Cincinnati Bengals, Def, Bengals
|Def - #14||CIN||Active||46||0' 0||0|
2015 Outlook: Bye Week Fill-inLast updated on Aug-20-2015 by Shawn Childs
The Bengals' defense will face five quality ground attacks: Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Houston Texans and the Ravens twice. Their pass defense has the 10th-easiest matchups, but they will have to try to stop the Pittsburgh Steelers twice and the Denver Broncos.
Cincinnati finished last season 20th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed (1,861). They permitted about the league average in yards per carry (4.2) and struggled to stop rushing TDs (16). The Bengals don't have one player on their current team from the 2014 roster who graded highly in run defense. Defensive end Carlos Dunlap was their best player in this area, but he barely ranked above the league average in run defense. Dunlap was more successful in that area in 2013.
Defensive end Michael Johnson returns to Cincinnati after spending 2014 with Tampa, where he was a huge bust. Johnson was the Bengals' best run defender in 2013.
Defensive tackle Geno Atkins is the Bengals' best defensive lineman. A torn right ACL ended his 2013 season prematurely and it appeared to limit his play in 2014. Prior to the injury, Atkins was one of the best all-around defensive tackles in the league. Cincinnati is hoping he regains his previous form.
The Bengals had a league-low 20 sacks in 2014, down from their total of 43 sacks in 2013. Even with a weak pass rush, the Bengals allowed 18 passing TDs and grabbed a solid total of 20 interceptions. They gave up the 13th-most passing yards (3,888), but recorded the sixth-lowest yards per attempt average (6.6).
Defensive tackle Domata Peko is now a huge liability in all areas. Cincinnati needs someone to step up and take over his position.
The Bengals lost their best linebacker, Vontaze Burfict, in midseason last year due microfracture surgery on his left knee. He led the league in tackles in 2013, one year after signing as an undrafted free agent. Recent reports give him a chance to be ready for training camp, but I have a tough time believing Burfict will play at his 2013 level. The Bengals have plenty of risk at their other two linebacker spots as well.
Cincinnati needs 2012 first-rounder Dre Kirkpatrick to make a huge step forward at cornerback. In his three years in the league, Kirkpatrick has struggled to gain starter snaps. Last season, he allowed 16 completions on 29 pass attempts for 226 yards with three TDs. He also had three INTs.
Cornerback Leon Hall was only league average in pass coverage in 2014 after showing much more upside earlier in his career. However, Hall was coming off a ruptured Achilles from 2013. Cincinnati's safeties, George Iloka and Reggie Nelson, helped in run support and were above average in coverage last year.
This defense didn't play great last year, but it somehow held up well enough for the Bengals to make the playoffs. The key to their success in 2015 is a huge rebound year by the pass rush. The defensive line tends to be Cincinnati's strength as it has below-par talent at linebacker overall. In the past couple of years, Cincinnati has been deep at cornerback while fielding only league-average talent safety. At best, the Bengals have a second-tier fantasy defense. They'll be worthwhile as an occasional matchup play, but I see more risk than reward.
2015 Mock Draft Results
August 5th, 2015
|16.04||The Fantasy Executive - One of the best defense's in the AFC. (Comments Added Sat Aug 8 3:40:59 p.m. ET 2015)|
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