After the Draft like most fans I tend to get all excited and “drink the Koolaid” if you will. Well this year I’m drinking it by the punch bowl. The Bengals have exceeded my hopes in this draft, and I’m even more hyped up after seeing Mel Kiper Jr. even bought into this draft. When you’re a fan for a team that may not give you much hope during the season, draft always gives a fan a lot to excited about. But for some reason this draft seems different to me. This draft seems to be what needed to happen; the next in line of successful drafts by Marvin Lewis’ Bengals. (Hate him or Love him, Marvin has helped the Bengals drafts immensely these last few seasons)
I figured I’d give it a go to analysis the best I can on who we may see starting on September 11th versus the Cleveland Browns. There are a lot of unknowns in such an early evaluation, but it’s more interesting to read (and to write) about actual football, instead of the legal shenanigans that we’ve been covering for the past months. This roster isn’t set in stone, but at this point and time it definitely seems to be the most likely plan.
|Cincinnati Depth Chart – 2011|
|WR||A.J. Green||Jordan Shipley (Slot)||Quan Cosby|
|TE||Jermaine Gresham||Chase Coffman||Reggie Kelly|
|LT||Andrew Whitworth||Anthony Collins|
|LG||Clint Boling||Otis Hudson|
|C||Kyle Cook||Reggie Stephens|
|RG||Bobbie Williams||Otis Hudson|
|RT||Anthony Collins||Andre Smith|
|WR||Jerome Simpson||Andre Caldwell||Ryan Whalen|
|QB||Andy Dalton||FA Vet QB||Dan Lefevour|
|HB||Cedric Benson||Bernard Scott||Brian Leonard||Jay Finley|
Breaking down the positions in order:
- WR: Obviously Green is the new star WR. Ocho will most likely released (unless some team is really dumb enough to trade for him) T.O. was never planning on coming back. Jordan will be starting in the Slot. Jerome will win the #2 spot IF he can pick up the new offense. If Simpson can’t pick up the O, Caldwell will get his shot to be the #2. If both of those guys under-perform I think the next candidate will be Whalen. And considering Simpson’s and Caldwell’s track records I think it may very well happen. Contrary to what some say I believe to true borderline WR is Quan. Caldwell, Scott, Shipley, A. Jones, and now Lindsey can either KR or PR, so is Quan’s mediocre PR really worth that roster spot?
- TE: Gresham is the Franchise and Coffman is the #2 guy to run double sets. Reggie may be welcomed back as the good locker roompresence in a reserve role. If not Reggie sitting at the 3rd spot, I would expect a FA blocking TE.
- LT: No surprises here, Whitworth is still playing LT at least for the next 2-3 years.
- LG: Livings and Mathis are FA’s and neither come back. Boling can start right away and should. Bring Otis off the practice squad to become a swing backup.
- C: Cook is still going to be the man at Center. Popular in the locker room and has the talent level to be a starter. Better guard play will definitely help him out.
- RG: Williams returns for at least 1 more season. After this coming season I expect Bobbie to retire, but for the time being as long as Bobbie is active, he will be the starting RG. If he were to retire expect Stephens and Hudson to fight it out for the spot.
- RT: Roland is gone. And IF Smith comes to camp in shape, that RT spot is definitely his. If not I would say it’s fair to assume the starting role goes to Andre Collins.
- QB: The biggest mystery on depth chart, “who will be the starting signal caller?”. The gut feeling for right now is, Carson retires and Jordan doesn’t get to “compete”. The logic behind that, why sign Jordan back when the Bengals can bring in a legitimate contender for the QB position and a quality back up. Depending on the FA, Dalton may or may not be the starter. But in most cases I believe he will. He won’t be forced into the role as much as he will have won the starting gig. If Dalton is the most mentally and physically prepared out of all the QB’s, there’s no reason to sit him on the bench just to sit him. But if he’s not ready in both of those categories, he will be benched.
- FB: Chris Pressley did a great job when in at FB last season and deserves the spot. If the new offense calls for more of a H-Back he won’t get a shot though. With this pick, I’m assuming they still use true FB’s and don’t go shopping for another FB.
- RB: Cedric Benson is coming back. He wants to come back, and from what it sounds like the coaching staff wants him back. With the amount of FA RB’s going to be floating around, like Reggie Bush, Michael Bush and Tim Hightower it’s hard to think Ced will see better offers on other teams(especially considering the season he had). Bernard Scott will continue to be the 2 punch in the 1-2 punch. 3rd down specialist Brian Leonard will return to Cincinnati. And I’m going out on a limb here and saying 7th round RB Jay Finley beats out Cedric Peerman for the 4th RB spot.
These are all my educated guesses from what’s going on right now. As I’ve said before nothing is set in stone. But when the 53 man cut off approaches, this is my (May 4th) guess for what it will look like.