In the 2022 season, you had your usual heroes show up for the Cincinnati Bengals (Joe Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Sam Hubbard, Vonn Bell, Jessie Bates, and so on and so forth). Chances are these guys (minus Bell and Bates of course, who left in free agency) will come to play this year as the team hopes to finally reach the promised land in the 2023/24 season.
However, big names aren't all Cincinnati has to offer. Littered throughout the roster are a bunch of unsung heroes and scrappy young players looking to prove themselves. So, let's shine the light on this group specifically and try to predict which Bengals will take a big step forward in 2023.
3. Cam Taylor-Britt
Cam Taylor-Britt, or CTB for short, got off to a rough start in his career. He missed the first chunk of the season due to injury before being rather underwhelming when he finally got to come in for a significant amount of snaps following Chidobe Awuzie's devastating injury vs. their in-state rivals in the Browns.
However, as the season went on and the rookie out of Nebraska got more acclimated to NFL football, he began to impress more and more. Specifically, he had some good performances against the Browns at home-- which featured two key PBUs (pass break-ups)-- and, although he did give up a touchdown in New England.
His best game of the year, though, came at a time when the Bengals needed him to really step it up. In the Divisional Round against the Buffalo Bills, a game where the defense as a whole was excellent, holding Buffalo-- a team that was averaging 28.4 points per game in the regular season-- to just 10 here. CTB was a big part of that, not only playing physical, getting tackles and breaking up passes but also notching his first career interception late in the fourth quarter.
The former Cornhusker will build off his better performances in the latter half of the season and have a strong sophomore year. He's likely going to have a bigger workload this season, as Chidobe Awuzie is coming off an injury and it doesn't look like Eli Apple is returning as of my writing this, so I fully expect that CTB will rise to that challenge and really step up his game this season.