CINCINNATI — The Bengals are banking on their young talent to lead them back to relevance.
They've missed the playoffs in each of the past five seasons, but a talented young core has people excited about the future.
Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports released his top 25 NFL players under 25-years-old this week. The Bengals had two players on the list and a third that just missed the cut.
Star quarterback Joe Burrow is eighth in the ranking. He's behind Kyler Murray (third), Justin Herbert (second) and Lamar Jackson (first).
"This requires a fair amount of projection. We've got just 10 games to work off, thanks to Burrow's late-rookie-season knee injury, and he was more solid than elite throughout 2020. But the smarts and the moxie are there," Benjamin wrote. "If he stays healthy, he's destined to be a winner. Is he a better player than, say, Metcalf or A.J. Brown right now? No. But the upside's too great to ignore, especially at his position. If he stays healthy and plays up to par, he'd easily justify a top-five spot here."
Bengals safety Jessie Bates wasn't far behind at 16th overall.
"The best safety you've never heard of," Benjamin wrote. "Often overshadowed by the lapses of inferior running mates in Cincinnati, Bates has quietly been an ascendant and steady hand at the back end of the secondary, logging at least 100 tackles and three picks in each of his first three seasons. The 2020 All-Pro honors confirmed his rise."
Burrow and Bates were the only two Bengals to make the list, but Tee Higgins was on the "just missed" portion of the ranking.
Check out all 25 players that made the list here.
It wouldn't be shocking to see Burrow, Bates, Higgins and fifth overall pick Ja'Marr Chase make the cut next season.
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