As training camp creeps closer, the Cincinnati Bengals will be looking to see who steps up and makes an impression on the defensive line. The starters are figured out for the most part but the backups spots are where the battles will take place.
This is an area that needed some fine-tuning this offseason and the Bengals did just that, signing Trey Hendrickson away from the Saints and stealing Larry Ogunjobi from division rival Cleveland. These two players will hopefully boost a Bengals d-line that did not play well last year.
Along with these two, the Bengals hope to see improvement from Sam Hubbard and a healthy D.J. Reader to really make this unit a strong force upfront.
Here is the Cincinnati Bengals’ defensive line depth chart entering training camp.
- Freedom Akinmoladun
- Amani Bledsoe
- Mike Daniels
- Trey Hendrickson
- Sam Hubbard
- Wyatt Hubert
- Khalid Kareem
- Kahlil McKenzie
- Larry Ogunjobi
- Joseph Ossai
- D.J. Reader
- Cameron Sample
- Tyler Shelvin
- Josh Tupou
- Renell Wren
Obviously, all of these guys won’t make the final roster but this is the group the Bengals have to work with in training camp.
I mentioned that the four likely starters are going to be Hendrickson, Hubbard, Ogunjobi, and Reader. Hendrickson got a massive contract from Cincinnati, who was desperate for any type of pass-rushing threat after their sack leader departed in free agency. He is a lock to start, as are Hubbard and Ogunjobi.
Sample and Shelvin will be two fun players to watch in training camp and preseason. Both guys were fourth-round picks by the team and were taken to help boost this defensive line and add strong depth. It’s important for the Bengals to be better up front defensively because of how strong this division is when it comes to the run game.
Ossai is someone who can play both up front and at linebacker and he’s also a rookie. He’s a third-round pick out of Texas who the Bengals are rightfully high on. It’ll be fun to see what kind of impact Ossai has on this defense and where he plays the best at.
There are several names on the roster who probably aren’t going to make the team but we know the four starters I listed will make it along with the three rookies. Speaking of rookies, Hubert is someone I’d like to see get a chance to show what he can do in an NFL game. The seventh-round rookie out of Kansas State isn’t getting the kind of respect he deserves and it’s unfortunate but he has a chance to let his play speak for itself.
It’ll be a dog fight along the defensive line this summer and seeing who makes the final roster out of this group will be fun to watch.