BRISTOL, Conn. — The Cincinnati Bengals selected Appalachian State outside linebacker Akeem Davis-Gaither with the first pick of the fourth round of the NFL Draft on April 25.
The Bengals made Davis-Gaither the 107th pick of the draft.
“I always carry that chip on my shoulder, regardless of if I would have went in the second round, because I know there are people out there that are doubting me,” Davis-Gaither said on a video call with Bengals reporters. “I just want to prove them wrong. (At App State), that’s our motto.”
Davis-Gaither is the 2019 Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He was second on the Appalachian State defense with 104 tackles, including five sacks. The Thomasville native also had an interception. Davis-Gaither finished with 105 tackles in 2018.
Appalachian State teams went a combined 54-12 with a 5-0 bowl record and won four straight conference championships. Davis-Gaither is the fourth earliest defensive player to be selected.
Linebacker Dino Hackett was picked 35th by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1986, linebacker Dexter Cocakley was picked 65th overall by the Dallas Cowboys and safety Matt Stevens was drafted 87th overall by the Buffalo Bills in 1996.
Davis-Gaither is the second former Mountaineer to be selected in the 2019 draft. On the first day, running back Darrynton Evans was selected by the Tennessee Titans in the third round.
The Bengals finished the 2019 season with an NFL worst 2-14 record. Cincinnati started the season with an 0-11 record and had the first pick in each round. The Bengals opened the 2019 draft by selecting Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow, who led LSU to the college football national championship.
Should Davis-Gaither make the Bengals’ roster, he and his new teammates have their work cut out for them. The Bengals were 25th in the NFL in points allowed with 26.3 points per game.