Bengals 2015 NFL Draft: How Does Josh Shaw Fit?

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Oct 26, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; USC Trojans safety Josh Shaw (6) tries to get the crowd going during the third quarter of the Trojans 19-3 win over the Utah Utes at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Shaw was the first of two selections in Saturday’s Round Four of the NFL Draft. Shaw is a safety out of USC and at 6’0″ and ran a 4.44 in the 40-yard dash at the combine. The Bengals entered the day with needs in the secondary and at defensive tackle and they have immediately answered the secondary’s need with NFL.com rating Shaw at a 5.53, which according to their scale puts him as a potential starter.

Shaw had three interceptions, including one for a touchdown, and five pass deflections in 2013. He was suspended for a large part of 2014 after lying about how he injured his ankle. According to Reignoftroy.com’s Alicia de Artola, he told USC that he was saving his nephew from drowning in a pool, when, in fact, he was running from a non-violent domestic dispute.

Shaw will most likely fill-in behind Reggie Nelson and George Iloka for at least a year and help out on special teams. He has a strong upper body as he was one of the top performers in the bench press, and can break up passes in the air. Alicia also pointed out that he could play at corner if needed and after a good 40-yard dash, can track down receivers. He could be a solid option at corner as well if the Bengals choose to move on from Adam Jones and eventually maybe Dre Kirkpatrick, whose fifth-year option gives him two years before he hits free agency. It is what makes him an attractive prospect in Cincinnati.

The Bengals will allow Shaw to grow with a year before they would really need him at either safety or cornerback. He could turn into a starter with some hard work and proper training. Don’t be surprised to see him on special teams and playing depth if they need him in the coming season. Shaw has the ability to be versatile and play wherever the Bengals need him in the secondary, but they must refrain from switching him mid-cycle and expect him to pick up both spots without any hiccups.

Next: Did the Bengals 'Make the Grade' in the Draft?

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