With the 21st pick of the 4th round of the NFL draft, the 120th selection overall, the Cincinnati Bengals have selected USC CB, Josh Shaw. This pick is the first of the Bengals' two fourth round selections.
Shaw played both cornerback and safety at USC and can be moved around as a versatile player, which the Bengals like. He's also been touted as one of the best special teams players in this year's draft.
Shaw has above-average size for the cornerback position and is said to show some short-area foot quickness and balance in coverage. Shaw started his college career as a Florida Gator, where he appeared in 10 games in 2011 and recorded 22 tackles.
As his father and grandfather were experiencing some health issues, Shaw wanted to get back to California and the NCAA granted him a hardship waiver to participate immediately. Shaw started out at USC playing strong safety but ended up making the move to cornerback, where he started the final seven games of the 2012 season for USC, recording 30 tackles, six pass deflections and two interceptions. In 2013 he started all 14 games; 11 at corner, three at free safety and posted 67 tackles, including 5.5 for loss. Shaw broke up seven passes and intercepted four additional ones. He returned one of his interceptions for a touchdown in a game against Hawaii and secured a blocked punt against Cal for an additional defensive score.
During his 2014 senior season, Shaw was a defensive co-captain for the Trojans. Over the course of his college career, Shaw recorded 130 tackles, 6 interceptions and 14 pass breakups.
Josh Shaw Visits Bengals
One prominent defensive back recently visited the Bengals as they shore up all the information needed before next week's draft. You may remember Shaw from his tall tales in 2014 which lead to a 10 game suspension.
According to his NFL Draft profile, he was expected as a 5th or 6th round pick. And while many names that late in the draft are that of unknown players, you may remember Shaw from an incident during this past August at USC. Shaw told school officials and a very attentive media presence, that he leaped from a second-floor balcony in an attempt to rescue his nephew, who was drowning in a pool. The story ended up being completely made up. And while in the day's following the story breaking Shaw was praised as a hero for his actions, he ended up being suspended for 10 games and his reputation took a serious hit.
The real reason he jumped off the balcony was to avoid a fight with his girlfriend. Quite a different story than originally told.
From his CBS Sports draft profile:
STRENGTHS: Possesses a muscled-up frame that makes him look like a safety but given the NFL's recent love affair with bigger cornerbacks, he could remain on the perimeter. He has quick feet and fluid hips to change directions.
Shaw possesses terrific football intelligence, which is demonstrated not only with his ability to shuffle from corner to either of the safety position but in the closing burst he shows once the ball has been thrown. Shaw is rarely fooled in coverage and rips at the ball as it arrives. He is a reliable, consistent tackler.
WEAKNESSES: All questions begin with the dramatic story that unfolded last summer and made national news, only to later turn out to be false. NFL teams will want to see the results of the investigation, and pre-draft interviews will be critical.
On the field, the primary question is about Shaw's straight-line speed and which position he fits best at. Hasn't yet proven to be the intimidating hitter that his frame suggests.
Here are some tweets from the Bengals beat writers following the selection:
If not for Shaw's story, likely would've been higher pick. "I know I am selected today in the fourth round because of that."— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) May 2, 2015
This could be one of those where Darrin Simmons will be smiling as Shaw comes in with a history of great play on special teams.— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) May 2, 2015
Shaw very stand-up and open about his story. Not afraid to answer questions about it and explain how he's moved on.— Joe Danneman (@FOX19Joe) May 2, 2015
Shaw: "First time in my life I really hit ground bottom. For me being able to overcome that with my family it was definitely hard at times."— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) May 2, 2015
New Bengals draft pick Josh Shaw: "After my suspension I went house to house to apologize to my teammates. Wanted to look them in the eye."— Joe Danneman (@FOX19Joe) May 2, 2015
Josh Shaw is opening up about the infamous "fabrication," as he put it, from last fall. He's the player who told a false story abt injuries— Coley Harvey (@ColeyHarvey) May 2, 2015