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Updating the SB Nation Mock Draft: Thinking LB

The SB Nation is still conducting the 2007 Mock Draft. In the first round, the Bengals (all me, baby!) went with cornerback Darrelle Revis. Since I didn't hear any discontent, I can assume I did an acceptable job. Now my wicked confidence grows and I prepare for the second round selection. As we discussed, this pick will come down to either linebacker or defensive lineman. The linebackers I'm looking at that are available:


  • Brandon Siler
  • David Harris
  • H.B. Blades


  • Jon Beason
  • Rufus Alexander
  • Earl Everett

On the Clock Draft is my favorite draft analysis site. I usually lean on them for most intellectual analysis. Of the linebackers left available, they are high on David Harris (MLB, Michigan):

David Harris has experience against top competition, having started at middle linebacker for Michigan in the Big Ten over the past two seasons. He has ideal size for the "Mike" linebacker position. He is a tough player and a hard worker with a non-stop motor. He is intelligent and has good leadership qualities. He has good instincts and does a good job of reading and reacting to what the offense is doing. He is a great run stopper who fills his gaps and displays solid tackling technique.

OTC Draft says Harris struggles to get off blocks, isn't much of a pass rusher and struggles in pass coverage. His primary skill is stopping the run.

That doesn't sound very impressive. And you have to consider that the Bengals are less needy for a MLB with Thurman's potential return and Hobson's piece that Ahmad Brooks is starting to "get it".

"I have to add that extra time that Carson (Palmer) and pretty much all of our leaders on this team (are) doing and showing my teammates that’s what I’m about," Brooks said earlier this week. "I’ve got my head on straight. I see what the NFL is all about."

Brooks sounds like this is his light-bulb year. He has turned on the switch by meeting regularly with the man who used to scold him for laxness, linebackers coach Ricky Hunley, as well as adding a nutritionist and the offseason program he sorely missed last year.

I think the greatest need on this team isn't the talent; it's the leadership qualities to help others around them to raise their quality of play.

What about Brandon Siler?

On the Clock basically says the same about Siler they did about Harris. However, Siler is better in pass coverage but lacks size and athleticism.

One guy that has On the Clock salivating over is H.B. Blades.

H.B. Blades has a ton of experience, having started at both strong side linebacker and middle linebacker for the Pittsburgh Panthers over the past three seasons. During that time he has proven to be a very durable player who hasn’t missed a game due to injury since earning a starting job as a sophomore. He has a good combination of size, strength, and athleticism for a middle linebacker. He has good instincts and is an outstanding run defender. He is a big, physical linebacker who is strong enough to take on and shed blocks of larger offensive linemen. He has enough speed to make plays all over the field and he is a very good wrap-up tackler. H.B. is solid but not spectacular in coverage. He is an intelligent player and a good leader who is quick to read and react to what the opposing offense is doing. H.B. Blades is a versatile player who has started at both the strong side and the middle linebacker positions. He projects as a middle linebacker at the next level and should be selected in the first two rounds of the 2007 NFL draft.

Of the players listed, none are listed as character concerns via ESPN's Draft Tracker.

Something to consider here too. The Bengals entertained Jon Beason earlier this week.

Jon Beason, an outside linebacker from the University of Miami, visited the Bengals. He was in the locker room Tuesday with linebackers coach Ricky Hunley.

So let's examine Beason:

Jon Beason has experience against top competition, having started at linebacker for the past 2 ½ years for the Hurricanes in the ACC. He is an intelligent player with a good combination of strength and athleticism for the linebacker position. He will take on blockers and does a good job of shedding their blocks. He is a good tackler and an extremely hard hitter. He is an aggressive run defender who makes plays all over the field. He also has the ability to drop back into coverage when needed. Beason is a versatile player who can play all three linebacker positions. At just 6-0, Beason is a bit undersized and he doesn’t have the frame to add additional bulk. He has started at both outside linebacker positions at Miami but he will most likely project as a weakside linebacker at the next level. Jon Beason is a player whose stock has been on the rise as of late. He should be a late first or early second round pick in the 2007 NFL draft.

To revise my linebacker list, I'm looking, in this order -- primarily thinking outside linebacker.

H.B Blades
Jon Beason
Brandon Siler

Do you agree?

Why not safety?

In the first round, LaRon Landry, Reggie Nelson and Eric Weddle were selected. Brandon Meriweather and Michael Griffin were picked up in the second round and we still have about six picks to go. On the Clock has Aaron Rouse as the best available safety -- which On the Clock suggests he will be a second day draft pick. So we're eliminating safety as a spot to draft in the second.

OK, how about defensive tackle?

DeMarcus Tyler is still available:

DeMarcus "Tank" Tyler has a good deal of experience, having started for the Wolfpack over the past three seasons. He has a good combination of size and strength for a defensive tackle. He has a quick first step which allows him to beat most offensive linemen off the snap. He is strong at the point of attack and he gets off blocks well. He is a great run stopper who can penetrate the backfield and make plays behind the line of scrimmage. Tyler doesn't offer much when it comes to rushing the passer. For the most part he is a one-dimensional run stuffing defensive tackle. He tries to get by on pure strength alone too often. He could do a better job of staying low and getting leverage against his opponents. Another thing Tyler needs to work on is staying in shape. He has a tendency to tire as games go on and his lack of conditioning could be a contributing factor. His work ethic is questionable and he may need the right coach to keep him motivated. DeMarcus is a good prospect with the ability to be a dominating force against the run at the next level. He has been moving up draft boards as of late and is currently a first day pick with the ability to move into the first round.

So, my thought process after all that.

I'm looking at linebacker still while keeping an eye on DeMarcus Taylor. So I put the ball in your corner. Convince me of who you think the Bengals should select in our mock draft.