2. LB Germaine Pratt
Linebacker is been another issue for the Cincinnati Bengals the last few seasons. In 2015, the team’s last playoff campaign, the club’s top three tacklers were Vincent Rey, Rey Maualuga and controversial but productive Vontaze Burfict. That was a unit that finished 11th in the league in fewest yards allowed and seventh in the NFL against the run.
This past year, the Bengals ranked 29th in total defense and gave up the most rushing yards in the league. Three players – Shawn Williams (112), Nick Vigil (111) and Jessie Bates (100) – each totaled at least 100 stops. But it’s worth noting that Williams and Bates (more on him later) are safeties and Vigil is a linebacker. And the latter is now a member of the Los Angeles Chargers.
Cincinnati’s fifth-leading tackler this past season was rookie Germaine Pratt, a third-round pick from North Carolina State who played in all 16 contests and made nine starts. He finished with 72 defensive stops and added four tackles on special teams. He’s still very much a work in progress but the team also added former Ravens’ linebacker Josh Bynes this offseason and he the nine-year veteran could prove to be quite the mentor for the 23-year-old prospect.
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