I already made a prediction on the 53-man roster when the Bengals first started training camp. Now that training camp is winding down and the preseason is officially beginning, let’s take another stab at it.
Quarterback: Joe Burrow, Trevor Siemian (2)
Burrow is a lock, obviously. Siemian makes the team as the backup quarterback, and Jake Browning will be the team’s emergency quarterback that won’t count against the roster this year. This one didn’t change.
Running back: Joe Mixon, Trayveon Williams, Chase Brown (3)
With the lower contract, Mixon isn’t going anywhere. He’s RB1 on this roster. I think Williams steps into the Samaje Perine role at first if he’s healthy when the season starts. Brown will make the team, and if Williams isn’t healthy, he’ll step into the Perine role.
That again leaves Chris Evans as the odd man out.
Wide Receiver: Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, Trenton Irwin, Charlie Jones, Stanley Morgan Jr., Andrei Iosivas (7)
This is the same group as well. I was on the bubble with Iosivas the last time based on his draft spot and how loaded the position group is. However, after the camp, he’s had so far this offseason, I’m convinced he’s going to make the team.
Tight End: Irv Smith Jr., Drew Sample, Mitchell Wilcox, Tanner Hudson (4)
Here’s the first change from the last roster prediction to this one. The top two are the same; Smith and Sample are going to get the lion’s share of the playing time, but I think the Bengals move on from Devin Asiasi this year and keep Mitchell Wilcox and Tanner Hudson instead. Wilcox was re-signed by the team but was almost immediately placed on the PUP list, and Hudson has been impressing in camp so far and could be working his way into at least a special-teams spot. I think a healthy Wilcox makes the team, and Hudson does as well. Hudson will at least be a special teams guy.
Offensive Line: Orlando Brown Jr., Cordell Volson, Ted Karras, Alex Cappa, Jonah Williams, Jackson Carman, Hakeem Adeniji, Trey Hill, Jaxson Kirkland (9)
Here’s another spot where a change is made. The Bengals are obviously keeping all their starters, meaning Brown, Volson, Karras, Cappa, and Williams are all safe. Carman and Adeniji, who have both started multiple games at multiple different spots along the line, are going to make the team too. Hill will be the team’s backup center, and Kirkland will back up where he’s needed.
La’el Collins starts the year on PUP, and everyone not listed above is gone.
Defensive Line: Trey Hendrickson, D.J. Reader, B.J. Hill, Sam Hubbard, Joseph Ossai, Cam Sample, Myles Murphy, Zach Carter, Josh Tupou (9)
The Starters, Hendrickson, Reader, Hill, and Hubbard are obviously safe. Ossai, Sample, Murphy, and Carter are also safe as they can also rotate in to give the starters some rest. That leaves maybe one space for another guy, and I think that goes to Tupou.
Linebackers: Germaine Pratt, Logan Wilson, Akeem Davis-Gaither, Joe Bachie, Markus Bailey (5)
Pratt and Wilson have both been extended and will both be on the field together for the foreseeable future. Since the defense plays out of the nickel the vast majority of the time, Pratt and Wilson will be on the field most often. ADG is likely entering the last year with the Bengals since he’ll be an unrestricted free agent after the 2023 season, and the Bengals just extended the guys ahead of him on the depth chart. He’ll be the primary backup for both Pratt and Wilson, and he’ll be the extra linebacker when Lou Anarumo has the team in its 4-3 base package.
Bachie and Bailey make the team because they’re great special teams contributors.
That’s it. This hasn’t changed, either.
Cornerbacks: Chidobe Awuzie, Cam Taylor-Britt, Mike Hilton, DJ Turner, Sidney Jones IV, Jalen Davis, DJ Ivey (7)
This changed a little. Awuzie, CTB, Hilton, Turner, Jones, and Davis are all going to make the team. The last time I did this, I predicted Allan George would beat out Ivey for the last roster spot. I was wrong.
Ivey has had a very good camp and has absolutely earned a spot on the roster. It looks like the Bengals had another great draft class!
Safety: Dax Hill, Nick Scott, Jordan Battle, Michael Thomas (4)
I went back and forth on this position group last time, and I’m doing it again. Hill and Scott are the starters, and Battle will get some playing time too. The team needs another safety, and it came down to Michael Thomas or Tycen Anderson.
Thomas has the only real experience in the room outside of Scott’s one year as a starter with the Rams. However, Anderson is extremely athletic, and since he was hurt last year, the team didn’t get a chance to see what he can do.
Given the team is basically running two rookies and a one-year starter out on the field, I think they keep Thomas just for his experience.
Specialists: Evan McPherson (K), Brad Robbins (P), Cal Adomitis (LS) (3)
No change here. McPherson, Robbins, and Adomitis are the guys on special teams.
Do you agree with the picks, or do you think I’ve left someone out who will make the team? Or is there someone I listed above that you think will get cut? Let me know in the comments.