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Bengals' post-draft depth chart: Sp. teams

5/21/2014

OK, it's only late May, and the Cincinnati Bengals still haven't started organized team activities (OTA). That doesn't mean we can't try to break down their depth chart.

We've been spending this week taking a stab at how the team's position-by-position rotations may look when training camp opens July 24 (Note: The original start date was July 23, but the Bengals last week pushed the camp's start back a day).

After looking at offense Monday, we broke down the defense Tuesday. Now, we close with special teams:

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker

1. Mike Nugent

2. Quinn Sharp

Analysis: These first three analysis blurbs are easy. In all three instances, the player who has the No. 1 by his name will be the, you guessed it, No. 1 player at his position. Nugent is not in a kicking competition with Sharp. He'll be returning this fall as the lone place-kicker on the team. Sharp will be around for OTAs and training camp as just another leg the Bengals can use as they get ready for the season. Sharp's stay is expected to be a short one. It is worth noting, though, that Nugent's contract will be up at the end of this season.

Punter

1. Kevin Huber

2. TJ Conley

Analysis: Yep, it'll be the Nugent and Huber Show once again in 2014. Just like Sharp, Conley is only around for a brief stay. He's another very likely candidate to be cut at the end of training camp. He's primarily around to give the Bengals an additional leg as they work through the rest of the offseason. His signing last month has nothing to do with Huber's health. Huber is expected to be back at full strength from a broken jaw he suffered late in the 2013 season well before the start of the 2014 campaign. Huber also will resume his duties as Nugent's holder.

Long-snapper

1. Clark Harris

Analysis: He's the only true long-snapper the Bengals have on the team.

Punt returner

1. Adam Jones

2. Brandon Tate

3. Dane Sanzenbacher

4. Giovani Bernard

Others: Jeff Scott

Analysis: Now that the Bengals are heading into a season with a fully healthy secondary, expect Jones to resume his duties as the team's lead punt returner. He began last season as the first punt return option, but was quickly shelved after injuries struck many of his teammates in the defensive backfield. Tate was a good fill-in, and certainly could factor into special teams coach Darrin Simmons' final decision at the position.

Kick returner

1. Brandon Tate

2. Adam Jones

3. Giovani Bernard

4. Marvin Jones

5. Cedric Peerman

Others: Colin Lockett

Analysis: Tate's 26.1-yard kick return average was among the best in the league among players who had as many returns as he did. The deeper the season went, the better his returns appeared to get. So look for him to continue fielding kicks as the primary option at that position. Lockett, an undrafted free agent signed last week, also could be an option after returning kicks at San Diego State. He had 31 returns last season, averaging 24.5 yards per return.