The Bengals have an affinity for undrafted free-agent linebackers. The most notorious example is the recently mentioned Vontaze Burfict but the team has kept players such as Hardy Nickerson in recent years. Could they do it again this season?
The front office invested a lot in their linebacker room this offseason. Veterans Josh Bynes and Austin Calitro, along with Logan Wilson, Akeem Davis-Gaither, and Markus Bailey are all now vying for playing time. With Germaine Pratt returning from last season, that gives the Bengals 6 pretty good options at the position.
Still, there is a lot to like about Spears. He has experience on special teams and started every game in the last two years of his college career. He also checks the leadership box the Bengals like so much, as he was a captain for the Cyclones.
In addition, he proved himself to be a well-rounded player in 2019, securing 92 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and defending 7 passes.
Like any undrafted free agent, things could come down to a numbers game for Spears. Compared to the others signed though, he still looks to have better odds.
Honorable Mention: WR Scotty Washington
Washington may be the most purely talented player of the bunch. Unfortunately, he’s looking for a spot in perhaps the most talented position group on the Bengals’ roster.
He’s 6’5, had 607 receiving yards, 7 touchdowns, and 17.3 yards per catch during his senior year, so there is a lot to work with. Keep in mind he put up those kinds of numbers despite playing in only 8 games due to injury
He’d have to beat out guys like Damion Willis, Stanley Morgan, and others, while also hoping the Bengals decide to keep an extra receiver or two on the active roster. It doesn’t look likely but he has a skill set that is worth keeping an eye on.