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Praise for Levi

San Antonio Bengal

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You've probably already seen this, but from the latest TMQ, we have this:

Draft Revisionism: This space has noted that cover-your-eyes awful tackle Mike Williams of Buffalo, fourth overall selection in 2002, is among the major draft busts of recent years. (In Buffalo's defense, the Bills were hardly the only ones wrong about Williams). The next tackle taken in 2002, Bryant McKinnie of Minnesota, selected seventh overall, is so-so. But consider the third tackle selected in 2002, Levi Jones of Cincinnati, taken 10th overall. Jones has developed into a fabulous player; one reason Cincinnati's offense is hot is that Jones is having a Pro Bowl season. Yours truly thinks Levi Jones is the second-best offensive lineman in the league -- after Walter Jones of Seattle, who is TMQ's NFL MVP to the 81 percent point (See below.) Next time Cincinnati is on the tube, watch No. 76. Nobody gets around him and he "plays to the whistle," which a distressingly small number of NFL offensive linemen do.

I mention Jones not only to praise him, but to make a point about draft commentary: When the Bengals selected Jones, the team was widely derided by sports pundits. It was said Jones had no business going so high, that he wouldn't make it in the NFL or if he did, would never be in the class of Williams or McKinnie, both of whom weigh more. Instead Jones has proven significantly better than the tackles drafted before him, and his relative trimness is one reason -- Jones is fast and active where Williams and McKinnie are roly-poly and sluggish. Of course, no one is ever sure which college players will succeed in the NFL: though certain draft commentators pretend they are sure. Three years later is when a draft can be graded, and three years later it is apparent Buffalo tossed the fourth pick of 2002 out the window while Cincinnati used the 10th selection wisely -- making it not surprising that today the Bengals are headed to the playoffs while the Bills are in meltdown. As for those touts who said Levi Jones didn't belong at the 10th slot, they're right: He belonged higher. If the 2002 draft were held again today, the top half might look like this, with the player's actual draft position in parenthesis:

1. Dwight Freeney (11)

2. Julius Peppers (2)

3. Levi Jones (10)

4. Ed Reed (24)

5. Alex Brown (104)

6. John Henderson (9)

7. Jeremy Shockey (14)

8. Roy Williams (8)

9. Deion Branch (65)

10. David Thornton (106)

11. Clinton Portis (51)

12. Will Witherspoon (73)

13. Javon Walker (20)

14. LeCharles Bentley (44)

15. Albert Haynesworth (15)

16. Pick one of Philadelphia's -- Michael Lewis (58), Lito Sheppard (26) or Brian Westbrook (91).

David Carr, first selection of the 2002 draft, today probably would go late in the first round. Carr has toiled without complaint on a dreadful team; he might be a star on a good club. Joey Harrington, third pick of 2002, today might go in the middle rounds. Mike Williams, fourth selection of 2002, today would not be drafted at all, and he'd have to do some mighty fast talking to get a free-agent tryout.

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Levi certainly deserves all the praise he has been getting this season. I'm not sure I would say he's the best tackle in the league behind Walter Jones quite yet, but he's certainly made his case as a top 5 guy. If he doesn't make the Pro-Bowl this year, it will be a shame.

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TMQ likes the Bengals, has for about 2 years now.

Whether you like Easterbrook or not, you can't say that he's like some other columnists who only jumped on the Bengals praise bandwagon only this year. He's liked the Bengals ever since Marvin showed up and started to change the dynamic of the team.

Easterbrook even had nice things to say abotu Cincy when there shouldn't have been nice things to say about us. Ever since Marvin was hired he's been all over the story.

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LOL some idiot posted a how dare you leave Merriman off the list. Guy has all of 42 total tackles, no interceptions, no TDs, half of Odell's forced fumbles, and he wants him on the all pro list?

No matter what article Prisco is putting up, it seems like droves of angry message board geeks are always there waiting to complain about it. <_<

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