Chris Worley is shaping up to be the latest undrafted free agent to carve out an NFL career in Cincinnati.
Almost as soon as the draft ended, the former Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker signed with the Bengals, becoming arguably their best UDFA signing. He also is playing a position that the Bengals need more depth at, so he got a chance to get a lot of reps in OTAs
It sounds like Worley made the most of those opportunities and left a lasting impression on his new team, according to Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com.
Undrafted rookie Chris Worley has looked good enough early to pencil in a run at what figures to be Burfict’s Opening Day roster spot.
Worley comes to the Bengals after a standout career at Ohio State, where he actually played with first-round pick Billy Price and third-round pick Sam Hubbard.
Over his four years at Ohio State, Worley recorded 153 tackles, one interception, and forced three fumbles. As a senior in 2017, he had 56 tackles, five tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble.
Worley seems like a great fit for the Bengals, who have a nice history of developing undrafted free agents into solid role players or even impact starters. That’s especially true at linebacker with guys like Vontaze Burfict, Vincent Rey, Brandon Bell and Hardy Nickerson all going undrafted before joining the Bengals.
Speaking of Burfict, he’s suspended for the first four games of the 2018 season, so that means a different linebacker will be occupying his 53-man roster spot for at least four games. Worley figures to be one of the guys in contention for that spot, along with Evans, Bell and Nickerson.
It’s safe to think Rey, Nick Vigil, Malik Jefferson and Preston Brown will all be on the final roster, so there’s only 2-3 more spots open for Worley to win (Carl Lawson is still listed as a linebacker, though he mostly plays a defensive end).
Worley still has an uphill battle ahead just to make the week 1 roster, let alone keep his spot once Burfict is back. Guys like Bell and Nickerson spent time on the 53-man roster last season, so they’re ahead of the curve going into training camp.
This will be one of the tighter training camp battles to watch.