Even without rookie sensation Joseph Ossai, the defensive line of the Cincinnati Bengals figures to be one of the strong suits of a defense that finished 26th in the NFL last year after giving up an average of just over 389 yards per game.
After loosing defensive end Carl Lawson to free agency, the Bengals brought on former New Orleans Saints defensive end Trey Hendrickson. Hendrickson finished second in the NFL last years with 13.5 sacks, and added 12 tackles for loss.
Complimenting Hendrickson is defensive end Sam Hubbard, who tallied 8.5 sacks in 2019 before injuries limited him to just two last year.
On the inside, D.J. Reader is healthy again and is capable of getting after the quarterback. Cincinnati signed defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi, who posted 5.5 sacks in both 2018 and 2019, away from the Browns, to provide added muscle in the middle.
Newcomer Darius Hodge, an undrafted free agent who was one of the highest-graded rookies throughout the preseason, and fourth-rounder Cam Sample add extra pressure on the outside. Man mountain Tyler Shelvin is a rookie who will see plenty of action on the inside backing up Josh Tupou, while B.J. Hill, who can line up inside or out, comes over from the Giants. Hill recorded 5.5 sacks as a rookie in 2018 and hopes to regain his form under Bengals’ defensive line coach Marion Hobby.
“Every day, I learn something from coach Hobby,” Hubbard said in the latest edition of the Orange and Black Insider. “But even the veterans, guys like myself who have been here a long time, we get coached exactly the same as the rookies coming in, so there’s a standard that’s held in the room. I really love the way he coaches and what he demands out of us and it’s really getting the best out of each of us.”
Who will lead the 2021 Cincinnati Bengals in sacks?