Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals have wasted the talent of A.J. Green (Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire)

It’s time to talk about the most irrelevant team in the NFL, the Cincinnati Bengals. There’s nothing more than a whole lot of blah with this team. Can we just end the Marvin Lewis and Andy Dalton era now please before my eyes bleed out from boredom? Cincy figures to be in the bottom half of the AFC North once again and really have the bleakest future of any NFL team. Is there anything to look forward to when it comes to the anemic Cincinnati Bengals heading into training camp?

3 Position Battles To Watch:

1. Tight End: Tyler Eifert, Tyler Kroft

Which Tyler will emerge as the primary tight end for the Bengals? Eifert has the highest ceiling but he’s always injured. Eifert did a whole lot of nothing in 2017 reeling in a measly 4 catches. However, when Eifert is good to go, he can really be a threat inside the 20’s. It wasn’t too long ago that Eifert snatched 13 touchdowns in 2015. Regardless, Kroft has emerged as a guy. 42 catches and 402 yards is no small feat. Add in his 7 touchdowns and Kroft may actually be the preferred target to Dalton.

2. Middle Linebacker: Vontaze Burfict, Malik Jefferson

Malik Jefferson will be the middle linebacker to start the season after Vontaze Burfict was popped for PED’s again. Jefferson has the tools to be an elite linebacker but we didn’t always see it at Texas. Jefferson was a five-star recruit and can really get after the quarterback. he’s a better athlete than Burfict but not nearly as instinctual. Given Burfict’s antics on and off the field, Jefferson will be given a chance to see the field as a third-round pick.

3. Free Safety: George Iloka, Jessie Bates III

Here’s another example of a rookie ready to steal someone’s job. The two players couldn’t be more opposite either which makes it fun. George Iloka doesn’t have the best range but he’s a reliable safety who can tackle. Bates is a rookie who has unreal range and even played the outfield for Wake Forrest’s baseball team but he can’t tackle to save his life. Get ready for a dogfight to see who takes the job!

Ready To Breakout: Carl Lawson

Carl Lawson turned out to be a gem after the Bengals stole him in the 4th round a year ago. Lawson was a really good player in college and really only dropped because teams became wary of his short arms. Well, that proved to be a faulty reason not to draft him because the former Auburn product is ready to burst onto the scene. Lawson notched 8.5 sacks as a situational pass rusher which allowed him to show off his crazy 10-yard split time that we saw at the combine. Expect an even bigger role for Lawson in year-two.

Rookie To Watch: Sam Hubbard

Sam Hubbard is a guy who is going to bring it on every down. Hubbard, a rookie from Ohio State, actually started his collegiate career at safety bringing some nifty athletic traits compared to an average defensive end. The third round picks of Hubbard and Jefferson will make or break their draft.

AFC North 2018 NFL Draft Grades: Ravens & Browns Fail Miserably

Fantasy Sleeper: A.J. Green

I know that A.J. Green is a superstar but he might be the most underappreciated one in the league. Green has recorded at least 1,000 receiving yards every single year except for one where he only played 10 games and still had 964 yards that year. He’s putting up unreal numbers with one of the worst quarterbacks in the league. Let’s just take a second to appreciate the greatness of A.J. Green. Who knows, he might actually be the best receiver in the NFL. We really will never know because he has a bum as his quarterback.