clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Pete Prisco: Benglas DE Carlos Dunlap Poised for Breakout Season in 2011 senior writer Pete Prisco picked out 20 rookies from the 2010 season that he believes can have breakout seasons in 2011, that is if they get a chance to play football in 2011.

On that list, which includes players like Lions quarterback Matt Stafford, Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Jason Hill, Steelers wide receiver Emanuel Sanders, Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, Ravens tackle Terrence Cody and Bills running back C.J. Spiller, is Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap.

Carlos Dunlap, DE, Cincinnati Bengals: Dunlap had 9 1/2 sacks as a rookie, which shows he has pass-rush ability. He will be on the field more in 2011, which should help that total go up. It wouldn't be a shock to see this kid with 15 sacks in either of the next two seasons.

Those 9.5 sacks that Dunlap racked up in his rookie season broke the Bengals rookie sack record, which was previously set by Justin Smith in 2001 when he had 8.5 sacks. Those 9.5 sacks also came from zero starts at defensive end in 2011. Dunlap was actually on the field less than half of the time he could have been. That's what makes 9.5 so impressive.

Even if Dunlap doesn't start in 2011, he will be on the field much more than he was last year, at least in every obvious passing situation. If he plays every snap opposite of Michael Johnson, who flushed the QB out of the pocket for many of Dunlap's 9.5 sacks, the two of them could really have great years.

Also on that list of possible breakout second-year players, I would have considered Jermaine Gresham and Geno Atkins, especially Gresham. A good tight end can be a safety valve and the best friend of a rookie quarterback, like Andy Dalton.