Bengals Roster: Realistic expectations for B.J. Hill in 2022
By Ty Robbins
Last season, the trade for then-New York Giants defensive tackle B.J. Hill for then-Cincinnati Bengals center Billy Price may have been one of the best trades in Bengals history.
At the time, many Bengals fans like myself were unsure what Hill would bring to the table, but we did know that first-round draft pick Price was not living up to his draft potential. In year two, Hill looks to have a more significant part in the defense.
As the Bengals headed into the beginning of last season, head coach Zac Taylor knew he had to boost his defensive lineup, so he signed sack machine defensive end Trey Hendrickson from New Orleans. He then turned around and signed a one-year deal with a defensive tackle they knew well, Larry Ogunjobi, out of Cleveland. However, it was the trade for Hill that left the coaches and fans pleasantly happy.
Hill made his presence felt early in the last year’s season opener, recording two sacks against the Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. He started 16 games while recording 5.5 sacks and 12 quarterback hits during the season.
At only 27 years old and headed into the prime of his career, the Bengals decided to re-sign him for a three-year, $30 million contract with $15 million in the first year of his contract, according to Sportrac.com
After the Bengals re-signed Hill, he was highly excited about coming back as he talked about it in his press conference.
“You never know, I could (have ended) up somewhere else, but deep down, I knew I wanted to be back here because I knew it was special here — special coaches, special players, special D-line,” Hill said. “And I definitely wanted to be back. I was telling people, I’m going back to Cincinnati, I want to be back here, and that was my goal, and that was my main priority to be back here.”
Bengals Roster: What should fans expect from B.J. in 2022?
For one, he will not have to rush learning the playbook like he did when he first got here. Hill can take his time studying his playbook while participating in his first OTAs and training camp as a Bengal.
With Ogunjobi now gone, the Bengals will depend on Hill to be a starter and hold down the middle. He has proven he can be consistent in the big games. During the AFC Championship, Hill quickly made one of the biggest plays of the game by intercepting Patrick Mahomes. This put the Bengals in a position to tie the game and eventually win.
Hill also is excited about working with defensive line coach Marion Hobby again and praises him for assisting him with his success last season. “Coach Hobby is a great coach, He loves fundamentals and focusing on our details. I think he pushed us to so many levels that we reached.
Teamwork is the key
The Bengals 2022 schedule is certainly challenging this season so defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo will need his defensive line to be complete. With Super Bowl experience, Hill should be an important asset to the incoming rookies in the locker room as well as fulfilling his role as a starter.
Looking to run in back this season will not be an easy task but Hill feels that through team chemistry anything is possible.
“My main goal is to be the No. 1 defense. I’m a team guy. Everything else will fall in line when you play good team football, when you play together, when you play for the guy next to you. Everything will just fall in line like it should be.”
Hill’s insight from last season, plus his understanding of what it takes to win, should help him be a solid producer this season and allow him to take care of unfinished business.