What is the Cincinnati Bengals’ biggest roster hole?
When you’re a legitimate Super Bowl contender like Cincinnati is, there typically aren’t a lot of glaring weaknesses. However, one could certainly make an argument for spots like left guard, punter, safety, running back, tight end, or even the defensive tackle depth behind DJ Reader and B.J. Hill as question marks heading into next season.
However, when looking at all 32 NFL teams’ biggest roster holes, Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders (via ESPN) picked linebacker for Cincinnati.
There are many worse problems to have than “backup off-ball linebackers.” But that’s probably the biggest Bengals hole right now.
Logan Wilson and Germaine Pratt are a fine pair of starters. When they play base defense — 18% of snaps last year — the third linebacker is fourth-year veteran Akeem Davis-Gaither. Davis-Gaither has tackling issues, missing 24 tackles over the past three years despite starting only three games (according to Sports Info Solutions charting). If any of those players get injured, there will be trouble. Markus Bailey played just 58 defensive snaps last year and Joe Bachie played only 14. The rest of the depth chart here is made up of UDFA rookies.
Sure, guys like Akeem Davis-Gaither, Markus Bailey, and Joe Bachie haven’t played heavy snaps, but they’ve done well enough in relief to think the linebacker spot would be fine if one of Germaine Pratt or Logan Wilson went down.
Plus, I’d feel more confident in those guys than someone like Max Scharping playing if Cordell Volson goes down, or even a rookie like Chase Brown playing heavy snaps right away if Joe Mixon is out.
So, what say you? Agree that linebacker is the biggest roster hole right now, or would you go with another position?
Let us know in the comments section!