Being voted into the Pro Bowl is far from the most prestigious award that can be bestowed upon an NFL player and is considered by many to be more of a popularity contest than anything. Getting selected to an All-Pro team is far more indicative of how good a player actually is than being a Pro Bowler. Still, it's always nice to see a Bengal be recognized league-wide for their play.
Now, I could probably name half a dozen or more Bengals who deserve to make the Pro Bowl but 1. that's a little biased of me, and 2. I wanted to narrow it down to the three most deserving names that have a realistic shot at being voted in. So, a quick honorable mention for Germaine Pratt, Logan Wilson, both quarterbacks with the initials JB, D.J. Reader, Mike Hilton, and B.J. Hill
With that out of the way, here are the three Bengals most deserving of making the Pro Bowl.
Trey Hendrickson should not only pretty much be a shoo-in for the Pro Bowl, but he also should be an All-Pro for the first time in his seven-year career. He is having the best season of his career this year, already besting his previous season-high for sacks set in 2021 through 15 weeks, and is currently tied for third in sacks as I write this. The former Saint is also currently on a six-game streak of having at least half a sack so he's becoming more dominant down the stretch as the games matter more.
More importantly, Hendrickson has been the driving force for Cincy's pass rush unit. Sam Hubbard and B.J. Hill notably have contributed as well, but when Hendrickson is off (which has been rare this year), then it feels like no one can get to the quarterback. Consistently, the veteran edge rusher has been the most important and impactful player on this defense and always seems to come up with the big-time play when the Bengals need it to close out a game.
With the year that Hendrickson is having, he is easily one of-- if not the most deserving Bengal to make the Pro Bowl.
Considering everything I said before about the Pro Bowl being a 'popularity contest' to many, Chase is by far the most likely candidate to be voted in for the Bengals. He, along with Burrow, is probably the most popular Bengals player across the league, so I fully expect him to make his third-straight Pro Bowl. It won't be undeserved, as he once again cracked 1,000 receiving yards and had a bunch of big games (notably against the NFC West and Jacksonville).
While he still hasn't matched his yards or touchdown total from his rookie season, Chase did set a career-high in receptions in 2023, with 93 this year. Depending on how long this shoulder injury keeps him out, he could end up having a triple-digit reception year for the first time in his career. Related to this receptions stat, he has also had more 10+ reception games this year than his rookie or sophomore season, with 4 (Arizona, San Francisco, LAR, and Jacksonville) in comparison to 1 in 2021 (Kansas City) and 2 in 2022 (Pittsburgh, Cleveland).
While Trey Hendrickson is the most deserving to make the Pro Bowl, Chase is probably more likely. Fans across the league love him, the media loves him, and he is a household name along with other top receivers in the league like Cooper Kupp, Tyreek Hill, Justin Jefferson, etc.
After seeing his play down the stretch in 2022-- specifically in the home game against the Browns and in the divisional round vs. the Bills-- many were expecting Cam Taylor-Britt to take a leap in year two. However, while it was expected that he'd improve upon his rookie season, I didn't expect it to be to this extent. I didn't think he'd be CB1 material this early on, but he quickly has proved that he is.
The Bengals really needed him to be, what with Chidobe Awuzie coming into the season rusty as expected and still trying to get back to speed after tearing his ACL midway through the 2022 season. The Nebraska product has answered that call, being shutdown on plenty of occasions throughout the season, while also having the big PBUs and interceptions when the Bengals needed them.
While we unfortunately still haven't gotten to see a full season of Cam Taylor-Britt (though he could potentially return as early as Week 17 vs. the Chiefs), all things considered, this has been a great season for the second-year cornerback. He stepped up as CB1 when Cincy needed him to, made a huge jump from his rookie season, and had a handful of memorable plays in 2023, such as his pick-six against Arizona or his leaping interception on his birthday vs. the Seahawks.
Also, although this won't factor into whether or not he actually makes the Pro Bowl, I do want to mention the energy he brings to the team. CTB brings a fiery passion to the Bengals that not only makes him fun to watch during the game, but in the post-game as well, or even when he's sidelined.