Cincinnati Bengals: Linebacker prospects for pick 33

Joe Burrow seems to be a lock for the Bengals first overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft. What do they work on from there? Linebackers.

Kenneth Murray and/or K’Lavon Chaisson could be available at pick 33. Here is a closer look at the young linebackers.

If possible, It would be a steal if the Bengals can grab a quality linebacker in the second round. Offensive line is going to be a big need this offseason with a rookie quarterback looking likely heading into next season. However, with Jonah Williams returning next season, plenty of money to spend in free agency, and picks at the top of the middle rounds, defense could be the way to go at pick 33.

First, there is Oklahoma OLB Kenneth Murray. At 6’2 234 pounds, Murray not only has great size for his position, but tremendous speed too. Looking at Murray and Chaisson, speed is a huge factor for me. The Bengals need to get faster on defense, and Murray could help with that.

He is a patient linebacker who rarely over-commits. Murray waits to read the offense before he reacts. As soon as he’s ready to pursue, he takes off. I see Murray as not only a solid run stopper, but potentially a dependable coverage linebacker. For the Bengals, linebackers who can cover tight ends and running backs are a massive need. With Murray’s size and speed, I see him as an incredibly balanced linebacker. He can stop the run, cover the pass, and rush off the edge if need be. A downside for Murray could be getting off blocks. If Murray develops his block shedding ability, he could be a special linebacker in the NFL.

Next is LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson. After the LSU vs Oklahoma game, it’s beginning to look unlikely Chaisson will be available at pick 33. If he is at the top of the second round, he has to be the pick. I wouldn’t be opposed to trading up for him either. Chaisson is more of an edge rusher or 3-4 linebacker than a traditional outside linebacker. His abilities can make the Bengals defense more flexible.

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – DECEMBER 28: Quarterback Joe Burrow #9 of the LSU Tigers and linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson #18 celebrate on the podium after winning the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl 28-63 over the Oklahoma Sooners at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 28, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

 

Chaisson is 6’4 250 pounds. His size is great for his position, but his speed in LSU’s game against Oklahoma really jumped out.  Chaisson ran down and tackled CeeDee Lamb. That’s not easy for anyone, especially an edge/linebacker.

The Bengals should be more comfortable drafting Chaisson if they are able to add some coverage linebackers and defensive backs as well. I’m very impressed with Chaisson’s pass rush ability. With the right game plan plus a little coaching, his run stopping ability could be just as good.

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Either guy has the ability to make a huge impact on the Bengals defense. Besides offensive line, linebacker and defensive backs are the biggest needs. With money to spend and draft picks, adding Kenneth Murray or K’Lavon Chaisson could make a huge difference for the Bengals defense next season.

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