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In 2009, the Cincinnati Bengals used their ninth overall selection on Keith Rivers, a linebacker out of USC, leaving names like Ryan Clady, Jerod Mayo and Joe Flacco on the board.
Though he played a decent rookie season, it came to an abrupt end after a block by Hines Ward that broke the jaw of Rivers and forced him to sit the last nine games on the bench.
The following year, after failing to be drafted by the Chargers, USC linebacker Rey Maualuga was drafted in the second round by the Bengals, beginning rumors about whether or not Rivers would live up to his potential as a top 10 pick.
Though he has been slowed down by injuries, Rivers had his best season in 2010, finishing second to Dhani Jones in tackles on the team. Hopefully able to play a full season, Rivers should live up to his talent and make a difference on defense.
With Maualuga seeking trouble off the field and pleading guilty to drunk driving charges in February of last year, the weight of the linebacking core will rest on Rivers' shoulders, and he'll be forced to have a great season. He will do just that.