The Bengals defensive line definitely got better during the offseason. With the additions of Jordan Willis and Carl Lawson in the draft, the Bengals D-line got younger and more athletic. Not only to they have a great, young rotation with Willis, Lawson and Clarke, they will also have a new starting nose tackle. Andrew Billings is expected to take over the other starting position beside Geno Atkins. In Billing’s college career, he was an elite run stopper who was considered a two-down player. Billings won’t be expected to be a pass rusher, but that doesn’t mean he can’t do so. The Bengals have two Pro-Bowl players in Atkins and Carlos Dunlap as well on the line. Both accounted for 17.0 sacks last season for the Bengals.
The Bengals have two Pro-Bowl players in Atkins and Carlos Dunlap as well on the line. Dunlap and Atkins accounted for 17.0 sacks last season for the Bengals.
Michael Johnson hasn’t been that good recently. Johnson has responded with only 8.5 sacks in the past two years. Not quite the production expected from him. Thankfully, the Bengals drafted Willis and Lawson in the 3rd and 4th rounds respectively. Both are showing they can compete for a starting spot on the line.
"“When you watch him on tape you can visualize him becoming a good pro and so far he’s shown every bit of it,” says defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. “He’s everything you want. He never came off the field, defends the run well, rushes the passer, and always runs to the ball. We like our young guys.”"
The D-line has the potential to be one of the best in the league, if all things work out like they should. If Billings can fill in and stop opposing runs and Willis/Lawson/Clarke can provide great snaps out of their rotation, expect big things out of this unit.