We are now two weeks into the “evaluation” phase of the season for the Cincinnati Bengals. Who on the current roster is part of the future beyond this season?
On offense, the first player you must consider a building block is running back Joe Mixon. The Oklahoma product has had a down year. However, has flashed over the last two games after a change in some of the blocking schemes with the offensive line.
Mixon is still just 23 and has a lot of tread left on the tires. The coaching staff still needs to improve on involving him more in the passing game. He is certainly a keeper going forward.
As for other running backs, Giovani Bernard recently signed an extension and is also still young enough to keep around for a little while longer as a change of pace back. Trayveon Williams and Rodney Anderson are both rookies who must stay healthy to provide running back depth. That will decide their future, or lack there of in Cincinnati
The wide receiver group is a bit more murky. A.J. Green is a career long Bengal and incredibly productive when healthy. Does he really want to stay in Cincinnati? We won’t truly know until free agency comes calling in the offseason.
Tyler Boyd is undoubtedly a centerpiece for this offense going forward. John Ross must find a way to stay healthy. He has immense talent, but still has a large question mark around him.
Outside of Auden Tate, the rest of this group is guys who can be upgraded. This is a deep wide receiver draft coming up. Look for the Bengals to add one or two, especially in the mid to late rounds. Tight ends are pretty secure in this offense with Drew Sample and C.J. Uzomah
The offensive line needs a complete overhaul. Jonah Williams and Trey Hopkins are the only safe bets for the future. Perhaps, Michael Jordan and Billy Price are kept around for depth. The Bengals long term answer at quarterback is almost certainly playing on Saturdays right now.
On the defensive line, you can make a case for Geno Adkins and Carlos Dunlap to stay or go. We’ll see what happens with the two veteran pass rushers. Sam Hubbard is at least a solid rotational piece. Carl Lawson has game changing potential when healthy. Rookie Renell Wren has flashed in limited opportunities. Andrew Billings and Josh Tupou have solidified the nose tackle position.
The linebacker position needs a complete makeover. Germaine Pratt is the only sure thing beyond this year. Nick Vigil could also hang around, but only at the right price and for depth purposes.
The secondary has potential. Cornerbacks William Jackson and Darqueze Dennard are both keepers At safety, Jessie Bates and Shawn Williams form a solid unit along with Clayton Fejedelem and Brandon Wilson.
As a whole, there are a lot of holes to fill on this roster, but there are also some solid pieces for the future.