Bengals’ Kwamie Lassiter named surprise offseason standout

Kwamie Lassiter II. (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)
Kwamie Lassiter II. (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Bengals may have found a surprising special teams stud in undrafted free agent wide receiver Kwamie Lassiter II. Could he make the 53-man roster this summer?

Despite having three of the best wideouts in the league, the Bengals need extra receiving depth in 2022 and selected a handful of rookies in free agency, one of which is Kansas’ Kwamie Lassiter.

Lassiter caught 59 passes for 653 yards and three touchdowns in his last season in Kansas, and while he may not possess the physical or athletic measurables of gold-star recruits, he could prove reliable on special teams and earn limited offensive snaps.

ESPN’s Ben Baby named Lassiter as the Bengals’ most surprising offseason standout after minicamp workouts and wrote:

"The rookie undrafted free agent had an impressive offseason. The wide receiver even earned some first-team reps on offense. If Lassiter can work his way into the special teams rotation, he might have a shot at making the 53-man roster."

Bengals UDFA Kwamie Lassiter has a fair shot at making the team in 2022

Lassiter isn’t winning the starting receiver job anytime soon — those three roles clearly belong to Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd. Should one of them get injured this season, though, Lassiter has as good a chance as anybody to spring into the WR4 position and serve as a solid backup.

His competition includes Stanley Morgan, Mike Thomas, and Trent Taylor, all of whom filled the backend of Cincy’s receiving corps last year.

What the rookie lacks in experience he makes up for in punt return skills, as Lassiter had 30 punt returns in five years at Kansas and averaged 13.5 yards per return in his 2021 season. He’ll battle with former Kansas teammate Pooka Williams for a spot on special teams, so keep an eye on those two throughout training camp.

Lassiter also has a bit of history on his side: his father, Kwamie Lassiter Sr., similarly entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent before making a name for himself as an elite safety. Lassiter Sr. put together a decade-long NFL career and became the fourth player of the Super Bowl era to intercept four passes in a game.

Lassiter’s goal this season will be to score touchdowns, rather than nab picks, but if he follows the footsteps of his father and manages to work his way up the Bengals’ depth chart, he could turn into a productive mainstay for the team.

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In the meantime, he’ll get to train alongside Chase, Higgins, and Boyd — not too shabby of a practice squad at all.