For a team that finished No.3 in the NFL and No.1 in the AFC for total defense, there sure are a lot of talking heads having the Bengals going defense in the 2014 NFL Draft. Perhaps it's because some believe that Cincinnati took notes on the Super Bowl teams and might follow the Seahawks' blueprint for a Championship team. The guys at Optimum Scouting figure that the Bengals will go defense at No.24 overall.
They have Cincinnati taking the local linebacker fro Ohio State, Ryan Shazier.
24. Cincinnati Bengals - Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
After drafting so well the past few drafts, the Bengals are a tough team to peg what they may do on draft day. I’ll lean with them staying in-state to add to their linebacking unit. With Vontaze Burfict and Rey Mauluga already in place, adding Shazier gives this team a talented, young trio.
Shazier is extremely athletic and could help out a Bengals linebacker group in need of speed and youth. Shazier had six sacks as a roaming linebacker for the Buckeyes and many believe that he could come into the league and contribute right away, even if on a rotational basis. With Emmanuel Lamur coming back and the possibility of the Bengals re-signing Taylor Mays for his hybrid role, adding a player with Shazier's skill set could be a welcomed addition.
There are some concerns with Shazier going into the draft though. He a little smallish for the position at 6'2" and 225 pounds, so he might need to bulk up a little and/or prove in his pre-draft workouts that he plays bigger than his size. He also didn't intercept a pass or force a fumble in 2013, which could perhaps raise some concerns as well.
Regardless, Shazier should be selected right around the No.24 range where the Bengals are sitting.