The Cincinnati Bengals added several new faces at cornerback this year and that should help their passing defense, which finished the 2020 season ranked in the bottom half of the league per Pro Football Reference. If the Bengals want to improve this year, their secondary has to be better and that’s why they were aggressive in bringing in talent at cornerback.
Here are the cornerbacks listed on the Bengals’ official roster:
- Eli Apple
- Chidobe Awuzie
- Tony Brown
- Jalen Davis
- Mike Hilton
- Donnie Lewis
- Darius Phillips
- Winston Rose
- Trae Waynes
The Cincinnati Bengals are likely going to start three newcomers at cornerback.
Looking at this group of cornerbacks listed on the roster, Brown, Davis, Phillips, and Waynes are returning to Cincinnati. Apple spent last season with the Saints, Awuzie spent the past four years with the Cowboys, and Hilton signed in Cincy after playing for division rival Pittsburgh for four years.
The likely starters from this bunch are Awuzie, Hilton, and Waynes and while Waynes was with the Bengals last year, he was injured prior to the season and never appeared in a game. His return will help the unit immensely as will the additions of Awuzie and Hilton who the Bengals were smart to add in free agency.
Apple is a former first-round pick who didn’t pan out with the Giants but showed flashes of first-round talent in New Orleans. He was a nice addition for Cincinnati this offseason and should find himself on the field throughout the season. Brown and Phillips likely have a decent shot at being backups on the roster. The Bengals have reportedly been interested in adding Steven Nelson as well, which would give them another experienced vet on their roster.
That means the rest of the players listed are going to have to up the ante if they want to make the team in 2021. The Bengals have to get better defensively to compete in the division and their free-agent signings this offseason showed they’re serious about doing so.
Having three new starters in one position group isn’t common but for a Bengals secondary that has struggled in recent years, maybe this was the overhaul the team needed. Sometimes change can be good and for the Bengals, they’re hoping that’s the case at the cornerback position.