Scouts Inc. not only ranked Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth in their top-50 players through the first half of the 2011 NFL season, they decided to pick another Bengals player for their list of 10 up-and-coming stars. That player was second-year defensive end Carlos Dunlap.
Dunlap broke the franchise record for sacks by a rookie in 2010 when he racked up 9.5 sacks, beating Justin Smith's old record of 8.5 sacks set in 2001. So far this season, Dunlap has three sacks and those were just in the last two games, but that doesn't mean that he hasn't pressured the quarterback before he got his first sack of the season because he did. That's why Scouts Inc. put him on the list.
Despite not being a full-time player for much of the season, Dunlap has been extremely impressive and is an instrumental cog in one of the best defenses in the NFL. He has superb size for a 4-3 defensive end and can hold the point of attack, but his forte is rushing the passer. And he is quickly becoming one of the best pass-rushers in the league.
Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen has racked up an impressive 12.5 sacks through the first eight games of the 2011 NFL season. He leads the NFL at bringing the quarterback down in the backfield. Carlos Dunlap has three sacks but he's ranked as the best 4-3 defensive end in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus, not Allen (who's ranked second). According to PFF, Dunlap has a 28.2 rating compared to Allen's 21.7 rating. Dunlap has three sacks, 10 quarterback hits and an impressive 24 quarterback pressures.
Like Scouts Inc.'s top-50 players list, it's nice to see the Bengals being represented in their up-and-coming stars list. While Dunlap is the only Bengals player that actually made this list, there are some honorable mentions. Included in their other players of note are defensive tackle Geno Atkins and wide receiver A.J. Green,