Ranking the 5 most important Bengals players on defense

Cincinnati Bengals v New York Jets
Cincinnati Bengals v New York Jets / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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Under the leadership of Lou Anarumo, the Cincinnati Bengals defense has hit new heights. While the offense gets the majority of plaudits, the changing face of the defensive scheme is beginning to get national appreciation also.

When playoff games have been at their tightest, the defense has stood up. This is a group of big play merchants who are happy to go under the radar and form a formidable group. Here, we rank the top five guys on that side of the ball.

All stats provided by Pro Football Focus.

1. Trey Hendrickson, Edge Rusher

Despite Trey Hendrickson having tallied 14 sacks in 2021, it's fair to say reaction to him signing for the Bengals was somewhat muted. Plenty of detractors felt Hendrickson was an 'effort rusher' whose production was based on a stellar supporting cast in New Orleans.

Over the last two seasons the edge rusher has proven that line of thought to be misplaced. Per Next Gen Stats, Hendrickson led the league in pressure rate over his time with the Bengals as well as his career as a whole.

With 25 sacks in his Bengals career it's clear he is the most dangerous weapon in the team's pass rush arsenal. The importance of disrupting the opponent's passing game gives him the edge in this ranking.