The Cincinnati Bengals are 3-3 entering the bye, and with the offense off to a somewhat slow start, the defense has been what has shined in the past two games.
Cincinnati is using lots of the same personnel they used last year in the trenches and at skilled positions offensively, outside of minimal sightings from Andrei Iosivas, Charlie Jones, and Chase Brown. However, the defensive secondary has had a lot of change and has exceeded expectations thus far.
Here are the three most surprising Bengals heading into their Week 7 bye.
All player personnel courtesy of Pro Football Reference*
3. D.J. Turner
When the Bengals used their second-round pick on the Michigan product DJ Turner, I don't think many anticipated the amount of usage and volume he would see right out of the gate, and he has silenced those doubters.
With Chidobe Awuzie battling injury early on in the season, Turner has been the next man up and has shown glimpses of his skillset and overall talent in every game. His speed to the football is sound, and outside of Daxton Hill and the linebackers, Turner has probably been the Bengals' most consistent and sharp tackler in the open field.
Pro Football Focus has graded him with a 62.3 so far in his early career. For a guy who isn't a listed starter yet, and continues to step into unprecedented roles, he has been a great addition to the Bengals' defense.
Turner has managed to maintain 10 solo tackles and has only appeared in roughly 58% of the defensive snap counts this season. I'd expect him to play a vital part in the defense moving forward, but if Awuzie is healthy, I don't expect his snap count to increase by much for the time being.