The Cincinnati Bengals have a few talented players that will not make the final 53-man roster. Nevertheless, a few guys have shown and proved that they are ready to contribute to the team’s success if they have not already. Yet, despite their noteworthy performances, they still find themselves in danger of missing out on a place on the roster.
While most of the final roster slots are set, there need to be a couple of spots available for a few guys who deserve to make the team. Here are three players the Bengals must make room for on the final 53-man roster.
3. Trent Taylor
Every roster conversation and prediction that we hear and read suggests that wide receiver Trent Taylor is on the outside looking in for the final 53-man roster. However, Cincinnati would be wise to make room for the veteran.
Taylor is one of the best punt returners in the NFL. He was tied for the most punt returns over 20 yards last season with five. He was fourth in the NFL in yards, and his 10.3-yard average was third among all players with 30 or more returns.
Who will be the starting punt returner if Taylor does not make the team? The popular pick among fans is Charlie Jones but his shoulder injury could prevent him from thriving in that role.
Moreover, Jones’ collegiate stats do not surpass Taylor’s from last season. Counting on a rookie to take over for a veteran with superior stats in the pros would be wishful thinking.
There are other options, but are they better than Taylor? Trenton Irwin had three returns with an average of 10.3 yards per return in 2021. The Bengals could throw Jones back there despite his shoulder injury. Tyler Boyd is a capable punt returner, but would the team want such an integral part of the offense returning punts full-time?
Taylor not being on the final roster would create, not solve, another problem.
Furthermore, Taylor is a capable receiver and is the backup to Tyler Boyd at slot receiver on the depth chart. He has shown that he can be counted on in crucial moments of the season.
The Bengals should do their best to hold on to Taylor. If not, he could be a valuable backup receiver and one of the best punt returners in the league for another team.