Top 3 Impact Rookies: CB William Jackson III (Houston), WR Tyler Boyd (Pittsburgh), and NT Andrew Billings (LSU). Jackson III was one of the fastest players and top cover corners in the draft and looks to add depth to a secondary featuring the likes of Adam “Pacman” Jones and Dre Kirpatrick. Boyd has the versatility to take over in the absence of Sanu and Jones, often lining up in the backfield, running jet sweeps, and lining up in the slot aside from being a traditional receiver at Pitt. Billings, at only 6 feet tall, draws comparisons to star DT Geno Atkins (6’1”) and figures to be yet another weapon in a stout defensive line.
Biggest offseason addition: LB Vincent Rey is by far the biggest offseason addition, even though he just resigned with the team. A prototypical leader, Rey waited his turn behind linebacker’s Emmanuel Lamur and Rey Maualuga before he was able to start. In the past two seasons, he’s recorded 219 tackles in 32 games and provides some stability with the three-game suspension of LB Vontaze Burfict.
Most intriguing storyline heading into training camp: Getting over their first-round woes. The Bengals have been one of the better teams in all of football for the past five years but have failed to make it out of the first-round each season. For the sake of Marvin Lewis’s job and Andy Dalton’s legacy, the Bengals need to end their 25-year playoff win drought and finally live up to their potential.
Under-the-radar storyline heading into training camp: Who will step up for the Bengals receiving corps this year? With the losses of Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones, Andy Dalton needs some new weapons to work with AJ Green. Brandon LaFell and rookie Tyler Boyd figure to be the most impactful guys, with LaFell, despite poor statistics, having played with Tom Brady as well as having playoff experience.
Key Injuries heading into training camp: DB Darqueze Dennard (shoulder surgery) should be ready to go for camp and TE Tyler Eifert (ankle surgery) remains doubtful for camp but on track to play in Week 1.