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    Cincinnati Bengals 53-Man Roster Projection: Team Goes Lighter on Offense

    Four players from the 2021 draft class could see their time with the Bengals end as the roster moves forward with recent additions at their positions.

    CINCINNATI – The Cincinnati Bengals roster stands at 87 players with less than two weeks to go before the team reports for training camp.

    Expect Cincinnati to add three more players to reach the limit of 90. Among the positions most likely to be targeted are cornerback and interior offensive line, but other than quarterback and specialists, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the team add to any position group.

    Cincinnati Bengals 53-Man Roster Projection | Offense

    In recent years, those final additions have come within hours of the start of the camp.

    So while we wait, let’s project what the 53-man roster will look like come Aug. 27, which is the deadline for all teams to announce their cuts.

    Let’s start with the offensive side of the ball.

    Quarterback (2)

    Starter: Joe Burrow
    Backup: Jake Browning
    Others: Logan Woodside, Rocky Lombardi

    Burrow and Browning are not only locks for the roster, they’re locking out anyone else. There’s no reason to keep three quarterbacks on the 53. Woodside will battle Lombardi for the practice squad spot.

    Running Back (3)

    Starter: Zack Moss, Chase Brown
    Backup: Trayveon Williams
    Others: Chris Evans, Noah Cain, Elijah Collins

    Listing Moss and Brown as co-starters makes sense until we get a better idea of what the workload will be. However, Moss is most likely to be listed as the starter once the team releases its first official depth chart in September.

    It would be rare to only keep three running backs, but it’s not unprecedented. Twice in the Zac Taylor era, the Bengals have kept only three (2019, 2021), and going light at running back would allow Cincinnati to keep an extra player at a deeper position group.

    Evans has never really developed into what the team hoped he would when selecting him in the sixth round in 2021, and he would be a safe bet to clear waivers if Cincinnati were to release him on cutdown day with the intent of bringing him back on the practice squad.

    Yet, if Cain or Collins shine in camp, either or both could make the practice squad ahead of Evans.

    Wide Receivers (6)

    Starters: Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Jermaine Burton
    Backups: Andrei Iosivas, Trenton Irwin, Charlie Jones
    Others: Kwamie Lassiter II, Kendric Pryor, Shedrick Jackson, Cole Burgess, Tre Mosley

    Barring an injury, the six are set. Even if Lassiter, Pryor, or Jackson have a fantastic camp, it’s hard to imagine the Bengals keeping seven.

    It will be interesting to see whether Cincinnati lists Burton or Iosivas as the starter on the initial depth chart, but don’t be surprised if the former lines up for the first snap on Sept. 8.

    Tight Ends (4)

    Starter: Mike Gesicki
    Backups: Drew Sample, Tanner Hudson, Erick All
    Others: Tanner McLachlan, Cam Grandy

    I’ve been tracking the Bengals’ 53-man roster decisions since 2006 and never has their initial 53 included five tight ends. Maybe this is the year if they don’t want to expose fifth-round pick McLachlan to waivers.

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    Depending on where the rookies are in their recovery, Cincinnati could start one of them on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. But both All and Bengals offensive coordinator Dan Pitcher said the expectation is that he will be healthy enough to compete in camp.

    Offensive Line (9)

    Starters: Orlando Brown Jr., Cordell Volson, Ted Karras, Alex Cappa, Trent Brown
    Backups: Amarius Mims, Cody Ford, Matt Lee, Devin Cochran
    Others: Jackson Carman, Trey Hill, D’Ante Smith, Jaxson Kirkland, Nate Gilliam, Eric Miller

    Maybe the Bengals keep 10 as the ripple effect of only having three running backs, but a group of nine feels more likely.

    Carman, Hill, and Smith were part of the 2021 draft class, and all could be let go on cutdown day.

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    The Bengals have held on to Carman without much production for three years, but it didn’t cost much to invest in potential. This year, Cincinnati could save $1.7 million in cap space by moving on.

    Carman would be the fifth tackle on the depth chart, so Cochran could be a better fit there. The Bengals have kept him around despite injuries, so there is something they see in his potential.

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