DT B.J. Hill Believes He And Young D-Linemen Can Take Another Step For Bengals

The New York Giants have been a pipeline for defensive tackles, even if they don’t often actually make use of them beyond their rookie contract. They’ve taken a good number of swings on day two over the year starting with Linval Joseph in 2010, Marvin Austin a year later (who didn’t work out), Johnathan Hankins in 2013, Jay Bromley in 2014, Dalvin Tomlinson in 2017, B.J. Hill in 2018, and most recently Dexter Lawrence in 2019.

Most of those guys are still in the league, still good, still starting. Many for other teams. Including Hill, who found a new home with the Cincinnati Bengals and has been with them since 2021. He was a 16-game starter for them last season and really started coming into his own with 688 tackles, three sacks, and four batted passes, with a forced fumble. And he believes he can still be better.

I keep my goals to myself.  I just feel like it’s personal to me. Those are my goals”, he told the team’s website recently, though he did open up about some of the ways he is going about improving in an effort to attain those goals.

“Just trying to get more flexibility.  I’m doing more Pilates and yoga. I’m getting later in my career”, Geoff Hobson quoted him as saying. “I’ve just got to do more of the little stuff to keep playing. I’ve seen how guys do that since I was a rookie. Seeing older guys work on the extra parts. I’m doing the same”.

Having just turned 28 years old a week ago, Hills now has five years of NFL experience under his belt and nearly 3,000 defensive snaps. He played a career-high 816 defensive snaps a year ago, the most since he logged 642 in his rookie season for the Giants. That doesn’t include an additional 162 snaps in the postseason.

The Bengals’ other starting defensive tackle is D.J. Reader, a free agent signing back in 2020. He has had injury issues in two of those three seasons since being brought in, though he’s performed well, better than the numbers might look, when you understand what is asked of him defensively.

But Hill also talked about Zach Carter as the next up-and-coming defensive lineman for Cincinnati. A third-round pick last year, he played nearly 400 snaps as a rookie—aided by Reader’s missing time due to injury, as well as Josh Tupou—finishing with 23 tackles, a batted pass, and splitting a sack along the way.

Defensive tackle probably isn’t too high on the Bengals’ draft priority list this weekend, but it’s hardly ever a bad investment in reinforcing the trenches. That’s what the Giants have done for the past decade or so—and they’ve helped to build some pretty good defensive lines on other team during that time in addition, occasionally, to their own.

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