Bengals DT Breakdown: Atkins and Reader lead the way

A breakdown of the Bengals' defensive tackles
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Geno Atkins has been the anchor on the Bengals’ defensive line for the last decade.

They’re hoping the addition of D.J. Reader will maximize Atkins’ talents. Reader was the Bengals’ prized free agent signing. He wasn’t brought in to compliment Atkins.

The coaching staff believes he can become a dominant presence in the trenches.

The Bengals’ defensive line is considered one of the best in the game. Let’s take a deeper look at their defensive tackles.

Geno Atkins – 6’1”, 300 pounds

Atkins was selected to his sixth straight Pro Bowl last season despite finishing with 4.5 sacks, 47 total tackles (four for loss) and ten quarterback hits. 

The defensive woes and having to play from behind in 2019 did not help Atkins. He excels as an interior pass rusher. 

He played a career-high 76 percent (816 total) of the Bengals defensive snaps last season.

The Bengals signed Atkins to a $62.5 million extension in August 2018. He's under contract through 2022. Atkins is scheduled to make a base salary of $11.1 million and could earn up to $14.2 million for the season. That number will only rise over the next few seasons.

Atkins and Reader wreak havoc up front and make it tough on opposing offensive lines. 

According to Pro Football Focus, Atkins is the only DT to record 550+ pressures from 2010-2019. Atkins has 577 over that span. 

Expect Atkins to return to his old self with a new-look defense and the most talented tackle he's ever played with in Reader.

D.J. Reader – 6’3”, 347 pounds

Cincinnati signed Reader to a four-year, $53 million contract. He had 154 tackles and 6.5 sacks in four years with the Texans. He should be a difference maker on defense alongside Atkins.

Reader was one of Pro Football Focus’s highest-graded defensive lineman this past season with a grade of 86.7. He finished his 2019 campaign with 2.5 sacks, 52 tackles, and 13 quarterback hits.

Reliability and stability are two of Reader's best attributes. He's missed just three games in his four-year career and has been active for every game in the past three years.

He could be the perfect match to line up alongside of Atkins. Reader is best known for his run defense whereas Atkins is best in the pass rush.

The Bengals are hoping Reader and Atkins put up Pro Bowl seasons. This could be one of the best defensive lines the Bengals have had in the last decade.

Ryan Glasgow – 6’3”, 300 pounds

Glasgow enters the final year of his initial four-year rookie contract. This will be a big year for the former fourth-rounder after injury plagued seasons the last couple of years.

The Bengals’ 2019 Ed Block Courage Award winner has shown glimpses as a valuable contributor to the team. During his rookie season in 2017, Glasgow played in all sixteen games, recording 23 tackles. He added ten more tackles in 2018 before tearing his ACL in the third game of the season.

Glasgow started two of the five games he saw action in last season before heading to injured reserve with a thigh injury.

Through the adversity Glasgow has faced, he has been praised for his toughness. Expected him to compete for a reserve role on the line.

Josh Tupou – 6’3”, 345 pounds

The Bengals re-signed the former college free agent to a one-year deal this offseason.

Tupou has played in 23 career games and all seven of his starts came last season. He finished last season with 27 tackles and one forced fumble.

The run stopper has proven to be a strong rotational player. Expect Tupou to compete for a reserve rotational role along the line.

Renell Wren – 6’5”, 315 pounds

The 2019 fourth-round pick played in 11 games last season and made two starts. He finished with eight tackles in 155 snaps.

He has great size and athleticism, but may not get the reps he needs to develop with the other guys on the defensive line. 

Expect Wren to compete with Glasgow and Tupou for a reserve role.

Rest of the Room…

Trey Dishon – 6’2”, 311 pounds

Dishon joined the team as an undrafted free agent out of Kansas State.

During his senior year, Dishon put up career highs in 30 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, and three sacks. He started all 50 games he played in throughout his collegiate career.

Dishon could not participate in any pre-draft workouts because he was recovering from an ankle injury. In an already crowded DT room, Dishon will compete for a spot on the practice squad.

Tyler Clark – 6’3”, 289 pounds

Clark signed with the team as an undrafted free agent out of Georgia.

His career numbers don’t jump off the page. He finished with 119 total tackles and 6.5 sacks. Clark was part of Kirby Smart’s first recruiting class at Georgia. He's played in all thirteen regular season games since his true freshman year in 2016.

Clark has the look of an NFL defensive tackle, but will need to develop his game. Like Dishon, Clark will compete for a spot on the practice squad to develop.