Ranking the Bengals 4 biggest roster needs in 2023

AFC Championship - Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs
AFC Championship - Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs / Michael Owens/GettyImages
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Defensive Line

The Defensive Line is a strength for the Bengals. D.J. Reader is playing at an All-Pro level. Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard are both high motor-effective defensive ends. The Bengals have an up-and-coming pass rusher in Joseph Ossai.

So why is this a need? Despite all of this the Bengals' defensive line has not been able to get to the quarterback in 2022 nearly as effectively as 2021. The reason is the 3-technique DL position. B.J. Hill has been solid, but, has been playing way too many snaps.

The 2021 Super Bowl year featured Hill in a rotation with Larry Ogunjobi. They collapsed the pocket not giving the QB a place where they can step up to complete their pass. If you look at the AFC Championship loss, most of the magic that Patrick Mahomes made was within the pocket when he stepped up. The Bengals' loss was directly related to the Chiefs' ability to collapse the pocket with Frank Clark.

When competing for a championship, this is the difference maker. In the Super Bowl in 2021 (Aaron Donald) and the AFC Championship the ability to pass rush with your DT was the difference between winning and losing. That is why the defensive line is this important of need.

How to Fix It: Draft

There are some real difference-makers in the draft. Calijah Kancey is the top disruptive force inside and is a rotational inside pass rush that would complement B.J. Hill and could have All-Pro potential. Mazi Smith is an athletic freak and Adetomiwa Adebawore all have serious interior pass-rush chops.

Of course there are free agent options, however, most are on the high side of the market and someone like a Frank Clark will not be cheap. Regardless adding pass rush prowess to the interior defensive line is absolutely key to getting that ring for the 2023 Bengals.