Bengals Roster: Final 53-Man Predictions


January 23, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Bengals players Team Carter wide receiver A.J. Green (18), Team Irvin defensive tackle Geno Atkins (97), Team Irvin punter Kevin Huber (10), and Team Carter quarterback Andy Dalton (14) during photo day at The Arizona Biltmore. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Preseason has finally come to close, so with that, let’s take a look at the Cincinnati Bengals’ roster and try to pick out the 53 players who will make the cut. I though about also trying to put together a hypothetical practice squad like I did in my last prediction, but with so many talented players moving from roster to roster, my practice squad predictions would come nowhere near close to what actually happens with the Bengals. So with that, let’s get into it.

Quarterback (2):

Andy DaltonA.J. McCarron

Pretty simple here. Dalton will start, while McCarron will enter his first season as the Bengals’ backup. McCarron had a nice preseason, but he’s nowhere near ready to become a full-time NFL starter.

Running Back (4):

Jeremy Hill, Giovani Bernard, Rex Burkhead, Cedric Peerman

Like quarterback, this position was already figured out by the start of the preseason. James Wilder Jr. or Terrell Watson are both better pure running backs than Peerman, but Peerman’s role as a team leader and special teams captain keep him on the roster. Wilder Jr. and Watson will definitely end up on the Bengals’ practice squad if they clear waivers.

Aug 29, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) makes a catch prior to the game against the Chicago Bears in a preseason NFL football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Wide Receiver (6):

A.J. Green, Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Brandon Tate, Greg Little, Mario Alford

Denarius Moore was given an opportunity but didn’t show much (although he may have another shot somewhere else), while Jake Kumerow made enough plays to earn a chance at the Bengals’ practice squad. The biggest surprise in the receiving corps–even more surprising than Tate staying on the roster–has to be that Greg Little showed enough promise to earn a roster spot. He played very poorly in 2014.

Tight End/H-Back (4):

Tyler Eifert, Ryan Hewitt, Tyler Kroft, C.J. Uzomah,

Eifert and Hewitt will start at tight end and H-back, respectively. Meanwhile, the two tight ends Cincinnati selected in the 2015 draft fill out the position.

Offensive Tackle (4):

Andrew Whitworth, Andre Smith, Jake Fisher, Eric Winston

With Cedric Ogbuehi starting the season on the PUP list, he doesn’t count towards the team’s 53-man roster. Winston should be the first in line to backup Whit and Andre Smith, while second-round pick Jake Fisher rounds out the position.

Interior Offensive Line (5):

Clint Boling, Russell Bodine, Kevin Zeitler, T.J. Johnson, Trey Hopkins

With Whitworth and Jake Fisher versatile enough to kick in to guard and the rest of the backups looking atrocious all preseason long, T.J. Johnson and Trey Hopkins are left as the only interior lineman backing up the three starters. Once Ogbuehi returns from the PUP list, Hopkins will be cleared to make room for the first-round pick’s return.

Aug 29, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap (96) against the Chicago Bears in a preseason NFL football game at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 21-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive End (4):

Michael Johnson, Carlos Dunlap, Wallace Gilberry, Will Clarke

Margus Hunt is through. Cincinnati should try to trade him to Minnesota, the only other team I could even envision accepting an offer for Hunt (due to head coach Mike Zimmer having been on the staff that drafted him just a couple of seasons ago).

Defensive Tackle (5):

Geno Atkins, Domata Peko, Brandon Thompson, Pat Sims, Marcus Hardison

DeShawn Williams and Devon Still both have strong cases to make the team, but in this case, I just don’t see it happening. Cincinnati would have to sever ties with a better player to keep either of these defensive tackles on the roster, and the Bengals are just too smart of a team to do that. Cincinnati can try to stash Williams on the practice squad, but he’ll likely find a spot on another team’s 53-man roster.

Linebacker (7):

Rey Maualuga, Emmanuel Lamur, A.J. Hawk, Vincent Rey, P.J. Dawson, Marquis FlowersChris Carter

Vontaze Burfict and Sean Porter open the season on the PUP list, so the six players above will likely be on Cincinnati’s roster. Chris Carter had an awesome preseason and was the biggest surprise to make the roster.

Cornerback (5):

Leon Hall, Adam Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick, Darqueze Dennard, Josh Shaw

It’s difficult to see Troy Hill and Chris Lewis-Harris not making the roster after both played well during the preseason, but that’s just the way it is. Cincinnati will keep Hill on the practice squad if he clears waivers.

Safety (4):

Reggie Nelson, George Iloka, Shawn Williams, Derron Smith

Nelson and Iloka will start again in 2015, while Williams has proved himself worthy of a roster spot. Williams will likely play as the safety-linebacker hybrid that Taylor Mays once was. Derron Smith also makes the roster after a nice preseason.

Special Teams (3):

Mike Nugent, Kevin Huber, Clark Harris

No surprises here. Tom Obarski could make the practice squad, but I think that Cincinnati will fill that spot with a position player instead.

This preseason was a roller coaster ride for Bengals fans, as the Who Dey fanbase saw two dominant performances and an absolute disaster in Tampa. The Bengals finished with a 3-1 record and will face the Oakland Raiders on the road in Week 1.

Next: AFC North Roundup: Offseason Takeaways