The Cincinnati Bengals head into training camp with a few positions that could earn immediate depth positions or even a starting role this season, but which are the top?
There are actually two very good position battles within this one position. The first is between rookie Tyler Boyd and veteran Brandon LaFell. The Second is between everyone else not named A.J. Green. Could this be the position battle to watch?
First, Tyler Boyd is a rookie from the University of Pittsburgh and did quite well finishing second all time in all-purpose yards behind Hall of Famer, Tony Dorsett, and second in single season receptions behind Larry Fitzgerald. He also finished 2015 second in rushing yards behind lead running back Qadree Ollison.
Then, you have veteran wideout Brandon LaFell. He holds a Super Bowl ring with the Patriots in 2014, finishing the season with 953 yards and seven touchdowns. He took a step back in 2015 due to injury and drops, but the potential is there. Plus he has the playoff and big game experience, something the Bengals desperately need.
Winner: Tyler Boyd, eventually, but look for LaFell to come out of camp as the early season WR2.
There is a second wide receiver battle on the back end for the WR4 and depth positions, which is set to featuring Cody Core, Brandon Tate, James Wright, and Jake Kumerow. All of whom have spent time with the Bengals with the exception of Cody Core.
Brandon Tate is entering his sixth straight season with the Bengals and has had his great moments and not so great ones. Tate has aquired 469 yards on 33 caches and three touchdowns in his five years. He was an acquisition from the Patriots but unlike LaFell, was less experienced and didn’t have a ring.
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James Wright is coming off his ACL tear in 2015 and entering the third year with the Bengals. His 2014 campaign, which was filled with injury for Cincinnati, held nine catches for 91 yards and three rushes for 30 yards. Wright is a good flex option for the Bengals.
Cody Core was the sixth round pick in this years draft. A four year player at Ole Miss, Core was a solid number two receiver by the end of his junior year. The Bengals aren’t known for using rookies, especially later round draft picks, in their first season, but Core’s initial show in OTA’s and mini-camp has been strong.
Jake Kumerow is the dark horse of the group. The 2015 practice team member is set to prove that he has gained enough experience of the Bengals system to be on the roster. Kumerow, who is cousins with Joey Bosa, first round pick of the Chargers this year, and son of Eric Kumerow, who was the first round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 1988. He has NFL in his blood, but can he obtain it in his hands and feet?
Winner: Cody Core as WR4, Depth will hopefully be everyone but Brandon Tate, but Jake Kumerow might be odd man out with Mario Alford taking up a spot for the special teams.