5 candidates who could lead the Bengals in sacks in 2023

  • Could Cam Sample have a breakout year?
  • Will Joseph Ossai get redemption for how his 2022 season ended?
  • Trey Hendrickson seems destined to be the Bengals' sacks leader once again.
Cincinnati Bengals Training Camp
Cincinnati Bengals Training Camp / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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3. Joseph Ossai

Another young edge rusher looking to have more of an opportunity to make his mark on this Bengals’ defense is Joseph Ossai. 

Ossai had a promising "rookie" season (remember, he missed all of 2021 due to injury). He finished 2022 with 13 pressures and 3.5 sacks and played in only 32% of defensive snaps. This season, expect that number to increase as the coaches look to keep Hendrickson and Hubbard fresh and to build upon Ossai’s pass rush potential. 

The former Texas Longhorn is in his second year as a full-time defensive end. While at Texas, he split time between linebacker and edge rusher. He even lined up as a middle linebacker on several occasions. He finished his career in Austin with 11.5 sacks, 30 tackles for loss, and five forced fumbles. 

If Murphy can show development sooner rather than later, we could see Ossai line up more as a linebacker, allowing Lou Anarumo to have a consistent pass-rush threat from the linebacker position. 

Training camp reports on Ossai have been positive. The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Charlie Goldsmith noted on X, “Joseph Ossai is the first man off the bench, and he’ll play pretty close to starter-like snaps. He has always been twitchy with speed off the edge, but his strength, edge setting and versatility look ready to take a jump.”

We certainly hope Ossai takes a jump, helping the defense get more sack numbers than last year.