Nov 16, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive line coach Jay Hayes reacts after a fumble recovery against the New Orleans Saints during the fourth quarter of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Bengals defeated the Saints 27-10. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
When training camp kicks off for the Cincinnati Bengals next month, one of the most heated battles will take place along the defensive line. The Bengals have done a great job of acquiring talent along the line over the past few seasons. They started with the second-round in 2013 by selecting Margus Hunt, and then added Will Clarke in the third round of 2014. This offseason, Cincinnati added both Michael Johnson and Pat Sims in free agency, and then drafted Marcus Hardison in the fourth round. These additions will lead to a difficult decision come September.
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With these additions, along with a few others, the Bengals have 15 defensive linemen on the roster. 11 of these players have a legitimate shot at the 53-man roster, if we count Sam Montgomery, Kwame Geathers, DeShawn Williams and Kalafitoni Pole as simply practice squad candidates. The Bengals will likely only keep nine of these players for the final roster, so the battle should be raging next month.
Whether it’s due to production, draft status, or potential, when looking over these eleven players, there are likely eight roster locks: Michael Johnson, Carlos Dunlap, Wallace Gilberry, Geno Atkins, Domata Peko, Brandon Thompson, Will Clarke and Marcus Hardison. This leaves Margus Hunt, Pat Sims, and Devon Still battling for the final spot. So who comes out on top?
Next: Pat Sims