Safety named Bengals' most underrated player heading into 2024 NFL season

Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Bengals upgraded the safety position in a big way over the offseason by signing both Geno Stone and Vonn Bell, but it's second-year safety Jordan Battle who is generating a bunch of buzz coming off of his rookie campaign.

As a rookie last season, Battle played in all 17 games for Cincinnati and started in seven of them. He tallied 71 total tackles, five passes defended and one interception. The organization is high on Battle's potential after drafting him in the third round last year, and he was recently named as the team's breakout candidate for the 2024 season by Pro Football Focus.

PFF isn't the only outlet keeping close tabs on Battle, as he was also recently named as Cincinnati's most underrated player by Conor Orr of Sports Illustrated. Orr picked the most underrated player on each team in the AFC, and the second-year safety was the selection for the Bengals.

From Sports Illustrated:

"Battle prevented a lot of runs from becoming bigger runs last season, which is not a stat that anyone keeps but is incredibly valuable to a team that was missing its starting quarterback and in need of keeping the score down. Battle also had an incredibly low 6.6% missed tackle rate, which, for a guy involved in as many physical run plays as he was, is noteworthy."

Battle appears to be the future of the safety position in Cincinnati, but he'll still have to fight for his playing time next season given the additions of Bell and Stone. Both of those guys are far more experienced than Battle, and both are still starting-caliber safeties in the NFL. That's why the safety position battle in Cincinnati will be one to keep an eye on this summer.

Battle's goal for second season

When it comes to his sophomore campaign in the NFL, Battle has a major goal in mind: Maturing.

"I'm trying to be more mature," Battle said recently. "Not meaning changing my personality, but try to evolve more as a leader. On defense, have more growth, more voice, and not be afraid to speak up when I see something is wrong."

This is exactly what Bengals coaches -- and fans -- want to hear. Growing as a leader will help Battle both on the filed and in the locker room, and it's a solid sign that he's looking to improve in that area so early in his career.