Five New Cincinnati Bengals That Should Succeed in 2021

Five New Cincinnati Bengals That Should Succeed in 2021

Ayden Fahlstrom
3 years ago
4 min read
Five New Cincinnati Bengals That Should Succeed in 2021

 As the Bengals inch closer to the start of a new season, returning players like Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon, and Tyler Boyd will be back in the mix. But while those players will play a part in Cincinnati’s ultimate success, there are also plenty of new faces who are in a position to have a big role for the upcoming season. 

Here are just five new Bengals who should be able to succeed in their new home in 2021. 

1. WR Ja’Marr Chase 

As if it wasn’t already obvious, but Chase represents Cincinnati’s best chance to go from an intriguing offense to one of the best in football. The talented receiver was the fifth overall pick in this April’s draft, and will immediately start assuming camp goes well. 

Chase was the top receiver available in the draft and has no major flaws despite sitting out the 2020 season due to the pandemic. His breakout came in 2019, when with Burrow as his QB, he reeled in 20 touchdowns and nearly 1,800 receiving yards, helping lead LSU to an undefeated season and national championship. 

Chase enters a receiver group that already has Boyd and second-year man Tee Higgins. But the rookie already has instant chemistry with Burrow and will be featured a lot on a team expected to throw a lot. He should be in a position to succeed right away and maybe even be an Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate. 

2. CB Chidobe Awuzie 

In an effort to revamp their defense, one of the bigger contracts the Bengals handed out during free agency was for Awuzie.

The cornerback, now entering his fifth year in the league, left the Cowboys for a
three-year deal worth close to $22 million despite playing in just eight games
last season.

After completing OTA’s, the coaching staff raved about Awuzie and what he will bring to Cincy going forward. He is considered a do-it-all corner who can play anywhere on the field, registering one interception in all four seasons of his career. Additionally, the 26-year old will help serve as a leader to this new-look secondary, something they have been missing since Dre Kirkpatrick left after 2019. 

Furthermore, the group of quarterbacks in the AFC North is one to not be that afraid of. Ben Roethlisberger is old, Lamar Jackson is more runner than passer, and Baker Mayfield has had one really great year out of three. This might be the time for Awuzie to take the next level. 

3. DT Larry Ogunjobi 

It came as a surprise to many when Ogunjobi, fresh off of four years with the rival Browns, traveled west to sign a one-year deal with the Bengals. And while it wasn’t a hugely flashy move, it’s one that should be mutually beneficial. 

The former third-round pick has been a starter for the last three years along Cleveland’s solid defensive line. Playing on the inside as the primary nose tackle, Ogunjobi has 14.5 career sacks, hitting his single season-best 5.5 sacks in both 2018 and 2019. His ability to get to the quarterback despite playing in the middle of the line should help a Bengals team that finished dead last with 17 sacks in 2020. 

Ogunjobi won’t have Myles Garrett to draw attention away anymore but now has new signee Trey Hendrickson to distract o-linemen. But either way, Ogunjobi is a solid, dependable player that should succeed more often than not this season. 

4. CB Mike Hilton 

Just like Ogunjobi, Hilton has spent the last several years cutting it up with a division rival. But after five years with the Steelers, the Bengals added the veteran corner on a four-year deal worth $24 million. 

While Awuzie was signed to be an outside corner, Hilton is a nickel corner. After going undrafted in 2016, Hilton fought his way from the practice squad and earned the starting nickelback job out of camp in 2017. He has been there since, racking up seven interceptions and 32 pass deflections, as well as 9.5 sacks and five fumble recoveries. 

The point being, Hilton is a guy who has a nose for football and makes big plays happen. He adds much-needed teeth to what was a toothless Bengals defense in 2020, and with experience in the division, should have success with his new team. 

5. EDGE Joseph Ossai 

Another rookie and another defensive player round out the list, as Ossai was Cincinnati’s third-round pick in the draft and the first of three straight defensive linemen selected between rounds three and four. However, while not expected to be an immediate contributor at first, Ossai should be able to progress and improve as the season goes on. 

Ossai finished his three-year career at Texas, being named first-team All-Big 12 and a consensus first-team All-American. The edge-rusher had 5.5 sacks in nine games and 15.5 tackles for loss, both of which were career highs. Although he played mostly linebacker in school, he is a true edge rusher who can line up along the line of scrimmage or in the middle of the field. 

The good thing for Ossai is that there is no immediate push for him to become great right away, especially where Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard are two guys who will be slotted ahead of him right away. But the young pass-rusher is surrounded by good veterans and has lots of talent to work with, a good combination to have when analyzing who can succeed early on.  

Share article on: