Bengals’ Joseph Ossai is perfect pick for 2022 breakout candidate

Joseph Ossai, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Joseph Ossai, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Joseph Ossai is touted to enjoy a breakout season in 2022 — and rightfully so.

Ossai missed the entire 2021 season due to a season-ending meniscus injury and underwent surgery last year. He featured in one preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in which he sacked Tom Brady and added five quarterback pressures on just 22 snaps, and just imagine what he could do throughout an entire season.

The Bengals didn’t do much to improve their pass-rushing unit this offseason likely because they expect Ossai to be fully recovered for the start of the 2022 season.

Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine predicted every NFL team’s breakout player for 2022 and had Ossai improving in a big way:

"Hubbard and Hendrickson will still be the primary pass-rushers, but Ossai’s versatility should help him land a role. He played off-ball linebacker as well as edge defender at Texas and will make an impact now that he’s healthy."

Cincinnati Bengals’ Joseph Ossai predicted to make a huge impact in 2022

The 2021 third-round pick played a few different positions at Texas which could give him an edge as a hybrid defensive end with excellent coverage skills.

Fingers crossed, Ossai’s injuries won’t follow him throughout his career and he can start anew in 2022 alongside Trey Hendrickson. Hendrickson and Ossai would form a pass-rushing duo worthy of another Super Bowl run, and Ossai couldn’t be returning at a better time. With many other AFC teams boosting their pass-rush, the Bengals’ defense will need to keep playing at an elite level to compete with the best.

Ossai has the talent and potential to make as incredible an impact as Dallas Cowboys’ Micah Parsons had in 2021, but only if he stays healthy all year. He started his rookie year on the right foot by sacking the GOAT, but he will have to put in consistently productive performances week after week which is a grueling task for any Year 2 player, especially one coming off a major injury.

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Hopes are sky-high for Joseph Ossai, but he has several months to get back in shape and develop into a key defensive playmaker for Cincy in 2022.