Busy Bengals re-set roster with No. 3 QB

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Bengals first-round pick William Jackson may come off injured reserve later this season.

The Bengals had their busiest post-Cutdown Day in five years Sunday when they claimed 49ers rookie quarterback Jeff Driskel on waivers and made room in stunning fashion by cutting 2015 third-round pick P.J. Dawson.

They also did the expected and shifted special teams Pro Bowler Cedric Peerman and first-round pick William Jackson to injured reserve and replaced them with two veterans they cut Saturday to bolster their most injured positions for next Sunday's opener in New York (1 p.m.- Cincinnati's Channel 12) against the Jets.

Fifth-year veteran Chykie Brown becomes their sixth cornerback and 10th defensive back and versatile third-year man Trey Hopkins is their fourth tackle and 10th offensive linemen.

Either Peerman (fractured forearm) or Jackson (torn pectoral) can be designated to return after week eight, but one of them is going to be lost for the year.

Dawson arrived as advertised out of Texas Christian. An instinctive player at linebacker on Sundays who struggles with inconsistencies during the week, Dawson was a mystery scratch for the third pre-season game in Jacksonville last week but came back with four tackles and a fumble recovery that halted the Colts' first drive of the game in Thursday's pre-season finale.

It's the first time the Bengals have cut a third-rounder heading into only his second season since Wake Forest cornerback Brandon Ghee in 2011. It's believed they'll do what they did then and sign Dawson to the practice squad Monday if he clears waivers.

It leaves the Bengals with six linebackers, their usual number, so both Marquis Flowers and Trevor Roach are going to be active against the Jets as they opted for both Flowers' athleticism and Roach's reliability on special teams.

The Bengals kept one of their 10 practice squad spots open presumably for Dawson in a listed headed by two receivers, Jake Kumerow and rookie Alonzo Russell. Kumerow comes back for a second year, as does tight end Matt Lengel. The Bengals opted to fill the six other spots with undrafted rookies they cut Saturday: cornerbacks Darius Hillary and Tony McRae, guard Alex Redmond, defensive tackle David Dean, defensive end Ryan Brown and running back Tra Carson.

Not on the list is Keith Wenning, last year's quarterback on the squad who was the No. 3 quarterback this preseason. That's because the Bengals have moved on to the 6-4, 230-pound Driskel, the 49ers' sixth-round pick out of Louisiana Tech.

The Bengals love big, tall strong-armed quarterbacks and the fact Driskel's 4.56 40-yard dash was the fastest of the quarterbacks at the NFL's scouting combine makes him even more of an intriguing prospect.

Bengals new quarterback, rookie Jeff Driskel, can run.

Call it the first move in the bid to replace Andy Dalton, Dalton's talented backup who doesn't figure to be around for another contract. By claiming Driskel (their first Opening Week waiver claim since the Brandon Tate Sunday of 2011), the Bengals theoretically don't have to spend a draft pick on a quarterback next April if they like what they see. And they'll most likely keep him on the 53, the first time they've gone with three quarterbacks in the Green-Dalton Era.

A Florida native, Driskel was a five-star recruit who led the University of Florida to an 11-2 record and a Sugar Bowl berth as a sophomore in 2012. He surfaced at Tech after breaking his leg in 2013 and transferring after losing his starting job in 2014. In his one season at Tech, Driskel passed for 27 TDs and 4,033 yards.

He struggled with the Niners in the preseason, where they ended up keeping three quarterbacks. He hit just 15 of 31 passes for 132 yards and two interceptions for a 33 passer rating.

The Bengals have enough information on Peerman and Jackson that they believe at least one of them can come back in time to help, but they're allowed to bring only one of them off IR and the other one has to stay on for the rest of the year.

They look to be running neck-and-neck to see who gets back. Peerman had surgery Sept. 1 and recovery can be anywhere from six to 12 weeks. Jackson went down the first week of training camp with a shoulder injury that could take anywhere between three to four months to rehab.

The move comes 364 days after the Giants released Chykie Brown, 29. He didn't get back into the league but he has played in 54 NFL games with six starts since the Ravens took him in the fifth round of the 2011 draft. He gave up a deep ball in the preseason, but he also had three passes defensed and they believe he can help on teams.

Hopkins, 24, who impressed as an undrafted rookie out of Texas in 2014 before breaking his leg in the third pre-season game, sat out a year and spent last season on the practice squad. A guard-tackle in college, he has added center to his NFL resume.

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