With their seventh-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals selected Jeff Gunter out of Coastal Carolina. Gunter appeared in 10 games as a rookie, notching just one tackle during that time.
When Gunter was on the field, it was as a special teams contributor, as he played in 29% of special teams snaps in the games he was active for. That's compared to just 6% of defensive snaps.
What should Bengals fans expect from Jeff Gunter in 2023?
Gunter is on the roster bubble this summer. As Glenn Adams of Stripe Hype noted, Gunter could find himself on the outside looking in due to competition from the likes of Cam Sample, Raymond Johnson III, and others.
"The Bengals kept six edge rushers on the roster on cutdown day last season, placing Khalid Kareem on IR shortly afterward. The first four spots are already filled, belonging to Trey Hendrickson, Sam Hubbard, Myles Murphy, and Joseph Ossai.- Glenn Adams
If the team carries five on the active roster, as they did after placing Kareem on IR, there will be a Royal Rumble for the final spot. Cam Sample, Johnson, Gunter, Tarell Basham, and Owen Carney fighting for the last pass-rushing role will be highly entertaining to watch play out during training camp and the preseason.
As Adams notes here, the Bengals kept six edge rushers last year but a player went on IR shortly after. If the team goes with five spots, there are four spots already locked up so it'll be a battle between several different players for the fifth and final spot. Gunter has his work cut out for him, that's for sure.
It doesn't help Gunter's case that he was nicked up during the 2022 season and had to miss time because of that. Seventh-rounders are always facing an uphill battle to make the roster but for Gunter, this is very much the truth given all of the competition surrounding him.
The good news is that if he doesn't make the initial roster, he can be stashed on the practice squad. That seems to be the likely scenario here.