The Bengals have a big need at linebacker, at least for the first four games of next season.
Vontaze Burfict has been suspended yet again, this time for failing a PED test that will cost him the first four regular-season games.
While the team did sign Preston Brown this offseason, he can only do so much for a unit that doesn’t have any other reliable linebacker heading into next season. And Preston is only under contract through this season, so this could really become a gaping hole if he heads elsewhere next offseason.
That’s why linebacker could be in play with the Bengals go on the clock with the 21st pick in this year’s NFL Draft.
According to Ian Rapoport, the Bengals are holding a pre-draft visit today with Rashaan Evans, who is regarded as one of the top defenders in this year’s draft.
This past year, Evans started 12 games and recorded 74 tackles, 13 tackles for loss and six sacks, earning him All-SEC honors.
Evans was more of a rotational player in 2016 as he recorded 53 tackles, four sacks, six quarterback hurries, and a forced fumble in 14 games.
Having just one season as full-time starter is likely keeping Evans from being projected higher in this draft, and he’d be a great addition for the Bengals at 21 if they take him.
While right tackle and center may look like bigger needs right now, linebacker is something the Bengals should absolutely address in Round 1 if they believe that’s the best player available.
One way or another, Evans would find a way to make a big impact for the Bengals next season.