The Bengals have announced a change to their 53-man roster, tweeting today that they’ve activated rookie offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi from their non-football injury list. To make room for Ogbuehi, the team placed cornerback Darqueze Dennard on injured reserve.
Dennard, 24, was the Bengals’ first-round pick in 2014, though he was only serving as the team’s fourth cornerback this season. We heard earlier this week that Dennard will require shoulder surgery, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com explains today (via Twitter) that while the corner’s labrum is intact, the ligaments and capsule around his shoulder have structural damage that needs to be repaired. He’s expected to make a full recovery for 2016.
With Dennard on IR, the Bengals will continue to lean on Adam Jones, Leon Hall, and Dre Kirkpatrick. However, Jones is injured and Kirkpatrick has been shaky this season, so Chris Lewis-Harris and Josh Shaw may see increased roles in the coming weeks. It’s the first time the team’s depth will really be tested this season, as Dennard becomes the first Bengal from the 53-man roster to land on the injured reserve list in 2015.
As for Ogbuehi, he was one of two tackles the Bengals selected early in the 2015 draft, along with Jake Fisher. Coming off a torn ACL, Ogbuehi started the season on the NFI list, but should be available for the team down the stretch. Still, while Ogbuehi and Fisher are likely the tackles of the future in Cincinnati, veterans Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith remain the starters for now.