The Cincinnati Bengals have a plan for Thursday’s draft and the rest of the offseason that won’t likely include drafting a linebacker. Bengals.com Editor Geoff Hobson is reporting the team believes Emmanuel Lamur, who was signed last year after going undrafted out of Kansas State, can become a key contributor to the team in 2013. He say the Bengals are showing a lot of confidence in Lamur, and even believe he’s the best coverage linebacker on the team:
Like Burfict, undrafted and gifted, he took a little longer to break in, but not much. He came off the practice squad the last nine games before becoming a regular in nickel and starting the Wild Card Game, and is considered their best cover backer. They love how long and fast he is and believe he’ll only get better as dynamic space player. His teammates and coaches have been talking about how he’s bulked up his upper body this offseason and looks about 10 pounds heavier than the rookie from Kansas State. “He looks like a different guy,” they say.
Hobson also reports that former starting WILL backer, Thomas Howard, will likely be re-signed thiss offseason as he recovers from a torn ACL suffered in a Week 2 practice last year.
Thomas Howard, the starting WILL who was their best linebacker in 2011 after he came over from Oakland in a two-year deal, is coming back from a torn ACL . Lewis has indicated he expects the Bengals to re-sign Howard, turning 30 in July.
If the truly believe Lamur and Howard can be significant players this year, it only decreases the chances the Bengals will draft a linebacker with their first (#21) or even second (#37) pick. This also increases the likelihood that safety, currently their biggest need, will be addressed with the first pick. FIU’s Jonathan Cyprien is looking more and more like the favorite to be drafted with the 21st pick.