3 Cincinnati Bengals who need to step up in 2021

Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Trey Hendrickson, Cincinnati Bengals
Trey Hendrickson, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Cincinnati Bengals who need to step up – No. 2: Trey Hendrickson

This next player had a breakout campaign in 2020, so it is less about elevating their play further and more about maintaining what they showed they could produce. Trey Hendrickson is entering the season with a lot of expectations in Cincinnati.

When the offseason started, many people said the top priority for the Bengals was re-signing Carl Lawson. Lawson had been the best defensive line player for Cincinnati and was quickly rising up boards as a top-tier defensive end. The deal was never reached and Lawson and the Bengals went their separate ways.

Instead, Cincinnati spent significant money on bringing in Trey Hendrickson, who was a freak of nature in 2020 with the New Orleans Saints.

In his four years in the NFL, Hendrickson had three quiet seasons and then exploded onto the scene last year. He accounted for 13.5 sacks in what was by far his best campaign. For the Bengals to succeed this year, they will need Hendrickson to produce at a similar level.

If Cincinnati can pair a top-tier Hendrickson with Sam Hubbard on the other edge and a healthy DJ Reader in the middle, this defensive line becomes a respectable unit. In this pass-happy league, defenses have to find ways to get to the quarterback to disrupt timing and slow offenses down.

If the Bengals have a good defense this year, it will likely be because a defensive end is consistently wreaking havoc in the backfield, and Hendrickson is the best man for the job.