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Should Jake Dolegala make the Bengals’ final 53-man roster?

Has the undrafted rookie shown enough in the preseason to care out a spot on the team’s final 2019 roster?

NFL: Preseason-Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals have some very tough decisions to make this coming weekend. As the team wrapped up its final preseason game of 2019, it appears another quandary has reared its head in the quarterback position group.

Rookie Ryan Finley has had a great preseason and has taken a stranglehold on the backup quarterback spot behind starter Andy Dalton. The performances of both Finley and Jake Dolegala has seemingly made Jeff Driskel expendable.

Maybe it’s the magic in that No. 7 Bengals jersey, but Dolegala has been impressive in the past couple of weeks. He has built upon some nice camps, where rave reviews grew about his live arm after being a relatively unknown rookie out of Central Connecticut.

Dolegala finished the preseason with a stat line of 28-of-42 for 254 yards against the Colts. That was a follow-up to 10-of-12 for 94 yards and two scores against the Giants.

Has he done enough to solidify a final roster for himself this summer? Let’s have a look at both sides of the argument.

Film, history and popular opinion

Poise and natural ability: Dolegala has shown a number of traits to point to promise as an NFL signal-caller. Aside from size and arm strength, he, like Finley, has shown the ability to move around in the pocket and make plays.

He’s a big guy, but eluded pressure often on Thursday night against the Colts to make plays. He would be conceivably even more productive behind a group of starting-caliber offensive linemen.

The sense with carrying three quarterbacks: Driskel was the shiny new toy for Marvin Lewis and they had a roster spot carved out for him before, so this isn’t totally foreign territory. Throw in two seasons ending prematurely for Andy Dalton since 2015 and keeping productive quarterbacks makes sense. Did we mention that Zac Taylor has a quarterback background?

Will he make it past waivers?: Quarterbacks are a hot commodity in the NFL. Teams are often clamoring to find guys who can not only lead their team as a starter, but guys who can develop into a starter, or at least be a spot call to rely upon in the wake of an injury.

Some people overreact this time of year, in terms of certain players not making it through waivers, but Dolegala might become a quietly-hot name on the open market.

Potential deterrents

Maximizing roster spots: While hanging on to a talented developmental guy like Dolegala would be nice, this Bengals team still has holes at other critical areas—particularly at potential staring spots. If it comes down to keeping Dolegala and grabbing/keeping depth at other positions of higher need, what should and will win the day?

A decent quarterback shining against poor talent?: The Bengals’ coaches need to determine if what they’ve seen from Dolegala is the real stuff, or fool’s gold. The evidence seems to support the former over the latter, but Dolegala also hasn’t gone up against starting defenses. It’s something to consider, if he’s a guy that may have any chance of taking regular-season snaps.


Should the Bengals keep Jake Dolegala on the final 53-man roster?

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