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Is Michael Johnson the Best Defensive Player Thus Far?

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With the 2013 season underway, the Cincinnati Bengals defense continues to show that they are a strong unit. Obviously Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap both received contract extensions and will continue to wreak havoc in stripes for years to come. Domata Peko has actually been productive this year, disrupting plays in the backfield and recording half a sack. Throughout all of the defense, there is one player whom is playing the best.

Sep 16, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) is sacked by defensive end Wallace Gilberry (95), defensive end Carlos Dunlap (96) and defensive end Michael Johnson (93) during the third quarter at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

That player would be franchise tagged player Michael Johnson. This may come as surprising, but he has been graded the best Bengals defender, even though he has yet to record a sack in 2013.

After these past two games, Pro Football Focus has graded Michael Johnson 8.5%, which is 2nd best for a defensive lineman in the league overall. Against the Pittsburgh Steelers, although he did not record a sack, he recorded nine total pressures, three being quarterback hits. This actually beat his best production he ever had in a game, which was the four sack game he had against the Redskins, where he recorded eight pressures. His constant, relentless motor allowed him to get Ben Roethlisberger off his rhythm and helped the defense beat him down and force the Reggie Nelson interception at the end of the game.

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