The Bengals are hoping Jessie Bates can make an impact in more ways than one in his rookie season.
The former Wake Forest safety collected six interceptions, 10 pass deflections and 177 total tackles over the last two seasons before declaring for the NFL Draft.
But while Bates was known as a ball-hawking safety, an underrated aspect of his game was his punt-return skills. He finished his career with 27 punt returns for 234 yards (8.7 avg) and one score.
For comparison, Alex Erickson had 40 returns for 278 yards (7.0 avg) and no scores in 2017. The Bengals need to get more out of their punt returner, so Bates may answer the call.
The Bengals would certainly love to have another player who can make an impact as a punt returner after losing Adam Jones this offseason.