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@ColeyHarvey. Thanks for the question, Andrew. Since you and others have pretty similar questions in this mailbag, I'm going to take the time now to shamelessly plug an item ESPN.com ran on each of its NFL Nation blogs Friday. All 32 team reporters broke down their teams' depth charts, and offered their best guesses at what each 53-man roster will look like when it's all said and done. Here is my Bengals projection. Along the same lines (another shameless plug coming, my apologies), I also spent part of the summer looking at the 11 Bengals players who I consider "on the bubble" entering training camp.
@ColeyHarvey what 10 players are fighting for the last 5 spots on the Bengals 53 man roster?— Andrew Hursh" (@Hursshhh) July 18, 2014
@ColeyHarvey. Moch certainly could bolster the Bengals' pass rushing presence, but I'd have a hard time saying right now that he's a better rusher than Wallace Gilberry or Margus Hunt. Cincinnati is aware of what Moch could bring to the table as a hybrid outside linebacker/rush defensive end. The organization signed him out of free agency for much that reason. As the Bengals try to confuse opposing lines with a series of defensive line rotations, having a player with Moch's versatility at the two levels of defense could be a big benefit. Sam Montgomery presents a little bit of that versatility, as well, although he's more of a true end than Moch is.
@ColeyHarvey don't you think Moch could be the better pash rusher behind Atkins and Dunlap if he makes the roster?— Alberto Luque (@muertedeatenas) July 18, 2014
@ColeyHarvey Who has the better shot of making the team, either Practice or 53-man. Wright or Wilder?— Scott Hulett (@ScottHulett1) July 18, 2014
Interesting questions, Scott. If I had to choose between the two, I'd pick James Wright right now. That's primarily because of the special teams benefit he provides, as well as the impressive play he consistently had on offense during minicamps and organized team activities this spring. Coaches certainly like him, as they do James Wilder Jr. The problem for Wilder is that he's at a position that's already chock-full of versatile talent. Both Cedric Peerman and Rex Burkhead could factor into the Bengals' special teams plans, making them that much more marketable in the battle for the final running back roster spots. Wilder also has some special teams experience, playing on coverage units in college at Florida State, but it just seems that Wright's exploits in that area are universally accepted as being better.
@ColeyHarvey And can they really afford to let either walk and join another squad?— Scott Hulett (@ScottHulett1) July 18, 2014
@ColeyHarvey. You could come up with any number of answers to this question, Shawn. But I think we'll certainly see rookie running back Jeremy Hill break out this year. I could see first-round pick Darqueze Dennard play well in a backup cornerback role, too. That's particularly if a player ahead of him on the depth chart goes down with an injury (which, as we saw last season, isn't out of the realm of possibility) he would be asked to play a key role for the defense. His reputation as a shutdown corner helped him get to the NFL, and that style of play should help him turn heads in this first year. Tight end Tyler Eifert seemed poised for a productive year, as do the ends Dunlap, Gilberry and Hunt. Also, as I've said before, don't be surprised if quarterback Andy Dalton plays consistently better in offensive coordinator Hue Jackson's system. Oh, and I might as well include former onetime-undrafted free agent Vontaze Burfict since his two-year career has been defined by breakout seasons.
@ColeyHarvey Which players are primed for a breakout 2014 season in your opinion?— Shawn Coleman (@SColeman8109) July 18, 2014