Bengals Roster: 4 injured players who could make an impact in 2022

Leigh Oleszczak
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither – Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

2. Akeem Davis-Gaither

After a “meh” rookie season in 2020, Akeem Davis-Gaither could arguably be the Bengals’ breakout candidate for 2021 despite landing on IR midway through the season.

Davis-Gaither was a fourth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft out of Appalachian State and made two starts while appearing in 12 total games. This year, there was pressure on him, Germaine Pratt, and Logan Wilson to up the ante at the linebacker spot and what do you know? The guys have mostly delivered there.

Before getting injured, Davis-Gaither had earned a 60.2 PFF grade and was having a nice season. He wasn’t a starter but appeared in nine games, totaling 28 tackles, three defended passes, and one forced fumble.

In the win over the Ravens, Davis-Gaither received high praise from PFF, who gave him the team’s third-highest grade. He had a tough task that week in slowing down the elusive Lamar Jackson and he — and the other Bengals linebackers — did so beautifully.

It really was a bummer to see the former fourth-rounder go down with an injury after how impressive he was performing, but that’s unfortunately the way the NFL goes sometimes. At least fans know that Davis-Gaither can contribute in a big way and he’ll be expected to do that again next year.