It is no secret that the Cincinnati Bengals have one of the most impressive wide receiver rooms in the entire NFL.
With players like Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd leading the way, there is no doubt that those three will be taking up roster spots on the final 53-man roster.
Could an undrafted wide receiver like Kwamie Lassiter II find room to as well?
Lassiter has popped on offense so far this training camp. He has shown a knack for finding open space and making tough catches. Those are two traits that many receivers have made careers out of. Something he didn’t get much opportunity to show during his Kansas career.
“Not a ton of production, but our scouts and our coaches are looking for traits on film,” offensive coordinator Brian Callahan told Geoff Hobson. “He’s a smooth runner. Good route running ability. Great ball skills. He protects the ball really well. Those combination of things have shown up on the field. He finds splits ion the zones and makes tough catches.”
Although it is great that Lassiter is showing promise as an offensive player, his fate will likely be determined on special teams. It is very likely we see Stanley Morgan make the final cut due to his blocking from the wide receiver position, but more so because he is just an incredible gunner on special teams.
Mike Thomas also has the inside track for his special teams contribution as a gunner and familiarity with the offense in a pinch.
It seems like Lassiter’s best chance to overtake a veteran is likely Trent Taylor or Trenton Irwin. Taylor took over the punt return duties last season after Darius Phillips had issues securing punts on a consistent basis. Taylor’s security and experience are his biggest pluses. He doesn’t have any outstanding athletic ability to be a homerun threat as a returner.
Irwin has some receiving ability as well as being able to contribute on special teams. Both of these players spent most of 2021 on the Bengals practice squad.
Lassiter will have an opportunity to win the punt returning job during the preseason. His first chance will be against the Arizona Cardinals, which happens to be where his father spent eight years as a wide receiver himself. His father was also an undrafted player, but he carved out an 11-year career in the NFL.
Time will tell if Lassiter can also prove he has staying power in this league like his father did. It sounds like the power is in his hands to make it happen though starting Friday.