Cincinnati Bengals: Top Five Training Camp Battles

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Aug 30, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Mario Alford (5) returns a kickoff for a touchdown during the second quarter of the 2014 Chick-fil-a kickoff game at Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Tate vs. Mario Alford

Brandon Tate has been a returner for the Bengals since 2011. Tate has proven to be a solid option in this role; after all, he has been one of the franchise’s most prolific returners. Although Tate is a solid returner, more often than not, he doesn’t make good decisions. Tate has a tendency to take a kick off eight yards into the endzone and only return it to the ten-yard-line as well as fair catch a punt within the ten-yard-line. Tate is a solid returner when he makes good decisions, but last year he was bested by cornerback Adam Jones who received First-Team All-Pro honors for returning.

Rookie Mario Alford was drafted in the seventh round of the 2015 NFL draft. While he was at West Virginia, Alford was named First-Team All-American as a kick returner, and at his Pro Day he ran a 4.27 40-yard dash. Alford is one of my favorite selections from this year’s draft. After producing 11 touchdowns as a wide receiver and another two as a returner, Alford has proven he’s a touchdown machine.

Through the years we have seen Brandon Tate be a great training camp player, but not produce during the regular season; remember when Brandon Tate almost won the number two wide receiver battle against Armon Binns. Due to Brandon Tate’s training camp greatness and the new Bengal who possesses so much promise, the return man battle should be an interesting one.

Next: Backup Quarterback