After going offense in the first two rounds of the draft, the Cincinnati Bengals land their edge rusher in round three with Kansas State defensive end Jordan Willis.
Throughout the offseason, most draft pundits had edge rusher as the greatest need in the Queen City. After opting to go offense in the first two rounds, the Bengals found their guy in the third round with Jordan Willis. Willis was considered a first round talent by most draft experts and should be considered an excellent value pick with the 73rd selection.
The scouting report
Jordan Willis is a 6-foot-5 250-plus pound defensive end out of Kansas State. Willis ran a 4.53 forty yard dash at the combine and is considered an athletic freak. The former Wildcat had 17.5 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks last season and plays with a relentless motor.
He will probably have to put on a little weight. But, with his frame, should have no problem adding the muscle necessary to fit the measurables of a prototype 4-3 defensive end.
How Willis fits with the Bengals
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Willis will most likely back up veteran Michael Johnson this season. That will limit him to playing most of his snaps on third down as a pass rushing specialist. Willis will get the benefit of learning from Johnson this season. Although Johnson has lost a step or two with age, he is still solid against the run and can still offer some quality snaps.
This will help defensive coordinator Paul Guenther integrate Willis slowly into the defensive line rotation. It will allow him to take advantage of his greatest asset which is getting after the quarterback. Stay tuned, as he develops his all-around game.
Landing a first round caliber talent like Willis in the third round brings excellent value for the Bengals. It allows them to upgrade the skill positions around Andy Dalton. Meanwhile, they can also upgrade the pass rush this defense desperately needs.