The Cincinnati Bengals players have reported to training camp, which means the final preparations for the 2023 season have begun. Right now, there are over 80 players on the roster, but on August 29, each team will have to cut down to their final 53-man rosters.
Here’s a prediction on who will be on the roster on August 30, broken down by position.
Quarterback: Joe Burrow, Trevor Siemian (2)
There’s no reason to talk about Joe Burrow, because he’s one of the best in the league at what he does. He’s on the team. The Bengals signed Siemian this offseason for a reason. Jake Browning will be the odd man out.
Running back: Joe Mixon, Trayveon Williams, Chase Brown (3)
Mixon restructured his contract and isn’t going anywhere. Williams is the only running back on the roster with any real game experience that seems to have the trust of the coaches. Brown was selected this year in the draft and could slide into Samaje Perine’s third-down role.
I would love to say Chris Evans makes the team, but he obviously doesn’t have the trust of the coaches, because he can’t get on the field. I think he’ll get cut. Jacob Saylors and Calvin Tyler Jr. are out as well.
Wide Receiver: Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, Trenton Irwin, Charlie Jones, Stanley Morgan Jr., Andrei Iosivas (7)
The big three, Chase, Higgins, and Boyd are locked in. So is Irwin, who contributed the most of any of the other wide receivers last season with 231 yards and four touchdowns. Morgan doesn’t produce much for the offense, but he’s a special teams ace and will stick around just for that reason.
Iosivas will make the roster, but this was tough for me. I initially left him off, but I can’t just justify cutting him with his potential upside and with this potentially being the last year with Higgins on the roster.
This, unfortunately, spells the end for Trent Taylor, who hasn’t been able to get much time on the field with the offense.
Malachi Carter, Mac Hippenhammer, Shedrick Jackson, and Kwamie Lassiter II all don’t make the cut.
Tight End: Irv Smith Jr., Drew Sample, Devin Asiasi (3)
The Bengals are happy with what they have in Smith, and Sample and Asiasi are both going to be backups or extra blockers when needed. The team recently re-signed Mitch Wilcox, but they immediately put him on the PUP list, so he’ll stay there for now and not count against the final 53.
When he does get activated, I would assume he takes Asiasi’s spot.
Offensive Line: Orlando Brown Jr., Cordell Volson, Ted Karras, Alex Cappa, Jonah Williams, Jackson Carman, Hakeem Adeniji, Trey Hill, Cody Ford, Jaxson Kirkland (10)
The starting five of Brown, Volson, Karras, Cappa, and Williams are all safe. Carman, Adeniji, and Ford are all kept around because they are versatile, having played both guard and tackle. Hill is the team’s backup center, and Kirkland is a backup interior lineman.
This leaves D’Ante Smith on the outside, which is a shame because we never really got to see what he could bring to the team. Max Scharping loses his job to Kirkland, and Nate Gilliam and Ben Brown are also released.
La’el Collins starts the season on PUP.
Defensive Line: Trey Hendrickson, DJ Reader, B.J. Hill, Sam Hubbard, Joseph Ossai, Cam Sample, Myles Murphy, Zach Carter, Josh Tupou (9)
Hendrickson, Reader, Hill, and Hubbard will all start, and Ossai, Sample, and Murphy will be rotational pass rushers. Carter will hopefully step up as something the defense has been missing, an interior pass rusher, and Tupou will help back up the nose tackle position.
This means Tarell Basham, Jay Tufele, Raymond Johnson III, Domenique Davis, Devonnsha Maxwell, and Jeff Gunter could all end up on the chopping block. Of course, this all could change based on injuries and if one of the guys above has a great camp.
Linebackers: Germaine Pratt, Logan Wilson, Akeem Davis-Gaither, Joe Bachie, Markus Bailey (5)
Pratt and Wilson will be on the field the most as the team runs out of the nickel formation the most often, with more defensive backs on the field. ADG will make the team as he’s the team’s best backup linebacker and will start in base 4-3 packages. Bachie makes the team as a great special teamer who could work his way onto the field on defense occasionally. The same goes for Bailey.
This leaves Shaka Heyward, Jaylen Moody, Keandre Jones, and Owen Carney on the outside looking in.
Cornerbacks: Chidobe Awuzie, Cam Taylor-Britt, Mike Hilton, DJ Turner, Sidney Jones IV, Jalen Davis, Allan George (7)
Awuzie was briefly on the PUP list but is already off of it, which means he’ll count as a roster spot. He’ll join Hilton and CTB as the team’s starting three corners. Turner, Jones, and George will be valuable backups and guys who come in on certain situations as well as on special teams. Jalen Davis will back up Hilton in the slot.
DJ Ivey, the team’s seventh-round pick, could fight with George over the last slot here, but I think George wins. Marvell Tell III and Yusuf Corker get cut.
Safety: Dax Hill, Nick Scott, Jordan Battle, Michael Thomas (4)
Hill and Scott are the likely starters right now, but Battle could push for playing time, especially if defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo wants to move Hill around a little. Thomas makes the team because he is the only safety on the roster with any game experience. He’ll also be a valuable special teamer.
This, unfortunately, means that Tycen Anderson gets cut, which is a shame because we haven’t really ever gotten to see what the athletic safety could do. Larry Brooks also gets cut.
Specialists: Evan McPherson (K), Brad Robbins (P), Cal Adomitis (LS) (3)
McPherson isn’t going anywhere, and neither is Adomitis, the team’s only long snapper. Robbins was selected in the sixth round this year, and the Bengals won’t waste another draft pick by cutting like they did with Jake Elliot in 2017. This, unfortunately, means Drue Chrisman gets let go.
Who did I miss? Which player is going to get cut that I said would be safe?