Going with an assumption that Rey will round out the linebackers on the final 53-man roster, it is worth noting that of this group Rey Maualuga will have been the only linebacker actually drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals. However it is far more interesting to consider that if these are the seven linebackers named, Maualuga will have been the only linebacker who was drafted at all!
Both Burfict and Lamur were signed as college free agents after the NFL Draft in 2012, and Rey was signed in similar fashion post-Draft in 2010. While a familiar name in the Queen City because of his college days as a linebacker at the University of Cincinnati, Schaffer was signed as a college free agent by Chicago after going undrafted in 2012. He found his way to the Bengals practice squad last season after being released by the Bears and later by the Buccaneers.
Aug 17, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker James Harrison (92) prior to a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Don’t forget that after the 2002 NFL Draft even Harrison was signed by Pittsburgh as a free agent. While Maualuga may have been drafted 38th overall in 2009, he has certainly been the minority vote this offseason; another castaway. Perhaps this is part of the “cin-ergy” sparking around these linebackers – a group of with a collective chip on their shoulder the size of Fountain Square. Time will tell with final cuts looming, but it will be very interesting to see how this group of unheralded players leave their mark on the 2013 season.