There’s an argument to be made that this year’s Cincinnati Bengals team is the best that’s ever existed. It’s at least on par with the latest iterations that went deep into the last two postseasons.
According to head coach Zac Taylor, the depth of his team entering year five of his tenure is second to none.
“It’s the best we’ve had,” Taylor said of his team’s depth in his closing presser from minicamp. “And it’s hard in pro football now to have. I think it’s as strong as a 53 man roster that we could potentially have.”
High-end talent at the top of the depth chart is a luxury to possess. Joe Burrow, his receivers Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and elite defenders DJ Reader and Trey Hendrickson get all the acclaim. It’s the rosters that are built strongly from top to bottom who have the best chances of lasting through February.
The potential for what looks to be a strong 53-player group is exciting, but there’s still ample work left to be done for the more inexperienced names.
“Some of these guys still have a long ways to go to be the caliber player that we intend on them being,” Taylor said of the younger players filling out the depth chart. “But I’ve been really excited just watching some of these position groups work and you just really kind of think through where the rosters at the 90-man [roster] and you are really encouraged with top to bottom.”
The top speaks for itself, while the bottom is what changes year after year. Cincinnati’s latest draft class includes eight rookies who all have a roster spot on lock or on their respective radar. That’s impressive for a team that just went to a second consecutive conference title game a few months ago.
From first-round pick Myles Murphy, looking to make an impact rotating behind Hendrickson at right edge, to Jaxson Kirkland, hoping to crack the final roster at guard, the talent this team possess on all levels is worth highlighting.
“There’s no players that don’t belong here,” Taylor said. “Everyone belongs here and has role, and I’m excited to watch all these guys compete in training camp. I’ve been really excited watching these position groups work.”
Coach speak aside, Taylor and the personnel department have handled this offseason very well, managing inevitable roster turnover while focusing on big picture deals for Burrow and Co.
The depth the roster will start the season with will factor in to how long they can last against fellow Super Bowl contenders.
It’s an edge that cannot be discounted when the games matter the most.