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Bengals 53-Man Roster Rankings: 15-6 Have Massive Upside

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BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 31: Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals drops back in the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 31, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 31: Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals drops back in the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 31, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images) /
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Bengals need to win trap game against Bears
Bengals need to win trap game against Bears /

12. Shawn Williams, S

With the release of George Iloka, the Bengals showed their preference for Williams, who now becomes the veteran voice in this secondary. In the last few years, Williams has been a quality strong safety, but he comes into 2018 with a chance to optimize his skill set. As a great tackler who plays aggressively, he fits nicely into Teryl Austin’s scheme. Williams could line up anywhere from behind the line to gain to right up near the line of scrimmage this year, which will maximize his effectiveness on this defense. The Bengals chose Williams over Iloka – I expect Williams to show the front office they made the right decision.

11. Darqueze Dennard, CB

Dennard is a player everyone involved with the Bengals will be watching closely. Not only will fans be intrigued if he can back up last year’s breakout, but the front office wants to know if that play is sustainable. Heading into a contract year, Dennard could earn himself a payday, so there is added motivation to have a big season. Dennard far outplayed Dre Kirkpatrick last year, so he could earn snaps at the CB2. If he improves even more in 2018, Dennard could establish himself as one of the better corners in the NFL. He should see plenty of action out of the slot, but he could expand his repertoire this season.

10. Clint Boling, OG

As the Bengals struggled along the offensive line last year (to say the least), Boling was the one bright spot. Since 2011, Boling has been a constant presence on the line, playing a variety of positions. Now that he’s settled in as the left guard, he has been the pillar of consistency. According to PFF, he has been above average each of the last six years, bordering on elite. Boling simply doesn’t have bad seasons. With new OL coach Frank Pollack coming to town, Boling could be utilized even more effectively, too. 2018 should be another extremely strong season for Boling as he helps this offensive line unit improve.

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