Cincinnati Bengals early 53-man roster projection before training camp

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The Cincinnati Bengals currently boast a 90-man roster ahead of training camp’s start next month.

Given that this is a slow period though, we thought it would be fun to take a look at a 53-man roster projection given the massive challenge the team faces when it comes time to cut the roster all the way down.

Below, we outline each position en route to a 53-man roster, with some notably tough calls all across the defense. The offensive line, as always, is a place of notable chaos in need of sorting, too.

While camp itself and the preseason will help make these decisions a tad easier, the fact the Bengals got to add to a Super Bowl roster means every rep counts and projections aren’t simple.

Quarterback

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

  • Starter: Joe Burrow

  • Backup: Brandon Allen

No great shockers here, as the Bengals trust Allen to work within the framework of the offense well enough. His experience trumps all other competitors for the spot.

Running back

Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

  • Starter: Joe Mixon

  • Backups: Chris Evans, Samaje Perine, Trayveon Williams

It’ll be interesting to see if a lesser-known name can really push Perine for a roster spot because it’s fair to think both Evans and Williams could step into bigger, more explosive roles next season.

Wide receiver

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

  • WR1: Tee Higgins

  • Slot: Tyler Boyd

  • WR2: Ja’Marr Chase

  • Backup: Stanley Morgan, Trent Taylor, Mike Thomas

We’re keeping six for now. And as fun as some of the undrafted names might be at the position, fifth and sixth receivers are all about special teams. Those “backups” are all excellent in this area.

Tight end

(AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

  • Starter: Hayden Hurst

  • Backup: Drew Sample, Mitchell Wilcox

Hurst takes over in C.J. Uzomah’s spot and little else changes. Fans might want to see Burrow friend Thaddeus Moss snipe a spot, but Wilcox has stuck around this long for a reason.

Offensive line

Syndication: The Enquirer

  • LT: Jonah Williams, Isaiah Prince

  • LG: Jackson Carman, D’Ante Smith

  • C: Ted Karras, Ben Brown

  • RG: Alex Cappa, Cordell Volson

  • RT: La’el Collins

Three new starters, plus high-upside guys who already have starting experience in Prince and Smith, get the nod here. For now, we’re working with the presumption Volson, the rookie, won’t best Carman for a starting spot (for now!). Undrafted rookie Ben Brown pulls off the upset for a spot.

Defensive line

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

  • LDE: Sam Hubbard, Cam Sample

  • 3T: B.J. Hill, Zach Carter

  • NT: D.J. Reader, Josh Tupou (5T), Tyler Shelvin

  • RDE: Trey Hendrickson, Joseph Ossai, Khalid Kareem

It’s all about the youth. Ossai’s the big comeback player. Kareem’s that underrated breakout guy who could play a big role if he can stay healthy. And Carter, a rookie, could fill that Larry Ogunjobi void.

Linebackers

(AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

  • LB: Logan Wilson, Akeem Davis-Gaither

  • LB: Germaine Pratt, Markus Bailey, Joe Bachie

Linebacker is one of the most predictable spots. Not a bad thing — and it should be especially interesting to see if ADG can stay healthy this year.

Cornerback

(AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

  • CB: Eli Apple, Cam Taylor-Britt

  • CB: Chidobe Awuzie, Tre Flowers

  • NCB: Mike Hilton, Jalen Davis

CTB gets the nod as a rotational starter alongside Apple. And Flowers will get quite a bit of work in specific formations and in matchups against tight ends. Keep in mind first-round rookie Dax Hill can get reps all over the place here, too.

Safety

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

  • S: Vonn Bell, Tycen Anderson

  • S: Jessie Bates, Dax Hill, Brandon Wilson

First-round rookie Dax Hill will get snaps here and at corner right away. Anderson, an eye-popping athlete, might not see much work outside of special teams to start. Wilson, at least for now, just edges other guys because of his ability on returns.

Special Teams

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

K: Evan McPherson

P: Kevin Huber

LS: Clark Harris

KR: Chris Evans

PR: Trent Taylor

No stunners here, though the Bengals have long-term options in the waiting at both punter and long-snapper. The return jobs are still very much up for grabs, but these two make sense.

Cuts (or practice squad/reserve lists)

Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

QB Jake Browning

RB Elijah Holyfield

RB Shermari Jones

WR Pooka Williams

WR Jaivon Heiligh

WR Trenton Irwin

WR Kendric Pryor

WR Jack Sorenson

WR Kwamie Lassiter

TE Thaddeus Moss

TE Scotty Washington

OL Devin Cochran

OL Hakeem Adeniji

OL Noel Desmond

OL Trey Hill

OL Lamont Gaillard

DL Wyatt Hubert

DL Noah Spence

DL Tariqious Tisdale

DL Jeff Gunter

LB Clay Johnston

LB Keandre jones

LB Clarence Hicks

LB Carson Wells

CB Allan George

CB John Brannon

CB Delonte Hood

CB Brendan Radley-Hiles

CB Abu Daramy-Swaray

S Michael Thomas

S Trayvon Henderson

P Drue Chrisman

LS Cal Adomitis

 

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