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02.01.2020 02:23
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8 former undrafted free agents make Bengals’ 53-man roster The Bengals released their initial 53-man roster on Saturday afternoon and it included seven former undrafted free agents Tyler Boyd Jersey , though none are rookies.Breaking into the NFL after being passed over in the draft is no easy task. It takes hard work and a little bit of luck, but seven players have overcome all obstacles to clear final cuts make the Bengals’ 53-man roster.The former undrafted free agents on the Bengals’ 53-man roster are running back Tra Carson, offensive linemen Trey Hopkins and Alex Redmond, defensive lineman Josh Tupou, linebackers Vincent Rey and Hardy Nickerson, cornerback Tony McRae, and wide receiver Alex Erickson.Linebacker Vontaze Burfict is the suspended list and does not currently count toward the 53-man roster, but is also a former undrafted free agent.Rey is among the best known of this group and is a great success story. Signed in 2010, Rey was placed on the practice squad for most of his rookie year. He became a spot-starter in 2013 and has been a valuable backup for the Bengals since then. Despite going undrafted, Rey has become one of the leaders on the defense and has been a stand-up member of the Cincinnati community.Hopkins and Redmond are returning for their second seasons on the active roster after beginning their careers on the practice squad. While Hopkins fought for and won the starting job at right guard last season, Redmond may have that job this year. Whoever ends up starting will be a valuable member of the line going forward.One fan favorite that ended up making the roster is Carson, who saw plenty of setbacks in his two years with the Bengals. He played on the practice squad in 2016 before being placed on IR in 2017 following a nasty preseason injury. But he finally made the 53-man roster this season after earning a spot among the running backs over Brian Hill. Carson was one of the best running backs for the Bengals this preseason, rushing for 77 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. Carson is the only player on this list that will be making his roster debut on opening day.Others who have played on the active roster Erickson, Nickerson, McRae, and Tupou. The later three were placed on the practice squad last year after being cut, and all three were promoted at some point but were used sparingly and out of desperation. Nickerson and Tupou both had great preseasons this year, which helped them win decisive position battles. McRae overcame an injury that kept him out of most of the preseason, he made good use of the limited time he had. Erickson wowed in his rookie year preseason, beating out Brandon Tate for the Bengals’ returner job. That job still belongs to him in addition to being a backup receiver. Whether they get playing time or not, it is still an incredible milestone for these guys to wear a white color-rush uniform in Indianapolis next Sunday. For those undrafted players who didn’t make the roster John Miller Jersey , their work is not done. Players like Quinton Flowers, Jordan Franks, Chris Worley, Junior Joseph, and Brandon Bell could be added to the practice squad and make their way onto the roster later this year. The common factor between most the players mentioned above is time spent on the practice squad. Interestingly, no rookie undrafted players made the cut.For some of the players who didn’t make it, they are only one injury away from a promotion to the roster. Going in-depth and breaking down the Cincinnati Bengals offensive line following two major departures.The offensive line was once the strength of the Cincinnati Bengals. It took a major step back last season however, and could be an even bigger problem in 2017. With the departures of Kevin Zeitler and Andrew Whitworth, the Bengals could be in trouble.Article continues below ...Given that we’re in the dog days of summer with no NFL football, the offseason calls for an assessment of the team. We’ve been going position-by-position and looking at each group thus far.This time, we dive into the offensive linemen.Offensive Linemen*Russell Bodine (1,060 snaps; 77.7OVR, 63.6 Pass Block, 75.5 Run Block)*Clint Boling (942 snaps; 77.0 OVR, 84.7Pass Block, 55.9Run Block)*Cedric Ogbuehi (680 snaps; 39.4OVR, 35.5Pass Block, 55.9Run Block)*Jake Fisher (300 snaps; 43.5OVR, 42.5Pass Block, 52.7Run Block)*Andre Smith (182 snaps; 39.3OVR, 41.6Pass Block Cheap Trey Hopkins Jersey , 38.7Run Block)Eric Winston (279 snaps; 59.5OVR, 50.3Pass Block, 70.5Run Block)Trey Hopkins(10 snaps; 50.6 OVR, 60.0 Pass Block, 45.5 Run Block)T.J. Johnson (95 snaps; 50.6 OVR, 77.8Pass Block, 49.3 Run Block)ChristianWesterman(N/A)Alex Redmond(N/A)Kent Perkins(N/A)Dustin Stanton(N/A)J.J. Dielman(N/A)Landon Lechler (N/A)* = expected starter | 2016Pro Football Focusgrades in parenthesisThroughout the recent playoff runs for Cincinnati, their offensive line has stood as a key strength. Football Outsiders rated them as No. 4 in pass protection in 2011, No. 3 in 2013, andNo. 5 in 2014. 2012-14 saw the Bengals stand as the No. 11 run blocking unit every year by the Football Outsiders metrics, and 2015 had them leading the entire league as a unit.2016 was a step down. They ended up being passable in run blocking, but plummeted in pass blocking efficiency.That’s immediately evident in the number of sacks allowed. From 2011-15, they were a top eight team in sacks allowed four times, giving up no morethan 30 sacks three times and never giving up more than 32 in those years. The only year where they didn’t was 2012, a seasonwhich looked similar to their 2016 blocking performance. That season, they gave up 46 sacks— seventh-most in the league.More from NFL Spin ZonePittsburgh Steelers: 5 Veterans who won’t survive 2017 training camp1 h agoOakland Raiders: Donald Penn could extend his stay for another season2h agoOne NFL player from each team you want to cook out with on Memorial Day3h agoNew England Patriots: Patrick Chung has recovered from Philadelphia woes3h agoJacksonville Jaguars: Will Leonard Fournette win Rookie of the Year?17h agoThat 2012 unit was on the upswing amid recent changes, however. Andre Smith just finished the best season of his career. Whitworth was in the midst of yet another high-end season in a career full of them. Zeitler has a good start to what would be a Bengals tenure filled with highly-graded seasons. Clint Boling improved massively from his rookie year to be at the positive level he’s held onto to this day. Kyle Cook was a decent-quality starter in the middle and would go on to give the team another year of competent play before Russell Bodine eventually replaced him.There’s little from 2016 that points to much positive movement ahead in that same vein.Zeitler’s departure leaves an unanswered hole at his vacated right guardspot, and Whitworth’s leaves another at left tackle. The right tackle spot is just as bad off, with nobody stepping up there last year and little being done to help it this offseason. Boling and Bodine are capable guys at left guard and center, respectively, but having them stand as the best of a unit isn’t a good sign for an upcoming season.This is where the inherent penny-pinching ways of Cincinnati owner Mike Brown really hurt his franchise. He’s loosened the purse strings a bit more than he used to (this guy once flamed out on signing Warren Sapp because of allegedly messing with the incentive/guarantee structure of a contract) Clayton Fejedelem Jersey Limited , but even with plenty of money on the cap in recent years he’s still been reluctant to sign even his best players before they go elsewhere, even when there isn’t a replacement plan in place.Zeitler and Whitworth are perfect examples.Zeitler definitely got expensive (five years, $60 million, $31.5 million guaranteed), but this is a top-level player at his position (only six guards outperformed his 87.1 PFF grade, and he was top-10 in both pass blocking and run blocking grades). Those are the guys you pay a premium for!If cost was really that big of a problem (and with the salary cap leaving them plenty of millions to work with for them coming into the offseason, it’s a weak argument), the team should’ve made a better effort to sign him prior to or even during the season.Whitworth was a bit more defensible, but barely so. He’s 35, with 11 years of games on his body. The deal he signed with the Rams gives him$33.75 million ($15 million guaranteed) over three seasons. That is a major investment for an aging player. Even the best fall off at some point, and the older someone is the more likely that reality sets in.Without him, however, this team has no capable options in place. Ogbuehi and Fisher were brought in a couple seasons ago to prepare for this exact scenario, but neither has been even slightly passable in their opportunities. With how long Whitworth was with the team (and seemingly on good terms with them as well), it wouldn’t be stretching the imagination to see him come back if offered something halfway decent.Cincinnati seemed to have no interest in him returning, though, and their stalwart tackle (who PFF graded as high-quality or excellent in nine of his 11 seasons so far, including a 91.3 rating last season) moved on.With the high-end veterans gone, Cincinnati is left with a couple decent starters and a cavalcade of awfulness to dig through in hopes of fielding a workable five-man unit.Bodine should be fine as the starter in the middle for at least one more season, and Boling is a decent player one his left side. Those other spots have so much left to be determined unfortunately, and none of these options should plausibly be expected to do well based on what we’ve seen to this point.Start with the tackles. Looking at what they have William Jackson Jersey Limited , the likely path would have Ogbuehi on the left and Fisheron the right. Both have been dramatically bad in their two season so far, so expecting even one of them to take over and succeed in such an important role would be a bad gamble. Relying on both to do so at the same time is a laughable farce.Aug 29, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tackle Andre Smith (71) against the Chicago Bears in a preseason NFL football game at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 21-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY SportsWhat other choice do they have at this point, though? Their only other options are even worse. Andre Smith was given the boot after his production fell off a cliff in 2014 and 2015; he’s only become more of a liability since, and injuries are a major worry too. Winston was an okay run blocker last season, but his pass blocking was awful (though it must be said, itstill graded better than the other three options…somehow). He’s also 33 and hasn’t had a good season in four years.Move on to the right guard spot, and it isn’t really a better outlook. T.J. Johnson did okay as a run blocker in 2016, but atrocious pass blocking limits his potential effectiveness in a starting role. Trey Hopkins has only 10 snaps to his name(and they weren’t good). Past that are a ton of names who either haven’t ever lined up for the team (Redmond, Westerman) or were just added as UDFAs (Perkins, Stanton).Smith actually stands to be their choice so far at guard apparently, but while positional switches have prolonged the usefulness of careers before there isno reason to expect it will be some cure-all in fixing his (or Cincinnati’s) problems.More from NFL Spin Zone5/29 – Pittsburgh Steelers: 5 Veterans who won’t survive 2017 training camp5/29 – Oakland Raiders: Donald Penn could extend his stay for another season5/29 – One NFL player from each team you want to cook out with on Memorial Day5/29 – New England Patriots: Patrick Chung has recovered from Philadelphia woes5/28 – Jacksonville Jaguars: Will Leonard Fournette win Rookie of the Year?This is like trying to build a house out oftwigs and debris. Unfortunately, it’s allthe Bengals have left themselves with, so they have to make some determination with what they’ve got available.I think when it comes down to it, they’ll stick with Ogbuehi at left tackle, Boling at left guard, Bodine at center, Smith at right guard, and Fisher at right tackle. That’d be the easiest path Preston Brown Jersey , but I think it wouldn’t be their best one.There are a couple possibilities I’d prefer to see them attempt instead.The first would be trying one of either Redmond or Westerman at guard in the place of Smith. Neither has shown anything yet, but that could be a good thing in this case. While we don’t know if they’re good, we aren’t assured as of yet that they are bad. Smith is an aging, ineffective, injury-prone individual switching to a new position. It’s grasping at straws to hope he can magically return to effectiveness at this point in his career.Westerman is a guy who elicited comparisons to Alex Mack coming out of college, and was said to be able topotentially play at any interior spot. Redmond wassaid to be a fluid mover with good field intelligence. Late-round guards have found places in starting lineups often in this league, and those profiles point to a much higher ceiling than what Smith would do. Plus, if either works out they could be a long-term solution rather than a last-ditch stopgap.The other possibility would be moving Bodine from the middle to that right guard spot. He played some guard in college so it wouldn’t be completely new to him, and it would immediately raise the prospects for that position. The center spot would be vacated to do this, but the Bengals may be better suited to handle a change there. Cincinnati did just add a center in the draft in Dielman. Westerman and Redmond both were discussed as being able to possibly slide to center in the leadup to their draft too.Comparing this with the other possibility, we end up with either a choice between Redmond, Westerman, or Dielman at center or Smith, Redmond, or Westerman at right guard. Of those, the former has a clearly better collection of potential for growth and longevity.Next: Memorial Day: NFL players you’d love to cook out withAt the end of the day, none of these are all that exciting though, and the Bengals have nobody to blame but themselves for this outcome.When they look back on another season where they allowed 40+ sacks and got their quarterback and runners clobbered, they’ll certainly regret leaving their blocking cupboard so bare.This article originally appeared on

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