For the next eight days we're taking a look at Cincinnati Bengals who could be on the dreaded training camp roster bubble later this summer. These are players whom we think you should expect to see fighting for spots when the eventual 75-man preseason roster gets trimmed to the regular-season 53.
As permitted by league rules, the roster currently stands at 89.
Why he's on the bubble: Hamilton was a practice squad designation all of last season as the Bengals filled out the receiver position with other young talent. It's possible Hamilton could end up back on the practice squad this season, but the Bengals likely wouldn't want to place him there and run the risk of some other team signing him away. (Practice squad players on 53-man rosters are eligible to be signed by any team at any time.) At 6-foot-2 and with great leaping ability, Hamilton has some qualities the Bengals would rather use before letting another team try to exploit them. The receiver could especially be good in red zone situations where a bigger body is useful when passing on the shorter field. But the Bengals already have taller receivers and tight ends in A.J. Green, Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham.
What he has to do to get off the bubble: As we mentioned earlier in this series, Brandon Tate likely will be battling for one of the final receiver spots with Hamilton and rookies James Wright and Colin Lockett. One factor working against Hamilton is his lack of special-teams ability. Wright was drafted primarily because he was a solid special-teamer in college, recording tackles as part of LSU's kick coverage units. The speedy Lockett returned kicks at San Diego State. Tate served as the Bengals' punt and kick returner last season. He likely wouldn't be returning punts this season since Adam Jones is healthy, as are all the other defensive backs. To get off the bubble this preseason, Hamilton has to simply take over in each preseason game he plays, running routes at true game speeds and making as many tough catches as he can. Bottom line, if he shines on offense, Hamilton may have a chance to keep shining in the regular season.
Odds he makes the team: High. The fact the Bengals could lose a player with the type of height and leaping ability Hamilton has if they place him on the practice squad should make him a lock for the 53-man roster. He could be a good passing option not only in the red zone but also on deep downfield throws.