Cincinnati Bengals: 5 Players to Watch at the Combine

matthewwillson
Jan 1, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Braxton Miller (1) against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the 2016 Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Buckeyes defeated the Fighting Irish 44-28. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 1, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Braxton Miller (1) against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the 2016 Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Buckeyes defeated the Fighting Irish 44-28. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jan 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Clemson Tigers defensive end Shaq Lawson (90) reacts during the third quarter against the Clemson Tigers in the 2016 CFP National Championship at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Clemson Tigers defensive end Shaq Lawson (90) reacts during the third quarter against the Clemson Tigers in the 2016 CFP National Championship at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

DE: Shaq Lawson

The Bengals will need a defensive end to not only replace Wallace Gilberry, but also to eventually replace Michael Johnson, who will be 32 when his contract comes due in 2019. Shaq Lawson is a defensive end out of Clemson and is ranked in many mock drafts as a top 15 to 20 draft pick.

In Lawson’s final year at Clemson, he finished with 12.5 sacks, 25.5 tackles for a loss, five QB hits, 60 totals tackles, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He was a three year player at Clemson, which is something that you can’t ignore, and started every game in 2015. He continued to improve throughout his time in college and earned Preseason All-ACC honors and was named an All-American for his 2015 performance.

According to NFL.com, Lawson is:

"Built like a tank…Very powerful at the point of attack."

but they also state his weakness as:

"Thickly bound with very average flexibility. Average athlete for end position."

They even go so far to say that he could be flexed to an outside linebacker in the NFL from a standing position. It is another need the Bengals have headed into the NFL Draft, so he could be a versatility piece the Bengals could use in the long run.

It is the few that have him falling to late in the first round that gives me some hope that the Bengals could upgrade at defensive end and be in a great position heading into 2016 season on their defensive line.  Picking up Lawson would be going for the best on the board, but might mean a couple guys are off the board.

Next: The Apple of Ohio State's Eye

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