And then there’s defensive tackle Devon Still, who figures to see a jump in playing time just from the fact that Pat Sims left via free agency this offseason, and once he returned from the PUP list in the second-half of last year, Still went from getting about 10-15 snaps per game, to being a gameday inactive in the last eight games and for Wild Card playoff.
Sims wasn’t a player who racked up tackles or pressure opposing quarterbacks. He’s a guy who consistently used his 335 pounds of glory to clog up running lanes and draw double-teams to free up other defenders to make tackles close to the line-of-scrimmage. He was a key reason the Bengals were arguably the best defense in the NFL over the final eight games in 2012, and everything just mentioned will be what Still is expected to do this year.
At 32o pounds and a full 3 inches taller than sims (6’5″ to Sims’ 6’2″), he may not have the same weight, but his extra length can make him just as much of a disruptor in the middle while Geno Atkins, Vontaze Burfict and (hopefully) Rey Maualuga are racking up tackles-for-loss.