The Bengals will have Louisiana Tech edge rusher Jaylon Ferguson in for a top-30 visit in the near future, per Mike Garafolo.
Last season, the Bengals signed Ja’von Rolland-Jones as an undrafted free agent. Rolland-Jones left Arkansas State as the NCAA all-time leader in sacks with 42. Ferguson finished his collegiate career in 2018 with 45 career sacks, overtaking Rolland-Jones and the record.
Ferguson’s incredible production is what drove his draft stock in the first-round range early in the offseason. Unfortunately for him, the last two months have damaged his stock dramatically. Following a quiet week at the Senior Bowl, Ferguson was uninvited to the NFL combine after it was revealed he was convicted of a battery charge as a freshman. Ferguson was later allowed to travel to Indianapolis and interview with teams, but was unable to perform in any on-field drills.
Teams had to wait until LA Tech’s pro day a couple weeks later to get a sample of Ferguson’s athleticism, and the results from Ferguson’s workout were far from pleasing.
DE Jaylon Ferguson Pro Day results (from an NFL exec):— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) March 20, 2019
40: 4.82, 4.83
10: 1.69, 1.70
The 5.12 20-yard shuttle and 8.08 3-cone almost make the 32” vertical jump and 117” broad jump palatable. Almost.
Ferguson’s testing was very bad, and usually pro day numbers are more generous than the official times from the combine. This compounded with the reality that his production came against middling competition has severely calmed the hype surrounding Ferguson.
Despite all of that, Ferguson has great size and flashes clear ability that will cause you to seriously question the athleticism testing. Very few edge rushers in this draft class dominated as well as Ferguson did in terms of production, and that will keep his name in the conversation in the second and third rounds.
The Bengals don’t need a starting edge rusher, but depth is definitely needed even with Kerry Wynn joining the squad. Ferguson could fill a valuable role for the price of the 42nd or 73rd overall pick and potentially push former third-round pick Jordan Willis off of the roster — though that could be accomplished with a draft pick from any round.