We spoke with Jeremy Mauss of Mountain West Connection, SB Nation's Mountain West blog to learn more about the Bengals' third round Draft pick, Nick Vigil. Mauss gave us the low-down on what Bengals fans should know about Vigil, a linebacker out of Utah State, and why they should be excited to see him in action in Cincinnati. You can also check out MWC's Draft profile of Vigil.
Cincy Jungle: Many Bengals fans were surprised by the selection of Vigil in Round 3, when did you expect him to be drafted?
Jeremy Mauss: The third round was a little bit of a surprise as few pegged Vigil to go in the third round. Most felt he was going to be taken on the third day in the fourth round. So, a little bit of a shock but not a huge surprise he was picked about a dozen or so picks earlier than expected.
CJ: What was he best known for at Utah State?
JM: He came in day one as a freshman and played in 40 of 41 games during this three years. He rarely gets hurt and is a very durable and versatile football player. His production was just amazing as he had 30 tackles for loss and 267 tackles in his final two seasons. Vigil's ability to get to the quarterback and is very skilled and getting behind the line of scrimmage. He also was a versatile player and surprised everyone by taking snaps at running back in his sophomore year and was quite successful with three touchdowns on 41 carries.
CJ: What were his strengths/weaknesses while in college?
JM: As stated, his production was off the chart by being first in total tackles in his junior year and second in his sophomore year. He see's the field well and does not just run over or through offensive players to get to the ball carrier, but he can show his patience to be able to take a half-second or so to see the field and determine the best path to make a play. He also has great timing and can read an offense to just go over the top and through lineman to get to the line of scrimmage. His length also helps him wrap up when tackling.He does need to bulk up a bit as he currently is 239 pounds and that can allow the larger offensive lineman to sometimes overpower him, and he can sometimes get stuck in a crowd and not able to power through. At times he has bad angles in chasing down a ball carrier.
CJ: Do you see him as someone who could come into Cincinnati and make an immediate impact?
JM: I know the Bengals defense was pretty good last year and third-round picks are usually backups and that is where I see Vigil coming in. Probably be along the second unit on defense and play a decent amount of snaps throughout his rookie year.
CJ: Did he have any injury concerns or red flags while in college?
JM: No injury concerns at all. The closest thing was a hamstring injury where he missed just one game in his sophomore year.
CJ: How did he do against some of the best teams Utah State faced?
JM: He performed well when he played teams like Tennessee, BYU, Utah, Boise State and San Diego State where he averaged double-digit tackles against these opponents. His total production was slightly lower than playing a team like Hawaii, FCS team or Wyoming which was superb.
CJ: I know his brother also played for Utah State. What was it like having two Vigil's on the team.
JM: His brother Zach was not quite as good as Nick, but that is really picking hairs as each started side-by-side in their career. They were a force on the field and those two were part of one of the best linebacking corps not just in the Mountain West but out in the Western United States, too. Really, they had a pair of NFL guys on their roster and three when you add in their teammate Kyler Fackrell.
CJ: Which linebacker positions did he play at Utah State and which spot do you think is his best fit in the NFL?
JM: He played the inside position this year and that is probably where he will be at the NFL level. His speed is not quite there to play outside our be asked to cover a tight end consistently in coverage. He just needs to add about 10 pounds due to his slender frame so that he doesn't get stuck in a pile full of offensive lineman trying to stop the ball carrier.
CJ: Did you consider Kyler Fackrell as the better prospect and expect him to be Drafted first?
JM: Yes, I was surprised to see Vigil go one pick before Fackrell. Part of that is that prior to Fackrell's ACL tear at the start of the 2014 season, he was projected to be a fringe first-round pick by a fair amount of projections. Maybe that knee injury was more concerning to NFL teams, but the difference between these two is not that great and I figured they'd be picked within a dozen or so picks of each other.
CJ: Is there anything else you think Bengals fans would like to know about him?
JM: His older brother was an undrafted free agent pickup by the Dolphins and made it to the 53-man roster and was on the two-deep this past year in Miami. He is a freak of an athlete -- as are most in the NFL -- as he played running back a bit for the Aggies when they were in a pinch in his sophomore year.