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Reedy: Dan Skuta Is Early Favorite As The Strong-Side Linebacker

Joe Reedy for the Cincinnati Enquirer speculates that Dan Skuta, an exclusive-rights free agent that was tendered earlier in the year, is the early favorite to be the team's strong-side outside linebacker with Rey Maualuga possibly making the transition inside. Skuta, not to be confused with Stuka, played 17 snaps on the Bengals defense last season, along with 14 snaps on offense as a fullback. Skuta also played every game in 2010, leading all players with 16 special teams tackles and a forced fumble against the Baltimore Ravens in September. Including his rookie year in 2009, Skuta has played in 36 total snaps on defense.

While Reedy writes that Skuta is the favorite to take over at strong-side linebacker, there will likely be competition for the spot during (probably an abbreviated) Training Camp and the Preseason with second-year linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy, selected by the Bengals in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Dontay Moch, the Bengals third round pick during the 2011 NFL Draft, is a possible third down pass rushing specialist. Yet most of the reports we've read tend to suggest that he'll primarily work on special teams during his rookie year.

There's also the possibility that the Bengals re-sign Brandon Johnson or Dhani Jones (originally an outside linebacker with the Giants and Eagles) to fill the role as a strong-side linebacker.