Jesse Bates. Photo by Michael Mitchell
By Conrad Clowers
Herald Sports Writer
When you have a reputation for losing, it’s kind of hard to see any one player with potential. If one guy gets laughed at, so does the entire team. For the Cincinnati Bengals that’s been the sad but true tale. Years of losing by seemingly new ways every week. For those who know football and take a closer look, Cincinnati does have some very talented players.
One of those players is Jesse Bates. Bates solidified himself in the starting lineup as a rookie in 2018 after being drafted in the second round by Cincinnati. It’s rare that someone out of Wake Forrest makes an impression. The school is primarily known for its basketball stars. Wake Forrest football has never been on the radar. Bates was a star at the school, who started 21 of 24 games. During his time at Wake Forrest, the Fort Wayne, Indiana, native totaled 179 tackles and 6 interceptions.
Since coming to Cincinnati, Bates lets very little get past him at the safety position. He’s had at least 100 tackles and at least 3 interceptions every season since coming into the league. The Bengal safety star has started to grow around the league as he has started to build a reputation as a consistent player. One thing that has held Bates back is missed tackles. While he succeeds way more than he fails, he has had missed tackles leading to long runs.
The Cincinnati Bengals are in last place in the AFC North Division. There have been few bright moments for Cincinnati in 2020 with the 2-5-1 record. This past weekend the team defeated its first opponent with a winning record under head coach Zac Taylor. The victim was the first place Tennessee Titans.
The nucleus of the Cincinnati Bengals shows a bright future. Bates, along with players like Joe Burrow, Sam Hubbard, Joe Mixon and Tee Higgins at least give Cincinnati hope for the future.
At present Bates and the Bengal defensive efficiency is ranked 26 out of 32 teams. Bottom line, 26th is not going to get it done.
For Jessie Bates, the sky will be the limit. Cincinnati has had a few really good safeties, such as David Fulcher and Darryl Williams in its history. If Bates is able to continue on his path he will certainly be playing in pro bowls one day. For now he stands as one of the last lines of defense in the Bengal secondary to prevent opponent touchdowns. It’s safe Bates will more often prevent than submit in that category.