The Bengals completely remade their defense this offseason.
They moved on from veterans like Dre Kirkpatrick and B.W. Webb. Instead of sitting on their hands during the first few weeks of free agency, they took an aggressive approach and added multiple players that are entering their prime.
Cincinnati signed eight free agents, including five projected starters on defense. It started with D.J. Reader and Trae Waynes. Then they added Mackensie Alexander and Josh Bynes, before topping it off with Vonn Bell.
ESPN analyst Mike Clay believes their defensive makeover was the most underrated move of the offseason.
"It has been a while since the heart of free agency, but I'm still hearing and seeing some variation of 'the Bengals' defense is bad,'" Clay wrote. "Yes, the unit struggled in 2019, but the offseason additions of D.J. Reader, Josh Bynes, Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander and Vonn Bell solidify a defense that also includes Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, Sam Hubbard, William Jackson and Jessie Bates."
The Bengals continued to address their defense in the draft. They selected four defensive players, including three linebackers, which has been a weakness for the better part of a decade.
They're expecting Logan Wilson and Akeem Davis-Gaither to be able to contribute right away on defense. Both players are fast, athletic linebackers that are built for today's game.
The Bengals had one of the NFL's worst defenses last season. They allowed the most yards-per-play (6.1) and finished 29th in the league in total defense.
Franchise anchors like Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap remain, but their defense will look much different and should be more successful this season.