Scouts Inc. on Keith Rivers

October, 21, 2008
10/21/08
10:00
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Rivers

In this week's visit to the film room, we check in with Scouts Inc. to take a look at how the loss of Keith Rivers (broken jaw) hurts the Cincinnati Bengals' defense.

Here is comprehensive film analysis from Scouts Inc.'s Keith Kidd:

"If you're trying to find something positive in Cincinnati this season, it has to be the play of first-round pick Keith Rivers. Rivers has played mainly on the weak side in the Bengals' 4-3 system, but might be best suited as the MLB that could hopefully stabilize the interior run defense that's been missing since Marvin Lewis took over head coach. He has three-down value based on his size and quick-twitch athleticism but plays only on first and second down, which indicates to me that he's not real comfortable in the system yet. Meanwhile, he is a big, physical linebacker who is learning how to play on the second level in regards to his key and reads. He can bend and attack downhill gaps with good knee bend and leverage. He has good functional strength with explosive hand use but must be more consistent in his stack-shed while getting off blocks. He has the speed and quickness to close on ball carriers, extend to sidelines and make plays in space. He is a strong open-field tackler. Any time a rookie misses a substantial amount of time due to injuries it obviously hinders his development as a player. But from what I've seen, the Bengals will definitely miss their first-round pick, especially his play-making skills within their system."

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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