Training camp is just over a week away and one position that needs a great deal of fine-tuning is at linebacker. The Cincinnati Bengals didn’t do much of anything to improve the position so naturally, it’s one that will be watched closely throughout training camp.
There’s excitement surrounding Logan Wilson, who showed potential as a rookie despite suffering injuries. If he can play to his true potential this year, the linebackers should be a much better unit. Germaine Pratt and Akeem Davis-Gaither both have a lot to prove this year too. These three should make up the starting linebackers in Cincinnati.
These guys can’t do it alone though. There’s depth behind the three, so let’s take a look at what that group looks like and who could help this defense improve from where they were at a season ago.
Here’s what the Cincinnati Bengals’ linebacker depth chart looks like entering training camp.
- Joe Bachie
- Markus Bailey
- Akeem Davis-Gaither
- Jordan Evans
- Darius Hodge
- Keandre Jones
- Germaine Pratt
- Logan Wilson
He’s not listed but third-round rookie Joseph Ossai is also probably going to see some playing time at linebacker, assuming he doesn’t end up starting on the d-line. He’s someone the Bengals are rightfully high on because of the versatility he brings to the defense.
Bachie was signed around OTAs and was really the only move the team made at linebacker. He’s not a big name, only playing in four games last year during his time with the Eagles. Bachie might not play a large role with the team but they thought enough of him to bring him in this summer so maybe he can make a splash.
Bailey is a promising player who the Bengals are excited about. He played college ball at Purdue and in 2017 and 2018, combined for 13.5 sacks. Injuries have taken their toll on Bailey but if he can stay healthy, there’s a good chance he packs a punch on this defense.
Evans is no stranger to the Bengals, entering his fifth year with the organization. He’s not a starter but he’s familiar with the defense and the Bengals know what to expect out of him.
Hodge was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Marshall and he recently made headlines after getting arrested on July 4. We’ll see if he sticks on this roster or not as a result of the arrest.
Jones is heading into year two as a pro linebacker. He appeared in just two games last year and while it’s always nice to get something out of UDFAs, the Bengals shouldn’t expect much from Jones this year.
If the Bengals were smart, they’d sign a veteran linebacker to help this unit in 2021. Kwon Alexander, Justin Houston, and K.J. Wright are just a few of the names still available in free agency who could really help this group thrive this season.
For the time being though, these are the linebackers we have to work with in Cincinnati.