Bengals Select Akeem Davis-Gaither: Instant Grade and Analysis
The Cincinnati Bengals add yet another athletic linebacker to their core, selecting Akeem Davis-Gaither. Here, we give our instant grade and analysis.
The Cincinnati Bengals decided to double-dip at the linebacker position, this time adding the ultra-athletic Akeem Davis-Gaither. The coaching staff got a good look at him in the Senior Bowl and decided he was their guy at the top of the fourth round.
In his senior year, he racked up 201 tackles, 24 for a loss, along with 5 sacks. His versatility is something to note, as he’s able to rush the passer and has the tools to develop into a good coverage linebacker.
The team now has three very young linebackers in Davis-Gaither, Logan Wilson, and Germaine Pratt. What was once a weakness of the team is looking to turn into a strength if these picks pan out.
Hunter Bittinger Grade: B+
The Bengals had all night to decide on who to take, so fans can rest assured this was the front office’s guy. Davis-Gaither was more than likely the top player on their board. While many would want this pick to be an offensive lineman, there may not be a guy at this point who is capable of protecting Burrow any better than the players currently on the roster.
The Appalachian State linebacker has a lot to like about him. He’s versatile and capable to rush the passer, as evidenced by his sack count. I think he turns into a great coverage linebacker sooner rather than later, which will give the Bengals a big boost on defense.
If properly developed, he will give Lou Anarumo the ability to match up against big, athletic tight ends who have taken the league by storm. Perhaps even better, his athleticism can help the Bengals contain players like divisional rival Lamar Jackson.
Aaron Burd Grade: A+
With the 107th pick, the Bengals select a fan favorite throughout this draft process, Akeem Davis-Gaither. The Appalachian State linebacker may have played for a small school, but he flew up boards during the Senior Bowl where he was coached by Zac Taylor and the Bengals’ staff.
Davis-Gaither is a slightly undersized linebacker but his athleticism is off the charts. He’s a playmaker who can fly all over the field. Can contribute well on special teams if not given a significant role on defense right away.
Overall, this is a great value at 107. The Bengals may have already added a linebacker in the third round, but with how weak the linebacker group has been it’s smart to load up on the position. Don’t expect ADG to be a starter year one, but he should push for a role within a couple of years.
Blake Jewell Grade: A-
I love this pick. Offensive line help would have been nice, but Akeem Davis-Gaither has been one of my favorite prospects in this draft. Getting Logan Wilson and Davis-Gaither is a massive upgrade to the linebacker position.
While a little undersized, Davis-Gaither makes up for it with athleticism and physicality. The 22-year-old racked up 104 tackles, 14.5 TFL’s, 5 sack,s and an interception in 2019 for Appalachian State in his Sun Belt defensive player of the year season. The Bengals have made necessary additions to their defensive side this offseason, and this draft pick caps it off.