There’s a tendency among NFL fans, Cincinnati Bengals fans included, to overreact to what they’ve just seen. Guys who have a good game or two are talked about like they’re one of the best at their position. Young prospects that need time to develop and aren’t quite where they need to be yet ‘suck’. What do you expect when we live in a microwave society where people are spoiled and don’t want to wait on things anymore?
There’s another side to that story as well. How should we classify guys that seemingly have come out of nowhere? We’ve all seen guys play lights out in contract seasons or on big stages that, then, receive huge deals for their efforts and wind up having fans sour on them because they don’t live up to that guaranteed money.
Buckle up. Better yet, cross your fingers. It appears that there are some theories that the New Orleans Saints may have landed one of those players during the most recent free-agency period.
Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Trey Hendrickson sees his approval rating drop.
Defensive tackle Trey Hendrickson was relatively invisible during the first two seasons of his NFL career after the New Orleans Saints made him the 103rd-overall selection during Round 3 of 2017’s NFL Draft. During his first two seasons as a professional, he appeared in 20 games in reserve duty. That includes the postseason. He tallied 25 tackles and two sacks.
From there, he ascended, racking up 38 total tackles and 19 sacks between 2019 and 2020 in 30 games with 20 starts (those numbers also include the postseason). As mentioned, there are a few skeptics though. Throw James Fragoza in that category. Recently, he made mention of the most overrated player on every team, and Hendrickson got the nod for Cincy.
Here’s some of what Fragoza stated in his defense of the statement.
From 2017-2019, Hendrickson was a solid rotational piece along the Saints’ defensive line. Nonetheless, he exploded in 2020, racking up 13.5 sacks (which ties him) with Aaron Donald for second-most in the league. While impressive, sacks are more quarterback-dependent and are not a stable metric. I will never fault a player for earning his money, but the Bengals let an underrated player walk (Carl Lawson) in favor of giving a big payday to an overrated one.
There’s a lot of credence to that Carl Lawson argument. The Cincinnati Bengals let him walk during the most recent free-agency frenzy. He’s now a part of the New York Jets, but even though he’s never produced a season like the one we just saw from Hendrickson (his best effort was a 5.5-sack and 36-tackle outpouring a season ago), he’s remained relatively consistent.
Only time will tell if letting Lawson walk was a mistake or if Hendrickson is all he’s cracked up to be. Keep your fingers crossed about the latter narrative. Trey Hendrickson will have a chance to prove whether or not he’s turned the corner and become one of the league’s best sack artists.
If you’re a Cincinnati Bengals fan this will definitely be something that you’ll want to pay attention to as we move through the 2021-2022 regular season.