Cincinnati Bengals: 5 players who can make a splash in the preseason

Glenn Adams
The Cincinnati Bengals offense (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
The Cincinnati Bengals offense (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Linebacker Markus Bailey #51 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

Cincinnati Bengals to watch for in preseason – Markus Bailey and Hakeem Adeniji

I’ll discuss my No. 1 and No. 2 options together first.

Markus Bailey and Hakeem Adeniji are playing a bit of a different game. They were on the roster last year so they have a leg up on some of the others. Both have seen NFL game action and are looking to expand their roles. Having a full offseason and three preseason games will go a long way to solidify their place on the roster.

With that said…

Cincinnati Bengals to watch for in preseason – No. 2: Markus Bailey

Markus Bailey, the former Purdue Boilermaker linebacker, was selected in the seventh round by the Bengals last year and he was coming off of an injury. Pandemic or not, it was expected that Bailey would miss some time at the beginning of the season.

Bailey was a stud linebacker at Purdue, recording 97, 89, and 115 tackles in the 2016, 2017, and 2018 seasons respectively. He decided to go back to college for his redshirt senior year where he suffered a season-ending injury in his second game.

He made it onto the field for the Bengals in 2020, but only in spot duties and on special teams. If he wants to expand his role on defense, he must show and prove during the rest of this offseason and preseason games. While he should be able to make the roster, after being a seventh-round pick last year, a roster spot is far from guaranteed.

Cincinnati Bengals to watch for in preseason – No. 1: Hakeem Adeniji

Remember that Jim Turner practically hand-picked Hakeem Adeniji, which is one of the things that the former offensive line coach got right. Adeniji played well in stretches even catching the eye of former Bengals great, should-be future NFL Hall of Famer, and Bengals Ring of Honor candidate, Willie Anderson.

With the influx of offensive linemen along with his less than guaranteed draft position as a sixth-rounder, Adeniji will need the rest of the offseason and preseason games to prove to current offensive line coach Frank Pollack that he belongs.

Must Read. 5 Free Agents Who Would Improve Roster. light

The Bengals had zero undrafted rookie free agents make the final 53 last September. It is hard enough to make it as a UDRFA, but with no preseason games and limited contact in practice, it was nearly impossible.

Late-round picks from last year were in a similar position. At least this year, as of now anyway, they will get a real opportunity to not only make the roster but in some cases, push for more playing time.