Best Of 2018

Best Bengals Rookie Exceeding Expectations: Carl Lawson

While some are quick to chalk up the Bengals’ seven-win season in 2017 solely as a disappointment, the team’s rookie class flashed enough in Year 1 to give reason for fans to look toward a much brighter future. Of course, first-round wide receiver John Ross, who played just 17 offensive snaps this past season, remains a question mark within the class, but his performance — or lack thereof — is an anomaly compared to fellow rookies Joe Mixon, Jordan Willis and, most importantly, Carl Lawson. A fourth-round pick in the 2017 draft, Lawson exceeded expectations during his first year in the NFL, finishing his rookie campaign tied for 25th in the NFL with 8.5 sacks. Bengals, bengals.com.