Now that the Cincinnati Bengals have a defensive coordinator, they are ready to do some scouting at the NFL Combine next week.
New head coach Zac Taylor named New York Giants defensive backs coach Lou Anarumo as his coordinator Thursday in a search that came down to the wire before the biggest scouting event in preparation for the April draft. The NFL Combine takes place Tuesday through March 4 in Indianapolis.
The Bengals’ top priorities include the linebacker and offensive tackle positions, but they also should be looking hard at quarterbacks – either as a backup to Andy Dalton or as his future replacement. Cornerbacks also could be high on the list of needs if Darqueze Dennard moves on in free agency, and Anarumo’s background is mainly with defensive backs so he likely knows that position group well among this draft class.
Devin White, LSU: The reigning Dick Butkus Award winner and All-American is considered an aggressive downhill linebacker with the speed and athleticism to cover sideline to sideline. He’s 6-foot-1, 240 pounds and finished his junior season with 123 total tackles, including 61 solo and 12.0 tackles for loss.
Devin Bush, Michigan: Bush is coming off a hip injury that sidelined him for the Peach Bowl, which was the only game of his college career that he missed. He was a leader of one of the top defenses in college football and has been touted for his run support and ability to cover running backs one-on-one.
Mack Wilson, Alabama: Wilson lined up all over the field for Alabama and has an ability to cover a lot of ground, which would make him a good fit as the verkind of player new defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo seems to like. He can turn his hips and run with running backs and receivers.
Germaine Pratt, North Carolina State: A good performance at the Combine could put him higher on the Bengals’ list, but he’s already got an impressive profile. At 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, he has good size but still moves well sideline-to-sideline and has proven an excellent tackler. He recorded 104 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and six sacks as a senior.
Jonah Williams, Alabama: Early on, it looked like Williams would be the only tackle taken in or around the top 10, so he’s likely on the Bengals radar if they decide to go that route in the first round. The 6-foot-5, 301-pound junior has experience on both ends of the line and excellent technique and leverage to drive his defender to the ground.
Chuma Edoga, USC: Edoga had an excellent week at the Senior Bowl but should be available in the second or third rounds if the Bengals choose to focus on another position first. The 21-year-old, two-year starter for USC is an athletic tackle with long arms, and he is a solid run blocker. He’ll need to bulk up a bit from his 6-4, 295-pound stature and there is some skepticism about his pass blocking abilities, but he could be an option outside the first round.
Jawaan Taylor, Florida: Taylor addressed the holes in his game in 2018 and has skyrocketed up many draft boards as a legitimate starting candidate coming into the league as a right tackle. At 6-5, 335 pounds, he’s got a lot of power but carries his weight well and has quick feet.
Drew Lock, Missouri: Tom Fornelli, of CBSSports.com has the Bengals trading up to take Lock in the first round, at No. 8 overall, with the thought they are looking to move on from Dalton. Lock has the strongest arm in the draft and the new coaching staff is full of former quarterbacks that would enjoy a chance to help him hardness it.
Daniel Jones, Duke: Jones still has some development left, but could be a good understudy to Dalton as he settles into the league and many mock draft boards have him as the No. 2 quarterback behind Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins. He’s an option if the Bengals go with a QB in the first round.
Kyler Murray, Oklahoma: Murray chose the NFL over baseball, but could get passed up by some teams because of his size. He’s 5-foot-10, 195 pounds. However, the dual-threat quarterback won the Heisman Trophy for a reason and he likely still goes in the first or second rounds.
Byron Murphy, Washington: Considered by many to be the top cornerback in the draft, Murphy brings physicality, passion and great run-stopping ability. He’s a playmaker and could be a good replacement for Dennard.
DeAndre Baker, Georgia: The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Joe Thorpe Award winner picked off seven passes while breaking up 23 additional passes during his final three seasons with the Bulldogs. He is currently tabbed as the second best cornerback in the draft, according to CBSSports.com, and he would fit in well with the crew of Georgia products already on the Bengals roster.
Trayvon Mullen, Clemson: The 6-1, 195-pounder is a projected third- to fifth-round pick, so he could be an option later on if the Bengals address other needs first as expected. He’s physical, does well to pin down receivers with his hands and shows great length to diminish throwing windows.