It hasn’t been discussed very much this offseason, but how the Cincinnati Bengals manage the 3-technique position will be a crucial storyline leading up to the season.
Last year, the Bengals had success with the one-two-punch of B.J. Hill and Larry Ogunjobi. Ogunjobi could still feasibly return after an unfortunate free agency period, but as of now, only Hill remains. Can he produce the same results with an increased workload?
College: North Carolina State
Hometown: Oakboro, NC
Experience: 5 years
After impressing in his first season with the Bengals, B.J. Hill was rewarded with a three-year, $30 million contract this offseason. For the 2022 season, Hill will earn $15 million in cash and has a cap hit of $8.33 million.
The New York Giants selected Hill in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft, and he made his presence known immediately. Hill made twelve starts during his rookie season in New York and had 5.5 sacks.
Unfortunately, this success did not continue after his rookie season. Hill was pushed down the depth chart, getting less and less playing time. He only had one sack in each of the next two seasons.
As 2021 training camp drew to a close, the Giants were likely to cut Hill, and even if they did end up squeezing him on to the roster, there was no way they were going to look to re-sign him once his rookie deal was up.
The Bengals were in a similar position with former first-round pick Billy Price. He was not going to be the starter at center, and the team favored keeping developmental prospect Trey Hill as the backup.
As it happened, the Giants had a desperate need at center. The Bengals were able to trade Price for B.J. Hill and a seventh-round pick, which was later used to move up in the draft and select Toledo safety Tycen Anderson.
Hill played a key role in the Bengals’ Super Bowl run, splitting time at 3-technique with Larry Ogunjobi. He did a fantastic job, totaling 5.5 sacks on the season and performing equally well against the run.
Outlook for 2022:
With the departure of Ogunjobi, Hill will be called to play an even bigger role in 2022. He must prove that he can bring the same production and consistency to the field with an increased snap count. This will play a huge part in the Bengals’ success this season.
It also helps that the Bengals have a great edge tandem in Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard, not to mention D.J. Reader also on the interior, making this a very formidable defensive line.
Roster Odds: 100%
Hill is a lock to make the Bengals roster in 2022.