5 significant questions for the Bengals defensive line this season

  • Pay the man
  • Raymond Johnson III
  • First-round hype
  • More sacks
  • Who steps up?
Aug 4, 2022; Cincinnati, OH, USA; The Cincinnati Bengals defensive line participates in drills
Aug 4, 2022; Cincinnati, OH, USA; The Cincinnati Bengals defensive line participates in drills / The Enquirer-USA TODAY Sports
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Will Myles Murphy live up to his draft status?

How will the rookie perform in his first year? Some in the fanbase were disappointed with what they saw after his first preseason game. Fans got a glimpse of the type of player that Murphy was during his career at Clemson. If the fans were expecting something else, they should not have been. 

Murphy’s game is more in the style of Sam Hubbard than it is of prolific pass rushers like Myles Garrett, TJ Watt, or even Trey Hendrickson. Murphy is a well-rounded defender who plays well against the run and will get a sack here and there. What he is not is a pass rush specialist.

Ideally, Cincinnati knew that when they made him the 28th overall pick. If the Bengals wanted a pass rusher to get sacks, there were other, more accomplished players in the draft they could have selected. Hopefully, they have a plan for Murphy’s skillset. What that plan is has yet to be unveiled. 

Something that has not been explored enough is why, after spending time in the offseason program with Murphy, the organization felt it was necessary to extend Hendrickson. It is more in the team’s nature to draft a player to replace a veteran the subsequent year. Redoing Hendrickson’s contract was curious, especially when there are other, more pressing deals to be taken care of that have yet to be addressed. 

We can only hope that the coaches and organization did not spend time with Murphy in the building and decide that the best course of action would be to extend him. 

Even though we should not expect Murphy to be a prolific edge rusher, we should expect him to contribute in other ways. Whether that is with pressure or his run-stopping abilities, the first-rounder must make an impact on the defense. If not, using a first-round pick on him will be seen as a sizeable misstep. Also, releasing Johnson III will look even worse after his past two preseasons. 

Will Murphy live up to his first-round status, or will the team and fans be disappointed by the selection?