The Cincinnati Bengals play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday night and it makes for some interesting viewing, to say the least.
Yes, it’ll be the first look at big names like Ja’Marr Chase (and those sleek new jerseys). But it’ll also present a look at some intriguing names with a chance to steal playing time or a roster spot outright.
Here’s a look at the names we’re most excited to see.
The rookie has been turning some heads at camp. His blend of rushing skill and ability as a receiver has been impossible not to notice. Will it translate to the pros in a live game right away? If so, he could really push Trayveon Williams and Samaje Perine for looks.
Smith was initially viewed as a developmental project in the fourth round, especially as he put some weight back on his frame. But he’s rocketed up the depth chart to second string — at guard, no less. So now it’s time to see just how far along he really is and if he might threaten for more sooner than we thought.
This has been…not the best start for Carman. The second-rounder ended up third on the depth chart at a guard spot most seemed to think he’d end up winning. His doing that would mean proving the Bengals right for only otherwise really adding Riley Reiff to upgrade the line. Instead, Carman is lower on the depth chart than a fourth-rounder. He’s facing arguably more important preseason games than anyone on the roster now.
Moss was a fun story. He’s got the legendary dad and the Joe Burrow connection from that 2019 LSU squad. But turns out he’s more than just a story — he’s made some noteworthy plays in camp while some like Mason Schreck haven’t had the most inspiring performances. If he starts making plays in live games, he’s headed to the final roster.
Viewed as an incredible value of a pick in the third round, it’s time to see how Ossai’s array of moves are developing and if he can make it work against pros in a live setting. If so, he might get more reps in the regular season than we might’ve guessed.
Is the hype warranted? Tupou was good at what he did two years ago before opting out of last season. The team drafted LSU’s Tyler Shelvin. But Tupou has been getting reactions like he’s one of the better defenders on the field in camp, which is nothing but a good thing for the entire unit if it’s true.
The new arrival had a miserable year in Dallas last season, though that’s not saying much considering how bad the entire Cowboys defense was. He’s always had the feel of a major rebound/breakout candidate in 2021 and so far, he’s off to a fast start in camp.
Hey, maybe it’s silly to want to see a rookie kicker do what he does best. But he’s got some good competition from Austin Seibert. There’s also the specter of the whole Jake Elliott debacle hanging over the franchise. Time to see if McPherson can run away with the job by kicking well in a live setting.