July 22, 2014

Decision Points: Defense

The Bengals have the 4th overall pick in the NFL draft that begins tonight at 8 PM. The teams have 10 minutes to make their selections, so the Bengals will pick somewhere around 8:40 or so. This week I am looking at the players the Bengals will be considering with the fourth overall pick: today I will look at the top defensive players.

Reason for interest: Jonathan Joseph is an unrestricted free agent and the team needs to add depth in the secondary, which was decimated by injury in 2010. They also are looking to add playmakers on the defensive line, and could use another linebacker if Rey Maualuga moves to Mike linebacker to eventually replace the aging Dhani Jones.

The Prospects:

Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU. 6’0”, 219 lbs. Peterson can burn with a 4.31 40 yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine and a 38” vertical. Had 6 interceptions in the last two seasons even though he doesn’t get many throws his way. He can play the run and is also a kick returner. He is Mel Kiper Jr.’s #1 overall player.

Von Miller, DE, Texas A&M. 6’2”, 237 lbs. Miller put on a show at the NFL Scouting Combine, posting a 4.42 40 yard dash and a 37” vertical. Led the nation with 17 sacks as a junior at Texas A&M, and followed that with 10.5 in 2010. It should be noted that he is one of the players suing the NFL for anti-trust violations in Minnesota federal court.

Marcell Daerus, DT, Alabama. 6’3”, 319 lbs. Big and strong, Daerus can play both a 4-3 and a 3-4 scheme. Ran a 4.93 40 at the NFL Scouting Combine, which is very good for a man his size. Has a good motor and can plug running lanes and get occasional pressure on the QB.

Nick Fairly, DT, Auburn. 6’2”, 291 lbs. Absolutely tore up the Oregon line in the National Championship game for the Tigers. Registered 24 tackles for loss and 11 sacks in 2010, but was a one year wonder. Fairly ran a 4.84 40 yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. He has shown some maturity concerns and may be a bit of a risk. Elite pass rusher for a DT, though he takes plays off and disappears at times.

Robert Quinn, DE, North Carolina. 6’4”, 265 lbs. Quinn was projected a top pick before missing the 2010 season due to NCAA violations. He can play a 4-3 or 3-4 formation. Ran a 4.62 40 yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, best among defensive linemen. It is hard to determine how much sitting out last season will affect him.

Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson. 6’3”, 280 lbs. Bowers has elite size, and was the #1 overall prospect on Mel Kiper Jr.’s Big Board before injury concerns surfaced. Ran a 4.96 40 yard dash at his late pro day workout after not running at the Combine due to injury. Was productive in 2010, leading the nation with 15 ½ sacks. Has major injury questions, and reportedly may need microfracture surgery on his knee.