As playoff weekend arrives with the Bengals sitting at home, an emerging member of the team’s core received exciting news. Finding his footing well in the NFL so far, Cincinnati Bengals safety Jessie Bates III was named to the AP All-Pro Second Team as a Safety.
Jessie Bates III Earns All=Pro Honors
After a 4-11-1 season with a crash ending, Cincinnati Bengals fans have a reason to celebrate their campaign. Third-year safety Jessie Bates III was selected as an AP All-Pro safety on their Second Team. This news comes as the team heads towards an incredibly important offseason that includes augmenting the defense around Bates. Earlier, Bates was named a first-team All-Pro by Pro Football Focus, who graded him the fourth-best defender of the 2020 season, earning a 90.1 grade on the season.
— PFF (@PFF) January 8, 2021
The award comes after a fantastic third season of professional football from the free safety. Bates ranked second on the team with 109 tackles. Further, Bates’s 15 pass break-ups led all safeties, and his 54.4% allowed completion percentage ranked second among all safeties. He started all 16 games this season, playing 99% of snaps on defense and contributing to 14% of snaps on special teams. He also snagged three interceptions. Truly, Bates presents the Cincinnati Bengals safety room with a lot to look forward to in future seasons.
Bates Leads a Bright Future for Bengals Defense
However, the nomination might feel slightly underwhelming for some fans at home. Especially after the safety was snubbed from a Pro Bowl selection, fans clamored for higher honors. Members of the Bengals’ faithful hoped Bates would land amongst the first-teamers. Instead, that nomination went to Kansas City Chiefs‘ safety Tyrann Mathieu. However, Mathieu and his defensive group are still playing for a championship; his team’s success likely holds impact.
Pro Bowl is supposed to be the popularity contest not All-Pro !!! Jessie Bates is the best safety in the league 🤷🏾♂️ don’t get mad at me get mad at facts
— Kahlil McKenzie Jr. (@Kahlil_Mckenzie) January 8, 2021
Next up for Bates? This offseason, the safety will be negotiating with the Cincinnati Bengals’ front office for what could be a market-shifting contract for the position. The team seeks new deals with both Bates and teammate Sam Hubbard, establishing their place in the team’s defensive core. The team also must make decisions on key defensive free agents William Jackson III and Carl Lawson. The success of Bates also likely plays into the team’s decision to hold on to defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo. After their strong performance in Week 15 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the group looks to turn a corner in 2021.
This is just the beginning for Bates, who is still just 23 years old. Another offseason of hard work bodes well for the safety, who ascends with each passing season. While he’s not a household name yet, Bates is on a great path in Cincinnati. Going forwards, it’s important to watch what the team adds this offseason to augment his strengths. Certainly, the young Cincinnati Bengals’ safety is a big part of their plans for future success. It’ll be exciting to observe Bates next season, as he could be in the conversation for defensive player of the year at this rate. Regardless, it’s a well-deserved honor for a young player on the rise after a fantastic season.
Earning All-Pro Honors wraps a terrific season for Cincinnati Bengals Safety Jessie Bates III, giving fans a reason to celebrate their season.