View Full Version : Florio's take

04-04-2007, 11:49 AM
(EDIT: I meant to throw this in the Steeler Draft section... if a mod wants to move it, please help me out.)

I know some of you are, to say the least, intrigued by what Mike Florio from profootballtalk.com has to say. Here is his "team needs" for the Steelers heading into the Draft.

"The biggest development of the offseason to date in Pittsburgh was the decision of the team to sever ties with veteran linebacker Joey Porter. But as the Steelers under Mike Tomlin begin the transition from the 3-4 to the 4-3/Tampa 2 defense, Porter was a loud-mouthed luxury they could no longer afford. Plus, his carping for a new contract was getting old, and he easily could have become an even bigger distraction in the first year of the Tomlin era. Published reports suggest that Florida State linebacker Lawrence Timmons could be Tomlin's first first-round target.

And there are two outside linebackers in either scheme; thus, the Steelers will need to be developing a youngster in the event that James Harrison can't develop into a bona fide Tampa 2 linebacker.

The more pressing need, as we see it, is at cornerback. In the Tampa 2 defense, corners are called upon primarily to cover short zones and make tackles in the running game. It is a major shift from the traditional role of a cornerback, requiring the team's current corners to make the switch, or move on. (Or move out.) Deshea Townsend could be the first victim, and guys like Daymeion Hughes, Aaron Ross, and Eric Wright could be attractive to the Steelers in the draft.

Another key area of need as the Steelers move from the 3-4 to the 4-3 is the defensive line. Apart from simply needing more bodies (particularly at the defensive tackle position), the roles are different. Defensive linemen in the 3-4 primarily are expected to tie up blockers, so that the linebackers can run free. In the 4-3, the linemen are expected to get to the quarterback quickly, before guys can get open in the holes in the two-deep zone that get bigger and bigger as the safeties go deeper and deeper.

And let's not forget about the middle linebacker position. Though the 3-4 uses two inside linebackers, the middle linebacker in the 4-3 needs to be able to run. Fast. Otherwise, that hole in the middle of the two-deep zone gets bigger a lot faster. Mississippi's Patrick Willis would be a great choice, but he'll likely be long gone by the time the Steelers use the No. 15 pick.

And with multiple areas of need on the side of the ball that is undergoing an eventual, but massive, overhaul, we wouldn't be surprised to see the Steelers trade down in round one, stockpiling more picks in the process.

On offense, the Steelers need a replacement for Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca, who likely will make a beeline for Arizona next March, after his contract expires. On the other side of the center, Kendall Simmons and Chris Kemoeatu don't seem like long-term solutions. Arron Sears from Tennessee and Kasey Studdard of Texas might get a serious look-see.

The tackle position also is an area of need, albeit not immediate. Marvel Smith will be a free agent after the 2008 season, and Max Starks will hit the market in March of next year. With huge money going to guys like Leonard Davis and Derrick Dockery, there's no way that the Steelers will pay either of the current tackles big money. So it makes sense to consider adding a tackle on day one, with an eye toward the not-too-distant future.

The Steelers also could use another reliable receiver. Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes likely will be the top two in 2007, but Ward's body is breaking down and the Steelers have yet to find capable replacements for Plaxico Burress and/or Antwaan Randle El. They need a solid No. 3 receiver who can become a starter when Ward calls it quits, and who until then can provide a reliable target for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger."

Figure most of you have seen this, but I figured I'd throw it up here...

04-06-2007, 02:15 PM
There's a pretty good reason this guy reports for PFT...this all starts to fall apart as soon as you realize that if Tomlin was going to switch to a Tampa-2, he'd be doing it now, which he isn't...