The Cincinnati Bengals had some roster turnover last season with the departures of Jessie Bates, Vonn Bell, Hayden Hurst, and others, which led to some new faces getting critical playing time throughout the season. Now, with an off-season full of unprecedented possibilities, Cincinnati will need key contributors to make major leaps in 2024 and step into new and more prominent roles.
There is unfinished business in the Queen City, and you can sense that when you see the standard this team has set for themselves over the last two seasons. Finishing 9-8, 1-5 in the division, and last in the AFC North won't cut it. Players will need to emerge, and the teams' performance will need to excel. Here are five Bengals that could contribute to that in 2024.
After being selected in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft out of Clemson, expectations were set at a high standard, and Myles Murphy had a bumpy ride throughout the ups and downs of the NFL season. However, towards the end of the season, Murphy started to show glimpses of the player the Bengals saw at the collegiate level.
In Week 18, against the Cleveland Browns, Myles Murphy had the 2nd highest pass-rush grade of any defensive rookie all season. Throughout the 17-game season, Murphy totaled 305 snaps and started the season slow from a production standpoint and faced some backlash for it. However, in recent memory, more often than not, Duke Tobin and the rest of the front office have selected players who are built a certain way and can contribute to the culture that Zac Taylor has built and is continuing to build. Murphy is still very young, and the jury is still out on the player he can be.
One thing the Bengals desperately need is another pass rusher to consistently produce. As good as DJ Reader, Sam Hubbard, and B.J. Hill are, they don't rush the passer at an elite level like Trey Hendrickson does. If Murphy can develop into that solidified piece, it will make the Bengals' defense even more dynamic and harder to grasp under Lou Anarumo's scheme.
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