Monday, August 31, 2009

2009 Bengals Depth Chart

With only one preseason game remaining and the season right around the corner we are currently looking a number of position battles while a few of the positions are already decided. Below we have listed each of the positions along with a short analysis and predictions as to how the final roster may shake out. The Bengals have already cut down to 75 but must take these players and determine their final 53 man roster.

1.Carson Palmer
2. J.T. O'Sullivan
3. Jordan Palmer

This position is pretty well locked at this point. Palmer is the starter as long as he is healthy and O'Sullivan has locked up the #2 spot. Jordan Palmer has been shaky this preseason but the Bengals like to have younger brother Jordan around for their franchise QB Carson.

Running Back:
1. Cedric Benson
2. Bernard Scott
3. DeDe Dorsey
4. Brian Leonard
5. James Johnson

Benson is the number one and will get the majority of the carries this year. However, don't be shocked to see a two headed game utilizing the speed and versatility of Bernard Scott. Scott will get a good deal of touches this season splitting carries with Benson. The battle comes for the #3 spot between DeDe Dorsey, Brian Leonard, and James Johnson. Dorsey has that game breaking speed but has been injury prone. Leonard is a big bruising body with good blocking ability. I look for Leonard to make the team because he is more versatile and could replace Benson if they need a bruiser.

Wide Receiver
1. Chad Ochocinco
2. Laverneus Coles
3. Chris Henry
4. Andre Caldwell
5. Antonio Chatman
6. Maurice Purify
7. Jerome Simpson
8. Quan Cosby
9. Freddie Brown

There is a good deal of depth in the receivers this year which will leave a few of them off of the 53 man roster. Ochocinco, Coles, and Henry will be the primary options. Look for Coles to be utilized as Houshmanzadeh was in the slot and middle of the field while Henry and Ochocinco stretch. Henry provides that big body which will be solid in the Red zone. As long as Palmer is around all three should be poised for big seasons. The #4 is locked with Caldwell right now. Maurice Purify has had a strong preseason and camp and may have jumped over Jerome Simpson. Simpson still has not been able to get himself on the field, which may result in a hallway meeting with Jim Lippincott. Purify has shown to be a solid gunner on special teams while Quan Cosby could make the squad as a punt returner especially after taking one to the house against the Rams.

1. Jeremi Johnson
2. Fui Vakapuna
3. Chris Pressley

Jeremi is still the number one but in my opinion still far away from being in football shape. Fui Vakapuna has had a strong camp but has been tweaked up at times. Chris Pressley burst onto the scene thanks to Hard Knocks but it looks like the numbers game may leave Pressley on the practice squad.

Tight End:
1. Daniel Coats
2. Chase Coffman
3. Darius Hill

Ben Utecht met with neurologists early this week to see if the head injury suffered during the pre-season that has ended his season and could end his NFL career. Utecht has a history of concussions and there is significant concern that he could suffer long term damage. That puts Daniel Coats at the number one. Coats is a solid blocker but is a liability as a receiver. Rookie Chase Coffman was a beast in college as a receiving tight end but so far for the Bengals he has run routes straight up and down like a hard on and needs to get a base. Coffman lacks the physical nature that Coats brings and may hurt the Bengals in run and pass blocking.

Right Tackle
1. Anthony Collins
2. Dennis Roland
3. Andre Smith

Despite a few penalties this year Anthony Collins has proven to be very strong at Right Tackle. Currently Andre Smith is still on the bottom of the chart but could rise rapidly as they decide where to use him. Early on the plan was to play Smith at right tackle but now there are rumblings that he could move to left side and move to left LG and jump Nate Livings. For now it looks like Collins is the guy.

Right Guard
1. Bobbie Williams
2. Scott Kooistra
3. Andrew Crummey

This is Bobbie Williams spot and Bobbie Williams will hold it down. Kooistra is a decent backup but if we have to depend on him this year it will be a long year for Palmer or maybe even O'Sullivan.

1. Kyle Cook
2. Jonathan Luigs

Cook has been Richie Brahm good so far this preseason which I think is very exciting for the Bengals. Luigs also seems to be catching on and could serve as a long term backup for Cook and provide the Bengals a good option if they need him.

Left Guard
1. Nate Livings
2. Evan Mathis
3. Jason Shirley

Nate Livings has had a few hiccups this preseason but overall has shown that he can compete as an everyday starter. There have been talks of potentially using Andre Smith in this position as speculated in an earlier post. But for now there really are no major position battles other than where Smith will fall.

Left Tackle
1. Andrew Whitworth
2. Augustus Parrish

I love Andrew Whitworth. Whitworth brings an attitude for this line and has shown some very solid leadership to a young line. Whitworth isn't exactly a long term verteran but seems to get it. Meanwhile "Randy Jackson" Parrish seems to be lost most times and may struggle but thanks to the down numbers may very well make the team. Lets just hope we don't have to see him on the field.

Strong Safety
1. Roy Williams
2. Chinedum Ndukwe
3. Kyries Hebert
4. Tom Nelson

Another interesting position to watch play out will be the safety position. For Strong Safety Williams and Ndukwe appear to be locked in. However, Tom Nelson appears to be making a strong case to make the team. I really don't see Nelson jumping over either Williams or Ndukwe but could make a strong case over Hebert who was leading tackler last year on special teams.

Free Safety
1. Chris Crocker
2. Marvin White
3. Corey Lynch

Crocker is locked in at the #1 and White should make the team. That leaves Corey Lynch. Lynch will be grouped in with Hebert, and Nelson as to who to decide they should keep. So far this season Lynch has not impressed the coaches and could find himself without a team.

Left Defensive End
1. Robert Geathers
2. Jonathan Fanene
3. Chris Harrington

Geathers has been pretty strong so far and will get a lot of downs on the end as long as he stays healthy. Fanene has also looked very positive when used in backup situations.

Left Defensive Tackle
1. Domata Peko
2. Clinton McDonald
3. Langston Moore

The Bengals brought Langston Moore back this season to add a little veteran depth to the weakest of positions on the D-Line. Having Peko as your starter doesn't exactly show weaknesses as Peko has emerged as a very solid interior lineman. But the depth at left tackle could be an issue.

Right Defensive Tackle
1. Tank Johnson
2. Pat Sims
3. Ventrell Jenkins

Tank still has some work to do to get back to the caliber of football that we know he can play. But all signs indicate that Tank will be a force inside for the Bengals and could help the interior run defense that we need. Along with Peko on the inside I hope to see a lot of push from the line this year which could free up the linebackers and strengthen the defense. Pat Sims has also been very impressive. Expect to see a lot of bodies rotating through the D-line this season.

Right Defensive End
1. Antwan Odom
2. Michael Johnson
3. Frostee Rucker

Odom has been dealing with injuries again this pre-season which has given rookie Michael Johnson a lot of opportunity. Johnson is a physical animal but has show to be a little shaky as far as finding his spots on the field. When he breaks loose he will be unstoppable. With time I think Johnson will be a stud. Rucker should make the team.

1. Rashad Jeanty
2. Rey Maualuga
3. Darryl Blackstock

Currently the Bengals have Jeanty in front of rookie Maualuga but indications from Hard Knocks show a strong desire to have Rey on the field. The knock on Maualuga since entering the draft was he tends to roam and get out of position. We have seen that work both against him and for him so far this preseason. Either way I think you will see a healthy does of both.

1. Keith Rivers
2. Brandon Johnson
3. Jim Maxwell

I am sure that Rivers has circled the Pittsburgh game on his calender at the opportunity to get a shot on Steelers receiver Hines Ward. If I were Ward I would avoid Keith like the plague. Rivers was on pace last year to contend for Defensive Rookie of the Year and it looks like he has not missed a beat. With the intensity of Maualuga and the veteran leadership of Dahani Jones this linebacking corp could be one of the best in a very good division.

Middle Linebacker
1. Dhani Jones
2. Abdul Hodge
3. Dan Skuta

Jones has the middle on lock, I will be interested to see if they move Rivers or Mauluga over there at all this season to see how well they can handle the position at this level. Jones gives you a very smart option in the middle who will have to help with the youth of Rivers and Mauluga in getting them in the right spots.

Right Cornerback
1. Leon Hall
2. Geoffrey Pope
3. Morgan Trent

Hall has really become a strong cornerback in the league. After struggles early Hall has put himself in good position and paired with Joseph the Bengals have two of the better young corners in the division.

Left Cornerback
1. Johnathan Joseph
2. David Jones
3. Rico Murray

Just as Leon Hall has Jonathan Joseph has also improved greatly in pass defense and will help with a much improved Bengals secondary. With the addition of hard hitting safeties like Roy Williams and the return from injury of Ndukwe. Joseph will be relied on to cover some of the best receivers this season and should answer the call. I expect a much improved secondary this year. With David Jones injured this has opened up opportunity for young guys to step up and make the team.

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