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mesaSteeler
03-19-2009, 10:34 PM
Steeler report: A name to watch come draft time, Alphonso Smith
March 19, 7:39 AM · Add a Comment
http://www.examiner.com/x-2703-Pittsburgh-Sports-Examiner~y2009m3d19-Steeler-report-A-name-to-watch-come-draft-time-Alphonso-Smith

PITTSBURGH - Who the Steelers will draft is still a mystery. Most fans want an offensive lineman, but the team spent millions to keep its four free-agent lineman. Others are hoping for another wide receiver, considering Nate Washington is gone and Limas Sweed struggled last year.

The philosophy over the years, though, is if the best available athlete is still out there- take him over need.

"I think the Steelers always look for good players, great people, it's really a nebulous characteristic," Steeler Director of Football Operations Kevin Colbert said recently. “We always talk about the Steeler Way. It's all about trying to do the right thing all the time."

So what is the most pressing need at this time? Looking at the roster, no doubt it is the cornerback slot. At the Combine, Colbert told reporters there is a lot of talent at that position this year.

On Wednesday the team re-signed cornerback Fernando Bryant. It was a move to add depth to the corp. Bryant is a veteran, but at 32, no one knows how he could hold up if needed for a full season.

The last time he charted 16 games was in 2007 with the Lions. Considering William Gay, DeShea Townsend and Ike Taylor are the only others on the depth charts now, expect the team to pluck a corner on the first day.

When and who is the big question.

Here's a guy to keep an eye on, especially if he is there with the 32nd selection, Alphonso Smith of Wake Forest. He is projected as a late first round/early second round guy, with many saying he reminds them of Dre Bly. AP FILE PHOTO/Alphonoso Smith celebrates after a touchdown

Smith holds the ACC record for career interceptions (21) has a lot of speed and big time potential. But he is just 5-foot-9 and that is the only reason he is not a projected top-ten pick. Still, despite the fact he is smaller than most NFL corners, during his career at Wake he has produced on the field and been a playmaker.

NFL Draft Dog seems to feel of the available corners, Smith is the best out there and reminds them of a young Dion Sanders with his deadly closing speed.

If there has been a weakness, it's the fact he has struggled against bigger receivers, but this was mainly because he went for the big play. Last year he did a good job of covering Darrius Heyward-Bey of Maryland, The 6-foot-6 Greg Carr of Florida State and against Duke's Eron Riley he made a game winning interception. Smith seems to have a short memory if he makes a mistake on the field and usually comes back with a vengence.

Smith also brings a little swagger with him and has a knack of baiting the quarterback to throwing it his way. He also is familiar with Santonio Holmes, as he works out with him in the off-season along with Anquan Boldin, who went to his high school.

If Smith is still there, call it a 60/40 chance the Steelers will go for him. He would fit right away into the nickel role and learn the position from Townsend. The Steelers could also solve the return game problems here, as he is a very dangerous, not to mention the fact he played some wide receiver - with many saying he could slip in right away and play slot receiver in the NFL because of his hustle and great hands.

For more on Smith check out this article from the Winston Salem Journal. It talks about him pulling out a commitment to Pitt, losing his starting job, and his potential in the NFL.

For more on Smith see the video below:

MasterOfPuppets
03-19-2009, 11:00 PM
:thmbdown: .....i'd rather have sean smith as a nickle back, then he can take over for ryan clark

El-Gonzo Jackson
03-20-2009, 01:04 AM
I dont know. A guy listed as reminding people of Dre Bly, does not say Steelers CB to me. I think Mike Mickens fits that bill the best.

While I am a big fan of Keenan Lewis, I would rather see them pick an O or D lineman in the 1st and look at somebody like Mickens later.

The Definiti0n
03-20-2009, 09:46 AM
HA. YES!!!!!!! Alphooooooonsooo Smiiith!!!!
The kid is gonna be a stud. I love his ball skills (pause). A young Deion Sanders!!!!!!
And he works out with Toine??? that will make for some good training camp battles


MODS merge this threads with my Official Alphonso Smith Thread.

rbryan
03-20-2009, 09:57 AM
Yeah...they lost me at Dre Bly too.

A small CB who likes to take chances. Doesn't sound much like the Steeler way to me.

El-Gonzo Jackson
03-20-2009, 10:33 AM
Yeah...they lost me at Dre Bly too.

A small CB who likes to take chances. Doesn't sound much like the Steeler way to me. :rofl:

revefsreleets
03-20-2009, 11:09 AM
I don't know...he reminds me an awful lot of Ricardo Colclough....