock (9)

Tristan Vizcaino’s second offseason with the Bengals was even shorter than his first.

Practice Squad: 16

  • QB Jake Dolegala (2)
  • RB Trayveon Williams (2)
  • RB Jacques Patrick (1)
  • WR Stanley Morgan (2)
  • WR Scotty Washington (R)
  • TE Mitchell Wilcox (R)
  • OL O’Shea Dugas (2)
  • OL Josh Knipfel (R)
  • OL Frederick Mauigoa (R)
  • DL Kahlil McKenzie (2)
  • DL Bryce Sterk (R)
  • LB Brady Sheldon (1)
  • LB Marcel Spears Jr. (R)
  • CB Winston Rose (1)
  • S Maurice Smith (3)
  • S Trayvon Henderson (2)

Care to discuss?