Jordan Willis vs Michael Johnson
Another insane draft steal for the Bengals was getting Jordan Willis in the 3rd round. Many mock drafts included Willis in the first round and early second rounds. He doesn’t necessarily have the prototypical size the Bengals’ defensive ends normally have, but he offsets that with his 4.53 40-yard dash.
Willis definitely has the athletic tangibles. But, the question is, can he translate that into success as a pass rusher in the NFL? Then there’s Michael Johnson, a veteran who’s been on the decline instead of getting better in his prime years.
Johnson was expected to do great things in Cincinnati when he was re-signed by the Bengals after a one-year stint with the Buccaneers. In his two years back, he’s produced only 8.5 sacks which is way under what was expected from him. Johnson was designated to be a part of the deadly duo of Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins. But, it never worked out.
With his lack of production, the Bengals decided to draft two defensive ends in the first four rounds of the draft. One of them being Jordan Willis. He will be expected to compete for snaps in his first year. Although there are a few more competitors that are fighting for that spot, expect Willis to be the premiere guy.
Don’t expect Willis to start out the season as the immediate starter unless he has an insanely amazing training camp. But, I expect him to gradually take away snaps from Johnson to the point he can’t be ignored.