Rewind: Bengals roster projection review


CINCINNATI -- Now that the Cincinnati Bengals' initial 53-man roster has been solidified, let's take a quick look back at ESPN.com's last Bengals roster projection from Friday to see what we got right, and what we got wrong (projections that were missed are in bold):


This was an easy one. After AJ McCarron didn't practice in the preseason, we knew the Bengals would probably end up only taking two quarterbacks into the season. On our first roster projections, back before training camp and before his shoulder injury became an issue, McCarron was listed as a third quarterback.


We got these all correct, with BenJarvus Green-Ellis the odd man out. The only change from the July projection was that we had Orson Charles making the team at H-back instead of Hewitt. That was before Hewitt, an undrafted rookie free agent, started impressing in training camp.


One more all-correct group. Wright, by my estimation, had a better preseason than his roster-bubble counterpart, Cobi Hamilton. There were flashes from Hamilton, but inconsistency ruined him. With offseason uncertainty about Tate, he was left off the pre-training camp projection. We went with five receivers at that time.


There was very little reason to believe this trio would fall apart. We had the same group at the start of training camp.


Hopkins made it on Friday's roster projection because very little was known at the time about the severity of his leg injury, suffered in the Bengals' third preseason game eight days ago. He had previously been expected to possibly sneak onto the roster, but the injury instead allowed the Bengals to put him on Injured Reserve, and use his spot for someone else. Back in July, I thought the Bengals would take nine linemen, and that Hopkins wouldn't make it. I also projected backup center Trevor Robinson to make it over Johnson.


Instead of Bilukidi, I had Devon Still making the team as the alternate defensive tackle behind Peko. It seemed to make sense. Still was a former second-rounder who was injury-free and finally in a spot to prove his worth to the team. But Bilukidi played better overall, forcing Still onto the practice squad. Still also made the July roster projection.


As you can see, Porter was the player who I got wrong this time. I was anticipating the Bengals to go heavy in their defensive backfield. I didn't believe they would keep a seventh linebacker, particularly after Porter had some trouble staying on the field because of preseason injuries. He also was left off the pre-training camp projection.


It was possible the Bengals would have had a sixth cornerback, as we anticipated in July, but there was no reason to think these five wouldn't make the team.


Our last botched projection came here, where I thought veteran Danieal Manning -- who has since re-signed with Houston -- would outlast Williams. However, Williams' has upside, and special teams ability beyond simply being a return man like Manning. Before training camp, we had Williams making the roster, and Manning making it over Mays.


Same solid group as last season.