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Assessing the value Bengals received in drafting Jordan Willis

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Willis is easily one of the biggest steals from the Bengals’ draft class.

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NFL Combine - Day 5 Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals needed pass-rushers coming into the NFL Draft, and they got one of the best in this class with the 73rd overall pick in Round 3.

It came when Cincinnati took Kansas State defensive end Jordan Willis, who was regarded as a top-tier pass-rusher in this class, but managed to fall to Day 2 of the draft before the Bengals took him off the board.

Willis was a force for the Wildcats last season, racking up 11.5 sacks, 17.5 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and 52 total tackles. That kind of production made Willis an ideal target for a Bengals team that needed to upgrade its defensive line and take pressure off of Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins, two Pro Bowl players who get heavily focused on by opposing offenses.

No other lineman has been able to keep that from happening and make an impact himself, whether it’s been Wallace Gilberry, Will Clarke or Margus Hunt. Willis is the kind of guy who can make some noise himself while freeing up Dunlap and Atkins more.

However, Willis is a bit undersized for a 4-3 end at 6’4” and 255 pounds, which is a big reason why he fell this far. Even so, most of the draft experts had a high grade on him.

It’s pretty clear the Bengals got a big steal by getting Willis with the 73rd pick. Willis won’t solve all of the Bengals’ pass-rushing woes, but he’ll be a major help there as a rookie, and could become a starter down the line.