The Cincinnati Bengals' roster is beginning come into focus after three preseason games. There will be interesting decisions to make at defensive back that will have ripple effects on the roster.
Each week during the preseason, RapidReports will take a position-by-position look at the players who are likely to make the final cut to 53 on Sept. 2 and those who will be sent packing.
Stock rising: Dontay Moch. The hybrid DE/LB is fighting for his spot on the roster and made another impact play Thursday with a sack coming off the edge from the defensive end position. His versatility and pass-rush athleticism isn't something the Bengals want to let go but spots are limited. Don't be shocked if a trade at the linebacker position before final cuts clears a spot for Moch to stay.
Brandon Tate. There were thoughts if the wide receiver couldn't figure out the offense, he'd be susceptible to being released. However, he's shown he can pick up the offense and also be a versatile playmaker in it. He reeled in two nice receptions Thursday, including an electric change of direction in a tight space to gain extra yards. Tate will be in a rotation for the No. 2 WR spot with Armon Binns. He's earned it.
Stock falling: QB Zac Robinson. Nobody expected Robinson to supplant Bruce Gradkowski for the backup quarterback job, but he may have played his way in the direction of the street Thursday. Put in during the fourth quarter, he threw one pass. It was intercepted. Jay Gruden never sent Robinson back in, instead opting for Tyler Hansen to finish out the game.
Ryan Whalen. Injuries force decisions without proper evaluation. Unfortunately, that may be the case for Whalen. He hoped to play well and impress enough to earn a spot on the back end of the receiver position but has missed every preseason game with an injury. Meanwhile, the rest of the receivers have impressed and filled out the expected roster spot. It would be hard to imagine him finding a way on to the team at this rate.
QB -- In: (2) Andy Dalton, Bruce Gradkowski. Out: Zac Robinson. Analysis: No surprises here. Marvin Lewis rolled with two QBs last season and is a proponent of the philosophy. Robinson could end up on the practice squad, but Cincinnati could also opt for another rookie to be third QB on the PS if they aren't happy with Robinson's progress.
RB -- In: (5) BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bernard Scott, Brian Leonard, Cedric Peerman, Chris Pressley (FB). Out: Dan Herron, Jourdan Brooks, James Develin. Analysis: Running back is about the most predictable of the position groups. The Law Firm and Scott will split the majority of the starting carries with Leonard holding on to his role as third-down back. Peerman is cherished on special teams and Pressley had next to no competition in camp. Herron will be a lock for the practice squad.
WR -- In: (6) A.J. Green, Armon Binns, Brandon Tate, Andrew Hawkins, Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones. Out: Justin Hilton, Vidal Hazelton, Kashif Moore, Ryan Whalen. Any drama was sapped from the final cut here this week when the Bengals let Jordan Shipley go early to allow him to catch on with another team. The timing came as a surprise to many as a young group became even younger.
TE -- In: (3) Jermaine Gresham, Donald Lee, Orson Charles. Out: Colin Cochart. Analysis: Barring injury, Cochart will be the odd man out. He benefited from a preseason injury to Bo Scaife last year, but didn't show enough to unseat the two veterans and a promising prospect in Charles.
OL -- In (9): Andrew Whitworth, Clint Boling, Kyle Cook, Kevin Zeitler, Andre Smith, Anthony Collins, Otis Hudson, Dennis Roland, Reggie Stephens. Out: Travelle Wharton (IR), Trevor Robinson, Matthew O'Donnell. Analysis: The season-ending injury to Travelle Wharton saved Stephens' job because versatile backup Boling now relinquishes his job as backup center to be the starter at LG. If Cincinnati tries to pull a trade or search the waiver wire, a versatile G/C would be on their wish list and could end Stephens time with Cincinnati.
DL -- In (8): Carlos Dunlap, Domata Peko, Geno Atkins, Michael Johnson, Robert Geathers, Devon Still, Brandon Thompson, Jamaal Anderson. Out: Pat Sims (PUP), Nick Hayden, Vaughn Meatoga, DeQuin Evans. Analysis: The decision of the week will be whether or not to bring back Pat Sims to practice. If they do, they subject another player to be cut. If they don't, the Bengals can stash him on PUP until a likely season-ending injury to another player clears a spot in Week 6.
LB -- In (7): Manny Lawson, Rey Maualuga, Thomas Howard, Vincent Rey, Dan Skuta, Roddrick Muckelroy, Vontaze Burfict. Out:Dontay Moch (suspension), Micah Johnson, Emmanuel Lamur, Grant Hunter. Analysis: This position became crowded in a hurry. The Bengals could consider keeping a crazy number like eight LBs because Moch or Johnson could double as hybrid rush ends. Moch has to serve a four-game suspension so it will buy him some time should the Bengals consider cutting him. If a player on this team will be traded, this will be where to look considering the depth and versatility. Muckelroy could be trade bait considering how well Vontage Burfict has played.
DB -- In (10): Leon Hall, Nate Clements, Terence Newman, Jason Allen, Adam Jones, Dre Kirkpatrick, Reggie Nelson, Taylor Mays,Jeromy Miles, George Iloka. Out: Brandon Ghee (IR), Robert Sands (IR), Tony Dye, Taveon Rogers (IR), Chris Lewis-Harris, T.J. Heath, Shaun Prater (IR). Analysis: Ghee heading to IR with his wrist injury clears the way for George Iloka to fill the back end of the roster. Nate Clements is practicing and playing safety in passing situations -- he started there Thursday against Green Bay. Iloka won't play much if at all this season.
Follow Paul Dehner Jr. for Bengals updates from training camp on Twitter at @CBSSportsNFLCIN.