ANALYSIS: Bengals’ 53-man roster projection after offseason program

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

The real competition won’t happen until training camp, but the Cincinnati Bengals learned a few things from the offseason workout program about how players might fit into their plans moving forward.

Cincinnati has 90 players on its current roster and will be whittling that down to 53 by the end of preseason.

Here’s another early projection of how the 53-man roster might look if it was determined based only off the offseason workout program:


Starter: Joe Burrow

Backup: Jake Browning

Others: Logan Woodside, Rocky Lombardi

Burrow was a full participant in the offseason program but was given a rest day each week so as not to overdo it in his return from November wrist surgery. He should be cleared for contact by training camp, and this time there is no competition for the job to back up Burrow. The Bengals have the advantage of knowing now what Browning can provide, and there’s not really a threat of anyone overtaking him. Woodside, a 2018 draft pick of the Bengals who is back after stints with the Titans and Falcons, should be a strong candidate for the practice squad spot.


Starter: Zack Moss

Backups: Chase Brown, Trayveon Williams

Other: Chris Evans, Noah Cain, Elijah Collins

The Bengals normally keep four running backs, but there is depth at other positions that might be more valuable to keep. Evans had long been considered a possible third-down running back based on what he did in the passing game in college, but that position was open for the taking last year and he did not grab hold of it. It seems less likely he does now, though not out of the question. Moss and Brown could be a solid 1-2 punch, and Williams can be still be helpful on special teams.

Credit: AP

Credit: AP


Starters: Jermaine Burton, Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins,

Backups: Trenton Irwin, Charlie Jones, Andrei Iosivas

Others: Cole Burgess, Shedrick Jackson, Kwamie Lassiter II, Tre Mosley, Kendric Pryor

No changes here since the post-draft roster prediction, though Jackson had a solid showing during the offseason program. Higgins, Burton and Chase make an exciting trio of starters, but the changing of the guard at the slot position, post-Tyler Boyd, could leave the door open for a guy like Charlie Jones or Trenton Irwin to step in as a starter if Burton isn’t ready for a major role right away. There’s a chance the Bengals would use a seventh spot on a receiver, but the tight end position and offensive line have players that Cincinnati will have a harder time cutting.


Starter: Mike Gesicki

Backups: Drew Sample, Tanner Hudson, Erick All, Tanner McLachlan

Other: Cam Grandy

It seems like All is still expected to be ready for training camp following his 2023 ACL tear, so the Bengals likely will need to at least consider taking five tight ends this time around. Coach Zac Taylor said at one point during the offseason that it’s not as necessary to keep as many offensive linemen on the roster because of the game-day elevations teams get, so maybe that was an indication Cincinnati could go lighter there this year to keep more of the weapons in the skill positions.


Starters: Orlando Brown Jr., Alex Cappa, Ted Karras, Amarius Mims, Cordell Volson

Backups: Trent Brown, Devin Cochran, Cody Ford, Matt Lee

Others: Jackson Carman, Trey Hill, Nate Gilliam, Jaxson Kirkland, Eric Miller, D’Ante Smith

Mims had a solid offseason clinging to Orlando Brown Jr.’s side, as well as Trent Brown’s when he was there, and the rookie seemed to soak up everything they showed and told him. He looked the part, but there’s a difference in putting it all together with the pads on in camp, so it could be an interesting battle for the starting right tackle job this summer. D’Ante Smith was a bubble guy included in the previous version of this roster prediction but he’s bumped off this one. Carman, Hill and Smith are all 2021 draft class members that haven’t panned out.

Credit: AP

Credit: AP


Starters: Trey Hendrickson, B.J. Hill, Sam Hubbard, Sheldon Rankins

Backups: Zach Carter, Kris Jenkins, McKinnley Jackson, Myles Murphy, Joseph Ossai, Cam Sample

Others: Travis Bell, Justin Blazek, Domenique Davis, Jeff Gunter, Cedric Johnson, Devonnsha Maxwell, Jay Tufele

The defensive ends are probably the most predictable, but Carter’s spot in the interior still seems in question after he struggled to make an impact last year. Much was made about how he transformed his body to be a stronger tackle after playing a lot off the edge in college, but he didn’t make the big Year 2 jump people expected. This will be an important training camp for him.


Starters: Germaine Pratt, Logan Wilson

Backups: Joe Bachie, Akeem Davis-Gaither, Devin Harper

Other: Aaron Casey, Shaka Heyward, Maema Njongmeta

The first four linebackers are unchanged and easy to pick out, but Aaron Casey could be a candidate for the last spot to replace departed free agent Markus Bailey. Harper still gets the nod for now based on experience, after playing six games last year as a waiver claim addition, but Casey can make a case based on how he might be able to help on special teams.

Credit: AP

Credit: AP


Starters: Vonn Bell, Cam Taylor-Britt, Mike Hilton, Geno Stone, Dax Hill

Backups: Tycen Anderson, Jordan Battle, Jalen Davis, Josh Newton, DJ Turner

Others: Daijahn Anthony, Michael Dowell, Allan George, DJ Ivey, P.J. Jules, Lance Robinson

Hill might have been getting extra looks with the first team this offseason but if there is something to read from that, he could end up with the edge over Turner for the other outside starting cornerback spot. The Bengals will want to give their 2022 first-round pick every opportunity to win a job, and ultimately his size could make him a better fit. After the offseason, it seems Bell will be the starting strong safety, though Battle will keep it a competition. Anthony could also make a case for the last roster spot over Anderson, who hasn’t been able to stay healthy and is coming back from an ACL injury. The Bengals really liked him before that, and might not be ready to give up on him, though.


Kicker: Evan McPherson

Punter: Brad Robbins

Long snapper: Cal Adomitis

Other: Austin McNamara (punter)

Robbins struggled with consistency as a rookie and could be pushed out by undrafted college free agent McNamara, but the competition could also be the thing to get Robbins where he needs to be.

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