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Bengals roster projection: Training camp edition

With training camp commencing, let’s look at what the Bengals’ Week 1 roster may look like.

Cincinnati Bengals Mandatory Minicamp Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

July will soon turn to August, and training camp for the Cincinnati Bengals is finally here.

Preparations for the 2021 season ramped up this week as the Bengals added a few players and inched closer to a full 90-man roster.

Aside from those signings, not much has happened from the time of our last roster projection, so let’s reaffirm where things stand at every position group before the grind of camp ensues.

Quarterbacks (2)

  • Joe Burrow
  • Brandon Allen

Joe Burrow is fully cleared to practice, but Brandon Allen will likely be the starter for the preseason. The only chance Kyle Shurmur and Eric Dungey have making it the roster is if something happens to Allen. Shurmur and Dungey will just have to battle for a practice squad spot during August.

Running backs (4)

  • Joe Mixon
  • Samaje Perine
  • Chris Evans
  • Pooka Williams Jr.

Now that camp is here, the hype for Pooka Williams will finally be put to the test. I’m still okay with buying it for now, but the rookie out of Kansas has to ball out, otherwise Trayveon Williams is the favorite to secure the fourth spot. The expectation for Pooka remains the same: Flash as a receiver and return man. If he does, he may be listed as a running back, but will have the role of a gadget receiver.

Wide receivers (6)

  • Ja’Marr Chase
  • Tee Higgins
  • Tyler Boyd
  • Auden Tate
  • Trent Taylor
  • Mike Thomas

The position group remains too strong to keep less than six. Mike Thomas should be considered the favorite to round out the group, but we’ve been surprised before at receiver. Stanley Morgan’s still around, as is Scotty Washington and Trenton Irwin. The late addition of former AAF and XFLer Reece Horn is also quite interesting. We’re not counting out anyone from this group.

Tight ends (3)

  • C.J. Uzomah
  • Drew Sample
  • Thaddeus Moss

Can Thaddeus Moss recapture that LSU magic now that he’s reunited with Burrow? It’ll be hard to do so considering his place on the depth chart, but even if he doesn’t, he won’t have to do much to keep the likes of Mason Schreck and Mitchell Wilcox at bay. Pro Wells and Cheyenne O’Grady battling for the practice squad should also be fun to watch when the preseason rolls around.

Offensive linemen (10)

  • Jonah Williams
  • Quinton Spain
  • Trey Hopkins
  • Jackson Carman
  • Riley Reiff
  • Fred Johnson
  • Xavier Su’a-Filo
  • Billy Price
  • Trey Hill
  • D’Ante Smith

The first change from our previous roster projection lies here. Recently claimed Lamont Gaillard may not make it all the way to September, but his presence may give rookie Trey Hill more looks at guard instead of center, and that may give him a chance to beat out Michael Jordan for the 10th and final spot. Jordan shouldn’t be too hard to retain on the practice squad anyways.

Defensive linemen (10)

  • Sam Hubbard
  • D.J. Reader
  • Larry Ogunjobi
  • Trey Hendrickson
  • Joseph Ossai
  • Mike Daniels
  • Josh Tupou
  • Cameron Sample
  • Khalid Kareem
  • Tyler Shelvin

We’ll see Wyatt Hubert sometime in 2022, so the battle for the final D-line spot figures to be less dramatic than expected. Renell Wren and Josh Tupou both haven’t played in a while for different reasons, and judging on past performance, Tupou should have the upper hand. Wren was recently cleared to practice again, but it’s fair to say he’ll have to earn the last spot from Tupou.

Linebackers (5)

  • Logan Wilson
  • Germaine Pratt
  • Akeem Davis-Gaither
  • Jordan Evans
  • Markus Bailey

The offseason is all but over, and the Bengals didn’t add any veteran presence at linebacker. That probably says more about their optimism towards Logan Wilson and Germaine Pratt than anything. Defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo talked about competition being prevalent here, but it’s difficult to see these five names changing or a sixth one being added.

Cornerbacks (6)

  • Trae Waynes
  • Chidobe Awuzie
  • Mike Hilton
  • Darius Phillips
  • Eli Apple
  • Tony Brown

A pretty solid looking group considering how disastrous it was last year. Tony Brown isn’t guaranteed a roster spot by any means, but we just don’t know enough about the lesser experienced reserve cornerbacks on this roster. It should be an interesting battle.

Safeties (4)

  • Jessie Bates III
  • Vonn Bell
  • Ricardo Allen
  • Brandon Wilson

The secondary is pretty much set. Kavon Frazier was added back in June, but barring injuries, he won’t see very many snaps. Comment below what you think Jessie Bates’ extension will look like.

Specialists (3)

  • Clark Harris
  • Kevin Huber
  • Evan McPherson

Drue Chrisman’s hand injury will cost him time and any chance he had taking Kevin Huber’s job this year. Perhaps this will be Huber’s Last Dance, but he’ll get to hold for a new kicker in Evan McPherson, who should have little issue beating out Austin Siebert.