Bengals Roster: Realistic expectations for Chidobe Awuzie in 2022

Leigh Oleszczak
Chidobe Awuzie, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Chidobe Awuzie, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images) /

Chidobe Awuzie was one of the best additions to the Cincinnati Bengals roster last year. What should fans expect from him as he enters year two? 

The Cincinnati Bengals were aggressive in free agency last offseason and one of the best names they added to their roster for the magical 2021 season was Chidobe Awuzie.

The Cowboys spent a second-round pick on Awuzie in the 2017 NFL Draft after he was a standout at Colorado. He was decent but not outstanding during his four years in Big D and after a less-than-stellar 2020 season, it wasn’t surprising to see the ‘Boys move on from Awuzie.

Cincinnati took a chance on Awuzie and it paid off in a big way. He posted a PFF grade of 83.3 and had 64 tackles, 14 defended passes, and two interceptions through 14 starts.

Awuzie did struggle in the postseason, sporting a 51.2 PFF grade and allowing a massive game from A.J. Brown in the AFC Divisional Round but for the most part, people would say he was a huge part of the team’s success.

Bengals Roster: What should fans expect from Chidobe Awuzie in 2022?

Awuzie is under contract through 2023 so he still has two more years with the stripes. He’ll be the CB1 in the secondary and while it won’t be hard for him to perform better than he did in the playoffs, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him regress a bit from his regular-season performance.

Either way, the former Colorado product will be the starting cornerback in the Bengals’ secondary unless he’s injured or has to miss time for another reason. The team drafted Cam Taylor-Britt in the second round and while he could factor in as a starter, he’ll likely be battling it out with Eli Apple for the starting gig opposite Awuzie.

The Bengals were fortunate that Awuzie improved mightily from his 2020 season but they’ll need him to replicate that play if this squad wants to get back to the Super Bowl.

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