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Too Many Receivers and Not Enough Spots: An In-Depth Look at the Bengals' Battle at Wide-Out

This is one of Cincinnati's most interesting preseason roster battles.

The Cincinnati Bengals have a packed wide receiver room. The roster currently has 85 players on in, but that number will drop to 53 players by Aug. 31. 

The wide-out competition is one of the most interesting battles to watch over the next week with cut down day looming, 

At the top of the Bengals receiver depth chart they have what should be one of the more talented groups in the league. Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins both came close to reaching 1,000 receiving yards last season, even with quarterback Joe Burrow missing six games.

They also added star LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase to the mix with the fifth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. 

Auden Tate, who has shown potential, but has never had a breakout season, will be their fourth receiver on the depth chart. Those four are obviously locks to make the 53-man roster, but things are up for grabs after that.

Wide receiver Trent Taylor could easily make the final roster. He played three seasons in San Francisco before joining the Bengals, and similar to Tate, he has shown flashes of potential but has yet to have a breakout season. 

Taylor racked up 430 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie, but hasn’t reached those numbers since. He also has experience returning punts, with 49 career punt returns totaling 471 yards. His experience as a returner could help him earn a spot on the roster.

Another receiver likely to make the roster is Mike Thomas. Thomas spent four seasons with the Rams before joining the Bengals last season, where he caught 13 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown. He played in 229 offensive snaps and 70 special teams snaps for the Bengals last season, which is a solid amount for what would be their sixth receiver on the roster. Although his chances at making the team are pretty good, nothing is guaranteed.

After Taylor and Thomas, the battle starts to get very interesting. Trenton Irwin is a popular name among Bengals fans right now. Irwin has had a very impressive camp and looked solid in the first preseason game against the Buccaneers. It’s important to note that the Bengals have kept seven receivers on the roster in each of the past two seasons, which means if they keep that pattern up, Irwin has a shot at that last spot.

Also competing for the last receiver spot is Stanley Morgan. Morgan is entering his third season with the Bengals, and while he has never been a factor offensively, he has been a solid special teams player for the team. He has played 291 special teams snaps for the Bengals over the last two seasons, which gives him an advantage over Irwin in that regard. While Irwin looks like the better receiver, Morgan is more valuable on special teams. It is sure to be a tough decision between the two.

Rounding up the group is Scotty Washington. Washington has yet to play an NFL snap, but had a pretty successful career at Wake Forest. It is unlikely that he makes the final roster, but he could be someone the Bengals could keep on their practice squad.

Overall, the Bengals have one of the more talented receiver groups in the AFC. They're young, but have the potential to be a dominant group. If the Bengals choose to keep seven receivers, Taylor, Thomas, Morgan, and Irwin are all in the mix to fill out the final three spots. With the deadline coming up, this will be one of the more interesting storylines to monitor over the next 11 days. 

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