The Cincinnati Bengals are hoping for a much improved season after finishing as one of the worst teams in the league in 2020. Hopefully, Joe Burrow comes back healthy and is 100% for the first game of the season, as this franchise will need him if they hope to be competitive. They play in a tough AFC North division though, so Cincinnati is not likely going to be a playoff contender in 2021.
Even so, the front office has set a nice foundation to build upon in the future. The offense has the weapons to be dangerous, and the team acquired a plethora of rookie defensive lineman. The offensive line should also be better, as the new faces coming in should make the team better in that area as well.
Cincinnati has a young roster, which means the Bengals could have numerous hidden gems throughout the team. However, only two stand out amongst the rest. The first is a running back, who could become the team’s second option behind Joe Mixon sooner, rather than later. Meanwhile, the Bengals acquired a defensive end that could make an impact in his first year. With that said, here are two hidden gems on the Bengals roster.
Coming out of Michigan, the rookie running back joins the Cincinnati Bengals after being selected in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft. He spent four years playing for the Wolverines, where he finished his college career with 2,274 yards from scrimmage and 17 total touchdowns.
Not the most impressive numbers for a four-year time span, but he was incredibly efficient when his number was called. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry, which is more than enough to be considered an efficient running back. He’s also in a favorable situation, as he could become the immediate backup to Mixon relatively soon. Samaje Perine played well when the Bengals needed him to, but it’s unclear whether or not he is consistent.
The backfield belongs to Joe Mixon, but someone else has to step up when he needs a break. Based on his efficiency in college, Evans could be a fantastic spell-back who comes in to give Mixon a break. He’ll have to beat out Perine for that role though, so expect to see a position battle going down in Cincinnati.
The Kansas State prospect was taken in the seventh round but aims to make himself known in Cincinnati. He served more as a pass-rushing specialist during his time in college, racking up 94 total tackles, 33 for a loss, 20 sacks, and three forced fumbles in his three years at Kansas State. Rather decent numbers for a guy selected in the seventh round.
He has the potential to serve as an immediate backup, working in a rotational role. The Bengals also drafted Joseph Ossai, who will likely earn starting reps as a rookie. However, Hubert can work into the rotation on either side of the defensive line. He’ll likely start as a special teams expert at first, but if Hubert can impress the coaching staff in training camp, he could carve out a more prominent role.