Cincinnati Bengals 53-Man Roster Projection: Which Offensive Spot Could They Go Light?

There is one position group where the Cincinnati Bengals could buck their trend and go light in order to keep an extra player at a deeper spot.

CINCINNATI – The Cincinnati Bengals held on to every one of their draft picks and selected 10 players last weekend.

The 10 draft picks increased the number of players on the roster to 73.

Shortly after the draft, the Bengals reportedly agreed to terms with another 14 undrafted college free agents. If all 14 end up signing — they’ll need to pass a physical and not get wooed for money to go elsewhere — that would bring the total to 87.

Cincinnati Bengals 53-Man Roster Projection

We’re still three months away from the start of training camp and four shy of the deadline to cut the roster to 53.

But it’s never too early to make a 53-man roster projection. Let’s kick things off with where things stand on the offensive side of the ball:

Quarterback (2)

Starter: Joe Burrow

Backup: Jake Browning

Others: Logan Woodside

Burrow and Browning are locks, and there is no reason to believe the team would keep three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. Woodside will be battling reported UDFA quarterback Rocky Lombardi for a spot on the practice squad.

Running Back (3)

Starter: Chase Brown, Zack Moss

Backup: Trayveon Williams

Others: Chris Evans

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).

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.

Going light at running back would allow the team to keep an extra player at a deeper position group.

Let’s go with Brown and Moss as co-starters until we get a better idea of how that workload split is going to work.

Wide Receivers (6)

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

Backups: Trenton Irwin, Charlie Jones, Andrei Iosivas

Others: Kwamie Lassiter II, Kendric Pryor, Shedrick Jackson

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

Tight ends (5)

Starter: Mike Gesicki

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

Others: None

I’ve been tracking the Bengals’ 53-man roster decisions since 2006 and never has their initial 53 included five tight ends. But this could be the year.

There’s a good chance All and McLachlan would get claimed if the Bengals cut them at the deadline, and by going light at running back, it affords the team to keep five.

With All coming off an ACL injury, there is a chance he could start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, but that would require him not practicing at all in training camp. 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

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

KEEP READING: Quarterback, Punter Among Undrafted Free Agents Bengals Will Bring In

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

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 the team 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 fitter fit there. The Bengals have kept him around despite injuries, so there is something they see in his potential.

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