The Cincinnati Bengals have done at a solid job at having great depth at defensive tackle since 2008. That’s when the team landed Pat Sims in the 2008 NFL Draft.
While Sims has rarely been a starter in his career, he’s been a great backup behind the likes of Geno Atkins and Domata Peko. Where does Sims stand on the current depth chart, and will he make the final roster?
Weight: 330 pounds
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Experience: 10th-year player in 2017.
Sims is entering Year 2 of a two-year contract he signed with the Bengals in 2016. He is set to make $1,075,000 in 2017 if he makes the final roster. If Sims is cut, there is no dead cap hit, according to Spotrac.
Sims' specialty is his 6’2”, 330-pound frame adding bulk and push to the middle of the Bengals' defensive line. Cincinnati originally drafted Sims in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft out of Auburn. He played five seasons for the Bengals while being part of a valuable defensive line rotation.
But Sims left in 2013 to pursue more playing time and money with the Oakland Raiders, where he racked up 54 total tackles and two sacks while becoming a force along their line. His production dropped a bit in more of a rotational role in 2014 and the Raiders opted to not re-sign him.
That led to him taking a one-year, $870,000 deal with Cincinnati that didn't even ensure he'd make the final 53-man roster. Despite a strong push from younger guys like DeShawn Williams, Sims made it through final cuts and went on to battle Brandon Thompson for backup tackle snaps.
Sims ended up not playing much during the 2015 season. He appeared in just eight games while making 16 tackles. When he did play, Sims made his presence felt as he was a nice situational run-stuffer. He also helped contribute to a Bengals defense that finished seventh vs the run in 2015 after finishing 20th in 2014.
Once the offseason hit, Sims was signed to a two-year extension. However, even with Sims playing a good deal of snaps, the Bengals regressed back to 21st in run defense this past season. That came with Sims playing in all 16 games while making 37 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
While he had his moments, Sims hasn’t exactly shown he’s someone you want starting. He also turns 32 in November, a very old age for defensive linemen. That’s what Sims is in position to do after Peko left this offseason to sign with the Denver Broncos.
However, the Bengals are very high on second-year tackle Andrew Billings, enough that there’s a growing sense he’ll be the starter next to Atkins this season. But Billings has yet to even register an NFL snap after a knee injury sidelined him for all of 2016. Like it or not, Sims may very well be the best option to start next to Atkins.
Regardless of who starts, Sims is likely to make he final 53-man roster. The Bengals can’t put all of their eggs in the Billings basket, so keeping a decent veteran like Sims seems likely.
Odds: 60 percent.