Sadly, with the Texans, Steelers and Ravens still on the schedule, it looks like the Bengals will have a mere two wins to end 2020, the same way they finished up 2019. Sadly, the only difference is that this time they won’t have the top-overall pick.
This season, though, hasn’t been a complete waste. Joe Burrow proved what he’s capable of. He’s going to be the face of the franchise. On the defensive side of the ball, the team has watched Jessie Bates III mature into one of the best safeties in the NFL.
Bates played so well he was selected to be part of Pro Football Focus’ All-Pro team.
“Jessie Bates has been one of the few bright spots for the Cincinnati Bengals this season. At 91.1, he has by far the highest PFF coverage grade at the position, five grading points better than anyone else. Bates has three picks and 11 pass breakups.” PFF’s Sam Monson wrote.
From the AFC, Justin Simmons and Marcus Maye also cracked the roster, but it was Bates who had the best PFF score among the three. In his third season in the NFL, Bates has played and started in all 13 games.
Bates already tied his career high in interceptions at three. On top of that, he has a career-high 14 passes defended this season. He’ll likely also set a career high in tackles, currently at 92 with a 111 career high.
All that to say, Bates has taken his game to the next level.
He’s transcended the Bengals’ defense. The 6-foot-1 former second-round pick has one more year on his contract, so let’s hope the Bengals can do right by him and bring him back to run the defense for the long-term future.