The Cincinnati Bengals need to bolster their linebacker depth at some point this offseason.
If that doesn't come in the coming days/weeks in free agency, the NFL draft will offer the next best possible way to upgrade what is arguably the weakest position on the roster. The latest SB Nation mock draft has the Bengals addressing it in the draft, going with Washington linebacker Shaq Thompson:
21. Cincinnati Bengals: Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington
The addition of Thompson would represent another playmaker who can fly around and get stops. Although the Bengals re-signed Rey Maualuga, there should be a way to get Thompson on the field, either on the weak side or inside on pass plays.
Though the Bengals could use depth at all three linebacker spots, they might want to pass on Thompson in the first round. After all, his own college coach, Chris Petersen, says Thompson is better suited at running back in the NFL.
What do I think is his best position? Running back," Petersen said. "I know he doesn't want to do that. He probably wants to play longer. He knows the shelf life of running backs. He's just so unique because he's just a football player."
Petersen also said, "I know he sees himself as a linebacker. That's where he spent the last three years."
The last thing the Bengals need right now is a running back, and it's clear Thompson wants to play linebacker in the NFL. But, his coach isn't the only guy who doesn't exactly know what Thompson could/should play professionally.
NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks has Thompson as the No. 2 outside linebacker prospect in this year's draft, but fellow analyst Mike Mayock has Thompson as the No. 2 safety available.
It's safe to say Thompson is one of the 2015 draft's most intriguing prospects. Whether or not he'll fit the Bengals' mold remains to be seen.