College: Kansas State
Hometown: West Palm Beach, FL
Experience: 3 years
If you are not a Bengals fan (heck, even if you are), the name Emmanuel Lamur probably means nothing to you, but his 2013 preseason shoulder injury completely altered (and weakened) the Bengals defense before the season even began - a defense that still finished in the top 5.
An undrafted rookie in 2012, Lamur got his start on the Bengals 2012 practice squad and worked his way onto the active roster, getting his lone NFL start in the Bengals 2012 playoff loss in Houston (2 tackles - 1 solo). Lamur is a long and athletic LB who has the ability to make big plays and excels in covering TEs - anyone who has watched the Bengals over the past 20 years knows what a problem covering TEs has been on the banks of the Ohio.
Lamur was replaced in the 2013 starting lineup by James Harrison, a much bigger name and much more accomplished player, but a player at the end of his career and a player that can only do one thing - rush the passer (and even that was arguable). Harrison never fit in the Bengals 4-3 scheme and was completely out of his element when it came to dropping into coverage.
Taylor Mays filled in admirably in Lamur's absence - until his own season ending shoulder surgery - but he was learning LB on the fly. Lamur is a former safety who was converted to linebacker midway through his college career and at 6'4", 243 pounds and 4.59 speed, he is perfect for covering the big TEs this league has come to love.
And don't be fooled by his undrafted status. His undrafted status was due more to his "tweener" label (safety or LB) than his talent. Plus, you don't have to look far to see what type of impact a motivated, undrafted linebacker can make in this league - see Lamur's MLB (Vontaze Burfict) and predecessor (James Harrison) for some good examples.
Emmanuel Lamur Kansas State 2012 (via johnlamur)
If fully recovered, Lamur gives the Bengals another versatile playmaker on defense and could help lessen the blow from losing Michael Johnson. And with a schedule that will feature the likes of Dennis Pitta (2), Delanie Walker, Rob Gronkowski, Greg Olsen, Coby Fleener, Jordan Cameron (2), Jimmy Graham, Heath Miller (2) and Julius Thomas, Lamur's length and coverage ability will be a welcomed sight on Sundays.