Ryan Hewitt: The Bengals Underrated Player


Oct 26, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tight end Ryan Hewitt (89) against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Hewitt was a relatively unknown name to Bengals fans when he signed as an undrafted free agent in 2014 from Stanford. He went into the Bengals 2014 training camp as a guy who had a slim chance to make the 53 man roster. Since that time period, he has become the most underrated and under-appreciated player for Bengals fans. With a healthy Tyler Eifert coming back this season, Hewitt’s role is only going to increase and the Bengals’ version of a Swiss Army Knife will be critical to the team’s success.

The fullback position is one that has become somewhat extinct in today’s NFL. Most teams like to have a more spread out offense, with just one back in the backfield. The Bengals, however, have always put a great deal of importance on the fullback position, spanning back to Lorenzo Neal, John Conner, Chris Pressley, Orson Charles and the list goes on and on. Hewitt was an afterthought behind Orson Charles on the depth chart, last year. He impressed the Bengals staff and took the starting job away from Charles, who was released in August 2014. Hewitt’s exploits were summarized by Hue Jackson in November 2014:

"When I made a decision, I went to coach Lewis and said hey, this guy should be our fullback, and I never looked back. I never even questioned it. He’s smart, he’s tough, we can do a lot of different things with him. He was the hammer last week. He got a game ball from what he did last week, and he needs to do it again. He’s a good football player and he’s a good find again. This guy’s talented. He’s what I was looking for."

The numbers on Hewitt for his 2014 season were fantastic. According to Pro Football Focus, Hewitt was the 8th rated fullback in the NFL for blocking ratings. As he came in as an undrafted rookie, the fact he was in the Top 10 of fullback blocking is remarkable and extremely unexpected. Behind Hewitt and the offensive line, Jeremy Hill ran for 1,124 yards and nine touchdowns while Gio Bernard ran for 680 yards and five touchdowns.

Oct 12, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tight end Ryan Hewitt (89) during the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Hewitt’s productivity, however, is not just limited to the fullback position. He also has lined up at tight end for the Bengals, when Jermaine Gresham was struggling with a toe injury in Week 15. He could potentially start at Tight End this season as well in a necessary situation. With the drafting of Tyler Kroft and C.J. Uzomah, however, I doubt Hewitt lines up too often at Tight End. He has proven to be too effective as a H-Back/Fullback to use him too often at Tight End.

Ryan Hewitt had little expected of him when he showed up at the Bengals 2014 Training Camp. Not only did Hewitt make the roster, he became an invaluable asset to the Bengals running game. If the Bengals are to be successful in 2015, Ryan Hewitt is going to be instrumental in the helping the Bengals reaching its goals.

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