Cincinnati Bengals initial 53-man roster entering the 2022 season
By Kristen Wong
Following an eventful day of roster cuts, we have our first look at the Cincinnati Bengals initial 53-man roster ahead of the 2022 season.
The Bengals didn’t make too many surprising inclusions or exclusions on Tuesday afternoon as they completed the third wave of NFL roster cuts. Zac Taylor and his team of coaches had pivotal decisions to make to trim down the roster by 4 p.m. ET, weighing countless pros and cons and sealing many players’ futures.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that this roster isn’t set in stone for the upcoming season, and plenty could happen during waiver claims and once teams place players on injured reserve. For now, though, these players have secured a tentative spot on the Bengals’ squad heading into 2022.
Here’s a brief breakdown of each position group on the roster.
Bengals initial 53-man roster for 2022 season:
Quarterback (2): Joe Burrow, Brandon Allen
There were whispers that Jake Browning could overtake Allen for the QB2 role, but Allen’s experience in the offensive scheme likely won out in the end. The Bengals will take two quarterbacks into the 2022 season and keep their fingers crossed that Burrow doesn’t get injured.
Running backs (4): Joe Mixon, Samaje Perine, Chris Evans, Trayveon Williams
Mixon and Perine were locks for the top two spots, and Chris Evans get a nod as a versatile pass-catching RB3. Trayveon Williams beat out Jacques Patrick to earn the final spot, and time will tell whether Williams deserves it.
Wide receiver (5): Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, Stanley Morgan, Trent Taylor
Cincinnati’s elite trifecta needs no explanation, and Stanley Morgan and Trent Taylor will re-assume their backup roles from 2021. There’s no question that the Bengals will add extra depth to this unit before the start of the season, most likely bringing back special teams stud Mike Thomas once the team places a few players on injured reserve.
It’s a shame that young talents like Kwamie Lassiter and Kendric Pryor didn’t make the cut, but they can continue developing their skills on the practice squad if they aren’t claimed by waivers.
Tight end (3): Hayden Hurst, Drew Sample, Mitchell Wilcox
With Hurst as the go-to pass-catching tight end and Drew Sample making contributions in run-blocking, Wilcox secured the final spot. He beat out Justin Rigg, Nick Eubanks, and Thaddeus Moss (most remembered for that hit on Kayvon Thibodeaux) for the TE3 role and completes the tight end corps for 2022.
Offensive line (10): Jonah Williams, Cordell Volson, Ted Karras, Alex Cappa, La’el Collins, D’Ante Smith, Jackson Carman, Trey Hill, Hakeem Adeniji, Isaiah Prince
The starting five comes as no surprise. As for the backups, many familiar faces return to the squad and the hope is that they won’t have to fill in for snaps unless absolutely necessary. Some of the O-line cuts today include Lamont Gaillard, Nate Gilliam, and Desmond Noel.
Interior defensive line (4): D.J. Reader, B.J. Hill, Zach Carter, Josh Tupou
Rookie Zach Carter projects to be a decent backup with the potential to grow into a starting role as he learns from Hill; Josh Tupou gets brought back after a productive 2021 season in which he proved to be a reliable run-stuffing tackle. Nothing crazy here.
Defensive end (6): Trey Hendrickson, Sam Hubbard, Joseph Ossai, Cameron Sample, Jeffrey Gunter, Khalid Kareem
The team made tough choices in this unit, opting to cut Noah Spence, Domenique Davis, and Raymond Johnson in favor of Cameron Sample, Jeffrey Gunter, and Khalid Kareem. Sample, Gunter, and Kareem all represent draft picks from the last two years and will shoulder backup and rotational duties.
Linebacker (5): Logan Wilson, Germaine Pratt, Markus Bailey, Akeem Davis-Gaither, Clay Johnston
The feel-good story of the day is seeing Clay Johnston make the 53-man roster. Johnston put himself on the map in the Bengals’ preseason game against the New York Giants and offers a good amount of value on specials teams. The rest of the unit consists of familiar faces who will take on their respective starting and backup roles in the 2022 season.
Cornerback (7): Mike Hilton, Chidobe Awuzie, Eli Apple, Tre Flowers, Cam Taylor-Britt, Jalen Davis, Allan George
With Cam Taylor-Britt set to land on injured reserve, the Bengals may consider adding more depth to their cornerback unit. Allan George, the UDFA out of Vanderbilt, and Jalen Davis, a special teams contributor, each proved his worth in training camp this year, but Cincinnati may be motivated to sign another cornerback, perhaps on the waiver wire, if they find someone better than George or Davis.
Safety (5): Jessie Bates, Vonn Bell, Dax Hill, Michael Thomas, Tycen Anderson
Was anyone worried that Dax Hill wouldn’t win a roster spot? We didn’t think so. Michael Thomas, not to be confused with WR Mike Thomas, rounds out the group with his experience and special teams ability, and rookie Tycen Anderson gets the nod ahead of Trayvon Henderson.
Special teams (3): Evan McPherson, Kevin Huber, Clark Harris
Breaking news: Evan McPherson has made the Bengals’ 53-man roster. A huge surprise, right?
We’re joking, obviously. The biggest surprise is arguably Kevin Huber beating Drue Chrisman for the punter job, allowing Huber to continue his streak of dominance and potentially set an impressive record in Week 1. Clark Harris returns as the long snapper.
Overall, not too shabby. Some roster decisions may come under more scrutiny than others, but this is the Bengals initial 53-man roster for 2022.