Bengals comment on shift from DJ Reader to Sheldon Rankins

The Cincinnati Bengals will have a much different-looking defense in 2024 after the loss of DJ Reader and filling the void with Sheldon Rankins.

Just ask Bengals director of pro scouting Steven Radicevic.

Radicevic recently sat down with Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com and brought up that fan-favorite combo of Larry Ogunjobi and B.J. Hill when asked about the frustrations with how free agency turned out along the defensive line:

SR: Yeah. Obviously (Sheldon) Rankins is a different style of player than what we had with DJ (Reader), but he’s going to help us with the interior rush and B.J. (Hill) is going to pair up really well inside. We haven’t really had that combo since Larry (Ogunjobi) and B.J. were rolling together. The interior rush is something we were missing and we’re hopeful that Rankins will give us that.

As outsiders have opined since free agency’s opening salvo, the Bengals look quite different in the trenches with Reader gone and Rankins traditionally viewed as a pass-rusher before anything else.

That said, the lack of interior pass-rush was a major issue last year that didn’t do the edge rushers any favors, either, so the team is clearly confident with its schematic fits and possibilities given the current depth chart.

For his part, Reader recently commented again on his Bengals departure in an interesting manner. Former nose tackle Josh Tupou remains a free agent and it is something the team could still look to address in the draft, too.

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