Projected 2015 starters: Cincinnati Bengals


Around The NFL predicts the Week 1 starting lineups for all 32 teams, analyzing the potential impact of each rookie class. See every breakdown here.

Bengals Projected Starters
  Offense Defense
  QB Andy Dalton DE Michael Johnson
  RB Jeremy Hill DT Geno Atkins
  WR1 A.J. Green DT Domata Peko
  WR2 Marvin Jones DE Carlos Dunlap
  WR3 Mohamed Sanu OLB Vontaze Burfict
  TE Tyler Eifert MLB Rey Maualuga
  LT Andrew Whitworth OLB Emmanuel Lamur
  LG Clint Boling CB1 Leon Hall
  C Russell Bodine CB2 Dre Kirkpatrick
  RG Kevin Zeitler S Reggie Nelson
  RT Andre Smith S George Iloka

» Jeremy Hill owns the starting job after his heady rookie campaign, but Giovani Bernard remains firmly in the picture as a pass-catching weapon out of the backfield. Ryan Hewitt will see plenty of snaps as an H-back, but he's no threat for carries. Play-caller Hue Jackson wants to run the ball, putting Hill in excellent position to top last year's 1,124 yards on the ground.

» The Bengals drew heat for failing to draft a plug-and-play talent along the defensive line. Still, they view the returning Michael Johnson as an immediate starter for a front that notched a league-low 20 sacks last season. While Bengals coach Marvin Lewis defended Margus Hunt as "not a project at all," he and Will Clarke will need to make a push in camp to steal snaps away from ends Wallace Gilberry or Carlos Dunlap.

» Barring a trade, I still have Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith starting at the tackle spots. First-rounder Cedric Ogbuehi and second-rounder Jake Fisher were drafted with an eye toward the future. "Mike Brown told me I'm done here (after 2015)," Whitworth tweeted last week, making it clear that the rookies are being groomed for major roles starting in 2016.

» We're intrigued by the Terrelle Pryor signing and wonder if he winds up displacing AJ McCarron behind Andy Dalton. Pryor remains a project, but Jackson was coach of the Raiders when they grabbed the passer out of Ohio State.

» Dre Kirkpatrick played just 283 snaps last season, but his six interceptions over two campaigns show off the corner's playmaking gifts. With Terence Newman out the door, it's time for the fourth-year defender to make good on his first-round pedigree.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast reacts to the most recent developments in the Tom Brady suspension saga and makes rookie predictions for the 2015 season. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.