NFL 30 to Watch: Ahmad Brooks, Middle Linebacker, Cincinnati Bengals

Discussion in 'Cincinnati Bengals' started by TDJets72027, Jul 20, 2007.

  1. TDJets72027

    TDJets72027 Rex Ryan baby

    Two years ago, linebacker Ahmad Brooks was heading into his junior year at the University of Virginia, and considered a first-round lock. After a series of on-field injuries and off-field incidents -- including ultimately being dismissed from the team -- Brooks opted for the same route to the NFL as LB Brian Bosworth (1987), QB Timm Rosenbach (1989), QB Steve Walsh (1989), QB Dave Brown (1992) and DT Jamal Williams (1998): the supplemental draft.

    The Bengals took a third-round flier on Brooks, primarily because 2005 rookie standout Odell Thurman would miss part of the season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

    Brooks had a tough adjustment during his first year in Cincinnati, but with Thurman's return still unlikely, the team will need him to grow up quick. And to his credit, it looks like he has.

    Bengals' defenses have struggled against the run since Marvin Lewis arrived in 2003. If that is to change, Brooks will have to play beyond his years (and the d-line will have to actually show up ... that certainly would help).

    If Brooks struggles -- remember, he he basically went through last season blind (he was drafted in July, understandably bumbled his way through training camp, and was benched during the season because of "maturity issues") -- the defense could be in for another disappointing season. If, on the other hand, Brooks holds his own and the defense improves, the Bengals could be a legit threat to make the post-season.