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OLB in the 2008 Draft: Round 3

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Posted 04-03-2008 at 10:18 PM by hagan714
Updated 06-12-2008 at 07:16 AM by hagan714

12. Beau Bell, UNLV, 6013, 244, 4.68 (MLB/OLB)

Bell is very athletic with a good combination of size and speed. A big backer for today's standards and exceptionaly quick. Bell does an excellent job in his pre-snap reads and fights through traffic really well. He is quick to read and react and is able to change direction quickly because he is an intuitive player. Bell is one of the better tacklers in college football and has huge upside when it comes to creating turnovers. He shows good burst of his blocks, is a sideline-to-sideline player and is effective on blitzes. Bell is a reliable tackle and has closed quickly on ball carriers, possessing enough speed to cover tight ends in man to man coverage. Violent and reliable tackler. Active and a terror in pursuit. Bell is good in coverage, which makes him appealing to 3-4 and 4-3 defenses. An extremely versatile player. Real aggressive and has a good motor. He has discipline, plays within the assigned system.

Bell could show better awareness in zone coverage. Instincts are relatively average. Has tight hips. Poor ball skills. Too aggressive at times. Has some trouble shedding blocks. He can be worn down when runners attack him. Leadership abilities and work ethic have been questioned.

Bell has intriguing physical skills. He could play inside or outside in the NFL. He does need improved coaching to reach its potential. His injury history is of concern, but overall is a very solid football player with an above average pro ceiling.

13. Wesley Woodyard, Kentucky, 6004, 227, 4.49 (OLB/SS)

Wesley Woodyard is the unquestioned leader of the Wildcat defense. As the starting WLB the past three years (he played some safety and MLB as a freshman), he's consistently racked up phenomenal stats and earned All-SEC honors. Woodyard is a great athlete. He shows great football awareness and has the speed to get to the ball. He has a great burst off the ball, a nose for the ball, and he brings a load when he gets to the ball. He's a very hard hitter. Smart with good awareness and instincts. Despite his (lack of) size, he plays an aggressive and physical style of football and has shown himself to be a solid tackler. With his athleticism and speed, he's comfortable dropping into coverage. Has fluid hips and does a nice job in coverage. He's a true leader on and off the field and has excelled academically and is involved in the community. No one will work harder.

You can't teach size and Woodyard is just undersized. He needs to get much heavier and stronger, which will help him improve getting off blocks (which is his biggest weakness). Struggles to fight through traffic and is not stout at the point. Some scouts would like to see him improve his tackling skills.

There's a lot to like about this guy but his lack of size is a monumental negative. Woodyard is simply a football player and that's a high compliment. He'll find a job. He might never be more than a backup and special teamer

14. Tavares Gooden, Miami (FL), 6013, 234, 4.65

Gooden is your typical Miami linebackers -- a cat-quick defender who is very physical with his hands, using them well to maintain separation from blockers. He has had a respectable, yet unspectacular career at Miami until he shifted to middle linebacker as a senior. Tavares Gooden is a great athlete. Few defenders display the lateral pursuit skills that Gooden has. He is also an explosive tackler who consistently drags ballcarriers to the ground. Face-up tackler who delivers a blow on contact and hits with leverage and good wrap-up technique. He does have the speed to make plays while in downhill pursuit and shows the ability to easily run with tight ends and halfbacks in the short area. Fluid and does a nice job in coverage. Aggressive player who will compete until the whistle.

Gooden will have little problem chasing down the opposition in the NFL laterally. Gooden can close downhill like a rocket, but he is not the most instinctive linebacker. Can be fooled by misdirection. He will need to find more balance between speed and strength if his new team wants him to be able to shed blockers and get into the backfield. Must show better recognition skills, as he does hesitate and look slow trying to locate the ball. He is tight in his hips when having to change direction suddenly. Bit of a liability in pass coverage. He is not much of a pass rusher or blitzer. Makes better plays in space than in tight quarters. Injuries impact his performance and he won't play hurt. He lacks toughness off the field.

Gooden is a quality special teams player in the NFL; he is smart enough and experienced enough to get some quality snaps at linebacker as a rookie as well.

Hampered by an assortment of injuries during his first three seasons with the Hurricanes
2004: Suffered a left shoulder sprain reserve duty in the team's final three games.
2005: Dislocated his left shoulder in the season opener and missed the rest of the season,
2006: Suffered a concussion

2/28 Update: Tavares Gooden proved what we all knew heading into the Combine: that he is a great athlete. How teams grade his intangibles and ability to gain strength will probably be the difference between a first and second day selection for Gooden.

15. Geno Hayes, Florida St., 6009, 226, 4.67 (MLB/OLB)

There is little doubt about Geno Hayes' ability on the field. Hayes is a superb athlete who can put on the big hit and his quickness makes him a great sideline-to-sideline player. He has a compact frame and flashes solid speed. Plays with the intent of punishing runners. He is a hit and wrap up tackler that comes ready to play. Decent blitzer and makes a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage. Fluid and agile with great change of direction when dropping back in coverage. Good awareness and instincts. Versatile and could project to more than one position.

At only 218 pounds, he will need to bulk up some to compete at the NFL level. Prefers to run around blockers rather than take them on. Struggles to shed. Too aggressive at times. He has had some issues being exposed on the pass game. Durability could be an issue. Has off-the-field & character concerns.

Poor-man's Lawrence Timmons or Ernie Sims ?

Missed a few games with a knee injury in '06
Tased, arrested and later charged with assault on an officer, resisting arrest without violence and disorderly conduct following a bar fight in 2007
Was one of the Florida St. players involved in the academic cheating scandal
Posted in 2008 NFL Draft
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