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90-in-90 Bengals Roster Breakdown: Is Margus Hunt’s job in jeopardy?

After coming to the Bengals in the second round, defensive end Margus Hunt has been a disappointment. The 2016 season is a make-or-break one for Hunt, so which way is his career headed?

Cincinnati Bengals Rookie Camp Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

After the Cincinnati Bengals selected massive defensive end Margus Hunt in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, both caution and excitement surrounded the fan base. It was well-known that he would be an intensive project for the team to turn him into a productive pro lineman, but the potential was extremely high because of his size and athleticism.

However, entering his fourth pro season, Hunt has amassed just 12 total tackles and 1.5 quarterback sacks. The biggest disappointment with his performance came in 2014 when he was given an increased role once Michael Johnson left for Tampa Bay in free agency. But, he was unable to make much of an impact. In 2014, the season in which Johnson was gone, Hunt totaled 7 tackles and 1 sack. His lack of getting to the quarterback heavily contributed to the team finishing dead last in sacks that season.

The 2016 season is a big one for the course of Hunt’s career and he appears to know it. This spring he went back to his old Olympic style of weight lifting and training to put him closer to the 300-pound mark. Training camp and preseason play will prove if it pays off for him.

Player Information:

Age: 29
Experience: Entering 4th season
Height: 6’8”
Weight: 295 pounds
Position: Defensive end
College: Southern Methodist University


2016 Outlook:

Hunt has an opportunity to carve out a nice niche for himself and the possibility of getting a new contract as he is set to enter free agency in 2017. Wallace Gilberry left in free agency and the team didn’t draft an edge rusher, so Hunt has every opportunity to be a rotational backup for the club.

Still, Will Clarke, another defensive end disappointment thus far, is grinding for the same role with undrafted rookies Jack Gangwish and Ryan Brown. There isn’t a doubt that Hunt has the highest ceiling of the group, but at 29-years-old while entering his fourth pro season, the plateau might have already hit.

Roster Opportunity:

With the above-mentioned names and a glut of talent at defensive tackle, defensive line position spots on the roster are going to be at a premium. Even so, with Gilberry off to Detroit, the team failing to add more ends and the recent release of Dezmond Johnson, Hunt could be in the same situation this year and make the final roster.

One wild card on the line is Marcus Hardison. The team has him as a tackle and he’s bulked up this season for the job, but he was a 3-4 system edge rusher at Arizona State. If the team wants to go heavy in the interior of the line and Clarke impresses far more than Hunt this preseason, the project might be over before Hunt sees his entire rookie contract through with the Bengals.