By now, you know the heavy-hitters who could be taken within the first two rounds and make a major impact next season. However, there are plenty of late-round guys in today’s NFL that are making a major impact, so perhaps the Bengals will find one of their own this year.
One such guy could be Eastern Washington defensive end/outside linebacker Samson Ebukam. According to Tony Pauline of Draft Analyst, Ebukam visited with the Bengals on Tuesday.
During 53 career college games, Ebukam produced 188 tackles, 44 tackles for losses and 24 sacks. As a senior, the Nigerian native racked up 71 tackles, 15 tackles for losses, 9.5 sacks, plus three fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and an interception.
Ebukam also shined at his pro day, where he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds and posted 24 reps on the bench press. He also registered a 39-inch vertical leap, a broad jump of 10’10” and a time of 7.02 seconds in the 3-cone drill.
Those are great numbers for a linebacker, which is probably what his NFL future holds. Standing at just 6’2” and 240 pounds, Ebukam is far too little to be a 4-3 defensive end in the NFL, so he’d likely be an outside linebacker in Cincinnati’s defense.
It doesn’t help Ebukam’s case that almost all of his production came vs FCS competition, which makes it hard to project what he’ll be able to do in the NFL.
The Bengals are almost certain to draft a pass-rusher early and then another late in this draft. In fact, with 11 selections as of now, it’s possible three picks are spent on players who can upgrade this area for Cincinnati.
It sounds like Ebukam would fall in the ‘project’ department, which means Cincinnati should avoid him until late on Day 3. That would also jive with his draft projection, which, according to CBS Sports, is as a Round 7 prospect and the No. 252 overall player in this draft.
With so many picks on Day 3, eight to be exact, the Bengals certainly can take some shots on project-type guys.