2021 NFL Draft

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Bengals Go To The Edge with Texas' Joseph Ossai 

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Texas linebacker Joseph Ossai (46) pressures Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley (1) during the second half of the Alamo Bowl NCAA college football game in San Antonio, Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The Bengals went 3-for-3 filling needs in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft Friday night when they took Texas edge rusher Joseph Ossai with the 69th pick.

After taking a stretch-the-field wide receiver at No. 5 and a monstrous offensive lineman at No. 46, the Bengals took the 6-4, 256-pound Ossai, a former inside linebacker now on the edge and is a nice fit for the Bengals 3-4 hybrid defense.

Ossai moved this season to what Texas called the "Jack linebacker," where he could drop and rush. He was named a first-team Associated Press All-American and first-team all-conference selection. Ossai, a team captain, tied for third in the FBS with 16 tackles for loss and a team-high 5.5 sacks in nine starts, caught the fancy of the draftnicks with a reported 4.6-second 40-yard dash.

NFL.com quoted an area scout for an AFC team saying about Ossai, "They will tell you in the building that this kid is just as non-stop in practice as he is in the game. There is no front there. He loves to ball and he's getting better quickly."

Bengals head coach Zac Taylor calls his style of play "relentless," exactly what a pass rush that was last in the NFL in sacks needs.

"We're very impressed with his character and what he brings to the table," Taylor said.

Defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo says Ossai brings some flexibility with his linebacker background, but he's primarily a pass rusher.

The Bengals have seven picks left in Saturday's final four rounds and as Taylor met the press right after the Ossai pick, he said the plan is now to focus on the best players available ands not needs.

Presented by Tide, the Bengals select DE Joseph Ossai with the 69th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Check out the top pictures of the Bengals third round selection.

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