Five players the Cincinnati Bengals can’t afford to see opt out

Cincinnati Bengals, William Jackson III(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals, William Jackson III(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals, Carlos Dunlap (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Players the Bengals can’t afford to have opt-out: Carlos Dunlap

Carlos Dunlap is one of the most overlooked and underappreciated members of the Bengals. Often times, he’s chasing down running backs from the backside or batting down passes before they cross the line of scrimmage.

He’s the most consistent pass rusher the Bengals wield and he’s great for boosting the energy of the entire defense. Plus, his ten years of experience will undoubtedly help all the new blood Cincinnati is welcoming this year.

With Sam Hubbard locking down one of the starting defensive end spots, that would leave Carl Lawson to fill Dunlap’s role. While the former Auburn Tiger has shown tremendous potential, he’s been unable to consistently stay healthy and he appears to get more frequent pressure if his snap count is limited.

Even if Lawson could fill the role full time, the depth behind him is concerning. Andrew Brown and rookie Khalid Kareem are both unproven, which is certainly cause for worry.

Not to mention, defensive lines perform the best when there are multiple bodies at a single position to keep everybody fresh. With Dunlap out of the picture, it would give Anarumo one less talented pass rusher to throw at opposing offensive linemen, causing the performance of the whole line to suffer.