Bengals say rookie Kris Jenkins will help replace DJ Reader

The Cincinnati Bengals surprised some with the approach to the defensive line this offseason after losing nose tackle DJ Reader.

Losing the heart of the line’s interior to free agency appeared to be a big blow. Then, the team added Sheldon Rankins, who doesn’t typically project as a nose.

That led to the idea the Bengals might switch up, even slightly, how they do things up front to compensate.

But perhaps a rookie might step into Reader’s shoes.

Bengals defensive line coach Marion Hobby recently said that second-rounder Kris Jenkins has the strength necessary to step inside at Reader’s old spot if necessary.

“I’m not going in there. He might have to,” Hobby said, according to Geoff Hobson of “He’s comfortable in there. I talked to him about it. He says, ‘Coach, no problem. That’s second nature to me.’ I think he can swing anywhere he wants to swing in there. He’s strong enough. Sometimes it’s beating them to the punch. It’s not so much heaviness, it’s getting hands on them before they get their hands on me.”

While Jenkins appears roughly 20 or more pounds lighter than Reader, there’s certainly something to be said for playing strength and leverage, two key things in any scheme.

And speaking of scheme, Lou Anarumo’s is versatile on a weekly basis depending on the opponent. Jenkins stepping into a Reader-style role is perhaps just one of many the coordinator will have him occupy over 17 games next year.

Story originally appeared on Bengals Wire