With the 49th pick of the 2007 SB Nation Mock draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select, Jon Beason, Outside Linebacker, fummmmmmm, daaaaaaaaa, you! The logic here is compounded by millions of variables.
Even if the Bengals are lucky enough to get David Pollack and Odell Thurman back, there's reason to believe the Bengals will need an outside linebacker. However, Pollack still remains on the "unlikely to ever play again" list. If Odell Thurman returns, in football shape mind you, he'll be challenging Ahmad Brooks for the starting job. With that in mind, Caleb Miller will compete for the backup job. There's NO reason to have another middle linebacker picked up.
However, outside linebacker presents an interesting debate. David Pollack will spend a long time recovering. Possibly fruitlessly. And if he comes back, serious discussion has been brought up about moving back to defensive end -- his Bulldog position. That leaves Landon Johnson. While a great "team guy" that's tough as nails, Landon struggled to get a start when Pollack, Thurman and Brian Simmons were healthy. Rashad Jeanty had a decent season considering the fact he was a rookie; not by age, but experience. But like Johnson, he played because of injury.
So let's examine Beason a little closer:
From ESPN's NFL Draft Tracker:
Weaknesses: Lacks elite height and doesn't have much room left on his frame to get bigger. He displays some stiffness in his hips. He is fast on a straight-line and laterally, but he's not as proficient turning and running. Lacks elite range in coverage and will have trouble matching up one-on-one versus the NFL's quicker running backs out of the backfield. He has a history of durability issues, including shoulder and knee injuries throughout his career.
Overall: Beason arrived at Miami in 2003, appeared in two games (Louisiana Tech, Florida) as a fullback before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury, and then received a medical redshirt. As a redshirt freshman in 2004, he moved to linebacker and saw action in all 12 games (three starts) recording 29 total tackles, four tackles for loss, and one sack. Beason then started 10 contests and played in all 12 (team opened in nickel for two non-starts) at weakside outside linebacker for the 2005 season, registering 66 total tackles including six for loss. In 2006, he played in 12 of 13 games, missed one game with a knee injury, and finished the season with 75 total tackles, eight tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, one interception, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.
Beason lacks elite size and he has a little bit of stiffness in his hips. He also comes with some durability baggage. However, he is a powerful, aggressive and fast linebacker with better instincts and toughness than most prospects in the 2007 draft class. Beason projects as a starting "WILL" linebacker in the NFL and he should come off the board between the late-first and early-second round range.
From OTC Draft (again):
I truly do not wish to diminish what these guys have done. I feel these are tremendous depth guys. We need big time play-makers. Guys that can take games over and get the most out of the guys around them. Honestly, I'm not sure if Beason is it. But the need to add strength at outside linebacker still remains a "need".