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Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle D.J. Reader doesn’t get a ton of national recognition.
And he and the Bengals are probably just fine with that.
Reader, through eight games, was the team’s highest-graded player outright, forcing opposing offenses to gameplan around him and making things easier on the edges for guys like Trey Hendrickson.
And through nine games? Reader is the highest-graded run defender in the NFL at PFF with an 86.0 grade. Reader’s overall grade is a stellar 85.8, too, signifying just how great he’s been in the middle.
The Bengals brought Reader over from Houston on a big-money deal two offseasons ago, though injury cut short his debut season with the team. This year, he’s been healthy and exceeding the expectations, so much so linebackers behind him continue to enjoy breakout seasons.
Highest-graded DI in run-defense this year (min. 200 snaps):
🥈 D.J. Reader- 86.0
MONSTER 😤 pic.twitter.com/avXBfVroNA
— PFF CIN Bengals (@PFF_Bengals) November 11, 2021