1. Trey Hendrickson
In the end, the player who will lead the Bengals in sacks will be Trey Hendrickson.
Predicting that Hendrickson will lead the team in sacks is a double-edged sword. It is great to know that your highest-paid pass rusher has been and will continue to be the team’s biggest sack threat. The front office acknowledged as much when they decided to add an extra year to his existing contract.
On the other hand, it comes at a time when the team has spent a lot of time in the presence of their pass-rushing first-round pick. Extending Hendrickson an extra year while evaluating your high draft pick is not the best optics.
Furthermore, none of the young defenders reached double-digit sacks in one season while in college. We should not expect them to do so in the NFL, although we can hope. Nevertheless, there is no reasonable expectation that one of the young guys or talented rookies will come out of nowhere, putting up sack totals they never produced in college or the pros.
Trey Hendrickson’s 14 sacks in 2022 were the most since Geno Atkins’ 10 sacks in 2018 for a Bengals defender. It was the first time a Cincinnati player finished with more than ten since Carlos Dunlap’s 13.5 and Atkins’ 11 in 2015.
In 2021, Hendrickson finished with 14 sacks and 45 pressures. Last season, he led the team in pressures (35) and sacks (8). Even though 2022 was a down year by his standards, he still led the team again in these crucial categories.
Until Hubbard can surpass him or one of the young pass rushers does something they have yet to do, anticipate Hendrickson finishing the regular season with the most sacks on the team yet again.
Cincinnati’s 2022 pressure numbers were encouraging, finishing 16th in the league with 136 pressures. Let’s hope the Bengals can put even more pressure on opposing quarterbacks this season and come away with many more sacks, regardless of who gets the most.