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Three 2020 training camp battles to watch for the Cincinnati Bengals

How will these Cincinnati Bengals training camp battles unfold ahead of the 2020 season?

The Cincinnati Bengals were the worst team in football last year, recording an overall record of 2-14. Heading into 2020, they look to right the ship with a team that looks much different than it did in 2019. With all these new faces, there are likely going to be some interesting training camp battles to follow throughout the offseason.

The Bengals have some intriguing new additions after what they hope will prove to be a successful 2020 NFL Draft, with former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow preparing to take the helm after being selected first overall off the heels of one of the most successful seasons we’ve ever seen from a college football player.

Here’s a look at three training camp battles that will be interesting to watch unfold as they prepare for the season.

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Cincinnati Bengals 2020 training camp battles

Backup Quarterback: Jacob Dolegala vs. Ryan Finley

Burrow is the starting quarterback of this team — there’s no question about that. But following the departure of veteran signal-caller Andy Dalton, who will be behind him on the quarterback depth chart?

That’s going to come down to Dolegala and Finley.

Finley didn’t exactly fare well when he was named the starter over Dalton, but he could still have the opportunity to play backup this season. In the three contests he entered as the starter, Finley completed just 47.1% of his passes for two touchdowns and five interceptions. That’s an atrocious completion percentage and an even tougher touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Related | Can Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow get A.J. Green back to Pro Bowl level?

The 6-foot-7, 242-pound Dolegala has still yet to play a snap, but his physical traits and raw ability are intriguing. The undrafted rookie could quickly gain the edge, and even if he isn’t Burrow’s immediate backup, he could take that spot sooner rather than later.

The verdict: Jacob Dolegala

Right tackle: Fred Johnson vs. Bobby Hart

Hart is the incumbent starter, but Johnson is right there behind him and could steal the position away from him. Hart, who has started every game since he became a member of the Bengals back in February of 2018, was also the most penalized offensive lineman on the team last year.

Johnson came to the Cincinnati by way of the Pittsburgh Steelers last year, earning a Week 17 start against the Cleveland Browns. Could he become a starter on the opposite end of the line in a more consistent position?

Johnson still needs some additional development, but we’ll find that out if he can make a jump like this soon enough.

The verdict: Bobby Hart

Tight end No. 1: C.J. Uzomah vs. Drew Sample

This competition features a veteran and a 2019 second-round draft pick as the Bengals aim to fill to the void of Tyler Eifert, who was such an integral part of the offense.

Related | Burrow and wide receiver draft targets key to Bengals bounce back

Given that Uzomah is entering his sixth season with the Bengals on a sizable contract, he’s the favorite to win the job. But his production hasn’t been up to par, only accounting for 439 receiving yards and three touchdowns in his strongest season with the Bengals.

Looking into Sample’s production, we face an unknown. He was injured during his rookie season, which limited him from giving the Bengals an idea of what he can contribute on the field.

What we do know about Sample is that he’s a solid blocker, considered one of the best blocking tight ends ahead of being drafted. Clearly, we still need to see Sample in action in meaningful NFL football games, but he could be an eventual upgrade at the position.

The verdict: Drew Sample

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