NFL Chancellor Roger Goodell says Odell Thurman is "on track" for reinstatement for 2008. Which is a nice way of saying he's kept clean and remains on the list of do-gooders. He's driving with legal plates and appearing for drug tests -- supposedly. Goodell reiterated that a decision will be made before training camp. However, Bengals owner and CBA visionary, Mike Brown, said he's told that reinstatement should happen before the NFL Draft later this month.
Which brings us to the obvious. Once Odell Thurman returns, the Bengals will have 11 linebackers heading into training camp under contract. Heading into the 2006 season, the Bengals kept eight linebackers on the final roster. In 2007, it was seven linebackers -- which should have been eight because the entire world expected Thurman to return. Based on that assumption, the Bengals take eight linebackers. Whom? My projection at this early as heck stage -- which is slightly ridiculous because we expect the team to draft at least one linebacker.
- Odell Thurman
- Ahmad Brooks
- Rashad Jeanty
- Dhani Jones
- Eric Henderson
- Darryl Blackstock
- Brandon Johnson
- Corey Mays
That would leave Jim Maxwell, Anthony Schlegel and Roy Manning out. Eric Henderson is that "project" guy whom won't be cut no matter what. Blackstock, Johnson and Mays would likely play a majority on special teams. Now, based on the total unscientific assumption that the Bengals draft a linebacker or two, then you'd have to assume Mays would be the first victim. Unless, they decide to go with nine -- and that depends on their defensive philosophy (3-4 or 4-3).
Long story short (too late), it's just nice to be log jammed at linebacker. As we found out last year, you can never have too much at a position.