Stripe Hype Player Preview: Carlos Dunlap

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Jan 1, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap (96) reacts during the first half against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium. The Ravens won 24-16. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-US PRESSWIRE

Carlos Dunlap joined the Cincinnati Bengals after the team selected him in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft. He was considered a first round talent, but a DUI and some character concerns pushed him into the second round. Dunlap was a solid player in college where he played defensive end forFlorida. Dunlap recorded 9 sacks in 2008 and then again in 2009 while he played for the Gators. Dunlap specializes in rushing the passer and at 6’6”, 280 lbs. Dunlap is a severe threat for any quarterback he bears down upon. At this time, the starting left end is still Robert Geathers who has been a solid player, albeit, not a pure pass rush threat like Dunlap.

Dunlap burst onto the scene as a rookie and recorded 9.5 sacks in 2010 for the Bengals which is a team record for a rookie. He played in twelve games that year, but was not used frequently in the beginning of the season. Dunlap actually compiled all 9.5 sacks in the last eight games in 2010. During that stretch he only had one game in which he did not record at least a half a sack. The potential that Dunlap brings as a pass rusher almost seems to be limitless. He is tall, giftedly athletic, and possesses great technique. He is most certainly a prototypical edge rusher. After the end of 2010, expectations of Dunlap were very high for the next season.

Unfortunately, 2011 did not turn out the way that Dunlap or the Bengals wanted. During the summer, a knee injury hampered Dunlap and did not allow him to be able to play in the preseason. This allowed Geathers to keep the starting position, as Dunlap could not challenge him for it. Dunlap started the season out very slowly as he progressed through his injury and did not record his first sack until October 30th against Seattle. Injury then struck Dunlap for a second time in 2011. On November 6th againstTennessee (a game in which he recorded 2 sacks), he injured his hamstring, which forced him to miss games and keep him from playing at 100% at the end of the season. Dunlap ended the season with 4.5 sacks.

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