It wasn’t that long ago when the Cincinnati Bengals were about as low on the NFL totem pole as one can be, and a big part of that was the defense.
From 2018-20, the team won just 12 games while finishing 30th (2018), 25th (2019), and 22nd (2020) in scoring defense.
Then came the resurgence of 2021, as the Bengals made it all the way to Super Bowl LVI while finishing 17th in scoring defense, followed by an AFC runner-up appearance this past year in which they finished sixth in scoring defense, their highest finish since 2015 (second).
While there’s plenty of credit to go around, there’s no question one of the biggest factors in this rise was Trey Hendrickson, who has been one of the league’s best pass rushers over the last three seasons, recording 35.5 sacks across 46 regular-season games.
So it should come as no surprise to see CBS Sports’ ranking of the NFL’s top 10 edge defenders has Hendrickson checking in at eighth overall.
“Even in a “down” year based on what is expected of Hendrickson, he still is one of the top pass rushers in football. The pressures (62) and sacks (8.0) were down from his best season in 2021 (75 pressures, 14 sacks), but Hendrickson still had a pressure rate of at least 17% for the second consecutive year (17.0%),” wrote CBS analyst Jeff Kerr.
“Hendrickson still racked up 35 hurries last season and 24 quarterback hits, showcasing he’s still getting to the quarterback. His 35.5 sacks over the last three seasons are fourth in the NFL, while his 186 pressures are fifth.
“The best pass rusher on the Bengals, Hendrickson is still a force to be reckoned with.”
Last season also saw Hendrickson finish with a career-best 85.0 Pro Football Focus grade for the regular season.