Kevin C. Cox
We're going mock-draft crazy this week at Cincy Jungle, and we've got another for you. This time, it's a stud linebacker.
Today, the television split-screen duo of Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay each released their 2013 Mock Draft version 2.0. McShay had the Bengals taking the Alabama running back Eddie Lacy, who torched the Notre Dame defense in the National Champioship Game for 157 rushing/receiving yards and two touchdowns. Kiper went with a safety from Texas, Kenny Vaccaro, a versatile player who fits the Bengals scheme well and Kiper's top ranked safety overall.
Rotoworld NFL Draft Writer Josh Norris (whom fans should trust more than ESPN's McShay and Kiper) released his latest mock draft this week, in which he has the Bengals welcoming another Georgia player into their ranks.
This time it's linebacker Alec Ogletree.
It might be an easy comparison, but Ogletree has some Thomas Davis to him. He has issues getting sealed off by second level offensive linemen after taking false steps, but Ogletree powerfully closes from the backside when the lane is there or when face up on the edge. I expect Burfict to move inside with Ogletree on the weak side as a three down player.
Ogletree is a rangy linebacker who can both cover extremely well and lay down a big hit or a tackle-for-loss in run defense. He may be the first inside linebacker taken in the draft. Many draft experts have Ogletree ahead of Notre Dame's Manti Teo or Kansas State's Arthur Brown. The defining trait of Ogletree is his speed in pursuit. He flies up the field and is excellent moving sideline to sideline. In fact, Mel Kiper Jr. has Ogletree as his 8th overall pick in his recent draft.
Taking an inside linebacker in the first round has major implications on Thomas Howard's future, though. The team likely wouldn't draft Ogletree and re-sign Howard, because only two linebackers play every snap - and we know Vontaze Burfict will be filling one of those spots. The SAM linebacker spot is still up in the air, with Manny Lawson not expected to return. In any case, a rookie linebacker will probably join the Bengals this year.
For more mock drafts, visit our Mock Draft hub.
If the Bengals take an inside linebacker with their first round selection (No. 21), who should they take?
Alec Ogletree (294 votes)
Arthur Brown (31 votes)
Manti Te'o (47 votes)
Don't take an inside linebacker in the first round. (87 votes)
459 total votes