With every NFL offseason come the roster cuts.
There will inevitably be a load of players who don't make the NFL roster, and are therefore moved to the practice squad, or the "JV team" if you will.
In Cincinnati, this is normally not a time I look forward to, but this year—as morbid as it may sound—I'm actually eager to hear who makes the cut.
That's not to say that I'm looking forward to some of any players being "sent down," but the interesting part is that there are so many guys who could be among those cut. Some of them could also be big-time players if they were on other teams' rosters.
The Bengals, however, have a pretty good roster so here are five key players who had better be on high alert.
Brandon Tate doesn't seem like a very likely scenario for two reasons.
First, my bet is that if Cincinnati doesn't want Tate on their roster, they will cut him altogether. Second, even if the Bengals choose to move him to the practice squad, I don't see Tate accepting that option and choosing to instead become a free agent.
Tate has never really shown any sort of uncanny ability as a receiver and despite being a contender for the No.2 receiver slot, he had a terrible 2012 season.
At best, he's a mediocre return man, and with Adam Jones on the team, I don't see much of a reason to keep him there either. There's a lot of depth at the wide receiver position so it seems that Tate could be on the outside looking in.
There was once a time when I really thought Bernard Scott could be used quite a bit more than what he has been in Cincinnati.
After an injury-riddled 2012 season, it appears that Scott's Cincinnati career could be coming to a close. He was really non-existent in assisting BenJarvus Green-Ellis and allowed Cedric Peerman to see some playing time in which Peerman had a decent showing.
The speedy Scott is now in a battle for the third spot behind Green-Ellis and rookie Giovani Bernard—that is, he would be if he were healthy. Unfortunately, injuries have continued to nag Scott this offseason, allowing Peerman and Rex Burkhead to see more time in his place.
Given Scott's speed, the team may not be willing to completely part ways with him, but it does not seem likely we'll be seeing Scott on the field anytime soon.
I don't think this will shock anyone under the circumstances, but it's still worth mentioning.
Onterio McCalebb had a relatively successful career as a running back at Auburn, despite being arrested in May of 2011 for driving an unregistered vehicle and being unable to provide a valid driver's license.
In the NFL, it seemed that Marvin Lewis and Mike Zimmer thought it would be more suitable for McCalebb to play cornerback, a pretty good idea considering his speed. I doubt anyone expected McCalebb to make the roster, however, given how many cornerbacks the team already has in the fold.
However, I'm optimistic that McCalebb—following a fair amount of development and learning his position—could be a decent corner.
Tanner Hawkinson is a pretty good offensive tackle and was a good fifth-round option for the Bengals.
The problem for Hawkinson is that he's found himself in a rough situation. He's a left tackle by trade, but the Bengals already have Andrew Whitworth to play that position and Whitworth is one of the best in the game.
Even if he were a right tackle, Cincinnati re-signed Andre Smith during the draft.
As far as the depth chart is concerned, Dennis Roland is slated to be the backup to Whitworth while Hawkinson is set to be third string.
My bet is that Cincinnati will choose to have more players on its roster in key positions, which means that unless Hawkinson outplays Roland at training camp, he may be a victim of circumstance.
Oh, the fall that Dontay Moch has taken.
Since being drafted in the third round of the 2011 NFL draft, Moch has dealt with suspensions and injuries.
That has resulted in Moch playing in just one game since being selected.
Moch has been moved to defensive end on the Bengals' depth chart, but that doesn't seem to be a position where he's going to be seeing much time. With Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap set to start there, while veteran Robert Geathers and rookie Margus Hunt ready to back them up, I don't anticipate seeing Moch very often.
Had he been able to stay healthy and avoid trouble with the league, it's possible that Moch could have developed into one of the better defensive players under Mike Zimmer's tutelage.
As it is, the Moch Project in Cincinnati may be coming to a close.