May 22, 2012; Cincinnati, OH USA; Cincinnati Bengals center Kyle Cook (64) talks with guard Travelle Wharton (70) during organized team activities at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Offensive Line (9): Andrew Whitworth, Clint Boling, Kyle Cook, Kevin Zietler, Andre Smith, Anthony Collins, Trevor Robinson, Mike Pollak, Travelle Wharton.
I think we will see the same starters as we did last year along the line, unless Wharton gets in the lineup somehow. I would have liked to have seen an upgrade at the center position, but I’m guessing they will continue with Cook and have Robinson backup. Travelle Wharton is an expensive backup but provides depth at multiple positions. I don’t see any of the lineman draft picks making the team. Look for Tanner Hawkinson and Ried Fragel to be sent to the practice squad.
Defensive Line (9): Michael Johnson, Carlos Dunlap, Robert Geathers, Wallace Gillberry, Margus Hunt, Domata Peko, Geno Atkins, Devon Still, Brandon Thompson
The strongest part of the roster, the defensive line will be the most boring roster battle because I don’t see anyone of these guys not making the roster. I look for Hunt to not see the field much in his first year, but he will have a good group to learn from. 2012 draft picks Devon Still and Brandon Thompson should see the field in a rotational role.
Linebacker (6): Vontaze Burfict, James Harrison, Rey Maualuga, Sean Porter, CFA Jayson Dimanche, Vincent Ray/Jordan Campbell
I’m really excited about CFA Jayson Dimanche from Southern Illinois, he had great college production, tested very well (4.5 forty, 24 reps, 11’00 broad, 38” vertical) and seems to fit the new model of linebacker that Mike Zimmer and company are looking for. Jordan Campbell, who also has crazy workout numbers, is another UDFA that could make a big roster push if given the chance. One thing is apparent through FA and the draft, the team wants more pass rush/athleticism from its linebackers. I think Rey continues to have a job, which is frustrating because they will keep him for another season and cut/not play a player with more potential.
Cornerback and Safety (9): Leon Hall, Dre Kirkpatrick, Adam Jones, Terrance Newman, Brandon Ghee, Reggie Nelson, Shawn Williams, George Iolka, Jeromy Mills.
No real surprises here, let’s hope Dre Kirkpatrick can show why he was a first round pick. Brandon Ghee had a tough break last year but hopefully he finally contributes. UDFA Troy Stoudermire might be a guy to keep an eye on because of his ability to return kicks. There will be some competition at the safety spot next to Reggie Nelson. Miles is a strict special teams guy, and while Mays did improve last year, I don’t know if the team trusts him enough to start. We saw very little from George Iolka, and Shawn Williams is a rookie, this is one of the positions I feel still has a hole.
Special Teams (3): K Quinn Sharp, P Kevin Huber, LS Clark Harris
Does Mike Nugent’s OSU scholarship finally run out with the addition of Sharp? I don’t know, but he has the pedigree as both a productive kicker and punter, and he also led the nation in touchbacks. Huber and Harris are both locks.