Back in the 2010 draft, then-Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap was known as one of the better players in the class. However a college DUI arrest in 2009 and some rumblings of a vague “motor problem” caused him to slip to the Bengals in the second round.
What has ensued over the eight years since has been the blossoming of one of the most productive and well-liked Bengals players to ever don the team’s uniform. For many reasons, both obvious and not, Dunlap is one of the top Bengals players in the Marvin Lewis era.
Statistics under Marvin Lewis:
Sacks: 64.5 (First all-time in Bengals history*)
Single season sacks record*: 13.5 in 2015
Forced fumbles: 16 (first in team history)
Touchdowns: 3—one fumble (tied fifth-best in team history), two interceptions (tied eighth-best history)
Fumble recoveries: 8
Passes defended: 42 (ninth-best in team history
Why he makes the list:
Production: Given the high rankings in major statistical categories, Dunlap not only ranks as one of the best players in the Lewis era, but also as one of the best edge rushers in team history. Though a couple of his seasons tend to be a bit more feast-or-famine, in terms of game-by-game production, he has been one of the major hits in team draft history.
Also, how silly is the passes defended ranking from Dunlap? The next closest defensive lineman has 32 (you guessed it—Michael Johnson), and it has been a very underrated aspect of his pro game.
Consistency: Eight sacks a year for eight years. That’s what Dunlap has averaged since 2010 and you can’t get much more consistent than that. Furthermore, after a slow start in 2017 (just two sacks in the first nine games), he finished strong with 5.5 sacks in the final seven contests.
Because of this, he’s made two Pro Bowls as a Bengals player. That’s more combined than former Bengals first round defensive ends Justin Smith, John Copeland, Sherman White, Ross Browner, Glen Collins, Pete Koch, Jason Buck, David Pollack and Reinard Wilson.
A pillar in the community: We can talk all about his on-field production, but both Dunlap and Johnson have been amazing in both the greater Cincinnati area and their own hometowns. For a franchise that has been sometimes-unfairly painted as a safe haven for problem children, Dunlap has definitely broken this stigma.
Along with Johnson, Andrew Whitworth, Domata Peko and others, Dunlap has been very influential to youth in the community and a respected voice in the locker room.
(Editor’s note: The asterisks denote the fact that sacks weren’t an official NFL statistical category until 1983. Many believe Coy Bacon holds the both the NFL and franchise single-season sack total, while Eddie Edwards could very well have more sacks than Dunlap’s career total.)