NFL Cincinnati Bengals

With the 21st Pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select…

Matt Elam

Randy Sartin – USA TODAY Sports

For sometime now, the general consensus has been that Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Alec Ogletree would be selected in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft  by the Cincinnati Bengals.

Ogletree is one of the top linebackers in this years’ draft. He had 111 total tackles, three sacks and six passes defended last season, and as an excellent playmaker with great sideline-to-sideline speed, he would have had the ability to slot right into the middle linebacker position from day one.

Over the last few days, the Bengals finished fixing up their linebacker positions by re-signing Rey Maualuga to a two-year contract, which means that it is quite unlikely they will sign Ogletree now.

Now that they their biggest concern shored up, the Bengals can use their top pick to sort out their defensive secondary and more specifically, the free safety position.

The best place for the Bengals to look in this years’ draft for this a free safety is to seek to pick up University of Florida‘s Matt Elam. The Bengals had very few weak links in last years’ defense, one being the oft-poor play that they experienced at safety at the hands of Taylor Mays.

A former second-round pick out of the University of Southern California, Mays has not been able to keep his starting position at safety and only played a quarter of last year’s snaps and on the four passes thrown to players he was covering, three of them connected with the intended player for 49 yards and a touchdown.

Elam seems like the perfect choice to join the Bengals and compliment fifth-year veteran Reggie Nelson. Elam had an impressive 152 tackles, six interceptions and 12 passes defended during his 26 starts with the Gators and coupled with his impressive combine results — a 4.54 40-yeard dash and 35.5 inch vertical leap — he has solidified his first-round status.

Without a doubt, Elam is now topping the list of possibilities for the Bengals to choose at the end of April.

Simon Greene – Cincinnati Bengals Writer

Follow Simon on Twitter @simongreene88