Cincinnati Bengals: Predicting Practice Squad

2 of 9

RB: James Wilder Jr.

Jun 11, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back James Wilder Jr. (34) during minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

James Wilder Jr. was a prioritized UDFA following this year’s draft.  He was a part of Florida State’s national champion backfield, but he didn’t get nearly the bulk of the carries.  This both helps and hurts his value in the NFL.  Wilder is a project back after not getting as much experience as others in college.  But he’s a bruising runner, so having less “mileage” on his legs is probably a good thing if he can establish himself in the NFL.  The Bengals are loaded in the backfield, but Rex Burkhead’s recent knee injury has forced the Bengals to restructure.  This makes Wilder Jr.’s retention even more important as the team is looking to emphasize the run in 2014.  The Bengals backfield already possesses three quality runners in Giovani Bernard, Jeremy Hill, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis and a backup, Cedric Peerman, who is the captain of the special teams unit. But if another injury were to occur prior to Burkhead’s return, having Wilder Jr. at the Bengals’ disposal would be vitally important.  He was probably a lock for the practice squad prior to Burkhead’s injury, but now fans should be assured that Wilder Jr. will be a part of the Bengals practice squad come September.