In the third round with the 87th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Bengals have selected Utah State linebacker Nick Vigil.
Vigil finished his college career at Utah State with 160 tackles, 40 tackles for loss, 17.5 sacks, two interceptions, five pass deflections and six forced fumbles in three seasons. Vigil gained first team All-Mountain West honors in his final two seasons at Utah State. Interestingly enough, the linebacker also played five games at running back in his freshman season, scoring three rushing touchdowns in the process.
This marks the second straight season that the Bengals have opted to select an instinctive linebacker in the third round of the Draft, after selecting TCU's P.J. Dawson in 2015. Similar to Dawson, Vigil was highly productive and instinctive in college. He tallied an impressive 30 tackles for loss and 267 tackles over the final two seasons of his college career. Vigil is quick to diagnose plays, responding with a quick change-of-direction ability. Due to his high-caliber level of intelligence, Marvin Lewis believes Vigil can become a three-down linebacker in time. When asked whether Vigil could've been potentially available on Day 3 of the Draft, Lewis responded by saying that the team "wasn't willing to take that risk."
Vigil will likely begin his Bengals career as a special-teamer. Following the announcement of the pick, linebackers coach Jim Haslett said that Vigil could have a big role on special teams. The linebacker will need to acclimate to the NFL's playing style, but he makes sense for the Bengals. His vision, awareness and athleticism are already at an NFL-caliber level.
Here's what NFL Network's Lance Zierlein had to say about the newest member of the Bengals:
Vigil has the desire and instincts to play in the NFL, but his slim frame and lack of play strength will need to be addressed in the weight room and the training table. Vigil's athletic scores at the combine could push his draft stock in either direction, but with more mass, he has the ability to stick on a roster even though it may need to be as an outside linebacker in a 4-3 defense.
CBS Sports also added that Vigil is great in coverage, a great open-field tackler and an effective rusher. The only major knock scouts seem to have on the linebacker is his slim frame, which can definitely be alleviated with some time in the weight room. It may not be a flashy pick, but the Bengals' selection of Nick Vigil sets the team up for the future at the linebacker position.
The Bengals' biggest remaining needs heading into Day 3 are nose tackle, defensive end and safety.
How to Watch the NFL Draft, Rounds 4-7
Date: Sat., April 30
Time: 12 p.m. ET
TV: NFL Network, ESPN
Bengals picks: Pick No. 122, No. 161, No. 199, No. 245.