With the summer in full swing and NFL training camps less than two months away now, we gathered our Cincy Jungle staff to rank the top 25 Bengals of the 2020 season.
This ranking is simply who we believe are the 25 best Bengals heading into next season. It includes veterans and rookies alike, though it obviously is more favorable of players who’ve actually played snaps in the NFL, so don’t expect guys like Joe Burrow to be a top-five player right off the bat.
For a recap of the list, check out our stream here.
2019 was not the rookie campaign that head coach Zac Taylor was hoping for and the play of the team’s defense was particularly troubling.
That unit, however, was not devoid of talent. And heading into this season, it’s objectively in much better shape.
Thus far, we’ve revealed the first 10 players on our rankings, and six of the 10 are members of the defense. Three of the six play in the secondary, where the next Bengal on our list also happens to make his money.
No. 15: Shawn Williams, safety
Despite impressive production in the past four years as a starer, Williams has a case for being the most underrated player on the entire team. Williams has totaled 224 tackles over the past two seasons. He only had one interception in 2019, but hauled in five of them in 2018 and has 12 over the course of his career.
After an excellent 2018 season, Williams was forced to play a bit out of position in 2019. He was frequently lined up in the box in a true-linebacker alignment.
It was clear that he was never truly comfortable in this role. Fortunately the Bengals were able to sign free agent safety Vonn Bell. Bell is a great compliment to Williams; as he is best in the box. This along with the addition of linebackers Josh Bynes, Logan Wilson, Akeem Davis-Gaither, and Markus Bailey will free up Williams to return to his more natural position in 2020.
Williams is a very talented player who can do a lot for this defense. Getting him out of the box and allowing him to play more in the deep field and flats should help him step up as a defensive playmaker for the Bengals in 2020.