Bengals: Pre-Super Bowl Mock Draft

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Apr 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Cedric Ogbuehi (Texas A&M) poses for a photo with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected as the number 21st overall pick to the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Cedric Ogbuehi (Texas A&M) poses for a photo with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected as the number 21st overall pick to the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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Nov 21, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Temple Owls linebacker Tyler Matakevich (8) reacts after a turnover on downs against the Memphis Tigers at Lincoln Financial Field. The Temple Owls won 31-12. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 21, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Temple Owls linebacker Tyler Matakevich (8) reacts after a turnover on downs against the Memphis Tigers at Lincoln Financial Field. The Temple Owls won 31-12. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

Round 4 (Pick 123): Tyler Matakevich – Linebacker, Temple

6-foot-1, 235 pounds

The Bengals defense needs a new, young leader, and Tyler Matakevich could be that guy. Rey Maualuga‘s time in Cincinnati will be coming to a close within the next few years, so the Bengals would be smart to draft his replacement now.

Not only is Matakevich a leader–he’s received numerous glowing reviews for his leadership on Temple’s defense–but he’s also an extremely physical player who plays faster than his combine numbers could suggest in the future.

With Vontaze Burfict and P.J. Dawson set to be two of the team’s long-term linebackers, selecting Matakevich could solidify the linebacking corps for years to come. And while Matakevich’s natural position is in the middle of the defense, he’s versatile enough to play on the outside.

Matakevich recorded 100+ tackles in four straight seasons, lead all linebackers with five interceptions in 2015, tallied 15 tackles for loss and even recorded four and a half sacks. Matakevich simply seems like a prototypical Bengals linebacker; he could fit in at many places, bring a new dynamic to the team and make an early impact on the defense.

Next: Late Rounds

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