The Bengals had three selections in the fifth round and took two cornerbacks and a defensive tackle. Davontae Harris (above), Andrew Brown, and Darius Phillips all have to fight for their roster spots, but Brown seems to be the safest bet to make the team of the three. A former 5-star recruit, Brown definitely has NFL talent. With the release of Chris Baker, that makes Brown the fourth defensive tackle on this team. So far, Brown has looked like he could be a contributor, and as long as the Bengals don’t sign anyone else, he should make the team.
Harris and Phillips are a different story. Backup cornerback has been a troubling position, primarily due to Harris’ and Phillips’ poor play so far. Because of their inexperience, I would be surprised if the Bengals kept both on the roster. The question then is which one of these two will make the team?
Harris has probably been better than Phillips in practice so far. Harris has good size and strength for an NFL corner, although he does lack some speed. Much like Dre Kirkpatrick, Harris can at least match up with WR2s and WR3s on opposing teams (though Kirkpatrick is better, to be clear). Phillips has not matched up well with the Bengals’ WRs at all, getting toasted on many plays during camp.
However, Phillips has been outplaying Harris in the preseason. Not only has Phillips been an asset in special teams, but he has also been solid in slot coverage. He has essentially split work with Alex Erickson as a returner and performed equally as well. Phillips hasn’t done well as an outside corner, but in the slot, he has been better than serviceable. If the Bengals have enough confidence in Phillips’ coverage abilities, he has a better shot than Harris to make the final roster.