The Cincinnati Bengals 2021 rookie class was an important one in fueling their Super Bowl run. This class was crucial for the team and for head coach Zac Taylor. Buoyed by their outstanding 2020 draft which produced an unprecedented seven players who either started or played in backup roles the last two seasons. Well, the Bengals were again one of the better drafting teams in the NFL in 2021. Cincinnati’s recent class was led by standout players Ja’Marr Chase and Evan McPherson. Other contributors included Jackson Carman, Cam Sample, Tyler Shelvin, D’Ante Smith, Trey Hill, and backup running back, Chris Evans. Two successful draft classes, that include a franchise quarterback in Joe Burrow, should set the team up as perennial contenders for many years to come. Let’s take a look at the 2022 Bengals sophomore stock watch.
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Cincinnati Bengals 2022 Sophomore Stock Watch
Ja’Marr Chase (Buy/Sell/Hold)
Quite the easy decision for the reigning Rookie of the Year. Chase returns in 2022 and will undoubtedly be a better route runner with more nuance in getting separation from defenders. The Bengals will also move Chase around at the line of scrimmage and have noted he will get reps in the slot this season. Look for Chase to have another monster season with this added experience. The rest of the NFL is officially on notice.
Jackson Carman (Buy/Sell/Hold)
Carman is a hold in year two mostly based on potential moving forward. The Bengals staff was very disappointed in his work ethic and he came into camp last year overweight. These factors had him running with the second string to begin last year. This season, offensive line coach, Frank Pollack has noticed a dramatic change in the issues above for Carman. The Bengals hope this is the version they get moving forward and he can claim the starting left guard spot.
Joseph Ossai (Buy/Sell/Hold)
Buy Joseph Ossai stock on the low and potentially watch the money flow in. Ossai was injured in the first preseason game in 2021 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In this game, he was all over the place and looked fast and explosive in sacking Tom Brady. The Bengals are slowly working Ossai back into the fold and hope he can contribute as a pass rusher at defensive end to begin the season.
Cam Sample (Buy/Sell/Hold)
Sample saw playing time early in 2021 and contributed right away. Still an ascending player for Cincinnati and played both defensive end and tackle. Buy his stock based on playing in 14 games last season and amassing 1.5 sacks.
Tyler Shelvin (Buy/Sell/Hold)
Tyler Shelvin briefly played in 2021 and showed flashes in the middle of the defensive line. Will probably be called into action if an injury occurs but may be higher on the defensive staff’s radar with a solid showing in the preseason. Shelvin is an intriguing prospect and with some technique refinement, the Bengals might have something at defensive tackle.
D’Ante Smith (Buy/Sell/Hold)
D’Ante Smith did get some run last year at right guard but last year was clearly a developmental season for the East Carolina product. The Bengals will look to develop Smith further into more of a contributing player along the offensive line if an injury to a starter occurs. Holding this stock purely based on necessity.
Evan McPherson (Buy/Sell/Hold)
Buy your entire savings worth of McPherson stock heading into 2022. The Bengals kicker comes off one of the best rookie seasons of all time and was a huge reason Cincinnati made the Super Bowl. Finished with an 85 percent field goal percentage for the year and tied Adam Vinatieri’s playoff record with 14 field goals made. The Bengals have found their Justin Tucker for the next 15 years.
Trey Hill (Buy/Sell/Hold)
The only sell on the 2021 list and Hill is a longshot to make the team this season. Newly acquired Ted Karras will assume center duties and the only way Hill plays is if Karras goes down with injury prior to the season. Even in this case, the Bengals might only see Hill as a backup player and a last resort at best.
Chris Evans (Buy/Sell/Hold)
Also, buy Chris Evans stock based on probably increased playing time in 2022. The Bengals did use Evans in some offensive packages last year and this trend will continue throughout this upcoming season. Evans has all the traits you look for in a backup running back. He has above-average vision, speed, agility, and hands to round out his player profile. Look for Joe Burrow to target Evans more frequently to help add more dynamics to the Bengals offense.
Wyatt Hubert (Buy/Sell/Hold)
Wyatt Hubert, like Ossai, missed the 2021 season with an injury. While Hubert is currently cleared, he’s more of an unknown than Ossai in terms of what you have at the defensive end position. Cincinnati will make sure to give Hubert plenty of playing time in the preseason to earn his spot on the final 53-man roster.