As the preseason progresses, the final roster will begin to take shape for the Cincinnati Bengals. Even though there will inevitably be a few surprises, most roster spots are spoken for.
With surprises come disappointments, as there will be fewer roster spots for familiar names. Left holding the short end of the proverbial stick will be some guys who were with the team in 2022. Here are five players in danger of losing their roster spots from last year.
5. Jeff Gunter
Life as a seventh-round pick in the NFL is daunting. Being selected in the final round of the previous draft only for your team to take a guy at your position in the first round the next time they are on the clock is surely unsettling.
This is what has happened to defensive end Jeff Gunter. The former Coastal Carolina Chanticleers edge rusher was taken 252nd overall in last year’s draft.
Gunter would make the final 53-man roster on cutdown day last year and was active for 10 games last season. Although he remained on the roster, he was occasionally on the inactive game-day list. Sometimes this was due to injury. Other times, he was a healthy scratch.
When Cincinnati made Myles Murphy their first-round pick in this year’s draft, all of the defensive ends on the roster were put on notice. Now that the tunes are slowing down on this offseason’s musical chairs, Gunter could be one of the last players out.
Last year, the Bengals kept 10 defensive linemen, six defensive ends, and four tackles. Jay Tufele is making a strong push for the roster this offseason, so the team will likely keep five interior linemen and five edge rushers.
While Murphy has not set the world on fire, he has played the way we should expect him to, looking at his college career. From his draft status alone, count on Murphy having a guaranteed place on the 53-man roster.
If the coaches go with five edge rushers, anticipate Trey Hendrickson, Sam Hubbard, Joseph Ossai, Myles Murphy, and Cam Sample to remain on the final roster. If five is the number, the Bengals will try to have Gunter on the practice squad if they release him on cutdown day.