2015 NFL Draft: Four Safeties the Bengals Should Target

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Ladarius Gunter, Miami (FL)

Finishing this list with a late round option seems logical, and of this group, Ladarius Gunter may be best in breed.

It’s hard to deny Miami’s ability to produce quality NFL players, and they’ve done well to produce some qualities defensive backs as well.  Gunter could add to that list as he could turn into a solid NFL player, though it’s unlikely he’ll become a superstar like some Miami safeties of the past (Sean Taylor, Ed Reed).

Gunter has a great “nose” for the ball, which puts him in position to make plays on a consistent basis.  He’s aggressive at the point of the catch, so he’s able to make plays when in position to do so.  He played a lot of cornerback in college as well as at safety, so he possesses the kind of versatility that will appeal to a team like the Bengals.  He also has experience covering kickoffs, which should keep teams intrigued as depth players must be able to perform on special teams.

The big issue with Gunter seems to be his lack of speed and athletic ability.  This isn’t so much of an issue when a player possesses great awareness, but this isn’t the case with Gunter.  In this way, he will need to time for refinement.  He’ll also need to perform better in run defense if he’s going to make it in the NFL; Gunter isn’t aggressive enough against the run.

Nonetheless, for a late-round selection, Gunter has qualities that could be appealing.  Possessing a knack for playmaking and challenging receivers at the point of the catch is great.  Being versatile enough to play all over the secondary is vital for a player looking to make a team.  And finally, having experience on special teams is a huge plus for a likely reserve player.  Gunter isn’t likely to become a star, but he offers coachable qualities and the kind of ability that would serve a team well at the second level of a depth chart.

Next: Could Shane Ray Fall to the Bengals?

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