The NFL likes linebackers with size, speed and tackling ability, which means some teams in the NFL won't like Miami's Jon Beason.
Beason has speed and he's one of the surest tacklers among this year's draft-eligible linebackers. Plus, he played at a school that has produced a litany of NFL linebackers, most of them good ones.
|Jon Beason has all the tools to be an impact linebacker in the league. (Getty Images)|
With Beason, they didn't have to probe.
"It's going to take a perfect place with a perfect system to fit him," said one scout. "Someone like Tony (Dungy) or Lovie (Smith) would be ideal for him. They like smaller guys who are fast. (Bill) Belichick would find a place for him, too. But he may not fit some clubs, particularly those playing a 3-4."
Beason is at or near the top of this year's linebackers. It's not a deep group, but there are three potential first-rounders, and all of them have holes in their games. Florida State's Lawrence Timmons has one year of starting experience. Penn State's Paul Posluszny has trouble shedding blockers. And Beason doesn't have ...
Never mind. We get it, and so does Beason, who is used to defending his size by now.
"You look at Zach Thomas and London Fletcher," he said. "Those guys are 5-9. If there were one thing I could change it would be my height because, supposedly, they think that has something to do with playing linebacker. But, to me, it doesn't matter how big you are, it's all about getting your job done. If you can get the job done you should be the first guy chosen."
Beason is a terrific athlete, playing linebacker, strong safety and fullback at Chaminade-Madonna Prep before starting his career at Miami as a fullback. That experiment lasted one season before he switched to defense, where he played all three linebacker positions and led the Hurricanes in tackles last season despite missing one game and most of another.
There isn't much Jon Beason can't do, and the evidence was there prior to the 2006 season. He joined the Miami track and field team and finished 18th at the ACC indoor meet with a season-best 6.50 meter long jump.
"Of all the outside linebackers in this draft," said an NFC scout, "this is the best football player. He's a leader. He's smart, he's tough and he makes plays. Plus, he's a good person."
So what's missing? As if you need to ask. The ideal outside linebacker is 6-foot-3, 240-250 pounds, someone along the lines of, say, Joey Porter or Julian Peterson.
"I don't want to be considered a linebacker," said Beason. "I want to be considered an athlete who plays linebacker. A guy who can cover ... with good ball skills ... chase the football and still play hard ... but still strong enough to shed blocks."