Cincinnati Bengals: Special teams depth chart after 2021 NFL Draft
The Cincinnati Bengals will see some changes to their special teams unit this year, especially at kicker. That will be the topic of conversation surrounding special teams as we inch closer to training camp and preseason games.
Last year, the Bengals had two kickers throughout the season, rolling with Randy Bullock early in the season and then shifting to Austin Seibert, who had previously kicked for the Browns before being waived by them. Seibert finished the year as the Bengals’ kicker and looked to be their option at kicker prior to the draft.
That changed after the Bengals spent a fifth-round pick on Florida kicker Evan McPherson, who is now the favorite to handle the kicking duties for Cincinnati. He was the only kicker selected in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Here are the kickers, punters, and long snappers listed on the Bengals’ official roster:
- Drue Chrisman, P
- Dan Godsil, LS
- Clark Harris, LS
- Kevin Huber, P
- Evan McPherson, K
- Austin Seibert, K
The only true competition on special teams for the Cincinnati Bengals will be at kicker.
As mentioned above, the Bengals spent a fifth-round pick on McPherson, giving him the edge over Seibert. G. Allan Taylor of The Athletic (must be subscribed to read the article) wrote that the job is McPherson’s to lose and that makes sense, considering that a draft pick was spent on him. Seibert will have to have a near-perfect camp to win the job and even then, that might not be enough.
At punter, Huber is signed for the 2021 season and should be able to edge out Chrisman, who the Bengals signed as a UDFA out of Ohio State. Huber has spent his entire NFL career with the Bengals and will enter his 13th season with the team this fall.
Harris will be the long snapper in 2021 and that makes perfect sense considering he’s been with the team for 12 years. Chrisman and Godsil were likely brought in by the Bengals to ease the load for Huber and Harris but these two veterans should keep what’s theirs.
I didn’t list return specialists above, but we know Brandon Wilson will be back to run wild on special teams in 2021. Wilson has blossomed into one of the best return men in the league and the Bengals will give him every opportunity to flourish in that role but they did sign some intriguing UDFAs who could compete for kickoff and punt return opportunities as well.
Riley Lees of Northwestern is someone who could make sense here as is Bethune-Cookman’s Jimmie Robinson. Darius Phillips returned both kickoffs and punts a year ago and Tyler Boyd helped out on punt returns occasionally too, making them both candidates here as well.
The Bengals special teams unit looks pretty good moving forward and the biggest question mark moving forward will be who starts at kicker? Will McPherson handle kicking duties as a rookie or will Seibert hold onto his job?