Bengals: Post-Week 2 Projected 53-Man Roster
Aug 24, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron (5) drops to throw during the second half of a preseason NFL football game at Raymond James Stadium. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Cincinnati Bengals 25-11. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Quarterback (2): Andy Dalton, A.J. McCarron
Dalton is the obvious starter, while A.J. McCarron is now the backup after Josh Johnson’s release. McCarron looked promising in his first ever NFL action against Tampa Bay.
Keith Wenning is a name to watch for practice squad consideration, but Cincinnati will probably allocate the practice squad role to a player at a different position.
Running Back (4): Jeremy Hill, Giovani Bernard, Rex Burkhead, Cedric Peerman
The four backs above were Cincinnati’s four guys last season, and they should all return to the roster this season.
Trying to stash James Wilder Jr. and Terrell Watson on the practice squad will be difficult; both players have been impressive and could potentially make another team’s 53-man roster.
Wide Receiver (6): A.J. Green, Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones, Brandon Tate, Greg Little, Mario Alford
While Green’s drop in Tampa infuriated Bengals fans around the country, I still believe he’s the AFC North’s best receiver. Jones, Sanu and Little all need to step up and prove that they can contribute at receiver this season.
I’d like to see Denarius Moore earn the nod on the roster over Brandon Tate, but the Bengals look like they’ll keep Tate because he’s a better option on special teams, specifically in the return game. Alford has shown some promise this preseason and figures to compete for kick and punt return duties. If Alford is able to beat out Tate, Cincinnati should immediately drop him and replace Tate with Moore, who has been fun to watch.
Jake Kumerow could be a potential practice squad player at receiver; he’s been electric this preseason.
Tight End/H-Back (4): Tyler Eifert, Ryan Hewitt, Tyler Kroft, C.J. Uzomah
Eifert should finally see some action, which is exciting for Bengals fans. Tyler Kroft looked promising in Week 2 action, while C.J. Uzomah impressed in Week 1. The tight end position is set for now; we’ll see if the position group can stay healthy throughout the season.
Tackle (4): Andrew Whitworth, Andre Smith, Eric Winston, Jake Fisher
Fisher, Cincinnati’s second-round selection in the 2015 draft has yet to see the field; the Bengals are afraid he’s falling behind due to a shoulder injury that has limited his playing time. Whitworth and Smith will start, with Winston filling in if either starter goes down to injury. Fisher may see some playing time in 2015, but it will be very limited unless the line deals with multiple injuries.
Cincinnati’s first-round selection, Cedric Ogbuehi, is on the designated PUP list and will replace guard Dan France when he is healthy enough to suit up.
Tanner Hawkinson will likely be a practice squad player.
Guard (3): Clint Boling, Kevin Zeitler, Dan France
As previously mentioned, France is just a stophold until Ogbuehi returns to the roster. Center T.J. Johnson would likely see time at guard over France anyhow, as he is versatile enough to play guard and a better player than France.
Trey Hopkins is a sleeper candidate to sneak onto the roster, but he is more likely a practice squad player.
Center (2): Russell Bodine, T.J. Johnson
Center is perhaps Cincinnati’s weakest position; the Bengals desperately want to see progress from Bodine this upcoming season.
Johnson, as previously mentioned, makes the roster over Chris Jasperse due to his versatility, as he can play both center and guard. In fact, Johnson was playing well enough at guard before injury that he jumped past Trey Hopkins on the depth chart and was Cincinnati’s backup right guard last preseason.
Chris Jasperse could make Cincinnati’s practice squad as a center and could be a name to keep an eye on if Bodine struggles.