Bengals aren’t having good luck with their rookie defensive ends

Cameron Sample, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Cameron Sample, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /
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The Cincinnati Bengals made sure to address their defensive line in the 2021 NFL Draft, spending four of their 10 draft picks on the position. They added Joseph Ossai in the third round, Tyler Shelvin and Cameron Sample in the fourth round, and Wyatt Hubert in the seventh round, hoping that at least those taken in the first four rounds could contribute as rookies.

Unfortunately, things haven’t been going well for this group, as three of the four have suffered some kind of injury over the summer.

Hubert was the first to go down, suffering a torn pec in late July and not even making it to training camp. He’ll likely miss the entire 2021 season, which removes any chance of him being a late-round steal as a rookie.

Given what Hubert was able to do at Kansas State, it’s not crazy to think he could have been a major player to pop in training camp and preseason but he didn’t get that chance this year.

Hubert’s injury was the first of three to come for the rookie defensive ends, as Ossai was injured in the first preseason game and Sample left the second preseason game with a shoulder injury. Both of these guys are hopefully going to be a major part of the Bengals’ defense this year.

Bengals’ rookie DEs keep getting injured

Ossai was thriving against the Buccaneers last week, totaling five pressures during his time on the field. Unfortunately, he sustained a wrist injury and missed the rest of the game, and also didn’t suit up for the second preseason game against Washington.

Sample left Friday’s game with a shoulder injury and this came after a nice showing from the Tulane rookie. Both he and Ossai have shown potential this summer and losing them both in the span of a week is a major blow to this defense.

The Bengals improved their defensive line through the draft and the only one whose healthy out of that bunch is Shelvin, who is a monster of a man size-wise. He’ll definitely get an opportunity to prove himself and now he’ll be leaned on even more.

Hopefully, Ossai and Sample are able to recover and contribute when the regular season kicks off in a few short weeks.

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For now, however, this is a devastating start for the Bengals at a position they desperately needed to get better at and did their best to do just that.

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