• Mon. Jun 27th, 2022

By Conrad Clowers

Herald Sports Writer

Where Cincy will end the season in ’21 is anyone’s guess. It’s been a topsy tervy season with highs, lows, and teetering.  No matter how the season ends for the Bengals, one thing is for sure. There has been improvement from the previous two seasons under Zac Taylor. You can’t have improvement without consistency. One of those models of consistency has been Germaine Pratt.

Almost from the beginning of his career Pratt displayed traits that could keep him in the NFL for a long time. Cincy eyed and got the hard-hitting Pratt in the third-round of the 2019 NFL draft. With Pratt becoming part of Taylor’s first draft class, the third-year coach has gotten to see the development of the young linebacker. He finished his rookie season with 76 total tackles on a team that won a mere two games. The former North Carolina State star would follow that up with an even stronger 2020 season. He finished last season with a total of 89 tackles. Pratt is in his third year under defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo.

This season, the Cincinnati defense has made its biggest steps yet. For a while the group was amongst the tops in the NFL. Pratt, along with fellow linebacker Logan Wilson, has+ anchored the Bengal defense. With Wilson out due to injury, Pratt has had to take on anchoring duties by himself. This past weekend Cincinnati took a loss to old archenemy and super bowl rival San Francisco. A game-winning touchdown at the end of overtime did the Bengals in.

Pratt, who already has 70 tackles this season, is on pace for his best season yet. The success of the young Carolina native is no surprise. The Bengal standout was a first team, all AAC selection in 2018 at North Carolina State.

Some of the greatest linebackers ever to play for Cincinnati were Reggie Williams, Jim Leclair, Bill Bergey, and Takeo Spikes. Whether Pratt’s name will ultimately end up in the same breath as the aforementioned remains to be seen. One thing is true. Pratt has all the intangibles that would allow him to be a solid linebacker not just for the Bengals, but also in the NFL, for a very long time. Pratt has shown he can mix it up with the best of them. That will be one ingredient needed for the Bengals if they intend to turn the ship around and be one of the powers of the NFL.