The Cincinnati Bengals made 30 moves to trim their roster to the NFL-mandated 53 players. Here’s a closer look at the final moves:
Most significant move: The Bengals finally picked their kicker, going with veteran Randy Bullock over rookie fifth-rounder Jake Elliott. The Bengals tend to hang on to their draft picks, and the last one that didn't make the team in any capacity was 2014 seventh-round pick Lavelle Westbrooks, who was waived with an injury.
The Bengals would've liked to keep Elliott, who has a strong leg (he just barely missed a 60-yarder on Thursday), but Bullock earned this spot by having a fantastic camp and was the most consistent kicker in both practice and games. Bullock did not miss a preseason kick until Thursday night. Elliott just wasn't consistent enough.
Bullock will likely be on a short leash with Elliott potentially going to the practice squad if he clears waivers. The Bengals know they stuck by long-time kicker Mike Nugent for too long last season, and it didn't help when the newly-signed Bullock missed a game-winning field-goal try against the Texans. Several losses last season could be directly attributed to the problem at kicker.
More changes to come: The Bengals currently sit at 53 players, with the possibility that Jeff Driskel goes on IR next week. Driskel, who injured his thumb in the final preseason game, is a potential IR designated-to-return candidate, but he must make the initial 53-man roster to be eligible to be brought back.
If Driskel is placed on IR next week, the Bengals would have at least one open spot. They might take a look at the waiver wire, particularly at offensive tackle where depth is thin, or they could keep that spot open so they don't have to make a corresponding move when Adam Jones returns from his one-game suspension.
Bengals keep seven wideouts: Keeping seven wide receivers on the roster was always a possibility with the influx of talent on the roster. John Ross' injury on Thursday night sealed that.
If Ross' knee injury keeps him out for a few weeks, the added depth will be necessary. With seven wideouts, two will likely be inactive on game days. The most likely candidates are either Malone or Core, along with Ross. Erickson is going to be one of the team's kick returners and will be active on game days for that purpose, with Green, LaFell and Boyd the primary receivers in the Bengals' three-wide receiver sets.
Erickson seemed a potential bubble candidate to start training camp, but he proved he could be an asset on offense in addition to his spot as a returner.
Released (23): DE Will Clarke, G J.J. Dielman, K Jake Elliott, S Brandon Wilson, LB Bryson Albright, LB Brandon Bell, WR Chris Brown, DE Ryan Brown, S Demetrious Cox, LB P.J. Dawson, DT David Dean, DE Marcus Hardison, FB Darrin Laufasa, OT Landon Lechler, G Cameron Lee, CB Tony McRae, OT Kent Perkins, WR Alonzo Russell, G Dustin Stanton, DT Josh Tupou, WR Kermit Whitfield, DT DeShawn Williams, RB Jarveon Williams.
Suspended (2): LB Vontaze Burfict, CB Adam Jones.
Traded (1): CB Bene Benwikere to the Cowboys for a conditional 2019 sixth-round draft pick.