With the aforementioned 4-3 under defense, the Sam linebacker is perhaps the biggest conundrum. Emmanuel Lamur is a great piece for sub packages, at 6’4” and with a 4.63 speed with instinctual play in space, he can cover many of the hybrid tight ends. What he does lack is the overall skill set to line up as a Sam in the base package, although he could be a dark horse candidate to start at Will.
The base-package Sam linebacker in this Under defense is very similar to the outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. He is a long, athletic specimen who can stack and shed offensive linemen and blocking tight ends, while requiring the explosiveness and ability to bend the corner required to effectively rush the passer while still able to drop into zone coverage in the flats.
While names like Dion Jordan and Barkevious Mingo are all very intriguing names, think back to how few snaps Manny Lawson played last season. Lawson was an underachieving 3-4 outside linebacker, and he was equally underachieving in Cincinnati, but the Bengals did not spend enough time in the base defense for him to make much of an impact.
If the team were to spend a first-round draft pick on a Sam linebacker, that player would need to be able to fill a Von Miller role and line up at defensive end in the nickel and dime defenses. Spending a high draft pick on a situational player makes more sense if it is a stud pass rusher, not Sam linebacker.
But if the Bengals fill like taking a gamble, what about Dontay Moch?