Quarterback (3): Joe Burrow, Ryan Finley, Jake Dolegala
Burrow is the obvious starter, but head coach Zac Taylor believes in Finley and Dolegala. The Bengals did sign Brandon Allen at the start of camp, but he appears to be an emergency fourth quarterback. Expect Cincinnati to try to keep Allen around on the practice squad. They could also keep the fourth-year signal-caller and try to sneak Dolegala on the practice squad. Expect them to keep three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster and another one on the practice squad.
Running Back (3): Joe Mixon, Giovani Bernard and Trayveon Williams
The Bengals take a risk here and only keep three running backs. Semaje Perine and Jacques Patrick both showed their potential in scrimmages during training camp, but it's not enough to make the final roster. They will likely try to keep both players on the practice squad. Perine has experience in the Bengals system and Patrick showed enough potential to keep him around for the regular season.
Wide Receiver (8): A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, John Ross III, Tee Higgins, Auden Tate, Mike Thomas, Alex Erickson and Stanley Morgan Jr.
This is the deepest position group on the roster. Tyler Boyd, Auden Tate and Mike Thomas were fantastic in training camp. Alex Erickson and Stanley Morgan Jr. both flashed their ability in the scrimmages, but their special teams ability is what makes them valuable. Green, Ross and Higgins are obvious locks. Instead of exposing Morgan or Erickson to the rest of the league, the Bengals play it safe and keep eight wide receivers.
Tight End (3): C.J. Uzomah, Drew Sample, Cethan Carter
Expect Cincinnati to keep three tight ends. Uzomah and Sample will both have roles in the passing game. Uzomah had a good camp and Sample looks much more explosive than he did a year ago. Carter's blocking ability and role on special teams gives him an edge over the rest of the tight ends competing for a roster spot. Will they keep one or two tight ends on the practice squad? That's the big question with Mason Schreck and Mitchell Wilcox in the mix for a practice squad spot.
Offensive Line (9): Bobby Hart, Fred Johnson, Jonah Williams, Michael Jordan, Trey Hopkins, Xavier Su'a-Filo, Hakeem Adeniji, Billy Price and Alex Redmond
The offensive line is considered the weakest position group on the team. The coaching staff must be comfortable with Hart, Su'a-Filo, Hopkins, Jordan and Williams starting Week 1 because they got most of the first-team reps throughout camp. Redmond could push Su'a-Filo down the line, but he'll start the season as a backup. Adeniji had a good camp and could see playing time at some point this season.
Defensive End (4): Carlos Dunlap, Carl Lawson, Sam Hubbard and Khalid Kareem
Dunlap is 2.5 sacks away from becoming the Bengals' all-time sack leader. Lawson has shown flashes of potential when healthy and Hubbard leads the 2018 draft class with 14.5 sacks. They drafted Kareem to play the edge right away. Dunlap and Lawson didn't practice last week, but barring a setback, they should be good to go for the opener.
Defensive Tackle (5): Geno Atkins, D.J. Reader, Andrew Brown, Mike Daniels, Christian Covington
The Bengals defensive tackle room looks different than it did a few weeks ago, but Andrew Brown really stepped up and earned a roster spot. Mike Daniels is a no-brainer. Expect the Bengals to try to sneak Freedom Akinmoladun onto the practice squad after trading for Christian Covington.
Linebacker (5): Josh Bynes, Germaine Pratt, Logan Wilson, Akeem Davis-Gaither and Markus Bailey
The Bengals have completely rebuilt their linebacker room this offseason. The first four on this list were all locks. Bailey takes the fifth spot because Jordan Evans went down with a hamstring injury. The Bengals could keep Evans and put him on injured reserve, then bring back Bailey, but they might not want to risk losing the seventh-round pick out of Purdue. If Evans were to be placed on IR, he could return as early as Week 4. Trading Austin Calitro to the Broncos increases Bailey's chances of making the roster.
Cornerback (6): William Jackson III, Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander, Darius Phillips, Tony Brown and LeShaun Sims
The Bengals cornerback room looks much different than it did a season ago. Trae Waynes will make the team, but they'll place him on IR and bring back another player. Keep an eye on Winston Rose and Torry McTyer. They're probably battling for that sixth cornerback spot.
Safety (4): Vonn Bell, Jessie Bates, Shawn Williams and Brandon Wilson
Wilson's kick return ability makes him invaluable to Darrin Simmons' special teams squad. He can also serve as the fourth-string safety. If Williams misses time with his calf injury, then it may be wise to place him on IR. The Bengals play their first two games of the season in a four-day span. If he can't play against the Chargers then he probably won't play against the Browns. What's the harm in placing him on IR and bringing him back for their Week 4 matchup against Jacksonville?
Specialist (3): Randy Bullock, Kevin Huber and Clark Harris
This is the easiest projection to make. Bullock made 27-of-31 field goals last season, including a 57-yarder, which set a new career-high. Harris is as reliable as they come and Huber had one of his better seasons.
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Quarterback (3): Joe Burrow, Ryan Finley, Jake Dolegala
Burrow is the obvious starter, but head coach Zac Taylor believes in Finley and Dolegala. The Bengals did sign Brandon Allen at the start of camp, but he appears to be an emergency fourth quarterback. Expect Cincinnati to try to keep Allen around on the practice squad. They could also keep the fourth-year signal-caller and try to sneak Dolegala on the practice squad. Expect them to keep three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster and another one on the practice squad. Subscribe for full article
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