As the Cincinnati Bengals approach their final preseason game, we get a better idea of how the final roster will look. Unfortunately for some, the outlook may not be all orange and black. Here are three veterans in danger of being released once the final roster is announced.
Bengals Potential Roster Cut: Tyler Shelvin
Tyler Shelvin, the second-year defensive tackle, has not made an impact yet this offseason. There was hope that the former fourth-rounder would take a step forward this year. However, his presence has yet to be felt significantly in the first two preseason games. We have not received much information about him out of training camp either.
It did not help that the Bengals drafted Zach Carter in the third round to play him at defensive tackle. Right now, on the Bengals official depth chart, Shelvin is listed as the third-string nose tackle behind D.J. Reader and Josh Tupou.
What’s more, Domenique Davis has been more impressive thus far in the preseason. Davis, who most recently played with the USFL team, Houston Gamblers, may have very well passed Shelvin on the unofficial depth chart.
Something else not working in Shelvin’s favor is the NFL game itself. Teams pass more often than they run. Big run-stuffing, space-eating defensive tackles are being replaced by players who can get to the quarterback, no matter their size. Right now, the Bengals already have two run stuffers ahead of Shelvin.
Players can no longer be big for the sake of being big. Players like Sam Hubbard, Cam Sample, Johnson III, and Carter have shown they can play both defensive end and defensive tackle in passing situations, thereby limiting Shelvin’s potential snaps even further. Lou Anarumo has concentrated on this offseason acquiring guys who can pressure the quarterback from different areas of the field. Right now, Shelvin is not that.
Shelvin’s lack of production and not standing out so far this preseason could spell bad news for the young lineman. If he is released during the final cuts, it will not be surprising to see him on the practice squad shortly after that.
Bengals Potential Roster Cut: Kevin Huber
While Kevin Huber is the incumbent and still the favorite, this punting battle with Drue Chrisman has probably lasted a bit too long for Huber. Chrisman has been solid in the preseason, but he is no “Punt God.” Credit to him for keeping the competition alive.
Chrisman also deserves some praise for his hustle and tackling ability, even though it is preferable that he does not have to do it very often if he does indeed win the job.
Chrisman is averaging 48 yards on five punts with a long of 56 this preseason. Huber is averaging 47.67 yards per punt on three punts with a long of 50. Those are paper-thin margins as far as the raw numbers are concerned.
As long as the competition is close, we should give the edge to Huber. However, if Chrisman goes out and executes all the holds on Saturday evening and shows no reason for concern in that area, Huber could be looking to catch on with another team when the final 53-man roster is announced.
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Bengals Potential Roster Cut: Trayvon Henderson
When Jessie Bates signed his franchise tender, the Bengals announced they had placed Brandon Wilson on the PUP list safety. Also, that announcement signaled there would be one less safety spot on the roster when the team has to get down to 53 players on Tuesday, August 30. That foretells bad news for either Trayvon Henderson or Tycen Anderson. If that is the case, the advantage goes to Anderson.
Henderson is a feel-good story. He is one of the very few leftovers from the Marvin Lewis era. The fact that he is still around this far into the Zac Taylor regime shows how highly coaches think of him.
As an undrafted free agent out of Hawaii in 2018, Henderson was well on his way to earning a roster spot. But unfortunately, he lost his rookie campaign to a knee injury. Since then, Henderson has been bouncing between the 53-man roster and practice squad with the Bengals. The fifth-year safety has appeared in 10 games, recording only five tackles. This past season, he had a highlight play with a fumble recovery for a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns.
Perhaps one has impressed more in practice. However, either has yet to stand out over the other in the first two preseason games. With the team likely keeping five safeties, Henderson appears to be on the outside looking in. When it is announced, Jessie Bates III, Vonn Bell, Michael Thomas, and Dax Hill should all be on the final roster. The last spot likely comes down to Anderson or veteran Trayvon Henderson.
Against the Giants, Anderson had seven tackles to Henderson’s two. For the preseason, Anderson has ten tackles, whereas Henderson has six to go along with one pass defended. The Bengals will not give up on the young and fast Anderson. His versatility is something that the team covets. He played slot corner and safety at Toledo. Furthermore, he was a mid-round draft pick.
Unfortunately for Henderson, he has not set himself apart thus far, making his path to the roster tougher. And with only one preseason game left, he is running out of time to make a push over Anderson or Michael Thomas.
We love the Bengals Three-thousand, to paraphrase Tony Stark. Who Dey?!