2015 NFL Draft: Bengals’ Fourth-Round Late Bloomers

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Durrell Eskridge, Free Safety, Syracuse

Feb 23, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Syracuse Orangemen defensive back Durrell Eskridge waits to do his shuttle run during the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Durrell Eskridge, a 6’3” 207-pound free safety, is definitely a good option at 135.  With George Iloka entering a contract year, it is always good to have some kind of a backup plan.  Plus, with the Bengals success late in the draft, Eskridge could turn out to be a solid player.

Eskridge was billed as high as a mid-second round pick just a couple of months ago, but his stock has since fallen given the amount of talent in this year’s secondary class. The biggest knock on Eskridge is another year of college would have done him well as he lacks refinement.

With that said, enter Bengals secondary coach Vance Joseph.  Joseph is widely regarded as one of the best in the NFL, and it appeared he was going to be added to Gary Kubiak’s staff in Denver as defensive coordinator.  Joseph has the ability to mold players into whatever he sees fit.

Eskridge will also have the opportunity to learn behind Iloka and Bengals centerpiece safety Reggie Nelson.  Add in third year player Shawn Williams, and the Bengals’ safety rotation could really be something.

Super Bowl teams are built on the backs of late round picks.  Maybe it’s the motivation these players feel having been passed on by every NFL team round after round.  Maybe they are so happy to even get an opportunity in the NFL that they are willing to do whatever they can to keep it.  Either way, late round picks seem to blossom into great NFL players, and the 2015 draft will be no exception.

Next: Trading Down is Bengals Best Option

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