It may have taken until Round 3 for Germaine Pratt to be drafted, but he’ll likely make the biggest impact of any Bengals rookie in 2019.
Linebacker was arguably the team’s biggest weakness heading into the 2019 NFL Draft, and the Bengals made sure to get one before the first three rounds concluded. The 72nd overall pick was a stud at linebacker for NC State after beginning his college career at safety.
Now, Pratt will compete for a starting spot in what’s still a very thing linebacking group in Cincinnati. Even if he doesn’t start, Pratt figures to see a lot of playing time as a rookie.
As for his contract, Pratt would have to be spectacularly bad for the Bengals to consider cutting him within the first two years of his deal.
Here is a look at Pratt’s contract via Over The Cap:
Looking ahead, Pratt figures to challenge Jordan Evans and Nick Vigil for starting spots at outside linebacker while Preston Brown mans the middle, though it could be Pratt who’s the middle backer on passing downs.
We did see the Bengals spend a third-round pick on Malik Jefferson last year, only to see him spend the entire year on the bench, but I doubt Zac Taylor will do the same thing with Pratt, as the new head coach seems far more willing to let rookies play and work through their mistakes.
We could see Pratt end up playing all three spots while coming off the bench. Between his ability to rush the passer or drop back in coverage, he’s probably already the Bengals’ most versatile backer who should have a big role as a rookie.