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Bengals place Brandon Thompson on Injured/Reserve, sign DeShawn Williams from practice squad

Could we actually see Williams play this Saturday against the Steelers?

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals have sent another key defensive player to season-ending Injured/Reserve following their regular-season finale.

After losing linebacker Emmanuel Lamur to a knee injury during Sunday's win over the Baltimore Ravens, defensive tackle Brandon Thompson is also now on I.R. after also suffering a knee injury during that game. In his place, defensive tackle DeShawn Williams is being promoted from the practice squad onto the 53-man roster.

Thompson, now a fourth-year NFL player, played in nine regular-season games and had seven tackles this season, including a shared sack. This is a tough break for the former third-round pick out of Clemson, who was set to hit free agency this offseason and probably get a decent multi-year deal.

Since 2013, Thompson has appeared in 36 games, including seven starts during the '13 season in which Geno Atkins went down with a season-ending ACL tear. Thompson finished that season with 1.5 sacks, 23 tackles and a pass defense. He showed he could be a decent starting tackle in this league, and someone that may have gotten that chance this offseason had he hit free agency healthy.

As for Williams, this is his first call-up to a 53-man roster in his NFL career. He was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Clemson following the 2015 NFL Draft.  He played in all four Bengals preseason games, with two sacks among his four tackles while making a strong push for the final roster, but as defensive tackle has been a loaded position on the roster, Williams did not make the final roster.

With Thompson, Sims, Geno Atkins, Domata Peko at tackle to go with Wallace Gilberry and Margus Hunt getting time there on passing downs, there was just no reason to keep another tackle, even if he was as talented as Williams, who even drew comparisons to Atkins during the preseason.

During his college career, Williams posted 161 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, five sacks and 24 pressures over 53 games (17 starts). During his final season at Clemson, he generated 54 tackles, eight tackles for loss, three sacks, and seven QB pressures.

The Bengals usually have just three defensive tackles active on gamedays, and while he's yet to play a down of regular-season or postseason football, there's little question that Williams is a better pass-rusher than Sims, a bigger run-stuffer.

Why is that significant?

The Pittsburgh Steelers and their explosive offense is on deck, and they may be without starting running back DeAngelo Williams. If he's out, expect the Steelers to pass more, making a pass-rushing tackle like Williams more useful than a run-stuffer like Sims.

While Williams hasn't appeared in a game this season, he has practiced with the team all season, so it's not like he isn't ready to play Saturday if the Bengals think he's a better option than Sims.

Don't expect Williams to play much this week if he is active, but don't be surprised if he does play, gets some pass-rushing snaps and a shot to take down Ben Roethlisberger in his first NFL game.