If you like prospects who overcome the odds then you’ll like Micah Kiser. He has constantly had to prove himself because of his size, but when he is out on the field he looks like one of the stronger players you’ll see.
Kiser has been busy leading the ACC in tackles for the last three years, and that says a lot about the kind of player he is. He doesn’t make a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage, but he makes sure no one breaks the second level of the defense.
Kiser may be a draft day bargain for a team that is willing to take a risk on him. Will that team be the Bengals?
Weight: 235 pounds
Projected Round: Round 6
NFL comparison: London Fletcher
Kiser isn’t your typical undersized linebacker. He is built tough enough to withstand the ware and tear an NFL linebacker typically has to deal with. He is built like a barrel and that isn’t a bad thing. Despite his build, he is actually pretty good in coverage. He only has a few interceptions to his name, but he has shown the ability to stay with running backs and tight ends out of the back field.
Kiser leave Virginia with 408 tackles, 33.5 tackles for loss, 19.0 sacks, 1 interception, 12 passes defensed, 6 fumble recoveries and 8 forced fumbles. The tackle number really stands out because he averaged more than 100 tackles per year in his four year career and that’s with only having 15 in his freshman year (2014).
An issue with Kiser comes with his ability to react quickly to plays. Teams were able to get to him quickly during run plays, but some of that could be attributed to his poor defensive line. He still could do a better job of shedding blocks, which was something he struggled with against better offensive lines in the ACC.
How he fits with the Bengals
Kiser could be a nice late addition to the linebacking group for the Bengals. Even with the addition of Preston Brown in free agency the team needs another guy who can be more reliable on passing downs. Vontaze Burfict has struggled to stay healthy and out of trouble the past few seasons and now he will be serving a four-game suspension to start the season. Nick Vigil struggled last season after a fast start, Jordan Evans showed rookie tendencies and it is clear Vincent Rey is nothing more than a backup.
Kiser could come in and be a quality special teams player as well as play some obvious passing situations. It is hard to imagine he wouldn’t be able to earn a larger role down the road, but it is also hard to see him at middle linebacker in the NFL. He would be quite the piece to give new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin on the third day of the draft though.
Kiser could be the latest day three pick to carve out a role on the Bengals’ roster. Looking through Cincinnati’s roster you’ll find quite a few of them including Evans, Geno Atkins and Carl Lawson. Kiser would be a great value pick for the team, especially if the Bengals wait until Day 3 to add a linebacker after bringing in Brown.