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Bengals 53-player roster projection 2.0

Where things stand as camp begins.

Super Bowl LVI - Los Angeles Rams v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Today is the start of Bengals training camp, and over 80 players will partake in Wednesday’s opening practice.

At least seven players will not be suiting up today, and all seven have at least good odds of making the Week 1 roster. One of them is the franchise quarterback, and we feel like he’s got a solid chance of making it through final cuts.

Before we begin actually learning things about this year’s team, let’s take another crack at projecting the 53-player roster.

Quarterbacks (2)

  • Joe Burrow
  • Brandon Allen

Get ready for the Allen show. These next two weeks will almost exclusively feature the Bengals’ backup quarterback manning practice. Burrow’s appendectomy won’t force the team to keep three quarterbacks pass the preseason.

Running backs (3)

  • Joe Mixon
  • Samaje Perine
  • Chris Evans

Due to injuries elsewhere on the offense, we are going to go light at running back for now. Perine shouldn’t last too long on the PUP list, and increased snaps for Evans should paint him in a better light. They may feel like he’s all they’ll need behind the Oklahoma dudes.

Wide receivers (6)

  • Ja’Marr Chase
  • Tee Higgins
  • Tyler Boyd
  • Mike Thomas
  • Stanley Morgan Jr.
  • Kwamie Lassiter II

Everyone in Cincinnati knows that this position will intrigue the Bengals come final cuts. Thomas is fine as a No. 4 receiver, but there’s room for improvement and they will seek it after the preseason. For now, the storyline resides at the No. 6 spot, which will likely be determined by special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons. Our not-so-bold prediction for this projection is Lassiter, whose dad played at Kansas with Simmons, beating out Trent Taylor at punt returner.

Tight ends (3)

  • Hayden Hurst
  • Drew Sample
  • Mitchell Wilcox

Same question as last time; can Thad Moss, Nick Eubanks, or Scotty Washington do enough on special teams to oust Wilcox. We’ll see.

Offensive linemen (10)

  • La’el Collins
  • Jonah Williams
  • Alex Cappa
  • Ted Karras
  • Jackson Carman
  • D’Ante Smith
  • Cordell Volson
  • Trey Hill
  • Hakeem Adeniji
  • Isaiah Prince

Adeniji didn’t make it in our last projection, but injuries to Cappa and Collins will net him more snaps during the early portions of camp. And if the starting right guard and right tackle are both going to be limited up until the season begins, they may want to go with 10 here anyways to play it safe. We certainly aren’t counting out college free agent rookie Ben Brown.

Defensive linemen (10)

  • Trey Hendrickson
  • Sam Hubbard
  • D.J. Reader
  • B.J. Hill
  • Joseph Ossai
  • Khalid Kareem
  • Josh Tupou
  • Zach Carter
  • Cam Sample
  • Tyler Shelvin

No changes on this side of the ball from last time. Wyatt Hubert and Jeff Gunter battling with Kareem and Sample remains a tantalizing aspect of camp, and they just added two new defensive linemen this week. Buckle up.

Linebackers (5)

  • Logan Wilson
  • Germaine Pratt
  • Akeem Davis-Gaither
  • Markus Bailey
  • Joe Bachie

Not much else to see here. With the roster at 90 (technically 91) the door seems officially closed on Jordan Evans. Clay Johnston and CFA rookie Carson Wells look to have good chances at pushing Bachie. Don’t forget recently acquired Tegray Scales, a Cincinnati native who was added to the practice squad late last season.

Cornerbacks (6)

  • Chidobe Awuzie
  • Mike Hilton
  • Eli Apple
  • Cam Taylor-Britt
  • Tre Flowers
  • Jalen Davis

The Bengals value cornerback depth more than most things, so six is always a strong bet to make. Taylor-Britt appears to be the first guy off the bench instead of someone in a true battle against Apple, but there’s a long month ahead of them.

Safeties (5)

  • Jessie Bates III
  • Vonn Bell
  • Dax Hill
  • Brandon Wilson
  • Tycen Anderson

Wilson isn’t yet cleared for practice, but once he is, he’s the favorite to reclaim his duties on special teams, both as a returner and gunner. Hill and Anderson will get plenty of reps with Bates away from the team. Five still sounds right.

Specialists (3)

  • Clark Harris
  • Kevin Huber
  • Evan McPherson

Drue Chrisman has a really good shot at replacing Huber. The issue is if Simmons wants to make that change without making a change at long snapper. It’s just too early to tell if he’ll want to move on from Harris.