The talented Cincinnati Bengals have some water-treading to do on the defensive side of the ball, and namely at linebacker, where star Vontaze Burfict is expected to miss some time this season. Jason Marcum of Cincy Jungle has a solution to that problem in the form of his second-round pick in our 2015 NFL mock draft.
53. Bengals: Paul Dawson, LB, TCU
Marcum: The Bengals likely won't have Burfict to start the season as he recovers from microfracture surgery. Even with him healthy, linebacker is one of the Bengals' biggest weaknesses heading into 2015.
Paul Dawson was a force at TCU in 2014, leading the Horned Frogs defense with 136 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and four interceptions on his way to being named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. He would be a huge steal at this point, and he'd likely become an instant starter at Will while Burfict recovers.
Dawson is best suited at Will, and once Burfict is back, the Bengals should find a way to have both on the field. They tend to play just two linebackers in their base nickel defense. Burfict would simply move to middle with Dawson as the other 'backer, giving Cincinnati a nice one-two punch.
Dan Kadar, SBNation.com: A lot of people are down on Dawson after his less-than-impressive combine timing numbers. Even considering that, it’s hard to doubt him based on his play last season. The only issue with him in Cincinnati is that he doesn’t have the best range, and neither does Burfict. Would the two of them combined be a detriment?
Dan's Top 5 players remaining
- 32. P.J. Williams, CB, Florida State
- 33. Jalen Collins, CB, LSU
- 39. Benardrick McKinney, LB, Mississippi State
- 44. Michael Bennett, DT, Ohio State
- 47. Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana
- 1-21: Landon Collins, S, Alabama
- 2-53: Paul Dawson, LB, TCU
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