Bengals: 53-Man Roster Prediction following Cardinals Game

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Defense (26)

December 23, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; The Pittsburgh Steelers offense lines up against the Cincinnati Bengals defense during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Cincinnati Bengals won 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Line (10): DE: Carlos Dunlap, Margus Hunt, Wallace Gilberry, Robert Geathers, Will Clark, Dontay Moch, Geno Atkins, Domata Peko, Brandon Thompson, Devon Still

Not much has changed here, but it should be noted that the battle for the final spot along the line may be getting tighter following Devon Still’s injury.  Still left the Cardinals game early with a hamstring injury.  He’s struggled to stay healthy throughout his career and has been disappointing by not contributing on the field.  In the meantime, Christo Bilukidi has been solid during the preseason. The team has been quiet regarding this situation, but if Still continues to struggle he may find himself left off the roster.  At the moment, Still’s potential keeps him on the roster as, if released, he would probably be picked up by another team where he may better fit their scheme (3-4 versus the Bengals 4-3).  I believe that Still could have a better season this year, if healthy, as Paul Guenther wants to fix up defensive sets.  This may help Still find a niche within this defense.

Dontay Moch is the final addition to this team.  In year’s past he’s been impressive during the preseason, but migraines kept him off the regular season field.  He’s since gotten over the issues and has played well in the preseason again.  His talent has never been in question and I believe he makes this team as Dre Kirkpatrick’s performance in the gunner role may relieve the team from prioritizing a special teams expert.  Moch can bring a unique edge rush to this team either as a down lineman or while standing up from a linebacker role.  His athleticism could allow him to contribute on special teams also.  He’s my final addition to the team and he has Kirkpatrick to thank.

Linebacker (6): Vontaze Burfict, Emmanuel Lamur, Vincent Rey, Rey Maualuga, Marquis Flowers, Jayson DiManche

Again, not much has changed here since last week.  Marquis Flowers continues to be impressive showing the kind of promise that Lamur showed in his first year as a transitioning linebacker from the safety role.  Jayson DiManche takes the final spot after having a quality year on special teams last year.  The battle is between he and Sean Porter, who finally got onto the field against the Cardinals after being hurt for the entire preseason prior to Sunday.  As both players possess practice squad eligibility, the team will have to decide which player they are willing to potentially lose during waiver claims.  It’ll be interesting to see how many snaps each player gets versus the Colts on Thursday.

Defensive Backs (11): Leon Hall, Terence Newman, Adam Jones, Darqueze Dennard, Dre Kirkpatrick, Reggie Nelson, George Iloka, Shawn Williams, Danieal Manning, Taylor Mays

With R.J. Stanford implosion, during the Cardinals game while covering John Brown, came his release form the team.  Stanford was unable to separate himself from the rest of the group either on special teams or on defense and when he struggled consistently against Brown, the Bengals chose to move on.  Dre Kirkpatrick has been solid as a gunner after his initial mistake in the Chiefs game (when missing a tackle on De’Anthony Thomas), but he corrected himself by placing a good hit on Ted Ginn Jr. during a return.

His solid effort may negate the need to keep an extra player specifically for special teams purposes, which may have been the reason for Stanford’s release.  Chris Lewis-Harris still has a shot to make the roster because the unit has struggled with injuries in the past, but he’ll be battling with Brandon Tate and Dontay Moch for the final roster spot.