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mesaSteeler
03-29-2009, 02:32 PM
Steelers taking a close look at A.Q. Shipley
http://www.timesonline.com/articles/2009/03/29/sports/steelers/doc49cf8f0c8c7d0918101145.txt
By Mike Bires
Times Sports Staff

Of the zillion or so mock drafts out there, half suggest the Steelers will snatch a center with their first pick.

If that turns out to be true, A.Q. Shipley won’t be wearing black and gold any time soon.

But if the Steelers opt for a cornerback, defensive end or wide receiver, Shipley’s odds of playing pro­fessionally in Pittsburgh improve significantly.

Shipley, the former Moon Area High School and Penn State star, would love to be a Steeler.

The Steelers have a defi­nite interest in Shipley.

But the only way Shipley has a chance to have his name called by the Steel­ers is if they wait until Day 2 of April 25-26 draft.

Even though he was the 2008 Rimington Award winner as the best center in college football, Shipley is rated the sixth-best cen­ter in the draft. Most draftniks project he’ll go in the fourth round.

Several mock drafts have the Steelers using their first pick on one of the top two centers avail­able — Cal’s Alex Mack or Oregon’s Max Unger.

But Mel Kiper Jr., the noted NFL Draft expert, believes it would be a mistake for the Steelers, or any other team, to draft a center in the first round.

“Tough overachieving, hard-working centers make it far in this league,” Kiper said the other day in a conference call. “If you look in the NFL right now, a lot of these (centers) were not highly regarded coming out of college and now they’re starting. That’s why there’s a definite argument to not draft a center early.”

History suggests the Steelers will not.

In their 76-year history, the Steelers have only drafted centers twice in the first round, and that was way back in 1941 and 1937.

In this decade, only three NFL teams have taken centers in the first round, the last in 2006.

So Kiper’s point is well taken. Teams can still find quality snappers — guys like Shipley — later in the draft.

It’s not that Shipley has can’t-miss physical skills. At 6-foot-1 and 301 pounds, he’s the smallest of the top­-rated centers. His weight is OK, but his height may be an issue with some teams.

For example, each of the elite centers are taller — Mack is 6- 4, Unger is 6- 5. Justin Hartwig, the Steel­ers’ current center, is 6-4.

Still, Shipley has so much going for him.

While he’s not massive size-wise, he’s still strong enough and athletic enough. He made 39 career starts at Penn State. He’s smart, having correctly answered 40 of 50 ques­tions on the 12- minute Wonderlic, an aptitude test NFL prospects must take. For a comparison, USC quarterback Mark Sanchez had a 28.

Shipley is a good guy with a great sense of humor. Any pro team would love to have a guy like him in their locker room.

Most importantly, he plays with the toughness, intensity and physicality that’s always endeared him to his teammates. He has a bulldog mentality.

Shipley has already paid a private visit to Steelers’ headquarters and met with coach Mike Tomlin and offensive line coach Larry Zierlein. The Steelers sent scout Phil Kreidler to watch Shipley at Penn State’s pro day.

The Steelers know all there is to know about him.

If they choose to wait, Shipley may be there when it’s their turn in the fourth round.

El-Gonzo Jackson
03-29-2009, 02:49 PM
If they choose to wait, Shipley may be there when it’s their turn in the fourth round.

This I am completely fine with. I think Shipley is a 4th or 5th round talent. I'd rather see the Steelers address OT, DE, CB in the first 3 rounds and not jump at Shipley just because he is a local product.

SunshineMan21
03-29-2009, 11:08 PM
I would be happy if we got a quality non-C first rounder then picked up Shipley in the fourth or so. I'm pushing for an OT in round one anyway.

And 40 on the Wonderlic? Wow . . . that's really high.

El-Gonzo Jackson
03-30-2009, 10:07 AM
And 40 on the Wonderlic? Wow . . . that's really high. Yeah, but its a stupid test that Brett Favre scored 22 on, Ben Roethlisberger a 25 and Alex Smith a 35...........most fans think it means nothing...unless you have a high score :rolleyes:

GBMelBlount
03-30-2009, 11:21 AM
Yeah, but its a stupid test :rolleyes:

A stupid test? You mean the more stupider you are the higher your score? :chuckle:

El-Gonzo Jackson
03-30-2009, 11:36 AM
A stupid test? You mean the more stupider you are the higher your score? :chuckle:

Not really, just one the stupid fans have a problem with. If a guy scores low, the fans all say "it doesnt mean anything", "it doesnt test football I.Q."...........but, if a guy scores high the same fans say "great score!!" "looks like a real bright kid!". Its just another tool in the evaluation process, but can often be an unnecessary lightning rod for discussion.

I like Shipley as a later round pick, but think there are at least 4 centers better than him in the draft.

lilyoder6
03-30-2009, 11:38 AM
i don't think that the scores mean anything unless u are at like a 10 or 11... then that may set a team off or something..

if the steeler s were to get shipley in the 4th then they better get some great lineman players for off and def.. and maybe a cb

revefsreleets
03-30-2009, 12:25 PM
I never look at the Wonderlic score meaning anything UNLESS it's low. Don't want any bags of hammers playing for the Steelers...that's why God invented the Ratbirds and Bungals.

Steely McSmash
03-30-2009, 09:05 PM
I never look at the Wonderlic score meaning anything UNLESS it's low. Don't want any bags of hammers playing for the Steelers...that's why God invented the Ratbirds and Bungals.

I agree 100% no excuse for low score on the test.

Preacher
03-30-2009, 09:24 PM
It has a different importance for different positions.

If you are a QB, the ability to score high means you can work under pressure and discern the right answer. . . it is an indicator Not the be all in all, but an indicator of a QB's ability take in information and make quick decisions.

El-G is right. . . it is just another tool in the evaluation, and depending on the position, that tool becomes more or less important.

SunshineMan21
03-31-2009, 01:12 AM
I'd say the Wonderlic is a fair predictor of what it's trying to predict . . . it's just that what it predicts is of debatable performance.

Neither Ben nor Favre are considered "cerebral" QBs . . . obviously, the test doesn't tell you much in isolation because I could ace the Wonderlic yet have no football skills, but it does give an indication of what type of player a prospect is likely to be.

O-linemen, for what it's worth, have the highest average scores of any positions in the game.

Give It To Abercrombie
03-31-2009, 11:37 AM
I think its more an indication of the ability to be coached. Take away desire to be coached, I just mean your ability to think about what you are being told and learn from it. Do you have to explain the same crap over and over and over???

triphahn
03-31-2009, 12:06 PM
The more I hear (ie talk of shipley) and with the resigning of the Oline the more I feel Steelers are going to go defense in the first round. I think they are looking to get some production out of Tony Hill and are looking to take Jackson, Lauranitis or Smith depending on how it plays out.