With minicamp wrapped up, it is time to make an official update of the roster projections to kick off a discussion of how players are progressing. The end of minicamp marks the end of activities for the next 6 weeks until the start of training camp. So sound off about who you think ought to be moved up or down, and we will see who is right once camp gets going.
There ought to be plenty to discuss about the wide receiver spot. With 8-10 legitimate candidates for 6 spots, the decision on who to keep and who not to keep will not be easy. But there are other topics to discuss as well. Could they try to get by with just 8 OL to keep an 7th receiver? Or go without a FB?
Let me make this disclaimer up front. These projections represent how I think the roster will turn out, not necessarily how I want the roster to be put together.
|OFFENSIVE ROSTER PROJECTION #2|
|Pos||Starter||Backup||Practice Squad||Miss The Team|
|QB||Andy Dalton||Bruce Gradkowski||Tyler Hanson||Zac Robinson|
|RT||Andre Smith||Anthony Collins||Matthew O’Donnell|
|RG||Kevin Zeitler||Clint Boling||Trevor Robinson|
|C||Kyle Cook||Reggie Stephens|
|LG||Travelle Wharton||Otis Hudson||Matt Murphy|
|LT||Andrew Whitworth||Dennis Roland|
|WR1||A.J. Green||Marvin Jones||Kashif Moore||Ryan Whalen
|WR2||Brandon Tate||Armon Binns|
|WR3||Mohamed Sanu||Andrew Hawkins||Jordan Shipley (PUP)|
|TE||Jermaine Gresham||Orson Charles
|FB||Chris Pressley||James Develin
|Dan Herron||Rodney Stewart
Some thoughts and questions:
QB: Anyone making the case that Hanson ought to be on the 53-man roster? Who do you cut to make room for him? I say he can gain just as much on the PS as he can being the Asst Captain of the Clipboard. But I congratulate Tyler for showing a whole lot more than I thought he had. With work during the season, he replaces Gradkowski as the backup next year.
OL: All four tackle positions and starting center stay the same from last year. But at guard, I will be watching the battle between Stephens, Boling and Hudson. With Boling having (a little) experience, and with Stephens able to play both guard and center, I see Hudson as starting off at a slight disadvantage. Can he outplay one of them in camp to earn a spot?
WR: Let the fun officially begin.
#1) I think Tate will edge out Binns as the starting #2 WR to begin the season, despite how close the race between them is right now. Tate’s experience is a good thing. I love the potential in all of these young guys, but they need more than just one or two guys with experience at catching the ball in an NFL game.
#2) Shipley’s return has been steady but slow. Unless he gets back to 100% speed before camp starts, I see the Bengals putting him on PUP just before camp starts to let him fully recoup and avoid the risk of a setback in camp. Even if Shipley avoids PUP and takes snaps in camp, I think Sanu gives him a real challenge for the first guy in at the slot.
#3) I hate listing Whalen as missing the team, but someone with some real potential is going to be the odd man out. Jones will get on the field when they need real speed, and Hawkins is a shifty receiver and special teams ace. If you think Whalen makes the team, who are you cutting instead? The fight between Kashif Moore and Taveon Rogers will be a fun one to watch.
TE: The tussle between Colin Cochart and Donald Lee is another one that I am not completely sure about. Lee’s skills are good, but he isn’t exactly young. If Cochart can keep pace with Lee, the coaches may prefer to hang on to him instead as a guy who can back up Gresham and Charles for years to come.
RB: As much as I like Stewart’s speed, the 4th RB spot is all about special teams, and Peerman is an important piece of the ST crew, so I had to change my mind there. Herron is already at a disadvantage by missing everything since rookie camp with an injury. Could another team take a risk and try to sign him off of the practice squad?