The Cincinnati Bengals defense struggled mightily to get to quarterbacks consistently in 2020 and Joseph Ossai is ready to help bring pressure in his rookie year. Carl Lawson was a one-man wrecking crew, but he’s off to the New York Jets. The departure of Lawson and frequent injuries along the D-Line leaves a defensive void. The team is hopeful to fill this with Trey Hendrickson and a multitude of 2021 Defensive Line prospects, headlined by third-round pick, Ossai.
Joseph Ossai Expected To Bring Pressure in Rookie Year
Joseph Ossai really came into his own and was a force his junior season at the University of Texas. The biggest impetus for change for Ossai was moving from outside backer to defensive end for most of the season. The results were stellar and saw Ossai amass 15.5 TFL, 5.5 sacks, two pass breakups, and three forced fumbles.
The Bengals took notice of the hard work and prowess of Ossai as a defensive end. It also hit them at a great spot both in a position of need and draft value at pick number 69 overall. Ossai has a real opportunity to team up with Sam Hubbard, Hendrickson, and the D-Line draftees to bring significant pressure in his rookie year.
Joseph Ossai’s Rise at Defensive End
The change in a position suited Ossai’s skillset much better and as Oliver Hodgkinson from PFN noted “A true speed rusher, Ossai blazes past slower offensive lineman with ease. He’s explosive off the snap and has a decent bend to get around the edge. Additionally, he has powerful hands that allow him to overcome his lighter frame and knock back bigger offensive tackles. In addition to having speed in his armory, Ossai has an extremely hot motor. When he is between the white lines, there are no half measures. This has allowed him to be effective against the run in addition to his pass-rush skill set.”
The Bengals had to see some shades of Lawson’s pass rush in Ossai’s game. The physical traits are very similar, but Ossai has the advantage in height and reach. Add it all up and Ossai gives Lou Anarumo a new weapon, potentially much like his old one that can harass opposing quarterbacks.
Lou Anarumo’s Last Stand
The Bengals defensive coordinator should be feeling the heat in year three. The Bengals defense has finished 30th and 29th in his two years in control and notable progress must be made quickly in the 2021 campaign to save his job.
The team has given him every resource possible and did draft four defensive linemen in hopes to better compete in the AFCN. Anarumo is also counting on the return of big man D.J. Reader, who had his first year cut short by injury. Reader was a force in the middle of the line and should open opportunities for Ossai off the edge.
Ossai’s Story Is Just Getting Started
The family story of Ossai and his mother’s courage in coming to America from Nigeria is an inspiring one. The spotlight certainly won’t phase him and he’s ready to make a name for himself in the NFL. The Bengals gave him number 58, which isn’t lost on the rookie. Number 58 is one that Lawson and Von Miller both share. Ossai is ready to continue the tradition of excellent pash rushers with this number.
Zac Taylor and Anarumo have to hope Ossai can quickly blossom in his rookie season. The NFL story is just being written for him and the Bengals hope it’s a best seller. The defense depends on it.
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