PDA

View Full Version : Pitt offensive tackle interests the Steelers


lamberts-lost-tooth
02-24-2008, 09:14 AM
NFL Scouting Combine: Pitt offensive tackle interests the Steelers
Sunday, February 24, 2008
By Paul Zeise, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


INDIANAPOLIS -- Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert said that in most years, a team drafting No. 22 is not likely to get a big-time offensive tackle prospect, but this year is different.

April's draft is considered to be loaded at the tackle position -- particularly at the top, with as many as five tackles considered potential first-round picks -- and the Steelers could have one fall into their lap.

That player could very well be Pitt's Jeff Otah, who is ranked among the top five tackles and is considered to be among the top 25 overall prospects, as well.

Otah, who played only two seasons at Pitt after transferring from Valley Forge Military Academy's Junior College, has watched his stock rise dramatically the past year and the fact that he hasn't played much football -- and thus has a lot of room to improve -- is probably as big of a reason as his size (6 feet 6, 322 pounds) and athleticism.

"Jeff had an interesting career because he came out of junior college and we heard about him a little bit as a junior and paid attention to what he was doing," said Colbert, who is at the NFL Scouting Combine this weekend.

"But, then he continued to get better and better during his senior year. And he is a very interesting prospect because he probably hasn't played his best football yet, because he is not a really experienced guy as far as playing football, so there is probably a lot of upside left in him.

"But, this is the best group of tackles I've seen in 24 years collectively, and I thought it was a good group even before the juniors were added to it. Those guys enhanced what we really think is a strong group."

Otah, from New Castle, Del., is one of the least experienced players at the combine because he didn't become an offensive lineman until he was a senior at William Penn High School. Before that, he played two seasons of junior varsity football as a defensive tackle, but he was a star basketball player.

But even though he played only one season of football -- and then only played three games because of a broken hand -- his size and his athleticism were enough to get him recruited by Valley Forge.

He quickly blossomed into one of the best tackle prospects in the country and by his second season he had attracted scholarship offers from Oklahoma, South Carolina, Maryland and West Virginia. But he chose Pitt because he believed Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt's NFL background would be an important factor in his development and also because the Panthers had an immediate need at tackle.

After struggling early in his first season at Pitt, Otah was named first-team All-Big East as a senior.

"The thing about Jeff is he is big, he is strong but he also understands how to play the game," Wannstedt said. "I just wish I had him for two more years so we could work with him even more, but coaches will view his potential upside as major asset and he'll be impressive at the combine."

Otah is ranked behind Michigan's Jake Long, Boise State's Ryan Clady and Southern California's Sam Baker, but his stock could rise this weekend with a good workout because he has the size and athletic ability to become a dominant tackle.

Otah, however, disputes the idea that he is inexperienced to the point where he wouldn't be ready to play as soon as the upcoming season.

"I'm not raw, I know a lot of people have been saying that, but I think I am a good player," he said. "I played at the highest level of college football in an NFL system for the last two years so I am not just straight raw. And to be a good defender in basketball you have to have good feet and I always played great defense, and people have always told me that I have good footwork."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NOTE -- Arizona Cardinals coach and former Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was asked if his team was going to pursue Steelers Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca when he becomes a free agent later this week. "There are all indications he is going to become a free agent, and if that happens, I'd be lying if I wouldn't tell you we had interest in him," Whisenhunt said


http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08055/860020-66.stm

stillers4me
02-24-2008, 09:26 AM
NOTE -- Arizona Cardinals coach and former Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was asked if his team was going to pursue Steelers Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca when he becomes a free agent later this week. "There are all indications he is going to become a free agent, and if that happens, I'd be lying if I wouldn't tell you we had interest in him," Whisenhunt said

:toofunny:

Give It To Abercrombie
02-24-2008, 10:45 AM
After watching Otah at the combine, I became wary of us going after him. However, since then I have had a few thoughts. He was waaay to straight up and down during drills but his footwork didn't look that bad. His size and playing style right now seem more like a road grader than anything and that may translate into an outstanding RT.

Marvel Smith is supposed to be doing very well after his surgery and has one more year on the contract. By next year, Marvel will be 30 and we'll be looking at the same contract situation with him as we are with Faneca right now. That gives Otah one year to determine if he is more suited for LT or RT. Resigning Starks long term (he's only 26) may place Starks at RT this year, then to LT next year when Smith leaves. That places Otah as our RT for the next 12 years. Essex can back up both spots and we get one more in the next year (FA or draft) for depth.

The more I think about it, the more sense it makes and the more I like it.

lilyoder6
02-24-2008, 11:49 AM
it does seem like a good scenerio that u are looking at.. i think ken just likes going after players that played for the steelers after they have left.. i wouldn't be suprised if he goes after tuman

MDSteel15
02-24-2008, 04:43 PM
After watching Otah at the combine, I became wary of us going after him. However, since then I have had a few thoughts. He was waaay to straight up and down during drills but his footwork didn't look that bad. His size and playing style right now seem more like a road grader than anything and that may translate into an outstanding RT.

Marvel Smith is supposed to be doing very well after his surgery and has one more year on the contract. By next year, Marvel will be 30 and we'll be looking at the same contract situation with him as we are with Faneca right now. That gives Otah one year to determine if he is more suited for LT or RT. Resigning Starks long term (he's only 26) may place Starks at RT this year, then to LT next year when Smith leaves. That places Otah as our RT for the next 12 years. Essex can back up both spots and we get one more in the next year (FA or draft) for depth.

The more I think about it, the more sense it makes and the more I like it.

But we need a LT right now. Not a RT... If we get a right tackle I'll take Cherilus who they say is awesome at RT and can play well at LT when needed.

Give It To Abercrombie
02-24-2008, 05:18 PM
But we need a LT right now. Not a RT... If we get a right tackle I'll take Cherilus who they say is awesome at RT and can play well at LT when needed.

I may get hammered on this, but I'm not so sure we need a LT right now. Next year, probably. Marvel Smith is very highly regarded and only played like crap last year when his back went south. Do I want to count on him for another 3-5 years? No way. Do I think we have a year or two to groom someone between Smith and Starks? Yeah.

This year I would rather get a killer RT, move Colon back inside where he belongs and strengthen two positions with one draft pick. Grab a center to groom, be it Justice, Pollak or Lichtensteiger and deal with LT next year.

The only guys I see in this draft custom made for LT are Long, Clady and Williams and I really don't think any will be there when we pick. If Williams is there, then by all means get him, just trying to be realistic.

Big7BenHOF
02-24-2008, 07:11 PM
Brandon Flowers!!!



:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:


:tt02:

Rhee Rhee
02-24-2008, 07:28 PM
the more i hear about this kid the more i don't want him... first a 5.5 40... then constant bashings of him being too upright and too raw...

i'm seriously thinking about rachal or albert... if we can land both i'll qoiefqoin;lkngsd

polamalu82
02-24-2008, 08:04 PM
the more i hear about this kid the more i don't want him... first a 5.5 40... then constant bashings of him being too upright and too raw...

i'm seriously thinking about rachal or albert... if we can land both i'll qoiefqoin;lkngsd

I saw the same thing you did yesterday. Also at the end of your post did you have a stroke?

MDSteel15
02-24-2008, 11:09 PM
LMAO

lilyoder6
02-24-2008, 11:14 PM
lol.. thats funny.. if we could get both of those guards that would be nice with starks and colon at tackles in the future..

Aussie_steeler
02-25-2008, 01:33 AM
I may get hammered on this, but I'm not so sure we need a LT right now. Next year, probably. Marvel Smith is very highly regarded and only played like crap last year when his back went south. Do I want to count on him for another 3-5 years? No way. Do I think we have a year or two to groom someone between Smith and Starks? Yeah.

This year I would rather get a killer RT, move Colon back inside where he belongs and strengthen two positions with one draft pick. Grab a center to groom, be it Justice, Pollak or Lichtensteiger and deal with LT next year.

The only guys I see in this draft custom made for LT are Long, Clady and Williams and I really don't think any will be there when we pick. If Williams is there, then by all means get him, just trying to be realistic.

Im with you. LT is covered by bringing Max back. Marvel moves to RT and that means somebody brought in will be groomed for a season. I would rather groom at RT at this stage and see if Max can win the LT for the long haul.

Albert and Pollack make an immediate impact upgrading the lines interior that gets weaker with Faneca leaving and Mahan as the incumbent.

I love williams but he will be long gone. If we could trade the first and get two second round picks and two third round picks we could really load up on both O and D lines and possibly CB. I see four holes needing to be filled with three picks in the first three rounds.

Galax Steeler
02-25-2008, 04:25 AM
which ot really shined in the combine I didn't get to see it.

El-Gonzo Jackson
02-25-2008, 11:55 AM
Jake Long was clearly the best OT at the combine. 37 reps, decent 40 time and looks as smooth as any 6'7" guy his size can.

Clady hurt his pec in the bench(24 reps) and isnt participating.

Williams from Vandy looks like a good athletic LT, but didnt put up a lot in the bench press 21 and looks to be more finess or a bit soft in the run game.

Carl Nicks from Nebraska put up good numbers in the bench and 40 and looked like a good athlete. I liked him in the Sr. Bowl as a round 2 RT with long arms and he may be moving up to the top of round 2

Otah didnt run a good 40, sat up tall in the mirror drill instead of bending his knees and waist, but for my liking moved well laterally given his ankle injury. His 27 reps on the bench is good

Cherilus ran good 40 times, put up 24 in the bench and looked completely confused in the 3 cone drill.

I'm really not big on 40 times for O-linemen. A guy can goto a training camp to work on his start and gain .2 sec on a good start and who cares about long speed on a lineman anyways??

I would say Long and Clady are gone before we draft. Williams and Sam Baker are more technique guys that lack great strength in the run game so Nicks, Cherilus, Otah are our main choices.

Cherilus struggled blocking in space at the Sr. Bowl and with speed rushers. I think he is a RT that will struggle with speed rushers and we dont need more of those at RT. Watch any BC tape of Matt Ryan on TV and look for #77...he sets up flat footed and doesnt look athletic at all

Nicks is massive, strong and has long arms which help him handle the speed guys with his average feet. Needs some work, but I think will be a solid RT in 2 seasons.

Otah measures out the worst on paper of the 3, but look at his game experience. 182 knockdowns/pancakes in 2 seasons, 12.5 sacks allowed and kept Chris Long and George Selvie without a sack in those 2 games. I think he is the best run blocker and uses his size and long arms well. He will be a great RT in 2 seasons and possibly be able to make the move to LT in the NFL.

El-Gonzo Jackson
02-25-2008, 11:56 AM
sorry, had a double post.

My order is Long, Clady, Otah, Williams,, Nicks, Cherilus.Baker at OT