1. Darron Lee, linebacker
6-foot-2, 228 pounds
Darron Lee has drawn praise from NFL scouts across the country, especially on NFL.com. Two of the site’s four draft writers have Lee falling to the Bengals at 24th overall, and the other two writers have him getting nabbed before Cincinnati is even on the clock. In fact, most draftniks are mocking linebackers to Cincinnati. Lee has become a very popular pick, and he’s picking up steam.
Here’s a snippet from Lee’s NFL Draft Profile:
"Lee’s never been short on confidence, proclaiming to teammates that he was the one to take over for 2014 first-round pick Ryan Shazier in the Buckeyes’ defense — even though he was only a year removed from starring as a quarterback and cornerback in high school. He wound up starting all 15 games in that redshirt freshman year for the national champion Buckeyes, earning multiple Freshman All-American accolades with 81 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. Lee truly hit the national stage by terrorizing Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, receiving Defensive MVP honors with seven tackles, three for loss, and two sacks."
Lee has fantastic instincts, athleticism and agility. His draft profile compares him to Titans linebacker Zach Brown, noting the fact that Lee is undersized and struggles with balance. Lee might not be an ideal pick for the Bengals, but the team needs a linebacker–and Lee is one of the top linebackers available in this year’s draft.
Next: 2. Eli Apple