The downside to having one of the deeper rosters the Cincinnati Bengals have had in head coach Marvin Lewis’ 13 years was the increased chance that a few of the players they waived on cutdown day would be claimed by other teams.
But that didn’t happen, and on Sunday the Bengals were able to fill their practice squad with 10 players who spent all of training camp and the preseason with the club.
The two players the coaches were host hopeful of bringing back were defensive tackle DeShawn Williams and wide receiver Jake Kumerow.
Williams, an undrafted rookie from Clemson, had a great preseason and showed a lot of promise, but with the defensive line being the deepest and most talented position on the team, he was a victim of a numbers game that also forced the Bengals to release Devon Still.
Still, who does not have practice squad eligibility, was not claimed by another team in the waiver process and becomes a free agent who can sign with any team.
Kumerow, an undrafted rookie from Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater, also performed well in the preseason, catching six passes for 65 yards.
The other eight players the Bengals signed to the practice squad were running backs James Wilder Jr and Terrell Watson, guards Dan France and Trey Hopkins, cornerback Troy Hill, linebacker Trevor Roach, tight end Matt Lengel and quarterback Keith Wenning.
Watson and Wilder Jr. were effective at every turn in the preseason. Watson, an undrafted rookie from Azusa Pacific who was the nation’s leading rusher in all college divisions in 2014, carried 25 times for a team-high 130 yards (5.2 average). And Wilder Jr., who signed as an undrafted free agent in 2014 after helping Florida State win the national championship, logged 25 carries for 107 yards (4.3) and two touchdowns.
France led all offensive players with 180 offensive snaps in the preseason, and his ability to play tackle and guard make him a valuable addition to the practice squad for the second year in a row. Hopkins signed as a college free agent in 2014 and spent his rookie season on Injured Reserve. He missed the first two preseason games this year with a leg injury but played well in the final two contests.
Wenning is a Coldwater High School graduate who spent the 2014 season on the Baltimore practice squad after the Ravens drafted him in the sixth round. He signed with the Bengals in March and went 6 off 13 for 44 yards with one interception in the preseason.
Hill (Oregon), Roach (Nebraska) and Lengel (Eastern Kentucky) also signed as undrafted rookies in the spring and had solid camps.
The Bengals also announced that linebackers Jayson DiManche and Marquis Flowers and reverted to the team’s Reserve/Injured list. The team waived wide receiver Onterio McCalebb with an injury settlement.
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