5-8, 4th AFC North
Joe Mixon - Joe Mixon is going in for some cleanup work, and is expected to miss 2-4 weeks, but of course anytime you go under the knife there is a chance things can linger or take a longer timeframe to return. Mixon enters the first year as a true full-time workhorse, and now Giovani Bernard will step into that role. When Mixon returns it is unclear how they will treat him with a gimpy knee. This is likely going to turn into a weekly news check trying to figure out how he is truly feeling.
Rod Taylor - Rod Taylor isn’t a household name, but he was drafted in the seventh round to be a backup offensive lineman at multiple positions. No matter who you are, losing some depth at an injury prone position is going to be a loss. You just have to hope that Cincy has some good fortune, otherwise things will be very thin. Taylor will look to get back to health and establish himself as a young up and coming offensive lineman. Coming from an SEC school at his size will be a benefit.
Michael Johnson - Michael Johnson’s production isn’t as big as it used to be given he is over the age of 30, but it is still a loss in the middle of the defense. Johnson is dealing with a knee issue, and is expected to miss a few weeks to start the year. This won’t be a huge deal for the Bengals, given they have Carl Lawson, Jordan Willis, and Carl Lawson in the mix. Johnson just frees up some snaps for the younger guys, which is the impact here. It isn’t a bad one, unless you consider Johnson still a premium lineman these days.
The former sixth rounder Bernard Scott struggled to get over the injury big in his career, leading to an early retirement. Bernard tore a ligament in his knee. Scott failed to recover even after being released by the Bengals, trying out for Baltimore but nothing ever came of it. Travelle Wharton had an ACL tear back in 2013, who did it on the final preseason game. He had just signed a three year contract and was locked into a starting role, but the injury delayed that. Wharton never quite recovered and is now looking to become an offensive line coach in the NFL. Leon Hall was drafted 18th overall back in 2007, and was highly touted out of Michigan. He suffered a torn Achilles tendon in 2013, which is a death blow to most players, especially if you are a corner trying to keep up wide receivers. Hall is still floating around the league these days, although he has been having a tougher time landing on rosters. Tyler Eifert has been battling injuries in his career, and has missed a full season and more under his career already. Eifert is still with the Bengals, although it is hard to see him continuing to make a healthy impact.