Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE
Cornerbacks on roster: Jason Allen, Nate Clements, Brandon Ghee, Leon Hall, Chris Lewis-Harris, Adam Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick, Terence Newman, Shaun Prater
Projected starter: Leon Hall, Nate Clements
Offseason additions: Jason Allen, Chris Lewis-Harris, Dre Kirkpatrick, Terence Newman, Shaun Prater
Roster cuts: Derrius Brooks, Rico Murray
Projected final roster: Jason Allen, Nate Clements, Brandon Ghee, Leon Hall, Adam Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick
The spotlight at the cornerback position this preseason should be on Leon Hall as he attempts to return from a torn Achilles. If he cannot make a full recovery, the Bengals could be in for a long year.
Hall is in no way in danger of losing his job, but the second important player to watch at the position would be rookie Dre Kirkpatrick. If he can bounce back from his knee issue toward the end of the preseason it will be important to see if he can adapt to the NFL quickly.
As an insurance policy on the chance Hall did not recover, the team added Jason Allen and Terence Newman. Allen should have no problems making the roster, but Newman has been on the decline for some while and could be cut.
The talk of camp so far has been Brandon Ghee, a corner who has been unable to stay healthy, and even cut by the Bengals in the past. If he continues on the right course he could end up seeing serious playing time in 2012.
Adam Jones performed well in Hall's place last year, with the exception of the playoff game against the Houston Texans. Considering he is best as a slot corner, how he played against every team's No. 1 receiver is impressive. In 2012 he is an emergency corner that will see most of his playing time come on punt returns.
Nate Clements is still a solid corner, but could see some time at safety in certain scenarios. He is at the age where he is better at defending the run than pass, which is never a good sign for a cornerback's career.
All in all, there is no way to predict how the depth chart will shake out when the preseason concludes, but it is a safe bet that corner will be one of the deepest positions on the roster, health permitting.