NFL Draft 2012: Cincinnati Bengals Targeting Courtney Upshaw in First Round?
Of course, with two first-round picks, the Bengals could elect to take a slight gamble and pick a position no one was quite expecting.
That mystery position appears to be linebacker, and why not?
The move would make sense as Upshaw would be one of the best players available if he is still on the board at 21. The Bengals are in need of a better pass rush with the departures of Frostee Rucker and Jonathan Fanene.
Upshaw is a versatile pass-rusher that can get to the quarterback quickly from the linebacker or defensive end position. His frame (6’2”, 275 lbs) and versatility make him an intriguing option if he happens to fall to the Bengals.
Upshaw projects as a 3-4 outside linebacker and a 4-3 defensive end. In Defensive Coordinator Mike Zimmer’s schemes, he will likely see most of his playing time from the end position, but in passing situations, he can move to linebacker, allowing the team to have a variety of pass-rushing talent on the field at once.
The Alabama project is the type of hybrid linebacker/defensive end Marvin Lewis seems to love, but more importantly he not only creates competition along the line but adds amazing depth as well.
Should the Bengals take Courtney Upshaw if available in the 1st round?
Upshaw could find himself in a starting position opposite of Carlos Dunlap, as he is very effective against considering his size.
It’s hard to imagine Upshaw will fall to the Bengals, but if he does, it’s not all that difficult to see Lewis swipe him up.
That or this is another classic example of a pre-draft smokescreen by Lewis and company.
Smokescreen or not, Upshaw would join an already elite defense and be able to contribute immediately.
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