Dec 29, 2012; San Antonio, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns defensive end Alex Okafor (80) reacts against the Oregon State Beavers during the second half of the Alamo Bowl at the Alamodome. Texas beat Oregon State 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports
Defensive ends that have been drafted in recent years have come in and made an immediate impact. Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson have proven to be a great tandem coming off of the edge but Dunlap has shown to be prone to injuries and not very reliable throughout the year. Beyond those two we have Robert Geathers, Jamaal Anderson, and Wallace Gilberry (who was a nice addition last season). Robert Geathers may be the heart of the defense, but he is not a very good defensive end.
The Bengals defense needs a strong presence on that rotation that can defend the run and rush the passer. If Bjoern Werner is on the board when we pick I think we should seriously consider taking him as he is a terror off of the edge and a staunch run defender that can chase down running backs. At 6’3” 266 lbs. he has room to put on 10 to 15 lbs. which will help him against the mammoth RT’s in the AFC North. If Werner is not on the board we have the option of trading down and getting possibly another 2nd or 3rd round pick that has worked well for us in the past and selecting someone like Alex Okafor out of the University of Texas.
Okafor has been flying under the radar on draft boards and has not been mentioned a lot but I believe he could be the best natural pass rusher in this year’s draft. He has one of the quickest bursts off of the line and has the strength to push Tackles and guards off balance to get around to the quarterback. He played on a dismal Texas defense that was one of the worst in NCAA football but he was one of the bright spots on a bad defense. All the hype has been on Kenny Vacarro, but Vacarro too often got sucked in on play action passes and was not very reliable in coverage, but then again I’m not an analyst on NFL network or ESPN….