Cincinnati Bengals: Projecting rookie roles in 2021

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Joseph Ossai. Mandatory Credit: Texas won 41-34. Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports /

Projecting Cincinnati Bengals Rookie Roles – Joseph Ossai (EDGE)

Joseph Ossai had only played one season as a true edge rusher. Coming out of high school, the Texas Longhorns played Ossai at his natural linebacker position until they realized he excelled when rushing the passer.

Many people thought that Ossai could be an early second-round prospect, and not many expected him to last to pick No. 69 for the Bengals’ taking. He was too good of a prospect to pass up and looks to be a steal for Cincinnati.

Ossai comes in with a twitchy athletic profile and a relentless motor. He may not be the bendiest player, but his speed and quickness help him beat offensive tackles consistently. Ossai will be a project on the edge but has two good players to learn from. Trey Hendrickson recorded 13.5 sacks last season with the Saints while Sam Hubbard has been one of the most consistent edge players against the run.

If Ossai can develop a pass rush arsenal while also holding the edge against the run, he can be a dominant force on a defensive line that needs bolstering. Look for Ossai to be a role player during the first few games but have a chance to be a critical pass rusher as the season progresses.