CINCINNATI – There’s no denying that Eli Apple had a solid year for the Bengals in 2021, but at the same time, there was plenty of meat left on the bone regarding his overall production.

That, along with pass-heavy offenses, is what prompted the Bengals to select Cam Taylor-Britt in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

It’s clear the Bengals really like Britt, or else they wouldn’t have traded up to select the former Cornhusker. Once the Bengals saw the run of cornerbacks in motion, they knew they needed to make a move in order to grab their guy.

The Bengals have one outside spot locked up in Chidobe Awuzie and they have nickelback locked up in the form of Mike Hilton. CTB’s strengths are on the perimeter, which is where Apple resided in 2021.

As a result, Apple’s job is in peril, but not to the point where the slightest mistake lands him on the bench. Regardless, he still has to show consistently good play during both camp and the regular season or else Taylor-Britt could snatch his spot, as many assume.

Many believe that training camp will determine who becomes the Bengals’ No. 2 corner and The Athletic‘s Paul Dehner Jr. recently backed that up.

Dehner Jr. wrote the following in regard to the expected battle between Apple and Taylor-Britt:

Cornerback: Eli Apple versus Cam Taylor-Britt.

“This one weighs heavily in favor of Apple for the way he played last year and making good impressions on the coaches for the way he responded to the pressure placed upon him this offseason. Taylor-Britt could be great and maybe he takes out Apple by midseason even if he can’t do it in camp, but the Bengals have eyes on him as a cornerback of the future. Just a matter of when the future will start for him.”

Bengals’ schedule also gives Apple a leg up

The Bengals open with the Steelers and Cowboys before they take on the Jets in Week 3. They then have to face off against the Dolphins, Ravens, and Saints.

All of those teams, minus the Ravens, have legitimate receiving corps headlined by some of the best receivers in the NFL. And for the ones who aren’t highlighted by the “best”, they have some of the “better” receivers in the game, at least.

Unless Taylor-Britt just balls out in camp (which would be a great development for the Bengals), it’s basically guaranteed Apple receives the nod going into the regular season. As Dehner Jr. notes, he’s earned the trust of the coaching staff and unless Britt just takes the job, they’re going to give the benefit of the doubt to Apple, at the end of the day.

But don’t get it twisted: The Bengals’ opening slate of games will also test Apple. And if he doesn’t perform up to expectations, then he could easily get the hook in favor of CTB.

Either way, both guys will be going at it in camp, which was the popular thought among most out there who pay attention to the team. And it should be a fun battle to watch.

You can check out Dehner Jr.’s full column, here.

Featured image via Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports