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Bengals roster projection: Mid-training camp edition

The battles are only just beginning.

NFL: AUG 06 Cincinnati Bengals Training Camp Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We’re deep enough into Bengals training camp that we can see the preseason on the horizon. In just a handful of days, the team will travel to Florida and take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Two weeks of camp has taught us a lot, but our view of the Week 1 roster remains mostly unchanged. It’s going to take a few exhibitions to really get an accurate sense of where the roster truly stands. For now, here’s an updated projection heading into the preseason.

Quarterbacks (2)

  • Joe Burrow
  • Brandon Allen

It’s been an imperfect camp for Joe Burrow, but it’s also been a healthy one, which is all that really matters right now. No amount of shakiness or rust is going to get the team to roster three quarterbacks to start the season. So long as he’s good, Brandon Allen is all they’ll need behind him.

Running backs (4)

  • Joe Mixon
  • Samaje Perine
  • Chris Evans
  • Trayveon Williams

If the team decides to go with four traditional backs, it’s going to come down to either Trayveon Williams or Jacques Patrick. We haven’t heard much about them through two weeks of camp, but we’ll see them very clearly during the preseason. We’ll put Williams in there for now until we see a reason to insert Patrick instead.

Wide receivers (6)

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

At this point, we need to treat Pooka Williams Jr. as a receiver, not a running back. The rookie out of Kansas has been taking reps with the wideouts and is said to be in a battle with Trent Taylor for one of the final spots. Taylor remains ahead of him in the pecking order at punt returner and has been turning heads as a pass-catcher. It was going to be an uphill battle for Williams, but he needs to maximize his preseason snaps to get ahead.

Tight ends (3)

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

It’s pretty cool to see Thaddeus Moss catching passes from Burrow after practices. He’s looking like the final boss that may finally push Mason Schreck off of the roster. That said, we don’t know much about this group and we’re sure to find out more once the preseason games commence.

Offensive linemen (10)

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

The team’s initial depth chart incited panic when fans saw Michael Jordan’s name listed as the starting right guard. Jordan may get the first-team reps at that spot come Saturday, but his starting spot is far from secured. He needs a solid preseason for him to be trotting onto the field come September 12th against the Minnesota Vikings. Fred Johnson has missed a lot of practice, which has allowed Isaiah Prince to make a good impression as the second-team left tackle. Johnson will likely return soon, which would allow Prince to get stashed on the practice squad instead.

Defensive linemen (10)

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

Unlike this time last year, this group is looking healthy. Larry Ogunjobi just got cleared to practice, and aside from seventh-round pick Wyatt Hubert, no one else has missed extended practice time. Khalid Kareem’s impressive camp should push the team to go five on the edge and five inside, and with Josh Tupou impressing after a year off, Renell Wren has to be feeling the heat from his seat.

Linebackers (5)

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

Hearing Markus Bailey go down a couple practices ago was a bit scary. Thankfully it was because of dehydration, not a torn ligament. So long as he’s healthy, he should be able to keep the other reserves at bay.

Cornerbacks (6)

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

Trae Waynes, Darius Phillips, and Eli Apple have all missed practice time, which has allowed Winston Rose and Tony Brown to see more reps against the starting offense. Rose has tried his best to stay with Tee Higgins. It looks like they’re giving him every chance to make an impression, but Brown would still be our guess at this juncture.

Safeties (4)

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

Only injuries can change this foursome, as it is likely the strongest position group on the team.

Specialists (3)

  • Clark Harris
  • Kevin Huber
  • Evan McPherson

The daily updates on Evan McPherson and Austin Siebert have been nothing but positive. But the only way that Siebert can win out is if McPherson starts missing consistently. And even that may not be enough. It’ll be interesting to see how the field goals and extra points will be distributed between the two during the preseason.