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tony hipchest
03-16-2010, 01:09 PM
good article with some interesting insight (corroborationg alot of the same sentiments i read here).

http://pit.scout.com/2/954447.html

The Larry Foote signing put a close to the Steelers’ free agency season. Of course, Kevin Colbert said he’ll keep his eyes open, but told reporters that “the focus is going to shift more heavily toward the draft.”
We can do that. The Foote signing was a final piece of the pre-draft puzzle as we get around to posting odds on the Steelers’ first-round pick.

From the longshots to the favorite, here’s what my instincts are telling me:

18-1 – Jared Odrick, DE, Penn State: I watched this guy all year and was captivated by his height, quickness and relentless motor. No, he was not a two-gapper, but I strongly doubt that Aaron Smith was a two-gapper during his days at Northern Colorado. He was taught, and so can Odrick. But the rest of the draft analysts don’t seem to share my enthusiasm on Odrick anyway. And even if Mike Tomlin shows up at Penn State’s Pro Day and shouts out encouragement as he did to Quentin Groves a few years ago, I don’t see a two-man position receiving a second consecutive No. 1 pick, particularly since the Steelers also kept last year’s sixth-round pick, Sunny Harris, and hold him in high regard at the position.

15-1 – Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida: This is another guy about whom I raved all season, but that was when I thought he was a second-rounder. His stock has risen, and I’m not really sure why. He didn’t have a first-round game against Alabama, and at 304 pounds ran a 5.27 40 at the combine. He’s quick to the second level, but rarely pulled at Florida. A very good player, Pouncey can also play guard, but I only see the Steelers considering him as a member of a pool of late first-rounders in a trade-down. I prefer they wait on Baylor’s J.D. Walton in R2-3 if they’re finally going to put a high priority on the center position.

12-1 – Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama: What? You say I may as well throw long odds on Eric Berry and C.J. Spiller, too, since the Steelers won’t have a chance to draft them either? Well, I believe there’s a good chance McClain will fall to the Steelers – and that they will pass. Yes, it’s a surprise, particularly since I’ve tooted this guy’s horn all season long. But I’ve also always questioned his motor. It was something I tried to repress because I admire his leadership, intelligence and run-stuffing ability so much. I think I just wanted him to be the perfect replacement for James Farrior. But I’ve been hearing whispers about him lacking speed. At his Pro Day he ran well, and told scouts that he’d been bothered by a hamstring injury since mid-season. So I went back and watched the national title game, and his lack of speed is clear. Texas ran five outside plays that should’ve involved McClain – or any inside linebacker worthy of pick 18. He got to one, only because the flow took him that way and he broke quickly to break up the screen pass. But he was hopelessly outrun on two outside running plays and two bubble screens. It’s a wonder Texas didn’t run outside more often because they were hugely successful. If it was the hamstring, well, that’ll be tough to prove. Throw in his admission of having Crohn’s disease and I see McClain slipping. I also watched Brandon Spikes the other night and would prefer drafting him in the second round to McClain in the first.

8-1 – Joe Haden, CB, Florida: In watching Spikes, it wasn’t difficult to miss Haden as he broke sharply on short passes and came up hard in run support. He’s a viciously physical cornerback, something the Steelers require. But, is he fast enough? That question arose up after the 193-pounder ran a 4.58 40 at the combine. In taking a closer look at his bowl game, Cincinnati’s receivers twice beat Haden deep. The first time he was fooled on a gadget play and recovered in the nick of time to break up the underthrown pass. On the second, he was clearly beaten but the deep ball was overthrown and incomplete. Certainly it’s a small sampling, but the question remains in my mind, particularly in a draft that’s thick with upper mid-round cornerbacks. While Haden plays a position at which the Steelers have a clear need, and he plays it with Steelers-style toughness, the odds are high because someone may draft him earlier. And if he’s not drafted earlier, it’s possible the Steelers are worrying about his speed as well. (P.S.: The Steelers drafted my 8-1 choice last year.)

5-1 – Sean Weatherspoon, ILB, Missouri: This guy dropped on the tote board when the Steelers signed Larry Foote the other day. I’d given several reasons why Weatherspoon makes sense for the Steelers, and there’s a good chance he’ll be available at pick 18. But with two solid backups now behind Farrior and Lawrence Timmons, and two just-signed special-teams stars from the CFL behind Foote and Keyaron Fox, it would make little sense to squeeze Weatherspoon onto the roster for future consideration. So, why have him rated so high at 5-1? Well, I can just hear Mike Tomlin telling reporters on draft day that Weatherspoon will start his career as an OLB – a position with a hole on the second-team depth chart – because that’s where he played in college. Yes, Weatherspoon, like Timmons before him, was a 4-3 OLB, but he prefers the middle and that’s where 4-3 OLBs play on 3-4 NFL teams. This thinking would be swallowed whole by the media, as it was when the Steelers tried to tell us that Timmons was an outside linebacker on draft day 2007.

4-1 – Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho: At the combine, new OL coach Sean Kugler told Iupati he was the Steelers’ No. 1 offensive lineman. And Iupati fits a position of need. He’s a 6-5+, 331-pounder who can not only run better than any other Steelers lineman, he has the frame to add 20 more pounds.:jawdrop: He’s a monster and would help the Steelers with their short-yardage game. But Iupati’s shown to be a liability in pass protection. His supporters claim these problems can be fixed, that he’s played too little football and probably hasn’t received much coaching yet. Still, in my mind, a guard at pick 18 should be a sure thing, as Steve Hutchinson was at pick 17 in 2001. But the upside here is too big to ignore, and it’s quite likely he’ll be available when the Steelers take their turn.

3-1 – Earl Thomas, FS, Texas: Here’s a guy I was willing to ignore because of A.) the depth of the position in the draft, B.) his poor showing against the Alabama run game, and, C.) the fact the Steelers signed two safeties in free agency and already have Troy Polamalu at the position. Then I learned yesterday that the Steelers had scheduled Thomas for a visit on April 8-9. When I searched his numbers for my story, I read an intelligent write-up in which the analyst compared Thomas to Polamalu. Not that I take such media remarks seriously, but when I turned the tape on to re-watch Thomas in the national championship game, the comparison rang true. Sure, Thomas was run over a couple of times by the Alabama RBs. But as I watched him closely, I saw the quick-twitch Polamalu speed as Thomas came up hard to upend Alabama backs on a handful of occasions with shoulder-first dives at their feet. I also watched Thomas stop three breakaway Alabama plays down the sideline with a burst of speed from the middle of the field. I also watched Alabama – seemingly on purpose – avoid throwing at all to anyone covered by Thomas. The three or four deep Alabama passes were all thrown with the other Texas safety over the top. Nick Saban was not about to let Thomas beat him, because, as a redshirt sophomore, Thomas had intercepted a school-record eight passes, 10 in his two-year career. In the title game, he was used as a chess piece in the Polamalu mold: He blitzed, covered slot receivers, played deep center field, played in the box, and on special teams he was used as a jammer and later came off the edge and almost blocked a punt. He’ll play this coming season as a 21-year-old and is nearly the exact size (5-10.2, 208) as Polamalu (5-10.1, 206) when Polamalu came out. Polamalu ran a 4.40 40 at his combine and dipped into the 4.3s at his Pro Day. Thomas ran a 4.48 at the combine and will likely run faster at his Pro Day (March 31). Thomas might also be able to play cornerback, and could in the least replace Deshea Townsend as the Steelers’ nickel back and third safety.

However, with Thomas’s stock on the rise, and the prototype having been established by Polamalu (no safety shorter than 5-11 had been drafted in the first round for 19 years before Polamalu), it’s unlikely that Thomas will be available at pick 18. The Jacksonville Jaguars, at 10, are becoming the choice landing spot on mock drafts for Thomas, after the safety-deficient Jags addressed their other main weakness by signing pass-rusher Aaron Kampman in free agency.

But, there’s the possibility of trading up, something Kevin Colbert has done twice. The first time in team history was in 2003, when the Steelers held their breath as the San Diego Chargers, picking 15th with a hole at SS after losing Rodney Harrison, traded down 15 spots to draft a CB named Sammy Davis. The Steelers then moved up 11 spots to draft Polamalu with the 16th pick. It cost them third-round and sixth-round picks, which was less than half of the points required, according to the draft pick value board. If the Steelers can procure a similar deal this year, or even pay a smaller price if the Jaguars pass on Thomas at 10, it’s the move I expect them to make

GBMelBlount
03-16-2010, 01:20 PM
Very nice review of Thomas.

I still think I would rather see us take Iupati though, if both were available.

That being said, I wouldn't be the least bit upset if we got Thomas.

El-Gonzo Jackson
03-16-2010, 05:48 PM
I still see no LT of the future on the roster and the one of the present is mediocre. I cant believe they would go guard with so many guys on the roster on the interior line. I like Iupati and think he is a bit of a project, but really think he is over hyped.

pete74
03-16-2010, 06:03 PM
i would like iupati, thomas or odrick. i definatly dont like mcclain like alot of you and feel we can get an ilb just as good in the 2nd. i wasnt a big fan of grabbing a de but odrick is a monster and without our front 3 being monsters our defense is useless

El-Gonzo Jackson
03-16-2010, 06:42 PM
Odrick is good, but is a bit of a reach at #18. Considering that the Steelers normally take guys in later rounds like Smith-4th, Keisel -7th, Orpheus Roye -6th and make them space eating DE's.........I'd say they believe they have their guys in Ziggy Hood and Sunny Harris from last years draft. Keisel is still low mileage too.

Brentson Buckner in the 2nd round and Ziggy Hood in the 1st round are rare premium picks spent on 3-4 linemen.

SteelerFanInStl
03-16-2010, 07:17 PM
I still see no LT of the future on the roster and the one of the present is mediocre. I cant believe they would go guard with so many guys on the roster on the interior line. I like Iupati and think he is a bit of a project, but really think he is over hyped.

Yep, Starks is mediocre at best and isn't worth what he's being paid. I'd be happy with a LT in the first but the best ones will be gone by #18.

pete74
03-16-2010, 07:23 PM
yea we definatly need someone who can play LT for us

tony hipchest
03-16-2010, 07:25 PM
just think... drafting #18 in the last 2 years we would probably have taken oher or otah. we were 1 pick away from having revis fall in our laps. snookered and scooped for wood and mack. :mad:

i say we make an early deal with SF as a pre-emptive strike for the #17 spot, just as insurance (if not moving up even higher).

pete74
03-16-2010, 07:51 PM
i wanted otah in the worst way. i went to pitt so of course i love the players but you could tell he was a beast and he definatly is

El-Gonzo Jackson
03-16-2010, 11:34 PM
Yep, Starks is mediocre at best and isn't worth what he's being paid. I'd be happy with a LT in the first but the best ones will be gone by #18.

The Steelers are gonna turn over every rock and be prepared for whoever is there at #18. Jeff Otah went to Carolina at #19, Michael Oher was something like #23 and Marcus McNeil was a 2nd round pick.

Don't be surprised if Anthony Davis falls that far.

SteelerFanInStl
03-17-2010, 12:00 AM
Don't be surprised if Anthony Davis falls that far.

Yea, he could be there but he scares me. He's been dropping on everyone's draft board. I don't like what I've been reading about him regarding his poor work ethic, lacking physicality, lack of desire, etc. I think that I'd pass on him.

Galax Steeler
03-17-2010, 04:54 AM
I hope he is right on cue with the Thomas pick.

El-Gonzo Jackson
03-17-2010, 11:20 AM
Yea, he could be there but he scares me. He's been dropping on everyone's draft board. I don't like what I've been reading about him regarding his poor work ethic, lacking physicality, lack of desire, etc. I think that I'd pass on him.

And that is where we can speculate all we want, but have to trust the Steelers staff that interviews guys like Davis and his coaches.

If Sean Kugler likes what he hears from Davis and his college coaches, highschool coaches, etc.....I would not be surprised if he gives him the OK. On tape the kid moves extremely well, has long arms and is a natural knee bender. Some have compared him to Jason Peters.

He's a top 10 talent, but who knows about his desire to play?? "Effort without talent is difficult to watch.........but, talent without effort is a damn shame to see"

SteelerFanInStl
03-17-2010, 01:47 PM
And that is where we can speculate all we want, but have to trust the Steelers staff that interviews guys like Davis and his coaches.

If Sean Kugler likes what he hears from Davis and his college coaches, highschool coaches, etc.....I would not be surprised if he gives him the OK. On tape the kid moves extremely well, has long arms and is a natural knee bender. Some have compared him to Jason Peters.

He's a top 10 talent, but who knows about his desire to play?? "Effort without talent is difficult to watch.........but, talent without effort is a damn shame to see"

That comparison is what's bothersome. It appears that he has the physical talent to be very good but might be lacking in the mental part.

The Steelers FO, coaches, scouts, etc. certainly know much more than I so I'll trust that their decision will be the correct one.

Steely McSmash
03-22-2010, 01:49 AM
I guess one question I have in mind for the whole conversation is what will this player be doing to contribute in the next year or two. I don't think the FO has much of a record of trading a starter to make room for young talent.

Here's my position rundown:

ILB: There's no longer term replacement for Farrior yet. Depth is very good

OLB: Harrison is old but still a beast. Need more depth. process takes a year at least.

NT: There's no long term replacement for Hampton yet. Hoke is also old. Need a new starter to be picked in next two years. Hoke could backup DE if a rook is drafted.

DE : Starters are old. There are 3 2009 rookies on the team at this position. Keisel could be upgraded. Eason and Kirshke are unsigned...

S: Safety looks to be in good shape. A rookie here would compete with Mundy most likely.

CB: There's always room for a quality corner. There are some young guys in the mix that might yet be starters. Depth is good but need better starter quality.

QB: Room for a new 3rd stringer unless they bring Batch back for his next injury.

FB: Summers / Johnson / McHugh might have this covered. If the team re-commits to the run, a proper FB to compete with Summers is a possibility. (I can dream) Legursky always an option here too.

RB: Could use another guy to compete with Redman for the last roster spot. FWP could be back at a bargain.

C: Hartwig is signed for a few more years. Legursky is backing him up. Could be upgraded with better talent.

OG: Right guard is up for grabs by a half dozen guys, none of whom are currently top-shelf talent. Kemoeatu is signed for 4 more years and is probably not worth it. Top talent could be an upgrade here but with a lot of young contenders, this could be a position that will get better with the same personnel

OT: Starks is getting top dollar for the long haul but Colon is at risk to leave next year potentially. a good LT could move Starks back to RT eventually. Essex, Scott, Hills will compete to backup.

WR: Ward, Holmes, Wallace, Battle, ARE would seem to have it covered, yet the FO is looking at WR 1st round talent. :noidea: In coming years Ward will retire and Holmes may be at risk to leave via FA. It would be a good spot for rookie depth instead of 30 year old FA depth.

TE: Miller is awesome and going nowhere. Johnson / McHugh will compete for H-back role. Could really use a blocking TE to out-compete Spaeth.


So looking at the candidates:

18-1 – Jared Odrick, DE, Penn State: -- would redshirt most of a year then rotate with Keisel. Similar path to Hood.

15-1 – Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida: - Could Compete for Right Guard with a half dozen guys. Could replace Hartwig if traded or when his contract is up.

12-1 – Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama: -- Will need time to learn the complexity of the defense. Replacement for Farrior down the road.

8-1 – Joe Haden, CB, Florida:-- would compete with Gay/Lewis/Burnett for #2 spot

5-1 – Sean Weatherspoon, ILB, Missouri: -- Will need time to learn the complexity of the defense. Replacement for Farrior down the road.

4-1 – Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho: -- Compete for Right guard with a half dozen guys

3-1 – Earl Thomas, FS, Texas: Compete with Mundy/Allen for 3rd safety role. Possible duty as Nickel corner. Long road to see starting time as a safety.

Seems like they'd all have a decent chance to do something. Thomas would have to be a nickel corner to see time soon. If they picked an ILB, I think they'd go with 9 LB and chose to cut one guy after this season.

MasterOfPuppets
03-22-2010, 02:43 AM
Yea, he could be there but he scares me. He's been dropping on everyone's draft board. I don't like what I've been reading about him regarding his poor work ethic, lacking physicality, lack of desire, etc. I think that I'd pass on him.
the bengals had no problem selecting a guy like that last year with the #6 pick...:chuckle: