<
>

Cincinnati's projected starting lineup

5/1/2012

It's only days removed from the draft, and no AFC North team has taken the field for a practice yet, but that won't stop us from looking ahead. Each day this week, we'll project the starting lineup for a team in the division. Let's start with the Cincinnati Bengals:

OFFENSE

QB Andy Dalton: The Who Dey Nation asks, Carson who?

RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis: He's the prize of the Bengals' free-agent period.

FB Chris Pressley: Agreed to a two-year extension in March.

WR A.J. Green: He's been working out with Larry Fitzgerald this offseason.

WR Jordan Shipley: The No. 2 wide receiver job is wide open, but I'm giving the nod to Shipley if he's fully recovered from his knee injury.

TE Jermaine Gresham: First Bengals tight end since Dan Ross from the early 1980s to post two seasons of 50 receptions or more.

LT Andrew Whitworth: He often goes overlooked in a division with Joe Thomas in it.

LG Travelle Wharton: A free-agent signing from the Carolina Panthers, where he started 99 games in eight years.

C Kyle Cook: Enters fourth season as the Bengals' starting center.

RG Kevin Zeitler: First-round pick was possibly best run-blocking guard in the draft.

RT Andre Smith: The big question is whether he can continue the progress he made last season.

DEFENSE

LDE Robert Geathers: Recorded 29 tackles last season, his lowest since his 2004 rookie season.

NT Domata Peko: Led defensive line in tackles for second straight year.

RDT Geno Atkins: Topped all NFL interior linemen with eight sacks last season.

RDE Michael Johnson: Regains his starting job after Frostee Rucker signed with the Browns in free agency.

SLB Manny Lawson: Returned to Cincinnati for a one-year, $2.1 million deal.

MLB Rey Maualuga: He could be facing a suspension from the NFL for his latest off-the-field incident.

WLB Thomas Howard: Led team in tackles in first season with the Bengals.

LCB Nate Clements: He has to fight off first-round pick Dre Kirkpatrick to keep his starting job.

SS Taylor Mays: His job looks safe after the Bengals didn't take a safety in the first four rounds of the draft.

FS Reggie Nelson: Re-signed with the Bengals this offseason for $18 million over four years.

RCB Leon Hall: If Hall (Achilles injury) isn't ready to start the season, Bengals can turn to Kirkpatrick, Terence Newman or Adam Jones.