Bengals Position by Position Breakdown: Day #9 DT
To me, this is the one position you can look at and see first hand the huge difference that defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer has made. The group is led by one of the defensive captains, the huge run stuffer Domata Peko. Peko had an injury slow him down in 2009 but he is healthy and ready to be the heart and soul of the defensive tackle group this year. On the other side is Tank Johnson. After suffering through many issues off the field in his time with the Bears, Tank has been a successful project and has become a huge part of the Bengals defensive line. Johnson adds another massive run stuffer who can push the pile even and even plays on passing downs whereas Peko does particularly not. Pat Sims, the third year player out of Auburn, filled in nicely in a rotational role with the starters and showed flashes of his huge talent in his starts during Peko’s injury last year. The Bengals found out the hard way at the end of last season that having only 3 decent defensive line man, healthy or not, is not good enough in the NFL. Therefor the Bengals went out and drafted Geno Atkins with their fourth round pick. Geno is under 300 pounds and is considered to be a relatively undersized defensive tackle by NFL standards. However, he has shown his immense skill during mini camps by impressing the coaches with his speed, quickness off the line and overall ability to get after the quarterback. Atkins has earned the nickname “Taz” (for Tasmanian devil), and is looking to receive a decent amount of playing time while being slowly groomed to replace one of the two starters in a few years. The group looks to be much better than the one that took the field in 2009, and look for them to really help push the line and help the defensive ends get after the QB.
Predicted Depth Chart at Start of Regular Season-
Starters- Domata Peko and Tank Johnson
Backups/Rotational Players- Pat Sims and Geno Atkins
Cut/Practice Squad- Clinton McDonald and Orien Harris