Trey Hopkins, Center
The second player on this list is center Trey Hopkins. The Bengals’ offensive line is considered by many to be their weakest unit, but the breakout lineman from 2019 is one of the few strengths of the line heading into the upcoming season.
Hopkins’ solid play was evident to the Bengals’ staff, who rewarded him with a three-year extension worth $20.4 million after the end of the 2019 season. The Bengals were not the only ones to see the strong season he had, Pro Football Focus (PFF) also gave Hopkins a solid overall grade of 62.4 for his 2019 campaign, including a pass-blocking grade of 71.5.
For a Bengals’ offensive line that is so weak at virtually every spot, a consistently solid player like Hopkins can be invaluable. There is so much uncertainty surrounding the unit in 2020, but the veteran interior lineman can give the coaching staff at least one spot that they feel comfortable in.
In 2019, Hopkins played 1097 snaps, the fifth-highest snap total among centers in the NFL according to PFF. For such an underrated player, Hopkins has actually proven to be one of the most valuable players on the Bengals’ roster. Not only can he be a solid center, but he can move around to other spots of the line if needed.
Given the fact that center is one of the least flashy positions in football and the Bengals have one of the weakest lines in the league, Hopkins will remain under-the-radar until the rest of the offensive line can perform at his level. Until then, Hopkins will, unfortunately, remain a hidden gem in a much-maligned offensive line, through no fault of his own. With a few younger lineman hopefully stepping up and improving the line in 2020, this may just be his year.