The Cincinnati Bengals pass-rushing duo of Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard combined for 21.5 sacks off the edge in 2021. It was impressive considering their main rotational piece, rookie Joseph Ossai, never took a meaningful snap.
Even with the return of Ossai in 2022, the Bengals could use additional depth at the position. Whether it is in the form of a base end who can spell Hubbard or a speed rusher to help get to the array of talented quarterbacks in the AFC.
Whenever Cincy does decide to pull the trigger there will be plenty of options. This draft class is particularly deep at the position and has a number of different flavors at the spot. Let’s take a look at an edge rusher we predict could be on the board each time the Bengals pick.
Round 1 – David Ojabo, Michigan
- Height – 6’4″
- Weight – 250
Michigan edge rusher David Ojabo suffered the cruelest of blows in his pre-draft preparations. He sustained a torn Achilles, which initial reports suggest could take a recovery period of six months. Prior to that most mock drafts had him cracking the top 10.
The reason why was his unique combination of burst and bend at the line of scrimmage. Ojabo is a true speed rusher and feasted opposite Aidan Hutchinson to lead the Wolverines to the College Football playoff. He managed 11 sacks and 12 tackles for loss. The biggest concern for him was his relative inexperience, after only one year of serious production.
The fact that Ojabo is unlikely to be available for the bulk of his rookie year paired with him not being viewed as a plug-and-play prospect could lead to a substantial drop in his draft stock. The Bengals, fresh off a Super Bowl appearance may be able to take a gamble on a player who won’t be an instant contributor.
If he can return to practice late in the season he may develop to the degree where he can be ready to come full tilt for the 2023 season.