Cincinnati Bengals: Linebacker unit one of the worst in the league

Leigh Oleszczak
Akeem Davis-Gaither #59, Logan Wilson #55, and Sam Hubbard #94 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Akeem Davis-Gaither #59, Logan Wilson #55, and Sam Hubbard #94 of the Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /
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While the Cincinnati Bengals made it a point to address their defensive line over the offseason, the same can not be said for the linebacker position. The Bengals did very little to the group, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that their linebackers aren’t looked at fondly.

Mike Clay of ESPN released his position rankings and gave the Bengals’ linebackers a 0.4 ranking, which is good for third-worst in the league. The only teams with worse linebackers than Cincinnati are the Rams (0.1) and Packers (0.3).

It’s not like the Bengals weren’t aware of how bad their linebackers were a season ago yet they sat back and ignored the position. They’re obviously hoping that Logan Wilson takes a massive leap this year and can be the guy they expected when they spent a third-round pick on him in last year’s draft.

Germaine Pratt is listed as the other starter at linebacker per the first official depth chart and he had a disappointing 2020 season. Akeem Davis-Gaither and Jordan Evans are listed as the backups with Markus Bailey, Keandre Jones, Joe Bachie, and Darius Hodge also fighting for spots on the final 53-man roster.

Linebackers are a weakness for Cincinnati Bengals

While the Bengals are hoping their offense can win them games this year, the defense can’t be as bad as it was a season ago. The defensive line and secondary are both improved but the linebackers are going to be a problem still, even if Wilson does take a big leap this year.

Considering how good the AFC North is at running the football, having average linebackers to help stop the run would be ideal but the Bengals don’t find themselves in that boat. The good news is that the rest of the division also has below-average linebackers with the Browns sitting at 0.6, Steelers at 0.9, and the Ravens at 1.0.

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It’s not a strength for anyone in the division but the Bengals haven’t had the firepower on offense to make up for the lack of production from the linebackers. Hopefully, the group surprises us this year.

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