As the NFL playoff picture becomes more and more clear, the top of the NFL Draft order also becomes more and more predictable.
With just three weeks left in the regular season, the Bengals are currently just outside the top 10 of the current draft order, but it’s looking like this upcoming draft class will have plenty of blue-chip prospects to pick from. In Todd McShay’s first mock draft of the season, he slots a familiar name for the Bengals:
11. Cincinnati Bengals
Devin White, LB, LSU Tigers
Hunting for a three-down linebacker? Lucky for Cincy, the best one in the draft is sitting on the board at No. 11. The Bengals really want a explosive playmaker of this caliber at the second level of their defense.
CBS Sports’ most recent mock draft also has White landing in Cincinnati. A little more than a month ago, SB Nation NFL Draft editor Dan Kadar slotted White for the Bengals in his midseason mock draft. Cincinnati was picking 24th in the draft order at that time, so you can see how White and the Bengals are trending in different directions.
But is White worth taking over Houston Cougars defensive tackle Ed Oliver, whom McShay mocked a pick later to the Browns at 12th overall?
In his junior season, White tallied 54 solo tackles, 12 tackles-for-loss, three sacks, five pass deflections and two forced fumbles. Those 54 solo tackles made up 14 percent of LSU’s total solo tackles on the year, which puts him in great company from a market share perspective and is a mark you want a linebacker you’re drafting in the first round to hit.
Defensive Market Share data stuff on future top picks in the 2019 NFL draft pic.twitter.com/D4cjzz8sgs— Jim Cobern (@Jimetrics) December 7, 2018
The Bengals’ need at linebacker has not diminished in the last month as Vontaze Burfict proves to be more and more unreliable and the rest of the group is underwhelming at best. Third-year Nick Vigil remains a solid player and second-year player Jordan Evans has his moments, but those two cannot be your team’s best two linebackers. Adding White between the two of them along with Malik Jefferson would round out the position group nicely.