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mesaSteeler
04-30-2009, 10:12 PM
BTSC Talks With Dale Lolley After The 2009 NFL Draft
http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/
N584356236_1159201_7521_tiny by Blitzburgh on Apr 30, 2009 10:29 PM EDT Comment 1 comment

It is my pleasure to finally bring Dale Lolley on to Behind The Steel Curtain. It's been on my agenda for...well, sadly, for well over a year. Many of you know of Lolley's fine work at his blog NFL From The Sidelines, but he also is one of the senior contributors at Steel City Insider and a regular reporter for the Observer-Reporter. Be sure to bookmark his pages and look for his insights at all three sites year round. Lolley was kind enough to answer a few questions I had following the conclusion of the 2009 NFL Draft this past weekend. - Blitz-

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BTSC: There was a recent discussion on BTSC about Kevin Colbert's place amongst the game's best GMs. I think the argument is a pointless one because it seems to me from a distance that it's more a matter of which organizations place the biggest emphasis on scouting, and which GMs have the best (and most) scouts gathering all the data, then using the scouts and other 'football' people around them while evaluating that vast sea of scouting information. I was hoping you could share with us some of your expertise and first hand knowledge about the general subject - perhaps just how extensive the scouting departments are in the NFL, how they vary from organization to organization, and how variance there may be in how GMs constructively utilize the multitude of informed opinions around them.

Lolley: Obviously some teams look at the draft differently than others. When Marvin Lewis took over the Bengals, they had two college scouts and nobody who looked into the background of players. The results were obvious. The Steelers, since I began covering them in 1993, have always placed an emphasis on college scouting, breaking their men up into areas. Since Kevin Colbert took over, they have even expanded their scouting a little bit, adding some extra sets of eyes to check players out. The Steelers also use people like the great Bill Nunn to help them in the scouting process as well. Their scouts are always up on possible trouble with recruits off the field and they leave no stone unturned.

BTSC: How much of an impact do you see Ziggy Hood having in 2009?

Lolley: I see Ziggy getting some time as a situational pass rusher and wedge buster on special teams. Unless they have a spate of injuries, I don't see him playing a lot. Maybe five or six defensive snaps per game. He's got a lot to learn in terms of how to play this defense, but his skill-set lends itself to pushing the pocket and rushing the passer, something he can help with immediately.

BTSC: Will A.Q Shipley ever be able to block Hlati Ngata adequately to become the Steelers center of the future? (He lasted a long time on the board, but seems to have locals excited.)

Lolley: Watch the game film of Penn State's bowl game against USC for all you need to know about Shipley. The Trojans basically had their entire defensive front drafted, but Shipley dominated them. He's undersized for sure, but the center position is a help position, not a one-on-one blocking position - even when the other team's playing a 3-4.

BTSC: Do you think Kraig Urbik will be a starter this year? If so, is there any chance that it's Chris K's spot and not Darnell Stapleton's that he takes over?

Lolley: I do think Urbik will start this year. Maybe not right out of the gate, but I expect the switch to be made at some point during the season. But it will be for Stapleton, not Kemoeatu. They did, after all, just give Kemoeatu a boatload of money.

BTSC: The one thing some fans are wandering is why no offensive tackle in the first or second round. In your estimation, is there anything worth mentioning other than the front office must not have felt any of the Tackles remaining were worth selecting at that juncture based on their draft board? Were they perhaps unsuccessful in an attempt to trade up?

Lolley: Like last year, there weren't any tackles they felt good enough to draft where they were picking once it came to their pick. They wanted to trade up in the second round to nab Max Unger, who they had rated just after Hood, but were unable to find anyone to work with. The Steelers are also comfortable with their tackles. Starks played well at left tackle last season and Colon is still getting better. They really wanted to upgrade the interior.

BTSC: Most intriguing potential future contributor that will not make the 53 man roster in '09 from this year's draft class?

Lolley: I think A.Q. Shipley is going to have a tough time making the final 53 because he's strictly a center. They'll hope the hometown pull will keep him on their practice squad.

BTSC: Will Mike Wallace earn the primary KR duties in camp and preseason for the season opener against Tennessee?

Lolley: If Wallace isn't the kickoff return man, it will be because of injury. He's very, very good and very, very fast.

BTSC: Frank Summers will make the 53 man roster and have a few rushing attempts in addition to his special teams assignments. True/False?

Lolley: True. That's why he was picked, he can contribute in multiple ways.

BTSC: Number of 2009 draft picks that make the 53-man roster?

Lolley: I haven't seen them practice yet, so it's strictly a guess, but I'll say six.

BTSC: Which of the other three AFC North teams had the best draft?

Lolley: I liked what Baltimore did solidifying its line. Have to protect the young quarterback.

revefsreleets
05-01-2009, 01:25 PM
I agree 90% with his assessments. Hood is situational, but I think more than 5-6 snaps a game. That is SO best-case, because it assumes we only face 5-6 pass situations as a defense. I think any time we only rush 3 or 4, he should be on the DL, assuming he's as good as advertised.

Not sure about Shipley though...if he's so good, why would we cut him/send him to the practice squad? Also, if he was so dominant against USC, again, why cut him? It's not like we are 5 deep at C, and if he can play C, he can surely learn G if he wants to secure a roster spot.

BlastFurnace
05-01-2009, 01:33 PM
I agree 90% with his assessments. Hood is situational, but I think more than 5-6 snaps a game. That is SO best-case, because it assumes we only face 5-6 pass situations as a defense. I think any time we only rush 3 or 4, he should be on the DL, assuming he's as good as advertised.

Not sure about Shipley though...if he's so good, why would we cut him/send him to the practice squad? Also, if he was so dominant against USC, again, why cut him? It's not like we are 5 deep at C, and if he can play C, he can surely learn G if he wants to secure a roster spot.

Agree. If the Steelers are intent on letting Hartwig walk after this season, they need to have someone adequate to replace him. Who knows what Shipley is, but if he is a one trick pony and he's good at it, that's the one trick we will need next year.

55BaileyFan
05-01-2009, 01:43 PM
I agree with BTSC for the most part. I still think Shipley makes the team. Legursky is not as good of a center as Shipley, and there is no other real backup.