After bombing their second round pick, I believe Cincinnati landed a great value with their third round pick. If a linebacker of value had been available when they picked in the first round I firmly believe they would have taken one then. The way the draft fell, Cincinnati felt they could wait until the third round to fill their most pressing need. A former safety, Germaine Pratt is an athletic, coverage option at linebacker that the Bengals have desperately needed for years. This almost makes up for the atrocity Cincinnati committed in the round before.
I love this pick. Linebacker was a dire need before the release of Vontaze Burfict, even more so now that he is gone. The big selling point for Pratt is the athleticism. The organization seems to have finally realized that big, stiff, thumping linebackers are no longer impactful in the modern NFL. Pratt entered college as a safety for NC State before converting to linebacker. He is still raw as far as diagnosing blocks and getting off blocks in the run game. Something tells me the Bengals didn’t draft Pratt to come in and show off any run defending skills.
Pratt brings a new element to the Bengals’ linebacking corp. Nick Vigil has some athleticism but isn’t outstanding in that regard. Preston Brown is a big, slow, between the tackles thumper who really shouldn’t be made to move laterally in a capacity. Pratt brings more sideline to sideline play than the other too. He can come in and play that weakside linebacker spot vacated by Burfict right away. Cincinnati should allow him to play a coverage role in the passing game and a run-and-chase role as far as running downs are concerned. That is where he can be the most impactful to this team right out of the gate. Pratt compliments the rest of the Bengal linebackers very well.