Though the Cincinnati Bengals had a great 2016 NFL draft, Nick Vigil was not someone who got a lot of praise from the national media.
Vigil, a former stud All-Mountain West Conference linebacker for the Utah State Aggies, was selected with the 87th pick in Round 3 of the draft. 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.
The 6'2", 239-pound Vigil was a star 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.
Despite a big season and great combine showing, the selection of Vigil in Round 3 came as a big surprise at the time because not many (including myself) were aware who he even was, let alone why he was being drafted this high.
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, despite most experts having him ranked as a Day 3 prospect more likely to go in the Round 5-6 range then on Day 2.
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'.
CBS Sports had Vigil ranked 177th overall, while Sports Illustrated had him ranked 169th. NFL.com had Vigil ranked as the 171st-best prospect.
ESPN's Todd McShay ranked him 176th overall, while Mel Kiper tabbed Vigil as his 205th-best prospect. SB Nation's Mocking the Draft ranked him 104th overall. Pro Football Focus had Vigil as their 205th-best prospect.
If you average out all of these, Vigil had an average ranking of 172.4. Even though he was ranked as high as 104th, all of this only reinforces the belief that Vigil was widely viewed as Day 3 prospect, and the Bengals took him nearly 100 picks before his average ranking with the 87th overall pick.
Coldomaha.com rounded up more than 40 draft boards and combined them to evaluate how players were ranked overall. They ranked Vigil as the 147th-best prospect. Again, this shows his value was far lower than where the Bengals got him.
As for his NFL outlook, Vigil will likely replace the vacated backer spot left by A.J. 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 making the pick.
But while Hawk played more at SAM, Vigil is more suited to play at WILL or MIKE where he spent his college career. 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 good replacement for Burfict on passing downs, which should help him make an impact as a rookie.