Joe Reedy has offered up his first prognostication as to who will be on the final 53-man roster a week from now. Given that Joe is… you know… smart, and I am… well… me, I am not going to nit-pick his selections. But the list did raise some questions. And as WhoDeyFans, we’ve always got opinions.
Here are the guys that Reedy projects as your 2011 Bengals:
QB: Dalton, Gradkowski. Keeping 2 QBs makes sense. When was the last time you saw two QBs go down in the same game? If they are looking to the 3rd QB during a game, does it really matter if Dan LeFevour or Andre Caldwell or even Andre Smith is the one going under center? They are screwed anyway. Use the roster spot elsewhere.
RB: Benson, Scott, Leonard, Peerman, Pressley. I’m glad to see Pressley on this list. A fullback means commitment to the running game. But given the love he was getting early, where is Jay Finley? I have advocated for keeping Peerman as a between-the-tackles guy in case Benson goes down. But given the man-crush that Marvin had at camp, I figured Finley would get the nod.
WR: Green, Simpson, Shipley, Caldwell, Cosby, Whalen. This crew will not garner much attention early, but I love the potency with the speed and athleticism of Green and Simpson, and the hands in the middle of Shipley and Caldwell. DCs who dismiss this group will be asking for trouble.
TE: Gresham, Scaife, Cochart. Marvin is doing his typical obfuscating in regards to Scaife’s injury. My guess is we see him go on IR and Coffman gets an extra chance to prove himself. He had better seize the opportunity.
OL: (T) Whitworth, Smith, Collins, Roland; (G) Livings, Williams, Boling, Jean-Gilles; (C) Cook. No Otis Hudson? The key for this crew is the nastiness they bring to the game. They were not ready for the good D-lines of the Lions or the Jets, but they owned the Panthers. Guard is one area I expect the Bengals to scour the waiver wire in search of an upgrade. I would not be surprised if they find one.
DL: (E) Geathers, Johnson, Dunlap, Fanene, Rucker; (T) Atkins, Peko, Sims, McDonald. This group excites me. They will have a huge hand in the wins that the Bengals get this year by limiting opposing QBs. I think they could very well find themselves in the top 10 D-lines in the league. In the AFC North, that would be huge.
LB: Maualuga, Lawson, Howard, Johnson, Skuta, Moch, (Rivers on PUP). When was the last time that the Bengals’ DL and LBs were the two groups you felt best about? It wasn’t in the Mike Brown era, I bet. I want Maualuga to become the signature man-in-the-middle that good defenses have.
CB: Hall, Clements, Trent, Jones, Wade, Murray. My guess is we see Jones begin on PUP and Ghee makes the team. This is another area where the Bengals will pay particular attention as the search through waivers. I’d be shocked if there is not an upgrade to Rico Murray somewhere out there.
S: Crocker, Nelson, Mays, Sands. Reggie Nelson’s hair is quickly becoming one of my favorite Bengals. Beware the hair, because the hair is everywhere! With Sands being this year’s 5th round pick and the Bengals giving up pick(s) for Mays, this group is set. Let’s just hope they can all stay healthy!
ST: Huber, Nugent, Harris. I look for Huber to make a push for the ProBowl. Unless the Steelers bring back Kimo Von Oelhoffen to take out his knee.
UPDATE: With minutes of posting this article, ProFootballTalk.com announced that the Bengals have sent Clinton McDonald to Seattle in exchange for cornerback Kelly Jennings. This would seem to be an opportunity for Jason Shirley to make the team at DT. And while it makes sense for the Bengals to trade from a position of depth to bolster a position of need, PFT is clearly skeptical of Jennings’ reinforcement capacity. Did the Bengals make a smart move here, or did they get snookered?