James Laurinaitis was a great linebacker for the Ohio State Buckeyes during the last three seasons. He’s led the team in tackles and was always somewhere near when a play was made. He could have gone into the ’08 Draft but decided to stay for his senior season.
He was a potential first-round pick until a mediocre performance at the NFL Combine. Now, it is projected that he could be a steal for someone in the second round.
If he is not drafted by the time the Bengals are on the clock for the second time, would it be a safe pick for the Bengals to go ahead and draft him?
This is not a Ray Lewis type of player that is going to hype up your defense and get everyone fired up. What he gives a team is consistency. He averaged ten tackles a game his senior season and has gradually progressed through the last three seasons he’s played for Ohio State.
He has great leadership capabilities, becoming the Buckeye’s defensive leader his sophomore year.
He’s good at stopping the run, but his real skill comes in his ability to defend the pass. The Buckeye’s defense was ranked first in the nation against the pass.
The Bengals drafted Keith Rivers last year and he was doing great before the injury. The thing is, if a player like Laurinaitis falls into their hands, can they pass him up?
The Bengals defense has improved since Mike Zimmer took over last season. There is a need for defensive linemen, but it wouldn’t kill them to have another high quality linebacker.
Laurinaitis reminds me of former Bengal Brian Simmons who wasn’t the guy you saw making all the interceptions, but he was the most consistent player for that Bengals defense. He never had a horrible game and he lasted with the Bengals for nine seasons.
This situation could be widely compared to the drafting of Odell Thurman. He was a steal for the Bengals in the second round and made a difference right away.
I do believe that if Laurinaitis falls to the second round, the Bengals should look at him more closely.
I think that in the end someone will catch him in the first round. Pittsburgh and New England are always looking for young defensive players and Detroit may get him with two picks in the first round. Also, Baltimore may end up grabbing him with the loss of Bart Scott.
Laurinaitis is a great player and I think that wherever he plays next season he will be an impact player right away.