Things were looking somewhat-up for 2021 fourth-rounder Tyler Shelvin when the Cincinnati Bengals decided to let Larry Ogunjobi walk in free agency.

But that feeling didn’t last long. About a month-and-a-half later, the Bengals drafted Zach Carter in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft, crowding the defensive line room, yet again.

And according to The Athletic‘s Jay Morrison, the crowded defensive line room could push Shelvin off the 53-man roster in 2022. Right now, Shelvin is on the roster bubble in Morrison’s latest 53-man roster projection:

“… The biggest question here is whether Shelvin, who has yet to show the coaches anything, can have a healthy and productive camp. As a fourth-round pick of a year ago, he has a slight edge, but with Tupou entrenched as Reader’s backup, having a third run-stuffer who offers little else feels like a luxury.”

Shelvin has to develop some sort of pass rush skills over the summer

There’s certainly a chance Shelvin still makes the cut, but as Morrison mentions, it doesn’t look that way when considering Carter’s skills as a pass rusher. Carter can even move inside when the Bengals run their nickel packages, which leaves even lesser use for Shelvin.

The former LSU Tiger has to develop some kind of pass rush during the summer and he has to show the coaching staff that he can apply it on a consistent basis. It can’t just be some flash in the pan-type performance during camp that doesn’t translate into the preseason.

At the same time, however, it is tough to envision the Bengals dropping Shelvin from the 53 unless he just really stinks it up during camp/preseason. We all know how volatile the trenches are when it comes to injury. All it takes is one bad injury to D.J. Reader or B.J. Hill and the Bengals run defense takes a big step back.

The Bengals could risk losing Shelvin to another team if they roll the dice and try to put him on their practice squad, too. A cheap fourth-rounder in their second year that also has the size and strength that Shelvin possesses is always worth the gamble, typically.

Either way, we know what Shelvin needs to do this summer in order to stay on the roster. The question that remains is: can he do it?

Featured image via Sam Greene via Imagn Content Services, LLC