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SB Nation Mock Draft: Bengals select Devin Bush to fortify defense

The Cincinnati Bengals had a terrible defensive unit last year, but Bush should be an immediate impact player in the middle of the team’s rebuilding project.

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The 13th annual SB Nation blogger mock draft is under way and the Cincinnati Bengals’ pick is in. And, no, the Zac Taylor era will not be ushered in by a player on offense.

The scenario in which the first 10 picks play out in the SBN mock could be considered an utter nightmare for the Bengals. Three quarterbacks are off of the board, while the consensus top linebacker is also selected.

Oddly enough, no offensive linemen were picked in the top-10, so Cincinnati could theoretically have the pick of the litter there. Still, after re-signing both Bobby Hart and Trey Hopkins, as well as grabbing John Miller from Buffalo, the Bengals may think they have that situation at least temporarily solved.

Pick No. 11: Devin Bush, linebacker, Michigan

Why the pick makes sense: Need—duh. Cincinnati cut ties with Vontaze Burfict and haven’t signed an impact player in free agency to fill that void. The Bengals did re-sign Preston Brown to anchor the middle of their defense, but he’s a two-down player, at best, with limitations in pass defense.

Bush, on the other hand, has potential to be an every-down linebacker at the next level. His tape shows a “sideline-to-sideline” mentality, and he has shown a bit of a knack to get to the passer, as evidenced by his 10 combined sacks over the past two seasons. Bush also had 11 passes defended the past two seasons, including seven in 2017, so he’s around the football often.

Bringing in the former Wolverine would give the Bengals a look of Bush-Brown-Nick Vigil as the starting linebackers in some base packages. New defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo is going to vary those looks, so that won’t be the constant standard, but it should be an improvement over recent years—particularly if health isn’t an issue this year and Brown continues what he started in 2018.

Why it doesn’t make sense: Some folks may consider this a reach because of a position group that’s in dire need of help. A similar sentiment could be pointed at last year when most believed the team wanted Frank Ragnow, but settled for Billy Price as a consolation prize.

Bush has closed the gap between “the Devin’s”, thanks mostly to a strong Combine effort, but many believe that Devin White will have the superior NFL career in the long run. While a lot of Bush’s tape shows some nice instincts, he does show a penchant to “chase-and-tackle” over “diagnose and destroy”.

There’s also the knock of his garnering of one interception in three collegiate seasons. While it isn’t the only statistic to show prowess in the skill, he will need to step that part of his game up even further if the Bengals are going to make immediate noise in the AFC North.

Who goes with Bush’s arrival?: Probably no one, unless the Bengals double or triple-dip at the position after grabbing him in the first round. I guess technically the one to go was Burfict, if you want to split hairs.

The picks before the Bengals at No. 11:

  1. Arizona Cardinals: Kyler Murray, Quarterback, Oklahoma
  2. San Francisco 49ers: Nick Bosa, Edge, Ohio State
  3. New York Jets: Josh Allen, Edge, Kentucky
  4. Oakland Raiders: Quinnen Williams, Defensive line, Alabama
  5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Ed Oliver, Defensive line, Houston
  6. New York Giants: Devin White, Linebacker, LSU
  7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dwayne Haskins, Quarterback, Ohio State
  8. Detroit Lions: Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State
  9. Buffalo Bills: T.J. Hockenson, Tight end, Iowa
  10. Denver Broncos: Drew Lock, Quarterback, Missouri

Best available after Bush selection:

  • Montez Sweat, Edge, Mississippi State
  • Jawaan Taylor, Offensive tackle, Florida
  • Jonah Williams, Offensive tackle, Alabama
  • Clellin Ferrell, Edge, Clemson
  • Andre Dillard, Offensive tackle, Washington State
  • Rashan Gary, Edge, Michigan


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