As Cincinnati Bengals fans anxiously await the start of training camp, we look forward to some intriguing position battles that will take place there. Some of these battles will determine starters, some will determine depth, while others try to make the 53-man roster.
4. Return Specialist(s)
The Bengals special teams unit had a lot to do with the success of last year’s season, especially when you account for rookie kicker Evan McPherson’s role in each of the games. Let’s look at how special teams coach Darrin Simmons improves the rest of his unit through competition.
Former Bengal Darius Phillips started the 2021 season returning punts but lost the starting job after fumbling twice against the 49ers. Trent Taylor, the ex-49er who took over the punt returning duties, finished the rest of the season with seven returns for 52 yards. Taylor showed last season he has the experience and sound decision-making to stay in his role as a punt returner.
However, undrafted second-year player Pooka Williams out of Kansas could look to challenge him. Being only 5’10” and 174 pounds, Williams must prove he can be more consistent while under pressure. Williams is a very explosive player with great field vision, making him a fun player to follow.
When asked about Williams, per Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com, coach Simmons said, “Pooka” is somebody that is going to be an intriguing guy to see how his development has gone from year one to year two.”
Undrafted rookie receiver Kwamie Lassiter II is also out of Kansas and he could be someone to watch. He looked good during rookie mini-camp, fielding punts and tracking the ball.