Cincinnati Bengals: PFF doesn’t think much of linebacker unit

Logan Wilson, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Logan Wilson, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson recently ranked all 32 teams’ linebacker units. Spoiler alert, he is not very high on the Cincinnati Bengalslinebackers, ranking them No. 31 out of a possible 32 units, just ahead of the Green Bay Packers.

Of the Bengals, Monson writes,

"Cincinnati’s linebacker corps has been a problem for years, and it’s still an issue on paper heading into the 2021 season. Nobody likely to see significant playing time posted an overall PFF grade higher than 61.0 last year, and two of the three proposed starters earned grades of 41.5 or lower. The best hope for Cincinnati’s linebackers may be an improved defensive line in front of them."

He is not wrong when he says the position has been an issue for a while now. Where he seems to be coming from as it pertains to the position going forward is a lack of experience.

The Cincinnati Bengals’ linebackers aren’t getting much praise.

The most veteran presences on the squad right now are Jordan Evans and third-year linebacker, Germaine Pratt. Evans is heading into his fifth year but only has nine career starts. Pratt leads all linebackers with 24 career starts. No one else is even in the double digits. Logan Wilson and Akeem Davis-Gaither both only have two starts.

While PFF might not have any Bengals in their top 32 entering the 2021 season, there are not too many young linebackers better than Logan Wilson. He has shown flashes and posts decent stats with 33 total tackles, four tackles for loss, one sack, two interceptions, and two quarterback hits in his rookie campaign. Wilson will surely take over as a starter this year.

Another linebacker the Bengals are counting on to continue his progression is Markus Bailey. Last year, he was coming back from a leg injury that cost him his final year at Purdue. Before that, he showed excellent production as a linebacker for the Boilermakers. If he can find his form this year, he will be a steal from the 2019 draft.

Monson does acknowledge that the defensive line will be much improved. With defensive tackle space eaters like fourth-round pick Tyler Shelvin and veteran D.J. Reader returning from injury, that will surely free up the linebackers to have more of an impact this year.

It also does not take into account that players like draft picks Joseph Ossai and Wyatt Hubert might be listed at defensive ends, they very well may be used as 3-4 outside linebackers which will have an impact on the position’s production.

Next. 4 Best-Kept Secrets on Bengals Roster. dark

Right now, it is difficult to have too much of an issue with the Bengals’ place on this list. But we definitely should expect improvement from the young and inexperienced unit.

Look for Wilson, Bailey, and Davis-Gaither to all have very productive seasons. Also, pay attention to how Ossai and Hubert are used as they too may be used as outside linebackers just as much as defensive ends.