Will the real Defensive End please stand up?

With former starter Michael Johnson’s departure, the Bengals have a hole at starting RDE.

Based on the current roster, the hole will be filled with the productive rotational backup DE/DT Wallace Gilberry and the uber-athletic, unproven project Margus Hunt.

In all likelihood, the Bengals will draft a DE sometime during the 2014 NFL draft.

Either looking for a starter (which retains Gilberry & Hunt in their rotational roles as backups)

Or a backup for depth, promoting either Gilberry or Hunt into a more prominent starting role.

Everybody knows the name Clowney. Despite the occasional comment from talking heads looking to get attention by saying that he’s "not that good", he’s considered the consensus top overall prospect in the draft this year, and Clowney is the #1 DE on every draft board with an enormous gulf between him and the #2 prospect.

When the Bengals look for a DE, Clowney will be long gone.

So who are some options for the Bengals?

Who is the #2 DE?

The rest of the DE field (not named Clowney):


K Martin (UNC) ...6’6" ... 272 lbs ... 82 tkl ... 21.5 tfl ... 11.5 sacks ... 4.72-40

Good athlete with good size who does not get as much press as his ability & production seem to warrant. Same size as Clowney with athleticism that is only half a notch lower, but with production that doubled Clowney’s in 2013.

S Tuitt (ND) ...6’5" ... 315 lbs ... 49 tkl ... 9.0 tfl ... 7.5 sacks ... n/a-40

Very big, strong DE/DT for the Irish. Injury caused him to miss the combine & pro day, so his speed & athleticism are something of a mystery. Has had weight issues in college, but his size & strength are difficult to ignore.

D Lawrence (Boise St) ...6’3" ... 245 lbs ... 72 tkl ... 20.5 tfl ... 10.5 sacks ... 4.80-40

Good bend & athleticism with a very high level production in college, although not always against elite competition. Had a solid combine that makes people think he can compete against good competition.

T Murphy (Stanford) ... 6’6" ... 261 lbs ... 62 tkl ... 23.5 tfl ... 15.0 sacks ... 4.86-40

Led the NCAA in sacks in 2013. A big player who wrecked havoc behind the line of scrimmage. Good, not elite athlete who could be a pretty good starter in the NFL as either a DE or 3-4 OLB.

K Ealy (Mizzou) ...6’4" ... 273 lbs ... 43 tkl ... 14.5 tfl ... 9.5 sacks ... 4.92-40

Prototypical NFL DE. Probably a good, but not elite player at the next level. A productive college player who benefited from playing opposite Michael Sam.

M Smith (L’ville) ... 6’3" ... 258 lbs ... 42 tkl ... 18.5 tfl ... 14.5 sacks ... 4.68-40

Former QB turned LB was the AAC’s defensive player of the year in 2013. A good athlete and situation pass rusher who could be a 3-down player.

D Ford (Auburn) ...6’2" ... 240 lbs ... 29 tkl ... 14.5 tfl ... 10.5 sacks ... n/a-40

The smallest of the bunch, he’s built more like a 3-4 OLB, but is being looked at as a 4-3 DE. Has more speed than power, and may be more of a pass rushing rotational guy than a 3-down guy. Undersized with an injury history.

S Crichton (Ore St) ...6’3" ... 265 lbs ... 47 tkl ... 19.0 tfl ... 7.5 sacks ... 4.86-40

Good athlete. Good player. But could have perhaps helped his draft stock by staying for his senior season. Could be a starter in the NFL.

C Smith (Ark) ... 6’1" ... 266 lbs ... 36 tkl ... 11.5 tfl ... 8.5 sacks ... 4.71-40

A shorter, athletic DE/OLB who offers more as a pass rusher than as a run stopper.

C Marsh (UCLA) ... 6’4" ... 254 lbs ... 50 tkl ... 10.5 tfl ... 8.0 sacks ... 4.89-40

Has some N Suh in him as far as the on-field fighting & suspensions go, but perhaps not so much as far as the elite ability goes. Has good speed and motor. Has played heavier and could be a DE/DT candidate.

M Sam (Mizzou) ... 6’2" ... 260 lbs ... 48 tkl ... 19.0 tfl ... 11.5 sacks ... 4.91-40

Made a name for himself by "coming out" before the combine. But failed to live up to the hype that followed due to a very poor combine. A very productive college player who benefited from playing opposite Kony Ealy.

L Webster (Bloomsburg) ... 6’6" ... 249 lbs ... 49 tkl ... 16.0 tfl ... 12.5sacks ... 4.58-40

Wowed at the combine with a 4.58 time in the 40 as a DE, which was comparable to Clowney’s. Had good production for little Bloomsburg, but it remains to be seen what he can do against better O-Linemen.

W Clarke (WV) ... 6’6" ... 277 lbs ... 49 tkl ... 17.0 tfl ... 6.0 sacks ... 4.77-40

Solid athlete with good size. Likely a career backup in a rotation. Could play 3-4 or 4-3 DE.

K Van Noy (BYU) ... 6’3" ... 244 lbs ... 70 tkl ... 17.5 tfl ... 4.0 sacks ... 4.71-40

Solid, unspectacular player who is probably better suited as a run stopping 4-3 OLB than a DE or rush OLB.

J Mauro (Stanford) ... 6’5" ... 276 lbs ... 51 tkl ... 12.5 tfl ... 4.0 sacks ... 5.21-40

Nice size will get him drafted or signed by somebody after the draft. But he’s slow, and a mediocre athlete. Was something of a backup in college. PS candidate with upside to be a run-support rotational DE.

A Lynch (S Fla) ... 6’5" ... 250 lbs ... 29 tkl ... 11.5 tfl ... 5.0 sacks ... N/A-40

Looks the part, and was impressive as a freshman at ND. But a lack of production coupled with a lack of athleticism have dropped him towards the end of the draft.

G Uko (USC) ... 6’4" ... 275 lbs ... 36 tkl ... 7.0 tfl ... 5.0 sacks ... 4.99-40

The DE/DT has good size and comes from a good program, so that could get him drafted, late. But he’s rather slow & unathletic compared to the rest of the field. Has versatility on the D-Line, but his upside is as a backup.

E Stinson (Bama) ... 6’3" ... 290 lbs ... 42 tkl ... 2.0 tfl ... 1.5 sacks ... N/A-40

Missed the combine due to injury. Lousy production behind the line of scrimmage compared to draft counterparts. Will carry the stigma that follows most of the recent Tide draft picks (especially on defense) – that they don’t amount to much once they reach the NFL.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Cincy Jungle's writers or editors.

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