A new No. 1

Jon Beason didn't even make the board when we posted our opening odds on the Steelers' first draft pick. But a month has passed and opinions have changed. Here's why:

I've been wrong before and I'll be there again
I don't have any answers, my friend
Just this pile of old questions my memory left me here
In the field of opportunity, it's plowin' time again.


-- Neil Young "Field of Opportunity"

Just sitting here wondering how I'm going to flip from my month-long flop, trying to put the words into motion, and that song kicks into my CD player.

Hey, why not? I mean, isn't that how the rhythms of the universe instruct us? And who am I to ignore the obvious answer to the Steelers' draft question?

Wex's Draft Series
  • Tony Hunt
  • Le'Ron McClain
  • Michael Bush
  • Daniel Sepulveda
  • Darrelle Revis
  • LaMarr Woodley
  • Lawrence Timmons
  • Chris Houston
  • Marshawn Lynch
  • Ben Grubbs
  • Leon Hall
  • Adam Carriker
  • Jarvis Moss
  • Anthony Spencer
  • The Odds
  • It struck me while jogging: What if I've been wrong about Jon Beason? I'd watched Beason three times closely, or so I thought until I could only find these two entries in my notebook:

  • at Louisville (9/16/06) – junior captain; small, quick and active, but blocked easily; 4th-5th round.
  • vs. Nevada (12/31/06) – quick, but doesn't make many plays; not physical; Will backer or safety; 4th round.
  • Yes, crude notes, but I am a writer not a scout. I had TiVo'd the action back and forth with the skill of a remote-control veteran, but understand this: After making the determination that Beason is a 4-3 Will backer, I did not wish to waste much time looking at him for the 3-4 Steelers, and particularly on New Year's Eve. After all, what kind of loser sits home and watches the Computers Bowl on New Year's Eve?

    Well, this kind of loser.

    So perhaps there was both a lack of patience involved and simple anger at the world, particularly a world that was raving about Beason.

    "Beason is built like a house and can drive through defenders," wrote Nolan Nawrocki, one of my favorite draftniks. "He has shown he could play inside or outside and hails from a program known for producing stud 'backers."

    That was published in Pro Football Weekly in December. And this was uttered by my favorite draftnik, Mike Mayock, during his pre-combine conference call: "Jon Beason is under some people's radar, but he might be the best linebacker in the draft."

    And veteran scout Tom Marino, now turned media sensation for Scout.com, had Beason ranked as his top linebacker in February.

    Surely, I thought, this would all change at the combine, after these guys finished watching film.

    Beason was just a junior. I reasoned that he was being ranked so high because those guys hadn't watched enough film. I mean, after all, I'd TiVo'd TWO games!

    So, at the combine, Beason measured in at 6-0¼, 237 and ran his 40s in 4.72 and 4.78. That, I thought, was that. He's short and slow.

    But the draftniks continued to rave about him. Nawrocki lists him as the No. 15 athlete in the draft and in his latest guide uses words that really grab my attention: "quick-twitch," "sudden," "pop," "explosion," "fearless," and "natural leader." Nawrocki also compares Beason to one of my favorite linebackers, Al Wilson.

    Mayock: "Typical Miami linebacker, sideline to sideline. Jon Beason, every time you look at him, makes plays." (Photo: University of Miami)
    Mayock pushed Beason up his value board to No. 13 overall and first among all linebackers. Here's what Mayock said about Beason on March 28: "Typical Miami linebacker, sideline to sideline. Jon Beason, every time you look at him, makes plays."

    Hey, I'm willing to admit when I'm wrong. After all, I took a lot of plays off myself on New Year's Eve. And Beason did play hurt this season. He suffered a slight tear in his MCL on Oct. 14 against Florida International (the team Beason captains got into that ugly brawl without him) and was supposed to miss four games, but missed one and most of a second game. He played with a brace the rest of the season and led Miami in tackles and tackles for loss. He also covered punts for the Hurricanes.

    At the combine, Beason tweaked the injury while using one of the machines that tests knee strength, but he ran anyway, and thus the poor times. He believes he'll run a 4.5 40 at a workout scheduled for April 5 at his former high school in Hollywood, Fla.

    To accelerate my curiosity, the Steelers scheduled Beason for a visit on April 19-20. Rarely are two dates given, but perhaps it's more than a coincidence that Beason is scheduled to be at the facility the same evening the veterans report for their April 20 pre-draft minicamp.

    Beason played the weakside linebacker position in Miami's 4-3 defense, but scouts are projecting him as an inside backer. Bill Belichick met with Beason and there's been quite a buzz in New England about Beason ever since. Reporters believe he'll land with the Patriots and learn their inside 3-4 spots while playing special teams.

    Perhaps that's what Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin have in mind. Colbert has a history of drafting juniors in the first round. His last three No. 1 picks came out after their junior seasons, as did his first No. 1 pick in 2000. And Tomlin would love nothing better than to use his first pick on a future defensive captain who could immediately bolster the depth at several linebacker positions and add some pop to his special teams. Beason might also become that key chip, the will linebacker, the Derrick Brooks, in Tomlin's future cover-2 scheme. At least the options are there.

    Beason makes so much sense that it's easy to admit to being wrong before. After a month of sifting through players that don't quite fit pick 15, we may have found the guy.

    Tony Pauline's scouting report: Jon Beason

    Jon Beason's combine press conference: Press conference


    Steel City Insider Top Stories

    \r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n
    I've been wrong before and I'll be there again \r\n
    \r\nI don't have any answers, my friend\r\n
    \r\nJust this pile of old questions my memory left me here \r\n
    \r\nIn the field of opportunity, it's plowin' time again.\r\n
    \r\n

    \r\n-- Neil Young \r\n\r\n\"Field of Opportunity\" \r\n\r\n
    \r\n\r\n
    \r\n \r\n\r\nJust sitting here wondering how I'm going to flip from my month-long flop, trying to put the words into motion, and that song kicks into my CD player. \r\n\r\n

    \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nHey, why not? I mean, isn't that how the rhythms of the universe instruct us? And who am I to ignore the obvious answer to the Steelers' draft question?\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n

    \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
    \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
    \r\n Wex's Draft Series
    \r\n
  • Tony Hunt
  • \r\n
  • Le'Ron McClain
  • \r\n
  • Michael Bush
  • \r\n
  • Daniel Sepulveda
  • \r\n
  • Darrelle Revis
  • \r\n
  • LaMarr Woodley
  • \r\n
  • Lawrence Timmons
  • \r\n
  • Chris Houston
  • \r\n
  • Marshawn Lynch
  • \r\n
  • Ben Grubbs
  • \r\n
  • Leon Hall
  • \r\n
  • Adam Carriker
  • \r\n
  • Jarvis Moss
  • \r\n
  • Anthony Spencer
  • \r\n
  • The Odds
  • \r\n\r\n

    \r\n\r\nIt struck me while jogging: What if I've been wrong about Jon Beason? \r\n\r\nI'd watched Beason three times closely, or so I thought until I could only find these two entries in my notebook:

    \r\n\r\n

  • at Louisville (9/16/06) – junior captain; small, quick and active, but blocked easily; 4th-5th round.
  • \r\n\r\n

  • vs. Nevada (12/31/06) – quick, but doesn't make many plays; not physical; Will backer or safety; 4th round.
  • \r\n\r\n

    Yes, crude notes, but I am a writer not a scout. I had TiVo'd the action back and forth with the skill of a remote-control veteran, but understand this: After making the determination that Beason is a 4-3 Will backer, I did not wish to waste much time looking at him for the 3-4 Steelers, and particularly on New Year's Eve. After all, what kind of loser sits home and watches the Computers Bowl on New Year's Eve? \r\n\r\n

    Well, this kind of loser. \r\n\r\n

    \r\n\r\nSo perhaps there was both a lack of patience involved and simple anger at the world, particularly a world that was raving about Beason. \r\n\r\n

    \"Beason is built like a house and can drive through defenders,\" wrote Nolan Nawrocki, one of my favorite draftniks. \"He has shown he could play inside or outside and hails from a program known for producing stud 'backers.\" \r\n\r\n

    That was published in Pro Football Weekly in December. And this was uttered by my favorite draftnik, Mike Mayock, during his pre-combine conference call: \"Jon Beason is under some people's radar, but he might be the best linebacker in the draft.\" \r\n\r\n

    And veteran scout Tom Marino, now turned media sensation for Scout.com, had Beason ranked as his top linebacker in February. \r\n\r\n

    Surely, I thought, this would all change at the combine, after these guys finished watching film. \r\n\r\n

    Beason was just a junior. I reasoned that he was being ranked so high because those guys hadn't watched enough film. I mean, after all, I'd TiVo'd TWO games! \r\n\r\n

    So, at the combine, Beason measured in at 6-0¼, 237 and ran his 40s in 4.72 and 4.78. That, I thought, was that. He's short and slow. \r\n\r\n

    But the draftniks continued to rave about him. Nawrocki lists him as the No. 15 athlete in the draft and in his latest guide uses words that really grab my attention: \"quick-twitch,\" \"sudden,\" \"pop,\" \"explosion,\" \"fearless,\" and \"natural leader.\" Nawrocki also compares Beason to one of my favorite linebackers, Al Wilson. \r\n\r\n

    \r\n\r\n

    \r\n
    Mayock: \"Typical Miami linebacker, sideline to sideline. Jon Beason, every time you look at him, makes plays.\" (Photo: University of Miami)
    \r\n\r\n\r\nMayock pushed Beason up his value board to No. 13 overall and first among all linebackers. Here's what Mayock said about Beason on March 28: \"Typical Miami linebacker, sideline to sideline. Jon Beason, every time you look at him, makes plays.\" \r\n\r\n

    Hey, I'm willing to admit when I'm wrong. After all, I took a lot of plays off myself on New Year's Eve. And Beason did play hurt this season. He suffered a slight tear in his MCL on Oct. 14 against Florida International (the team Beason captains got into that ugly brawl without him) and was supposed to miss four games, but missed one and most of a second game. He played with a brace the rest of the season and led Miami in tackles and tackles for loss. He also covered punts for the Hurricanes. \r\n\r\n

    At the combine, Beason tweaked the injury while using one of the machines that tests knee strength, but he ran anyway, and thus the poor times. He believes he'll run a 4.5 40 at a workout scheduled for April 5 at his former high school in Hollywood, Fla. \r\n\r\n

    To accelerate my curiosity, the Steelers scheduled Beason for a visit on April 19-20. Rarely are two dates given, but perhaps it's more than a coincidence that Beason is scheduled to be at the facility the same evening the veterans report for their April 20 pre-draft minicamp. \r\n\r\n

    Beason played the weakside linebacker position in Miami's 4-3 defense, but scouts are projecting him as an inside backer. Bill Belichick met with Beason and there's been quite a buzz in New England about Beason ever since. Reporters believe he'll land with the Patriots and learn their inside 3-4 spots while playing special teams. \r\n\r\n

    Perhaps that's what Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin have in mind. Colbert has a history of drafting juniors in the first round. His last three No. 1 picks came out after their junior seasons, as did his first No. 1 pick in 2000. And Tomlin would love nothing better than to use his first pick on a future defensive captain who could immediately bolster the depth at several linebacker positions and add some pop to his special teams. Beason might also become that key chip, the will linebacker, the Derrick Brooks, in Tomlin's future cover-2 scheme. At least the options are there. \r\n\r\n

    Beason makes so much sense that it's easy to admit to being wrong before. After a month of sifting through players that don't quite fit pick 15, we may have found the guy. \r\n\r\n

    \r\n\r\nTony Pauline's scouting report: Jon Beason \r\n\r\n

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