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mesaSteeler
04-01-2010, 09:41 PM
Pittsburgh Steelers draft digest: Safety Earl Thomas meets with Kevin Colbert after Pro Day workout
April 1, 8:07 AMPittsburgh Sports Examiner
Matt Pawlikowski
http://www.examiner.com/x-2703-Pittsburgh-Sports-Examiner~y2010m4d1-Pittsburgh-Steelers-draft-digest-Safety-Earl-Thomas-meets-with-Kevin-Colbert-after-Pro-Day-workout

AUSTIN, TX - The Steelers conducted more interviews with potential draft picks at the UPMC facility on Wednesday as five players, including Kyle Wilson as reported Tuesday, along with cornerbacks Nolan Carroll of Maryland, Kareem Jackson of Alabama, Alabama-Birmingham wide receiver Joe Webb and Marshall linebacker Albert McClellan

But the big news was the fact they had key representatives at the University of Texas Pro Day including Director of Football operations Kevin Colbert and Hall of Famer Mean Joe Greene.

According to a source from the school, both also met with a player the Steelers would love see around when they select with the 18th pick, safety Earl Thomas. A league source also told Examiner.com that in addition to meeting with the Steeler reps, the team scheduled him for one of their prospect visits in the near future.

Thomas, who played just two years recorded 135 tackles, 10 interceptions, 21 passes defended, and five forced fumbles during his career at Texas. Last year though he was spectacular.

All he did was grab eight interceptions, returning two for touchdowns.

Thomas tweaked a hamstring so he did not participate in positional drills during the afternoon, but took part in the vertical and broad jumps, bench press and 40-yard dash where he was clocked at 4.37, and event he originally had no plans of doing.

"I let the scouts get under my skin,'' Thomas said. "They kept asking me about running, and I'm a competitive guy. When I saw everyone else running, it got me pumped up. I wasn't planning on it, but the next thing you know, I was doing it."

Even thought he had just a 32 inch vertical leap and missed position drills, Thomas only helped his cause with his time, something teams seem to rely heavily on come draft day.

"I think I helped myself in every possible way I could, but we'll see when draft day gets here," Thomas said. " I was going to do everything over again, to show everyone I am competitive. But when the hamstring came, I had to take it easy and get it better."

Thomas is known for his ball hawk skills and he delivers punishing hits much like Troy Polamalu. While Tennesee's Eric Berry gets most of the publicity as top safeties this year, Thomas despite his limited experience on the college level has great instincts and his football IQ is strong.

"I havenít heard anything negative about me besides my size," Thomas said Wednesday. "But when I was measured at 202 and 5-10.5, that all went away. We are all great athletes, so whoever falls in love with us, thatís who will take us."

Thomas is not a finished product, but with the depth the Steelers have at safety, with a little mentoring he could be one of the best in the game.

Career Stats at Texas (2 years):
97 Solo Tackles
38 Assisted Tackles
8.5 Tackles for a Loss
10 Interceptions
21 Passes Defended
Two Touchdowns
Five Forced Fumbles
One Blocked Kick

STEELER NOTEBOOK - The team announced its pre season schedule today and Chris Adamski has more information about this. The Steelers open against the Lions and play on nationally televised game in Denver.

Galax Steeler
04-02-2010, 04:09 AM
That is the guy I want sounds like a Steeler to me.

mulldog24
04-02-2010, 08:36 AM
I would really love to see this kid in a Steeler uniform this upcoming season.

pete74
04-02-2010, 09:48 AM
Im still undecided between Thomas and mays. Mays reminds me of Troy and 2 troys on a team would make for a scary secondary

Nadroj 20
04-02-2010, 09:51 AM
Im still undecided between Thomas and mays. Mays reminds me of Troy and 2 troys on a team would make for a scary secondary

Why cause they both went to USC?

Troy can actually cover someone, other then being very athletic mays isnt impressive

pete74
04-02-2010, 09:56 AM
Are you serious? Troy had 1 interception his senior year and everyone was saying the exact same thing about him that your hearing about mays. Everyone said Troy was athletic but not a ball hawk. There almost identical

Nadroj 20
04-02-2010, 09:57 AM
Are you serious? Troy had 1 interception his senior year and everyone was saying the exact same thing about him that your hearing about mays

Lol ok

Mays and Troy are the same :rolleyes:

pete74
04-02-2010, 10:02 AM
Lol ok

Mays and Troy are the same :rolleyes:

Coming out of USC they most definatly were. Maybe try refreshing your memory and looking up troys stats his senior year. 1 interception my man

Nadroj 20
04-02-2010, 10:03 AM
Also i feel troy is and was in college a more solid tackler, sure mays can nail ya but lacks techinque and can also miss tackles


The athletism is there no doubt, but im not sold on him at all and think taking him at 18 is too high.

Nadroj 20
04-02-2010, 10:05 AM
Coming out of USC they most definatly were. Maybe try refreshing your memory and looking up troys stats his senior year. 1 interception my man

That is not all that matters my man.

Im sorry i look at more then just stats.

AND he was hurt most of his senior year, it was an ankle injury....not saying that effected his overall stats all together but it did slow him down a bit

pete74
04-02-2010, 10:12 AM
Obviously everyone has there opinions and only time will tell if the decisions are right or wrong. I'm sure everyone here would be happy with any of the top 10 players but in reality only half will live up to there expectations

Nadroj 20
04-02-2010, 10:15 AM
Obviously everyone has there opinions and only time will tell if the decisions are right or wrong. I'm sure everyone here would be happy with any of the top 10 players but in reality only half will live up to there expectations

Couldnt agree more :thumbsup: i respect your opinion about mays i just disagree, if we take him and i end up being wrong then ill glady admit it and cheer for him :tt04:

pete74
04-02-2010, 11:28 AM
Yea people look at all these steeler mocks and think they look good but in reality if we have two of our 10 draft picks starting in two years it would be a decent draft

SteelMember
04-02-2010, 11:35 AM
The funny thing is, I've read comparison to Troy, but it was not Mays.

It was Thomas...

Reminds me of: Troy Polamalu, S Pittsburgh Steelers-Both a little undersized, super aggressive, and able to do anything on the football field. Thomas can certainly grow into the kind of impact player Polamalu is, given the right scheme and coaching. All the physical tools are there.

:noidea:

SteelMember
04-02-2010, 11:38 AM
In comparison, this is what the same person said about Mays.

Reminds me of: Roy Williams, SS Cincinnati- These two guys are so alike it's scary. Williams carved out a nice career for himself, which always having it hang around his neck that he couldn't cover. The same will hold true for Mays. In fact I'd cut to the chase while he's young and make him a weakside linebacker right off the bat, before he gives up too many long touchdown passes.

SS43Polamalu
04-02-2010, 12:41 PM
I would be EXTREMELY happy if we drafted Thomas lol

pete74
04-02-2010, 01:17 PM
http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_ylt=AuYFm8vWpRS3ArreswhKu4RDubYF?slug=cr-maysusc033110&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

MDSteel15
04-02-2010, 01:24 PM
Maybe we will trade up about 3 spots and grab him! I'd be happy with that.... :thumbsup:

GrizzlyDean
04-02-2010, 01:57 PM
What is good about this draft for the Steelers I am not locked on one guy that I want. I read something about Thomas I start thinking he is the guy, then I read something about Wilson and I think he is the guy, then I read about Iupati and I think he is what we need, then I read about Pouncey and think yep he could really help us, then I read about Weatherspoon or Mcclain and think they are the guy. The good news is that most if not all could be there when we draft and I will be happy with any of them and I know that our head office people will make the right decision they do usually in general. We are not the Raiders.

pete74
04-02-2010, 02:49 PM
Polamalu comparisons could lift USC’s Mays

By Charles Robinson, Yahoo! Sports
Mar 31, 11:44 pm EDT
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You can follow Charles Robinson on Twitter at @YahooSportsNFL

LOS ANGELES – The rock star ambience was absent. There were no impromptu meetings between NFL power brokers between drills, and most of the big-name agents were nowhere to be found. Even the sunshine struggled to make an appearance, stifled by endless clouds hanging overhead.

Pro day at the University of Southern California is usually a Mardi Gras of talent, but Wednesday’s festival was more of a one-float parade: safety Taylor Mays … and everyone else. Undoubtedly, it was a far cry from the orgy of talent in the 2008 and 2009 drafts, in which the Trojans produced 12 players who were plucked in the top two rounds (seven in the first, five in the second). That’s not to say USC has lost all that much juice. Wednesday’s event still drew more than 40 coaches, scouts and executives, including Carolina Panthers head coach John Fox and Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson.

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Two interceptions in three seasons have raised concerns about USC safety Taylor Mays.
(US Presswire)
But for most on hand, it was largely an affair for locking in the middle and late sections of draft boards, with the bulk of USC’s draftable talent – as many as five or six players – expected to go after the first two rounds. Nevertheless, three NFL sources said Mays was a lock to go in the top 32 picks, making him the 15th first-round pick to come out of the recruiting classes of former coach Pete Carroll. And the Trojans might squeak in one more, too, with evaluators suggesting that offensive tackle Charles Brown has a chance to sneak into the first round, depending on when the run on offensive linemen occurs.

Yet it’s Mays who has been the most intriguing storyline in recent days, as griping began over his ball skills (the ability to track a ball in the air and make a play on it) and whether he’s a more physical workout freak than football player. Thought to be a top 10 pick had he entered the 2009 draft, Mays’ stock dropped last season, when he produced only one interception – giving him two in his final three seasons at USC – and evaluators questioned whether he had elite ball skills. Then came the scouting combine, when a timing error erased what was believed to be a jaw-dropping 4.31 second 40-yard dash … numbers that were unheard of for a 6-foot-3, 230-pound safety.

“He’s a first-round pick,” said one evaluator Wednesday. “I think he’s going to be a very good NFL player, too.”

Asked to identify some of Mays’ warts, another evaluator said: “He’s got great, great measurables, but the production doesn’t match up with it. He’s not a great face-up tackler. You don’t see the speed on tape all the time – you see glimpses, but it’s not consistently there. But all of that said, he’s going to be a first-round pick. I called [an AFC executive] who watched him at the Senior Bowl, and he thought [Mays] had a great week.”

Mays isn’t the first USC safety to hear some last-second nitpicking. Former Trojan Troy Polamalu(notes) heard it too, when some evaluators questioned whether his instincts were good enough to get the job done consistently in the NFL. Five Pro Bowls and two Super Bowl rings later with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the world has long forgotten any of the knocks that were whispered heading into the 2003 draft.

“Polamalu had one interception his senior year at USC, and that was in a Pete Carroll defense,” said Mays’ agent, Gary Wichard. “But you put him with the Steelers and [defensive coordinator] Dick LeBeau, and look at what he was able to do.”


Polamalu, pictured in 2002 as a Trojan, was the 16th overall pick in the NFL draft the following year.
(Getty Images)
And as one NFL source in attendance pointed out Wednesday, “Mays wasn’t expected to get a lot of interceptions where they put him in that defense. He played the deep routes a lot. He was expected to keep the big plays from happening. And for the most part, that’s what he did.”

His ability to do more than tackle and hit has definitely been one of the sore spots for Mays since USC’s season ended. When he was coached at the Senior Bowl by the Miami Dolphins staff, he was taken far out of his comfort zone and thrust into situations where he had to line up on tight ends and handle more one-on-one coverage. It led to some mixed reviews, but Miami’s coach saw progress along the way, including an interception by Mays in the Senior Bowl. And since that week, he has spent the lions’ share of his time working on his ball skills and some of the agility that helps safeties make impact plays.

“In the NFL, you get paid to get interceptions,” Mays said. “I started trying to do that [at the Senior Bowl]. I dropped a pass in practice, and then I caught an interception in the game. It kind of started to pay off once I started to look for the ball. … I know I can do it. I wasn’t really coached just to do that at USC, but I know I can make that transition in the NFL.”

He didn’t run a 40-yard dash at Wednesday’s pro day, but went through a handful of agility and positional drills to show he could adapt to coaching and what would be needed on the next level.

“Showing I could backpedal, showing I could change direction, showing I’ve got ball skills, and could track the ball in the air and go up and catch it – that’s what I wanted to show,” Mays said. “That’s why these [defensive back] drills I thought were the most important thing for me.”

Time will tell if it translates into Polamalu-like success. But at least one thing was clear from executives on hand: like the other coveted USC safety, the late hand-wringing isn’t expected to translate into much of a draft day slide.

Charles Robinson is a national NFL writer for Yahoo! Sports. Send Charles a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Mar 31, 11:44 pm EDT

Aussie_steeler
04-02-2010, 04:07 PM
Mays probably is best suited to SS in the pro's and may well play a lot like troy.

I think Mays at #18 is too luxurious for our backup SS who could be waiting 4-5 years to replace Troy.

I am in the camp that believes Mays will be a very good pro who does play a lot like Roy Williams ( who is a pretty decent player)

GrizzlyDean
04-02-2010, 04:30 PM
Mays probably is best suited to SS in the pro's and may well play a lot like troy.

I think Mays at #18 is too luxurious for our backup SS who could be waiting 4-5 years to replace Troy.

I am in the camp that believes Mays will be a very good pro who does play a lot like Roy Williams ( who is a pretty decent player)

I agree with you

Nadroj 20
04-02-2010, 04:51 PM
Thomas is better then mays imo

groundhogday
04-02-2010, 08:57 PM
I think Thomas could learn to be an awesome compliment to Troy as a Free Safety. If we got him, I'd be excited. If we trade up to get him, I'd still be pumped. We'll have alot of good options in the first 2 rounds. We need an elite Free Safety, we need a Corner, we need a Center or Guard. And as luck may have it, we'll have a shot at BPA who fills a need too.

Psyychoward86
04-02-2010, 10:09 PM
Thomas is by far The Man for me in the 1st round. It's so hard to find a young DB that has such a mature football IQ as him. Hopefully that 40 yard dash doesnt bump up his draft value too much.

LamarrWoodleysFade
04-04-2010, 09:47 AM
The Mays-Troy comparison is arguable. Troy has much, MUCH better instincts than Mays, however.

I think if he gets with a great coach and works on his coverage skills and tackling, Mays can be a serviceable safety in the league...

Spidey
04-04-2010, 12:41 PM
I'm hot on Thomas, he's rising up boards because he also has value at Corner, and If we net him, I think you'll find that's where he'll be playing for us, at least for a couple of years and then he'll take over for Clark at FS.

:tt04:

taztroy43
04-04-2010, 09:29 PM
I know a lot of people compare Mays to SS Williams but IMO he's at least a Ryan Clark with more speed and way more upside....so if the Steelers trade down a few spots for more picks and then select Mays(assuming that Thomas, Wilson, and some other guys we are targeting are gone by the 18th pick)...I wouldn't mind us taking Mays....he is probably right now in the same level as Ryan Clark(obviously May's doesn't have the same instincts as Clark because Clark has been in the league for a while...aka experience!) Remember that Clark is not a great COVER guy as well but he gets the job done....and IMO I see mays @ Least in the SAME level as Clark COVER wise...but again Mays has a lot more upside because he's younger and he's a hard worker and he'll be learning from the best Defensive Mind Coach in Dick and has a mentor in Polamalu(who as well had the same criticism coming out of USC!).....I get why people compare FS E. Thomas to Polamalu because he' about the same size and almost as fast w/ what looks like the same type of playmaking abilities that Polamalu posseses now....but Polamalu never was seen as a possible CB coming out of college, @ the next level!!!!!:doh: He was criticized in almost all the same areas as Taylor Mays is.....and I know Troy is a SS and Mays is projected to be a SS as well but IMO he can play FS for us......the worst he can turn out to be for us would be a faster more athletic Ryan Clark....and again that's not saying much....lol.....:noidea: