Every preseason, some players make a name for themselves in training camp. This year, the Cincinnati Bengals have four players who can or already have played themselves onto the roster with excellent performances.
This list does not include any of this year’s six draft picks. That is because the Bengals have kept all their drafted players from the previous two drafts on the roster. That will not change this year, as it appears that all six players from this past draft will make the final 53. So with that in mind, let’s begin.
Predicted To Make Bengals Final Roster: Kendric Pryor / Kwamie Lassiter
Kendric Pryor and Kwamie Lassiter have had an excellent offseason. As a result, one of, if not both, should be on the final roster when the final 53 is announced. In the coaches’ minds, however, there may not be a place for either, let alone both.
The two receivers have done what they needed to by turning heads in practice and games. In the first preseason game, Pryor led the team with four catches for 89 yards, one touchdown, and averaged 22.3 yards per reception.
In the second preseason game, Lassiter led the team with seven receptions on seven targets for 91 yards.
At first glance, it would appear that Lassiter has an advantage with special teams. He is the backup kick-off and punt returner on the official depth chart. However, Pryor gives the team a bit more when it comes to punt and kick coverages.
They would make the final roster in another multiverse with more available spots. However, Cincinnati is not going to keep eight wide receivers. They kept only five on the final cutdown day last year. Look for them to keep six this year.
The good news is that Pryor and Lassiter have done enough to make this Bengals roster. The bad news is they both will not. That is unless one of the players ahead of them on the depth chart gets traded or released unexpectedly.
More good news for Pryor and Lassiter is that both have made enough noise to be put on other teams’ radars. But unfortunately, that is bad news for fans of the rookie wideouts in Cincinnati because it will not be easy to bring them back on the practice squad.
Watching both of them work this preseason has been an absolute pleasure, no matter how it shakes out for Pryor and Lassiter.
Predicted To Make Bengals Final Roster: Raymond Johnson III
Last year the Bengals kept ten defensive linemen on the roster on cutdown day. If that is the case this year, Raymond Johnson III has done enough to prove that he should be one of the ten.
In the game against the Cardinals, Johnson III was credited with two tackles, 0.5 sacks, and one quarterback hit. Against the Giants, he did not record a tackle. But that does not do justice to the impact that he had.
Late in the second quarter, Johnson III completely dominated the left guard to bring down Tyrod Taylor. Unfortunately, the play was nullified because of a penalty. He was in pass coverage in an underneath zone on the next play.
In the third quarter, the Giants thought blocking Johnson III one-on-one with a tight end would be a good idea. Advantage Johnson III as he was able to get pressure on Davis Webb, forcing him to scramble.
At the start of the fourth quarter, Johnson III ran over the right tackle to get pressure on Webb, causing him to rush a throw that resulted in an incompletion and stalling the drive.
Still, Johnson III has a hill to climb. However, he has shown a relentless motor, versatility, and production that coaches love to see. He can very well play himself onto the roster with another excellent performance against the Rams if he has not already secured a spot.
Predicted To Make Bengals Final Roster: Clay Johnston
What a game from Clay Johnston. “He left it all on the field” is an expression to describe how his game went against the Giants. He finished the evening with a whopping 20 tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss, and one QB hit. One of his tackles was a perfectly timed vicious hit that prevented a third-down conversion late in the fourth quarter.
Johnston’s performance followed his previous outing against the Cardinals when he also led the team in tackles finishing that evening with six tackles and one for loss.
Last year, the Bengals kept only five linebackers on cutdown day. Logan Wilson, Markus Bailey, Germaine Pratt, and Akeem Davis-Gaither are ahead of Johnston on the depth chart. However, when it comes to who has the edge for the last spot in the linebacker’s room, Johnston left no doubt it should go to him as he separated himself from the pack. As a result, he played himself not only onto the final roster but also into a lot more playing time than last year once the season begins.
One of the best things about the preseason is watching veterans cement their place on the roster and undrafted rookie free agents make a name for themselves. This Bengals preseason has been great for that. And it is not over yet. There may be more in store Saturday evening in the final preseason game versus the Rams. Let’s hope so.
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