The Cincinnati Bengals open training camp July 27 with a special practice at Welcome Stadium in Dayton, Ohio. Here’s a 53-man roster projection:
The Bengals would probably like to make fourth-round pick Finley Dalton’s only backup, but based off OTAs, he certainly doesn’t look ready for that role yet. Driskel has a lot of experience now after filling in for an injured Dalton last year, so it’s likely he gets at least one more season while they develop Finley.
While sixth-round pick Rodney Anderson said he hoped to be ready for training camp after suffering a torn ACL last year, that certainly isn’t a given. That paves the way for other sixth-rounder Williams to make the team this year.
The Bengals have kept six and even seven wideouts at times, so it’s possible the little-used Cody Core could make the team as a sixth receiver or a training camp standout (perhaps Hunter Sharp) could sneak in. Right now though, the only givens are the core five.
Newcomer Sample joins Eifert and Schreck, both of whom were injured last season. Uzomah recently got an extension, so he's not going anywhere. It'll be another one-year deal for Eifert, who has been unable to stay healthy but was performing well until a broken ankle last September.
Jonah Williams will head to IR after suffereing a torn labrum, and left guard Clint Boling is retiring. It was a toss-up if Redmond would make the team again after his replacement was signed in Miller, but with Boling out, Redmond stays on to compete for a spot. Keep an eye on undrafted college free agent O'Shea Dugas as wildcard pick here, as the Bengals are in need of tackles with Williams out.
Lawson and Glasgow will return from ACL injuries while newcomers are free agent Wynn and fourth-round pick Wren. Defensive tackle Ringo showed some promise at the end of the season, so he could slide into a spot here, but don't count out Andrew Brown.
With Vontaze Burfict gone, the usual September shuffling won’t happen here, as Vigil, Brown and Pratt will be the likely starters. Longtime veteran Vincent Rey wasn’t re-signed, but Jefferson could see more playing time after being little used last year. Sixth-round pick Davis should have a great shot to make the team considering the issues at linebacker last year.
Four of these spots are already set between Kirkpatrick, Jackson, Webb and Dennard. Whether they keep five or six cornerbacks and who that might be is a question. Several players were rotated into the lineup last season due to injuries, but nobody really solidified his role. However, Phillips could have potential. For now, the projection is keeping both of last year's fifth-round picks in Phillips and Harris. who showed promise in the preseason before he was injured. They could be fighting for one spot though.
The Bengals have been content in the past to go with four safeties, although that could change under the new regime. For now, they'll stick with the same four that began the 2018 season. Fejedelem is a solid backup and special teams player, while Bates and Williams will be the starters.
No surprises here, as all three have been around for quite some time. The Bengals recently gave Bullock an extension.
INJURED RESERVE (1): Jonah Williams