NFL Draft: 5 EDGE defenders capable of saving the Bengals’ pass rush

LUBBOCK, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 26: Linebacker Joseph Ossia #46 of the Texas Longhorns runs down the field after a fumble that was later overturned during overtime of the college football game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders on September 26, 2020 at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images)
LUBBOCK, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 26: Linebacker Joseph Ossia #46 of the Texas Longhorns runs down the field after a fumble that was later overturned during overtime of the college football game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders on September 26, 2020 at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. (Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images) /
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These five defenders from the 2021 NFL draft could save a floundering Cincinnati Bengals’ pass rush in desperate need of reinforcements.

The biggest need for the Cincinnati Bengals has long thought to be offensive linemen. After Joe Burrow took a beating to begin his professional career, it became painfully obvious Zac Taylor and co. needed to put more talent in front of him.

However, with the emergence of rookie offensive tackle Hakeem Adeniji, the arrival of Quinton Spain, and the promising future of Jonah Williams, the offensive trenches may no longer be the top priority come next April. That distinction could very well belong to the EDGE position.

The Bengals rank 30th in the NFL in sacks, managing, on average, to bring down the opposing signal-caller 1.2 times per game. Their inability to rush the passer has put the entire defense in a bind, allowing even average quarterbacks to look heroic against them at times.

If Cincinnati is to compete in the AFC North sooner rather than later, they must vamp up their pass rush in a hurry. Thankfully for de-facto general manager Duke Tobin, the upcoming draft class is shaping up to be strong in the defensive end department. There will be plenty of opportunity to add young, promising talent at the position.

Of course, protecting Burrow should always be on the minds of decision-makers in the Queen City. But if their new-found talent continues to impress, the holes left along the offensive line can be addressed via free agency and an early pick, leaving room to snag a top pass rusher as well.

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