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Bengals 2018 Position Breakdown Part III: Wide Receiver and Tight End

Richard Skinner breaks down the Bengals roster battles position by position heading into training camp. (WKRC){p}{/p}
Richard Skinner breaks down the Bengals roster battles position by position heading into training camp. (WKRC)

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NOTE: This is the third of a seven-part series detailing each position group for the Bengals heading into training camp, which begins on July 26.

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - This part takes a look at wide receiver and tight end who are locks to make the 53-man roster when it's finalized on Sept. 1, who are likely to make it and who are long shots to make it:


  • How many will likely be kept: 6-7
  • Locks to make it: A.J. Green, John Ross, Brandon LaFell, Tyler Boyd
  • Likely to make it: Josh Malone, Alex Erickson
  • Long shot to make it: Auden Tate, Cody Core, Kermit Whitfield, Devonte Boyd, Ka'Raun White

The Skinny: Green is still among the best wide receivers in the NFL, but after that there are a lot of question marks for a lot of reasons.

LaFell is pedestrian, but still finished last season second on the team in receptions (52) and receiving yards (548).

Ross' rookie season was a waste as the 2017 first-round pick was limited to only 17 snaps due in part to injury and never quite being able to show enough on the practice field to warrant more playing time. He is off to a better start this year by taking part on OTAs and mini-camp, which he didn't do last season while rehabbing from shoulder surgery. He could have a huge impact on the offense if he plays up to expectations.

Boyd had a disappointing 2017 after a very good rookie season in 2016, but he did finish on a high note with 10 of his 22 receptions coming in the last two games, including the game-winning 49-yard touchdown catch and run with 44 seconds left in the season finale at Baltimore.

Malone, who was a fourth-round pick last season, is still a work in progress, but the coaching staff is high on his potential.

Erickson has been the Bengals primary punt and kickoff returner each of the last two seasons and has been dependable as a receiver when given the chance (he had 12 catches for 180 yards in spot duty). There are a lot of options now at punt and kickoff returner so he may get pressed to make it.

The 6-foot-5 Tate impressed in mini-camp, especially in the red zone, but he must show more quickness getting out of his breaks. If he has a good camp and preseason he has a good chance to make it.

Core hasn't shown much in his two seasons and must wow during camp and preseason, while the others are extreme long shots.


  • How many will likely be kept: 3
  • Locks to make it: Tyler Eifert, Tyler Kroft
  • Likely to make it: C.J. Uzomah
  • Long shot to make it: Mason Schreck, Moritz Bohringer, Jordan Franks (note: Cethan Carter was listed with the running backs as an H-Back)

The Skinny: Eifert is a huge question mark after he was limited to only two games last season and is coming off back surgery. He did not participate in OTAs or mini-camp and it's still unknown how well he can perform. He played in only 24 games over the last four seasons and 13 of those came in 2015 when he earned a spot in the Pro Bowl.

Kroft did a solid job in place of Eifert last season. He played in all 16 games and finished fourth on the team in receptions (42), third in receiving yards (404) and second in touchdown receptions (seven).

Uzomah needs a good camp and preseason to solidify his spot as the third tight end. He played in 24 games in the last two seasons combined, and last season had 10 catches for 92 yards and a touchdown in 14 games.

Schreck was a seventh-round draft choice in 2017, but missed all of last season when he was placed on injured reserve. He has the best shot of any of the long shots to make it.

The Bengals have an exemption on the practice squad they can use on Bohringer, while Franks will have to perform much better than he did in OTAs and mini-camp.

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  • July 16: Quarterback and Specialists
  • July 17: Running Back
  • July 18: Wide Receiver and Tight End
  • July 19: Offensive line
  • July 20: Defensive line
  • July 21: Linebackers
  • July 22: Secondary.
  • July 23: Final 53-player roster projection
  • July 24: Media Luncheon
  • July 25: Players report
  • July 26: Training Camp begins with first practice starting at 3 p.m. at fields adjacent to Paul Brown Stadium.
  • Training Camp Schedule: Click here.
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