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Who are the Bengals breakout candidates in 2021?

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The Cincinnati Bengals have a handful of notable breakout candidates going into the 2021 season.

That’s par for the course for a smaller-market team that doesn’t get a ton of national attention, especially since it hasn’t been very good for a number of years. Add in a complete roster overhaul and the breakout potential is huge.

Interestingly, Jay Morrison of The Atheltic just tabbed Jessie Bates as the team’s biggest breakout candidate, citing the lack of attention and snubs for his elite play so far:

“Bates could reset the safety market heading into his contract year. A Pro Bowl snub in 2020, Bates had a great season despite playing behind the worst pass rush in the league. But the Bengals invested in the defensive line through free agency and the draft, which should result in a lot more pressures and sacks. And that, in turn, will create opportunities for Bates to have more game-changing moments to go along with his consistently high level of play.”

Bates could certainly end up “breaking out” on a national scale in 2021 — and he could certainly improve as his surroundings do too and he’s not trying to put out so many fires at once.

Still, other interesting breakout candidates include:

  • OT Jonah Williams

  • TE Drew Sample

  • DE Sam Hubbard

  • LB Logan Wilson

When it comes to Bates, he’s already very clearly one of the best in the NFL at what he does. Williams and the rest listed above still have a chance to reach that sort of same peak.

And the Bengals have to hope they do too, given the investments used to get those players and their importance to a turnaround.

List

2022 NFL draft prospects Bengals fans should start getting to know

View 5 items