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2015 NFL Draft: Immediate reaction to Bengals drafting USC DB Josh Shaw

The Cincinnati Bengals used their No. 120 pick to select USC defensive back Josh Shaw. We take a few minutes to immediate react and scout Cincinnati's newest defensive back.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
  • The Bengals selected USC cornerback Josh Shaw with the 120 overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft.
  • Cincinnati needs long-term help in the secondary, especially with expiring contracts and age.
  • Shaw is capable of playing cornerback but could figure into playing safety.
  • Shaw had an incident in Aug. 2014 that led to media coverage and character concerns. Eventually the truth came out and showed it was nothing more than a scared kid who was embarrassed about his situation and made a quick decision that proved costly.

THE NEED: Cincinnati faces serious contractual issues with their secondary next year with Leon Hall, Adam Jones, Reggie Nelson and George Iloka entering free agency as unrestricted free agents. There will be costs associated to retain these players, stocking up with depth while snagging a player that was talented enough to be taken higher in the draft.

We wouldn't expect Shaw to make an immediate impact on defense, but special teams is aces.

If defensive backs coach Vance Joseph and Mark Carrier develop Shaw, he could be used primarily as a safety. Either way, the selection addresses depth at both positions and that's a bonus for Cincinnati.


Conquest Chronicles (SB Nation's site that covers USC) writes:

Shaw, a 6ft 200lb corner has a big body frame with speed that helps him match up well with many household name receivers in the draft. In his four-year career at Florida and USC, Shaw finished with 130 tackles 14 pass deflections and 6 interceptions.

Josh Shaw has the athleticism and big play ability of a first round draft pick, but was suspended for most of the 2014 season for an off field issue. When he returned his presence was immediately felt, being named the MVP of the Holiday Bowl.

CHARACTER CONCERNS: Shaw is the player who suffered two high-ankle sprains after claimed he was jumping from a third-story balcony to save his nephew, who was drowning in a swimming pool at a family function:

"While attending a family social function at his cousin's apartment in his hometown of Palmdale, Shaw looked on from a second floor balcony to the pool below and saw his 7-year-old nephew, who cannot swim, in distress without help nearby," a school press release reads. "Shaw instinctively leaped off the balcony, landing painfully on the concrete below."

A report surfaced that Shaw had lied about how he injured his ankle, forcing USC to suspend Shaw indefinitely, which turned out to be for 10 games. The way Shaw injured his ankle -- jumping off a balcony -- was accurate. But the reason why he did it, was not. Bill Plaschke with the Los Angeles Times had an interview with Shaw, who explained the whole thing:

On Aug. 23, after the annual Salute to Troy barbecue on campus, one week before the season opener against Fresno State, Shaw went home to meet Chilton, whom he has dated for more than seven years. They started arguing and Chilton ran out of the apartment and disappeared down the hall.

"We just got into an argument just like every couple does," Shaw said. "Was it loud? Yes. Was it overly loud? I don't think so."

Shaw remained in the apartment until he heard noise below his balcony. He walked outside to see police cars pulling up on the street. Shaw and Chilton adamantly deny the argument ever became physical — "I would never, ever hit a woman," Shaw said — but he worried about appearances.

"We were not on good terms when she left, I thought she had somebody call authorities. I was thinking the worst," he said. "If she did say anything, I'm a black man with dreadlocks, and with everything going on in the country at the time, all that stuff in St. Louis [Ferguson, Mo.] … in my mind, I'm going to leap from the balcony so authorities did not see me."

Shaw said he jumped from the balcony to a grassy area on Figueroa Street, where he landed on his feet; he was wearing only flip-flops. He said that pain immediately shot up from his ankles to his knees, and he was certain he had broken both legs.

Essentially Shaw lied about his injury because of his absolute embarrassment about the situation. He took it on the chin with laughable media coverage and a suspension in college. After the incident, Shaw personally apologized to all of his USC teammates.

If that's the scope of his character concerns, then that concludes it for me.


"I know about the issues he had this year, but I did plenty of background work on Shaw and I had no problem giving him a passing character grade when I turned in my report." -- NFC North area scout