Bengals News

What Can Each Bengals LB Improve Upon in 2018?

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CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 01: Carl Lawson #58 of the Cincinnati Bengals reacts to a play in the first half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Justin Aller /Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 01: Carl Lawson #58 of the Cincinnati Bengals reacts to a play in the first half against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Justin Aller /Getty Images) /
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Hooking the Future in Jefferson

In the third round of the NFL Draft this year, the 78th pick held by the Bengals was used on linebacker Malik Jefferson out of Texas. A glaring need for this defense following last season was linebacker, and this team hopefully selected a piece for the future. During his college career, Jefferson totaled 231 total tackles with 13 sacks over a combined 34 games. He nearly doubled his tackles during his senior year, and could be the missing link to this once tough chain.

Look for Jefferson to see playing time here and there, but it is expected he could be sidelined for most of his rookie year. Barring injury to Vigil or the other guys, I expect Jefferson to have a limited but impacting rookie campaign. Gettign reps will be critical for Jefferson to continue to develop his instincts. If he can learn to see the field, his athleticism will take him the rest of the way.

This linebacker group, if healthy, can be a lethal force especially if Burfict returns consistently. Young guys like Evans, Lawson, and Jefferson are the building blocks to the future and will see some game action to prove it. Brown will look to continue a dominant season as the leader in the middle, and Vigil will look to have a redemption year. These cats are hungry, and have potential.

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