Even moreso than last year, making the Bengals final 53-man roster will be difficult. In addition to successfully re-signing critical free agents and having a youthful talented roster, it’s important to remember that the Bengals also suffered some critical losses early last season, which not only opened the door for several lesser known players to had great seasons, but it also leaves room for several of those players to rise from the ashes of injury while still being under contract and the radar. With such an amassing of talent, Tate is going to struggle to find a place on the roster as a one-dimensional player. Remember also that Tate immerged from training camp and preseason last year as the named starter across from AJ Green, despite an unprecedented five other wide outs being named to final roster as well. Irrespective, Tate finished the year with only 13 receptions from being targeted 25 times, resulting in 211 yards and one touchdown.
Right now, 29-year old Adam Jones is the only other return-marked individual on the team, other than Cedric Peerman who is a distant third option and much better utilized in other aspects of special teams. Further, Jones is likely to be a critical piece to the secondary, and it will be risky to utilize him for every return. Therefore, it’s highly possible that the Bengals could be silently looking for a fast, versatile, and instinctive player in the mid-rounds of this year’s Draft. Unlike Tate, this individual would not only have to be an explosive returner, but fill an additional, dual role on the roster, adding depth in both special teams but also in his primary skill set. One has to wonder if the Bengals have anyone in mind at this point?
Mar 1, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; LSU former football player Tyrann Mathieu watches the New Orleans Hornets play the Detroit Pistons at the New Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
…its likely they do.