Bengals Roster: 10 most important players not named Joe Burrow
By Eric Bruns
Chidobe Awuzie & Jessie Bates III
If there is another weak spot on the squad it would be in the pass defense. The Bengals front office addressed this area in the draft, but one bright spot is Chidobe Awuzie, who quietly had a great season in 2021.
Awuzie had a PFF rating of 83.3 last year, with two interceptions and even one more in the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, Eli Apple took up a lot of the oxygen when people talked about Cincinnati’s corners.
Apple didn’t even have a bad season, but one bad play on the world stage and you’re meme’d forever. Apple’s back-up right now is Dax Hill, the safety from Michigan who can play at corner. Maybe he’ll provide the fire needed for Apple or Hill will take the starting job.
Either way that’ll provide the needed stability on the outside to help compliment Awuzie. The Bengals will be relying on Awuzie to step up on the outside on defense.
Another question mark is Jessie Bates III. The team and Bates could not come to terms on an extension agreement before the July 15th deadline. Depending on if Bates decides to sit out the entire year (which seems unlikely), Hill could be starting at safety come week one.
Bates gives the stability and leadership the Bengals need. With Apple starting at corner, and possibly forcing Hill to start at Safety the Bengals could have some potential holes in the passing defense that teams could exploit.
Hopefully, Bates and the Bengals front office can come to terms. Bates is possibly the most important defensive player they have. Even with a lesser year than 2021, teams would quickly snatch up Bates.
What do you think? Did I miss anyone? Is there anyone on this list that shouldn’t be here?