The Cincinnati Bengals selected Jessie Bates in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft and he’s been an amazing addition to what’s been an otherwise shaky defense. During his three seasons with the Bengals, Bates has appeared in every regular-season game, displaying that he’s durable and he’s also been a highly productive player.
Bates has hauled in three interceptions in each of his three seasons, giving him nine for his career, and has defended 31 passes while notching 222 tackles. The Bengals needed an impact player in their secondary when they took him and Bates has delivered.
Cynthia Frelund of NFL.com said that Bates is the Bengals’ most underappreciated player and had this to say as to why:
"Don’t let his somewhat-moderate total of three interceptions in 2020 fool you. Of the 34 passes thrown his way in coverage, Bates allowed 19 receptions and had 12 pass breakups, which is impressive work. Furthermore, against the run, he traveled the most distance per snap at the safety position. Pro Football Focus had him as the only safety with an 80-plus run grade and 90-plus coverage grade in 2020."
The Cincinnati Bengals hit the jackpot with Jessie Bates.
Bates has been everything the Bengals hoped he’d be when they took him with their second-round pick three years ago. They needed someone to step up and be the leader of the secondary and they have that with the former Wake Forest product.
The unfortunate part with Bates is that he’s entering the final year of his rookie contract. The Bengals could, of course, apply the franchise tag on him but if they don’t, he’ll stand to make at least what Broncos safety Justin Simmons made with his latest contract, if not more.
Bengals fans are hoping that the team agrees to an extension with their star safety before the summer begins because he’s definitely shown that he deserves it. The team has the money to spend on their star players and with a division as difficult as the AFC North, Cincinnati should try and keep their good defensive players to try and slow down the other three teams.
Bates has been a game-changer in the Bengals’ secondary and while Cincinnati fans certainly appreciate him, others around the league don’t know how good he is and what a difference-maker he’s been for this Bengals defense.