Big, fast, and strong. Those are the words thrown around when talking about linebacker Keith Rivers, who was the Bengals first pick in Saturdays draft with the number 9 pick. Rivers’ pick got little to no reaction at the Bengals draft party, but that does not matter to Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, who knows that the team and specifically the defense, has to get better, and Rivers may be the first start to that D getting better in 2008. He should and will fit in the Bengals system nicely.
Here is a scouting report on Rivers from NFLdraftcountdown.com
Excellent athleticism…Great speed with a burst to close…Quick and agile…Terrific range and makes plays sideline-to-sideline…Does a fantastic job in pursuit…Good frame with long arms…Motor runs non-stop and he is really active…Fluid and does a terrific job in coverage…A big hitter who can lay the lumber…Decent pass rusher and blitzer…Aggressive and plays with an attitude…Works through the trash and traffic well..Good instincts and recognition…Offers some versatility..A hard worker.
Could stand to add some weight…Needs to get stronger..More of a finesse player and is not overly physical…Plays out of control at times…Doesn’t take on or shed blockers all that well…Is not stout and can be run at…Needs to keep his pad level down…A playmaker in coverage?..Goes for the knockout rather than wrapping up.
A elite recruit coming out of high school…Wore the #55 jersey for the Trojans that was made famous by guys like Junior Seau, Willie McGinest and Chris Claiborne…A outstanding all-around linebacker who shouldn’t ever have to leave the field…Has an ideal blend of natural talent, physical tools, and intangibles…Prototypical WILL.