The Bengals got an early start on trimming their roster to 53 players Friday when running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis was one of four players shown the door. The writing has been on the wall since the Bengals took Jeremy Hill in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, and when both Hill and starting back Giovani Bernard made it through the preseason unscathed, “The Lawfirm” became expendable.
The team made a slew of moves Saturday which included waiving defensive tackle Devon Still, receiver Cobi Hamilton, defensive end project Dontay Moch and H-back Orson Charles.
With all the fuss about who’s leaving, it’s easy to forget to take a look at who’s sticking around and what that means to the team. Here are a few observations on the post-cut roster:
• The team returns 17 of 22 offensive and defensive starters from Week 1 a season ago. Only two of the five missing players — new Buccaneers Michael Johnson and Anthony Collins — were wanted back by the team.
• Once again, the team keeps two quarterbacks. This year it’s Andy Dalton and Jason Campbell, but that number figures to go to three when A.J. McCarron is healthy enough to play.
• Interesting to see the team keep four running backs with Rex Burkhead and Cedric Peerman joining Bernard and Hill on the 53-man roster. Ryan Hewitt beating Orson Charles for the fullback/h-back spot will likely come as a surprise to many.
• Seeing six receivers make the cut is also a surprise, but could have been done because Marvin Jones will likely miss the season’s first month. I expect Dane Sanzenbacher and James Wright to continue competing for one roster spot once Jones returns (with Sanzenbacher winning the job).
• Nine offensive linemen is pretty standard. There’s a lot of versatility behind the first five, which we all know Paul Alexander loves.
• With both Christo Bilukidi (Angolia) and Margus Hunt (Estonia) among our nine defensive lineman, the Bengals boast a pair of big bodies from the Eastern Hemisphere.
• All five of Cincinnati’s cornerbacks — Darqueze Dennard, Leon Hall, Adam Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick and Terrance Newman — were first-round draft picks (credit to Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson for reminding me of this fact)
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS (when everyone is healthy):
QB-Dalton, HB-Bernard, WR-Green, TE-Eifert, LT-Whitworth, LG-Boling, C-Bodine, RG-Zeitler, RT-Smith, TE-Gresham, WR-Jones
LDE-Dunlap, DT-Atkins, DT-Peko, RDE-Geathers, WLB-Burfict, MLB-Maualuga, SLB-Lamur, CB-Hall, FS-Nelson, SS-Iloka, CB-Newman
On paper, this may be our most talented “first-22” since 2005, if this group isn’t better. We may be seeing the deepest overall roster in Bengals history.
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