Cincinnati Bengals could make waves with this projected starting lineup
Linebacker: Germaine Pratt
As soon as the Bengals cut ties with Preston Brown, Pratt began improving each and every week. He figures to play a big role in the linebacker corps as one of the only returning players from a season ago.
Linebacker: Josh Bynes
Bynes will lead the group of very young linebackers. The 30-year-old has played on championship-caliber teams and will further solidify the team’s run defense.
Linebacker: Logan Wilson
Wilson will be expected to come in and contribute heavily as a rookie. He has the ability to stay on the field all three downs and is solid in every aspect of his game.
Corner: Trae Waynes
Trae Waynes was a pretty solid corner for the Vikings but had some forgettable stretches. Expect him to be utilized more in man coverage than he was in Minnesota and to play better because of it.
Strong Safety: Vonn Bell
This is perhaps the hardest position to project out of any. It’s difficult to tell exactly how Bell and Shawn Williams will be utilized, as both excel at playing in the box. Expect both to be on the field at the same time in passing situations to give the Bengals better coverage options while also maintaining some run support.
Free Safety: Jessie Bates III
Jessie Bates will continue to patrol the back end with his fantastic range and knack for making adjustments.
Corner: William Jackson III
The former Houston corner has the ability to be top-10 at his position in the NFL, although he didn’t play like it at times last season. Don’t be surprised if he returns to his old self in his next campaign.
Slot Corner: Mackensie Alexander
Yes, this is supposed to be the starting back-seven, but with the amount of time defenses spend in nickel, leaving Alexander off this list wouldn’t do it justice. Alexander is a solid player who isn’t afraid to step up and help in run support.