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11 for 11 draft series: Christian Wilkins could team up with Geno Atkins and be really scary

With Wilkins’ ability to stop the run and rush the passer, Wilkins would give the Bengals a formidable front four.

College Football Playoff National Championship Presented By AT&T - Alabama v Clemson Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Clemson’s dominant defensive line helped keep Alabama’s offense to 16 points in the national championship, the fewest amount of points they scored all season. Now, three of their linemen have entered the draft, and scouts are all over them.

The group was lead by Christian Wilkins, the captain who anchored the line from Day 1. Wilkins, like Ed Oliver, has had hype surrounding him since his freshman year. We finally get to see which pro defense will benefit from his cornucopia of skills.

Clemson’s defensive line was considered for years to be the best on college football. If Wilkins was to land on the same line as Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap, the same might possibly be said about the Bengals. What would it look like if he went from the Tigers to the Bengals?

Why this pick makes sense:

  • Wilkins earned his bachelor’s degree after only two and a half years, which shows not only how smart he is, but how hard of a worker he is. He is known for his great off-the-field qualities as well as his athletic prowess.
  • He has experience all over the defensive line.
  • A four year starter, he has plenty of experience under his belt.
  • He consistently maintains great hand placement and pad level.
  • Wilkins has great flexibility, especially for someone his size
  • Not only he strong and flexible, but he is also very explosive.
  • Wilkins is even great with coverage in zone-blitzes.

Why this pick doesn’t make sense:

  • Sometimes Wilkins comes out so fast to start that he fades quickly during the rep.
  • Lacks length, so he can get swallowed up by bigger offensive linemen.
  • His lower body isn’t strong enough to give him a good base, throwing him off balance at times, especially when he’s on the move.
  • Wilkins is projected to be a late-first rounder, so there should be other defensive linemen ahead of him that are higher on the Bengals’ draft board.
  • His lack of length would be a problem for the Bengals if he is matched up with Atkins, who is also on the smaller end.

While Wilkins is mainly a run-stopper, that would be something the Bengals could use. If the Bengals were to select Wilkins, he could open things up for Atkins and Dunlap, who would be less likely to face double-teams. The defense is in such disrepair that Wilkins could add some much needed help.