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Nick Vigil signs rookie deal with Bengals

Nick Vigil joins a deep and talented defense that needed another coverage backer, a role he looks poised to fill.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals has signed linebacker Nick Vigil to his rookie contract, the team announced on Tuesday.

Vigil, a former stud linebacker for the Utah State Aggies, was selected with the 87th pick in Round 3 of the 2016 NFL Draft. According to Over The Cap, Vigil's deal is four years worth $3,035,628, an average of $758,907 per season.

The Bengals didn't need to take a linebacker this early in this draft, but it soon became clear they really liked what they saw in Vigil. That led to him coming off the board late on Day 2 when most expected him to go on Day 3. The fact that this wasn't a big need for Cincinnati really does suggest they simply saw something in Vigil that caused him to be higher on their board than many other draft analysts'.

This past season, Vigil racked up 144 tackles (sixth-best in the FBS), 13.5 of which were for loss to go with three sacks. He was voted as a First-Team All-Mountain West Conference selection, an honor he also earned as a sophomore in 2014.

In 2014, Vigil registered 123 tackles, 16.5 for loss and seven sacks. He also played five games at running back and had 41 rushes for 152 yards and three touchdowns. He actually started one game there, which made him the only player in the country that year to start on both sides of the ball.

As a redshirt freshman in 2013, Vigil started in four of 14 games and made 55 tackles, 8.5 for loss, and 5.5 sacks. Vigil's brother, Zach, is a member of the Miami Dolphins, so there's an NFL background.

The 6'2", 239-pound Vigil made a name for himself this offseason with a big showing at the NFL Scouting Combine. His 40-yard (4.72), 3-cone (6.73), and 20-yard shuttle (4.0) times were among the best at his position.

Vigil's times in the 3-cone and 20-yard shuttle were tops among all linebackers, and he barely missed former Bengal A.J. Hawk's combine record in the 20-yard by 0.04 seconds. He also recorded a 6.73 time in the 3-cone drill, and only six players posted better times at the combine.

The irony there is Vigil replaces the vacated backer spot by Hawk after he was cut prior to the draft. It's not crazy to think the Bengals were so confident they'd get Vigil in Round 3 that they went ahead and let Hawk go before getting the Aggies star Friday night.

But while Hawk played more at SAM, Vigil is more suited to play at WILL or MIKE where he spent his college career at. He also got some run on special teams, and given his combine numbers, you would think he can be effective on special teams in the NFL.

This pick also likely happened in part because Vontaze Burfict is suspended for the first three games of the 2016 season. Vigil may be a great replacement for Burfict on passing downs, which should help him make an impact as a rookie.

Vigil is the third Bengals draft pick to sign his rookie deal after Cody Core and Clayton Fejedelem signed their deals previously. First and second round picks William Jackson and Tyler Boyd as well as fourth and fifth round picks Andrew Billings and Christian Westerman have yet to sign with the team.