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PFF believes Bengals have top-10 secondary

More high praise for the Bengals defense.

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Syndication: The Enquirer Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Cincinnati Bengals have (somehow) quietly built one of the best defenses in the NFL over the last few offseasons.

With all the hype surrounding the offense, the Joe Burrow outfits and Ja’Marr Chase taking the league by storm, it seems to get lost that the defense was the catalyst for last season’s Super Bowl run.

Headlines and Instagram captions aside, Pro Football Focus seems to recognize the impressive performance the Cincinnati defense put on last season, ranking their defensive backfield in the top 10 of their recent secondary rankings.


CB: Chidobe Awuzie

CB: Eli Apple

NCB: Mike Hilton

S: Jessie Bates III

S: Vonn Bell

The Bengals have built their secondary exactly how we would at PFF: by giving themselves a ton of flexible options. The starters listed above don’t even factor in the team’s first- and second-rounders from this past draft. Adding two more versatile pieces in Daxton Hill and Cam Taylor-Britt makes this one of the deepest secondaries in the NFL.

While the unit is a strong one, it is safe to say PFF is assuming the Bengals have Jessie Bates III this season. With the current stalemate between Bates and the front office, it isn’t a certainty that Bates will play on the franchise tag. Bates being one of the best safeties in the league certainly contributed to this ranking, but the depth added this off-season was noted also.

As we gear up for the 2022 season, it is safe to plan for more big plays from the Bengals’ defensive backs.