The Cincinnati Bengals shocked the NFL world last season by making it all the way to the Super Bowl. In 2022, the franchise (mostly) got the band back together for another run. Looking at the first Bengals depth chart of the season, the Bengals roster looks a lot like it did in 2021. However, there are a few starters on that list who could lose their jobs if things in Bengals training camp go a certain way.

Here are two Bengals first-stringers in danger of losing their starting jobs ahead of the 2022 NFL season.

Bengals first-stringers in danger of losing starting jobs in 2022

Jessie Bates III

The most obvious candidate to lose their starting job in Bengals training camp is the only player not yet in Bengals training camp. Safety Jessie Bates III is the only remaining NFL player who hasn’t signed his franchise tender from his team.

Sure, Bates could sit out the whole year in hopes of a trade or a long-term contract. But history tells us he’ll most likely come back at some point.

The problem for Bates, though, is that if/when he does come back, his starting spot might not be there.

Bates is an excellent player who’s already started 63 games in his first four seasons on the Bengals roster. However, after making second-team All-Pro in 2020, the 25-year-old safety had a less impressive year in 2021 with just one interception. And now he’s looking for a big-money deal from the most notoriously stingy owner in the league.

Possibly knowing this Bates issue was coming down the pike, the Bengals eschewed other, more pressing needs in the 2022 draft and took Michigan safety Dax Hill No. 31 overall.

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Hill was the most versatile defensive back in the 2022 draft and so, whether Jessie Bates comes back to reclaim his spot or not, the former Wolverine will be on the field this year. If Dax Hill excels at free safety, though, in Bengals training camp and in preseason games, Bates could find himself No. 2 on the Bengals depth chart ahead of his free-agent offseason in 2023.

Eli Apple

Cornerback Eli Apple was the goat (not the GOAT) of Super Bowl LVI. Los Angeles Rams star wideout Cooper Kupp worked the Cincinnati CB and scored both his touchdowns against him.

Despite the tough end to the season, Apple is once again on the Bengals roster in 2022 and first on the Bengals depth chart at corner next to Chidobe Awuzie and Mike Hilton.

The organization did make a move in the draft to potentially limit Apple’s playing time this season. Second-round pick Cam Taylor-Britt is now in Bengals training camp and right behind Apple on the initial Bengals depth chart.

The former Nebraska Cornhusker rookie has had an up and down Bengals training camp so far. He replaced Apple recently while the vet was out of a practice with a hamstring tweak and struggled. The next day, undrafted rookie Allan George from Vanderbilt replaced him, per WKRC Cincinnati.

While it might seem like Taylor-Britt’s struggles mean that Apple’s spot on the Bengals depth chart is safe for now, there is another interpretation. Whether it’s Cam Taylor-Britt, Allan George, or even veteran Tre Flowers who plays well in Bengals training camp, it seems like head coach Zac Taylor is more than willing to give someone a shot to unseat Apple as the CB2 starter.

As Cincinnati’s preseason schedule gets underway — first vs. the Arizona Cardinals, then vs. the New York Giants, and finally a Super Bowl rematch vs. the Rams — the Eli Apple vs. the world battle is the Bengals training camp competition most worth watching.