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mesaSteeler
04-28-2012, 11:56 PM
The somewhat surprising selection of the sorta small Sean Spence
http://blogs.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/sports/blog-n-gold/34014-sean-spence
Friday, 27 April 2012 22:47
Written by Dan Gigler
E-mail Print

sean_spence

If the Steelers' selection of University of Miami linebacker Sean Spence in the third round had you scratching your head a bit, you weren't the only one. Though he played OLB at "The U" he will be an inside backer in Pittsburgh. Despite a need at that position with the release of James Farrior (and the heir apparent to him being the long-toothed 10-year vet Larry Foote) there were (and still are) a number of good NT prospects on the board, perhaps a position of higher need given its importance in the 34 scheme the Steelers run and the advanced career age of the great Casey Hampton.

Nonetheless, reports on Spence are very positive, if for one caveat: he's undersized and possibly understrong. He's only 5'11 and 230 pounds and he only hit twelve reps of 225 on the bench press of the combine. That is ... not good if you intend to successfully shed NFL-blockers, but he attributed that to a bum shoulder at the time. He is said to have an excellent football IQ.

Interestingly, in the rich-albeit-often-checkered history of Miami football, he is the first Miami Hurricane to be drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers since Leon Searcy in 1992. (as best the crack research team of myself and my boss Jerry Micco can tell)

Excerpts of what the experts say about Spence:

NFL.com: "Mayock's take: "One of my favorite football players on tape. He's one of the more instinctive linebackers in this draft. In the 3-4 scheme in Pittsburgh, he's going to have to play outside or that Will linebacker inside. Either way, I don't care, because I really like the way he plays.""

CBS/NFLDraftScout: Spence does everything he can to overcome lack of natural size and strength. He is already a coach on the field -- something teams may note for the future -- and shows amazing recognition skills that result from intense film analysis. Athletically, he reads and reacts quickly without wasted steps. Spence is not fooled often by play-action, and shows above average skills as a pass defender.

Pete Prisco of CBS gave Pittsburgh a B- for the Spence pick: "You watch how good he is on special teams and maybe eventually works his way onto the field. He's small, but fast."

Mocking the Draft: "Strengths: Spence has excellent athleticism, speed, and lateral quickness that he uses well to make plays on the football. He is very good at diagnosing plays then reacts quickly with his aggressive attacking style. He is rarely out of position even against play-action passes. He gives great effort and hustles to make the wrap up tackles, though not great, but is good enough to get the ball carrier to the ground. ... Weaknesses: He is a bit undersized and can get engulfed by offensive lineman against the run. He can be too aggressive at times attacking the hole and allowing the running back cutback lanes. He does not have many pass rush moves blitzing from the outsides and can be stood up at the line of scrimmage. Needs to get stronger and bigger without losing his speed and burst."

National Football Post (which scouts Spence at OLB): "Impression: A gifted sideline-to-sideline athlete who can play in space and make plays off his frame. Size is a concern, but looks like a starter in a cover two scheme who can play three downs in the NFL."

Spence's Miami bio.

For whatever its worth, Spence's Miami high school has churned out a ton of NFL talent.

Pro Football Weekly draft capsule:

tanda10506
04-29-2012, 12:49 AM
I was against the pick at first, but the more I look into it I like it. With as much good as we are hearing about him the more I'm sure the Steelers picked ANOTHER good LB.

tony hipchest
04-29-2012, 04:18 PM
Interestingly, in the rich-albeit-often-checkered history of Miami football, he is the first Miami Hurricane to be drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers since Leon Searcy in 1992. (as best the crack research team of myself and my boss Jerry Micco can tell)

orien harris about 5-6 yrs ago. steelers typically dont like tha U players and it probably has alot to do with drew rosehaus who represents them (although we had no problems dealing with him and #1 pick lawrence timmons).

StainlessStill
04-29-2012, 05:00 PM
I don't know about you guys, but I expect great things from our 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th picks. But I'm INSTANTLY intrigued with our 3rd round pick and that's Spence. I think this guy is a natural ball-hawk and plays within a mean streak. It helps he's very quick and agile when everything gets involved in his natural instinct when it comes to having a nose for the football.

I think if we can transition him or just bulk him up and let him compete for the middle backer position, then he would be great coming off the edge and would be MONEY with those cross-fire blitz's LeBeau's loves to run in his zone-blitz defense.

Also, everyone is forgetting that the likes like Brett Keisel, Hines Ward, Joey Porter, James Harrison and a plethora of other All-Pro talent first made their mark on special teams. In Pittsburgh, it starts there and since everyone is saying "special teams" with Spence, then that means future starter.

tony hipchest
04-29-2012, 05:22 PM
i think alot of fans just assumed that the steelers would shitcan foote and sylvester and draft an immediate replacement for farrior that would come in and start day one, even AFTER the steelers passed on hightower in favor of decastro.

that is simply not the steelers way and colbert reminded everybody of that before the draft when he said there were very few players in the entire draft who could come in and have an immediate impact on the steelers roster.

hell, in the entire nfl i think only 8 rookies from last year were day 1 starters. thats just not the way it works except for the very special atheletes or thos who play on teams that completely suck.

ZiggyHeyward
04-29-2012, 05:29 PM
I am standing by this kid officially sign me up to the Sean Spence fan club. I trust the front office and like what I saw at the combine and he has very tape. Everywhere I look people like this draft other then Spence, He was my 4th MLB in this years class and I feel much better with him adding competition and not just having Timmons, Foot, Sly and a plug.

ZiggyHeyward
04-29-2012, 05:32 PM
The kid can play football in the end you can't go wrong drafting football players. I'm not a HWS guy.

TRH
04-29-2012, 05:32 PM
initially i question marked the pick too, but really only because i didn't know anything about the guy...didn't even realize he was on our radar.
The one thing that i'm picking up over and over again from everyone is that he's like a ball "magnet" and is extremely intelligent at diagnosing things very quickly. He sounds incredibly smart and sounds like one of those rare guys who will be involoved in almost every play when he's on the field. This one could turn out to be a gem.
Obviously, Colbert and Tomlin were really wowed by him and know things about him that we don't.

Steel_Bus_24
04-29-2012, 05:49 PM
Well at first I was kind of worried about this guy, mainly because of our recent screw up of Bruce Davis an we seemingly passed on a good NT prospect(:chuckle:).......


But Now im feeling a little better about this pick having seen the tape an our ability to still nab a good NT prospect:chuckle:

Im still a little worried he won't be able to shed NFL caliber blockers.....lets hope our Strength an Conditioning Coaches make him into an even more nasty wrecking ball

steeltheone
04-29-2012, 06:15 PM
I am standing by this kid officially sign me up to the Sean Spence fan club. I trust the front office and like what I saw at the combine and he has very tape. Everywhere I look people like this draft other then Spence, He was my 4th MLB in this years class and I feel much better with him adding competition and not just having Timmons, Foot, Sly and a plug. He will not be competition for anybody this year..Probably won't see the field at all unless its on ST.

steelbelieve
04-29-2012, 07:31 PM
The somewhat surprising selection of the sorta small Sean Spence
http://blogs.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/sports/blog-n-gold/34014-sean-spence
Friday, 27 April 2012 22:47
Written by Dan Gigler
E-mail Print

sean_spence

If the Steelers' selection of University of Miami linebacker Sean Spence in the third round had you scratching your head a bit, you weren't the only one. Though he played OLB at "The U" he will be an inside backer in Pittsburgh. Despite a need at that position with the release of James Farrior (and the heir apparent to him being the long-toothed 10-year vet Larry Foote) there were (and still are) a number of good NT prospects on the board, perhaps a position of higher need given its importance in the 34 scheme the Steelers run and the advanced career age of the great Casey Hampton.

Nonetheless, reports on Spence are very positive, if for one caveat: he's undersized and possibly understrong. He's only 5'11 and 230 pounds and he only hit twelve reps of 225 on the bench press of the combine. That is ... not good if you intend to successfully shed NFL-blockers, but he attributed that to a bum shoulder at the time. He is said to have an excellent football IQ.

Interestingly, in the rich-albeit-often-checkered history of Miami football, he is the first Miami Hurricane to be drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers since Leon Searcy in 1992. (as best the crack research team of myself and my boss Jerry Micco can tell)

Excerpts of what the experts say about Spence:

NFL.com: "Mayock's take: "One of my favorite football players on tape. He's one of the more instinctive linebackers in this draft. In the 3-4 scheme in Pittsburgh, he's going to have to play outside or that Will linebacker inside. Either way, I don't care, because I really like the way he plays.""

CBS/NFLDraftScout: Spence does everything he can to overcome lack of natural size and strength. He is already a coach on the field -- something teams may note for the future -- and shows amazing recognition skills that result from intense film analysis. Athletically, he reads and reacts quickly without wasted steps. Spence is not fooled often by play-action, and shows above average skills as a pass defender.

Pete Prisco of CBS gave Pittsburgh a B- for the Spence pick: "You watch how good he is on special teams and maybe eventually works his way onto the field. He's small, but fast."

Mocking the Draft: "Strengths: Spence has excellent athleticism, speed, and lateral quickness that he uses well to make plays on the football. He is very good at diagnosing plays then reacts quickly with his aggressive attacking style. He is rarely out of position even against play-action passes. He gives great effort and hustles to make the wrap up tackles, though not great, but is good enough to get the ball carrier to the ground. ... Weaknesses: He is a bit undersized and can get engulfed by offensive lineman against the run. He can be too aggressive at times attacking the hole and allowing the running back cutback lanes. He does not have many pass rush moves blitzing from the outsides and can be stood up at the line of scrimmage. Needs to get stronger and bigger without losing his speed and burst."

National Football Post (which scouts Spence at OLB): "Impression: A gifted sideline-to-sideline athlete who can play in space and make plays off his frame. Size is a concern, but looks like a starter in a cover two scheme who can play three downs in the NFL."

Spence's Miami bio.

For whatever its worth, Spence's Miami high school has churned out a ton of NFL talent.

Pro Football Weekly draft capsule:

You know, they said Ray Lewis was an undersized LB coming out of the U back in 96. As I recall, his style and level of play was very similar to Spence's. just saying.

SH-Rock
04-29-2012, 08:23 PM
Are the Steelers trying a new breed of linebackers that can stay with these super fast yet strong TEs?

Kingmagyar
04-29-2012, 08:43 PM
Spence could be in games in some kind of sub package that utilizes him blitzing or covering a TE. He could be like a safety - linebacker out there.

Steel_Bus_24
04-29-2012, 09:37 PM
Spence could be in games in some kind of sub package that utilizes him blitzing or covering a TE. He could be like a safety - linebacker out there.

True True.....I remember how I was surprised last year with how much we used our rookie DBs in the game against NE

austinfrench76
04-29-2012, 10:13 PM
I just heard on NFL network that they called us landingthe Spence "hitting the lottery". Now, that may be a bit much but sounds goos ti me!

tony hipchest
04-29-2012, 11:05 PM
just incase some of the youngnz dont get his new nickname "spencer for hire"-

coAQ1jjUa9k&feature=related

Dalarin
04-30-2012, 01:44 AM
Interestingly, in the rich-albeit-often-checkered history of Miami football, he is the first Miami Hurricane to be drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers since Leon Searcy in 1992. (as best the crack research team of myself and my boss Jerry Micco can tell)

orien harris about 5-6 yrs ago. steelers typically dont like tha U players and it probably has alot to do with drew rosehaus who represents them (although we had no problems dealing with him and #1 pick lawrence timmons).

Timmons was FSU.

Steeldude
04-30-2012, 03:41 AM
Wasn't Farrior playing at 218lbs? Yes, Spence is smaller than an average LB, but he might play bigger. One thing is certain, he can't be worse then Foote.

El-Gonzo Jackson
04-30-2012, 09:41 AM
Can we please STOP comparing him to Ray Lewis, James Farrior and other LB's that were taller than this kid??

Lewis is 6'1", Farrior 6'2" and Spence is 5'11". They had the frame to add size in the weight room and Spence does not. Lets hope the kid can be as good as Jon Beason, which I think he can.

The interesting thing that I was thinking and Mayock also comments on is that Spence should have to play the weakside ILB in a 3-4. That means that Timmons needs to take over Farrior's position and Spence would have to take Timmons position if they are to be the tandem of the future. Its why I was a bit confused by the pick and thought the Steelers would draft a strongside backer.

DG94
04-30-2012, 11:48 AM
What worries me most about Sean Spence is that he really seems to struggle to get off of blockers, once a lineman gets onto him, he gets taken out of the play.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhu1SAboTwU

Just look in that clip for how often he gets taken out of the play by a blocker against Kansas State. The other thing you can see is a guy who plays a lot faster than a 4.7 40 would suggest.

( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhu1SAboTwU I can't seem to make the youtube video work in this, so here's the link)

Fire Arians
04-30-2012, 11:51 AM
timmons was small too, and he put on about 25-30 lbs after 2 years in the weight room. jus sayin. he's small now, but next year he won't be. he will not be starting this year anyway so chill people. The only rookie on our roster that is likely starting is decastro

steelbelieve
04-30-2012, 12:25 PM
Can we please STOP comparing him to Ray Lewis, James Farrior and other LB's that were taller than this kid??

Lewis is 6'1", Farrior 6'2" and Spence is 5'11". They had the frame to add size in the weight room and Spence does not. Lets hope the kid can be as good as Jon Beason, which I think he can.

The interesting thing that I was thinking and Mayock also comments on is that Spence should have to play the weakside ILB in a 3-4. That means that Timmons needs to take over Farrior's position and Spence would have to take Timmons position if they are to be the tandem of the future. Its why I was a bit confused by the pick and thought the Steelers would draft a strongside backer.

Dude, if Spence turns out as good as Beason, my point on Ray will have been made.

madtowndrunkard
04-30-2012, 12:54 PM
As someone said, Spence does not have the frame to add much more weight. He plays fast, but can't shed blocks. He gets pushed backwards with ease. His lack of power at the point of attack limits his upside. While he plays fast, his speed isn't so impressive to make up for his other short comings. I'd be shocked to see him ever develop into a starter. IMO this a depth pick. They were looking for a LB who can play the nickel and dime in pass situations. Also should be a solid ST's player.

I almost wonder if he couldn't develop into a safety. If he lost a little bit a of weight and worked on his speed - he might just be a better fit at SS.

tony hipchest
04-30-2012, 01:14 PM
i read something interesting in the only scouting report/draft guide i used this past week. i cant cut n paste or provide a link because it was sent to me as a pdf via e-mail directly from eric the director of scouting of Optimum Scouting. its a comprehensive guide (over 200 pages w/ a page of grades and analysis dedicated to every player) and website http://www.optimumscouting.com/

spence ranked 3rd highest olb behind courtney upshaw and zach brown porjected as a 2nd rounder as the will linebacker in a 4-3 defense/ cover-2.

he graded out with an 8.1 out of 10. brown was 8.2. of 30 grades and measurables his lowest score was a 7.5.

as developed as he is, has lots of room for improvement with professional coaching. has some of the most fluid hips in his class. can cover wr's in the slot. Spense appears to be an ideal fit in a zone blitz. Because QB's need to factor in Spence in both run and pass, Blitzing from the zone could be his bread and butter. although his size and questions pertaining to his coachability make him a third round value he probably wont make it out of the second. [paraphrased]

of course each scout will see a picture differently but all the positives and few negatives that were listed seemed spot on with all other analysis i read. im sure he will be groomed as a roving joker type to confuse defenses just like troy and timmons.

MrAustin412
04-30-2012, 02:35 PM
Nobody was down on Mychal Kendricks when he was a thought for a second round pick. I liked the pick. An athletic hitter. You can put him on my defense any day.

fourthandtwelve.com

El-Gonzo Jackson
04-30-2012, 03:49 PM
Dude, if Spence turns out as good as Beason, my point on Ray will have been made.

So now you are saying that Beason is comparable to Ray Lewis?? Please, stop the insanity. As much as I hate the Ravens, I put the top 5 ILB of all time as Butkus, Huff, Lewis, Singletary, Lambert. ....................Beason aint even in the top 200 and Spence can only hope to be as good as Beason.

Nobody was down on Mychal Kendricks when he was a thought for a second round pick. I liked the pick. An athletic hitter. You can put him on my defense any day.

fourthandtwelve.com

I was down on Kendricks. I think he stands and watched the play come to him inside, then gets mauled by O linemen. He is better as a WILL LB that can chase plays down. Spence takes his first step forward and appears to always be moving forward to make the play.

I think Spence is better than Kendricks now, but Kendricks is a bit thicker and athletic and might turn into a better LB with coaching or the right system.

GBMelBlount
04-30-2012, 06:53 PM
I was against the pick at first, but the more I look into it I like it. With as much good as we are hearing about him the more I'm sure the Steelers picked ANOTHER good LB.

Agreed. At least I am hoping so.

They took a bit of a gamble imo expecting to still get a good NT in the 4th and it paid off.

Once he learns the system there is every reason to believe he could be a solid starter at ILB for us.

LlamaTorYoUp
04-30-2012, 08:44 PM
Agreed. At least I am hoping so.

They took a bit of a gamble imo expecting to still get a good NT in the 4th and it paid off.

Once he learns the system there is every reason to believe he could be a solid starter at ILB for us.

The system is the key. Our ILBs need to stay clean to be effective. Size in LeBeau's D (for an ILB) is the least important trait to use to evaluate. Speed, instinct, tackling ability, drop ability, and sideline-to-sideline ability are much more important than being 6'1.

This kid is an instinctive sideline-to-sideline LB who is already our best LB to handle RBs/TEs in pass coverage. He'll free up Timmons and Troy in passing downs, and add another blitzing threat from the inside.

Me likey. :thumbsup:

Steelersfan87
04-30-2012, 08:59 PM
This kid is an instinctive sideline-to-sideline LB who is already our best LB to handle RBs/TEs in pass coverage.

Uh...okay, I think it's time to take a step back now. The man hasn't even attended a meeting yet. Timmons is an above average cover LB in addition.

Fire Arians
04-30-2012, 09:21 PM
jack lambert was thought to be too small to play linebacker in the NFL. he turned out pretty good

LlamaTorYoUp
04-30-2012, 09:23 PM
Uh...okay, I think it's time to take a step back now. The man hasn't even attended a meeting yet. Timmons is an above average cover LB in addition.

Timmons is the only LB comparable to Spence's skill set in coverage, and Spence is much more fluid in his drop/coverage than Timmons. Granted, that has been against college foes, but the ability is there.

El-Gonzo Jackson
04-30-2012, 10:03 PM
Uh...okay, I think it's time to take a step back now. The man hasn't even attended a meeting yet. Timmons is an above average cover LB in addition.

Sorry, its the time of year for eternal and euphoric optimisim. Where players that havent even been on the field in the NFL are the next coming of ...(insert great player name here).

Yes, Timmons is one of the best cover ILB's here, but unproven rookies are always "better". :doh:

jack lambert was thought to be too small to play linebacker in the NFL. he turned out pretty good

WRONG.......Jack Lambert was 6'4" 220 lbs in an era where O linemen weighed 260lbs. Jack Lambert was a 2nd round pick, not some guy fighting against the odds to make the team. Jack Lambert may have been thought to be taller and thinner than the average ILB, but not too small to play in the NFL.

bornaSteelersfan
04-30-2012, 10:28 PM
Spence is almost the exact same size as Zach Thomas-one of the top 20 greatest linebackers ever.

El-Gonzo Jackson
05-01-2012, 12:59 AM
Spence is almost the exact same size as Zach Thomas-one of the top 20 greatest linebackers ever.

So what are you trying to say?? Because a guy is the same size as another player that he can be equal in play?? Its like saying a bowl of soup is the same as Hamauri Saimin because its the same size. :hatsoff:

And maybe Zach Thomas is a top 20 Dolphins LB, but I can think of at least 7 or 8 Steeler LB's that were better. Lambert, Ham, Kirkland, Russell, Lloyd, Harrison, Farrior, Toews,

tony hipchest
05-01-2012, 01:35 AM
ive seen the highlights how spense tosses ball carriers around like a ragdoll.

he is like a 225 lb version of mean joe greene. :chuckle: *sarcasm*

im just glad dude has a legitimate shot to turn into a starter (once youre a starter in the steelers LB corps the sky is the limit.

of course this means timmons needs to learn and take over farriors spot or spense needs to be even better than advertized. one option is an unknown, and the other is not a preference of the LB coach.

the thought of spense, timmons, and polamalu all knowing eachothers assignments and being able to execute all the new wrinkles lebeau can come up with is definitely SICK though!

PhantomJB93
05-01-2012, 02:08 AM
This size thing is being blown WAY out of proportion, and to be honest it's starting to piss me off. His weight's fine, and if he were one inch taller nobody would give a damn, but because his height reads sub-6' (for the record he measured up at over 5'11 anyway) everybody instantly starts freaking out and saying he can't play LB. Honestly, his "size" is the only complaint I've seen about him since the draft, and with the production he had in college he probably could have been a first round pick if he were 6'1 instead of 5'11 and a half, which is actually kind of sad. And if you guys really need a reference, London Fletcher is 5'10, a full inch SHORTER than Spence.

The dude can flat out play. He has fantastic instincts and just has a knack for making plays when his defense and his team needs him. Time and time again, history has proven that guys like this, who are ridiculed for their size but lay it all on the line and play their guts out, find success in the NFL.

He will be just fine as an NFL linebacker and will be lining up in the middle next to Timmons for years to come.

bornaSteelersfan
05-01-2012, 01:38 PM
What I'm saying, Gonzo, is that it is very possible to be a great linebacker at his size.

SteelKid212
05-01-2012, 02:05 PM
So what are you trying to say?? Because a guy is the same size as another player that he can be equal in play?? Its like saying a bowl of soup is the same as Hamauri Saimin because its the same size. :hatsoff:

And maybe Zach Thomas is a top 20 Dolphins LB, but I can think of at least 7 or 8 Steeler LB's that were better. Lambert, Ham, Kirkland, Russell, Lloyd, Harrison, Farrior, Toews,

no what he is simply saying is that given his size, it is NOT IMPOSSIBLE that he can be SUCCESFUL in the NFL. (hence the comparison)

get a grip on urself gonzo.

i understand what you're saying, people overreact to an unproven rookie and want to crown him as the next HOF linebacker. and i myself think its kinda silly.

but at the same time. the optimism wont kill anyone. not literally atleast lol

let the kids get exited over the new additions to the team :hatsoff:

Sean95m
05-02-2012, 12:37 AM
Zack Thomas turned out pretty good.

ricardisimo
05-02-2012, 01:58 AM
He's 5'11"... James Harrison is 5'11"... You know what that means, don't you?

Because I don't. If you do know, please tell me.

pete74
05-02-2012, 04:58 AM
Harrison is 6'. at least thats what his profile says. yes undersized players do make it in the NFL but alot also fail. nobody knows hoe he is going to turn out. he may be a starter in 3 years or he may be out of the NFL. when we drafter Sylvester i remember everyone here raved about his highlight rail and thought for sure he would be a starter next to Timmons by now and thats not happening. the fact is that nobody knows yet if this kid will ever make it

Dalarin
05-02-2012, 07:42 AM
no what he is simply saying is that given his size, it is NOT IMPOSSIBLE that he can be SUCCESFUL in the NFL. (hence the comparison)

get a grip on urself gonzo.

i understand what you're saying, people overreact to an unproven rookie and want to crown him as the next HOF linebacker. and i myself think its kinda silly.

but at the same time. the optimism wont kill anyone. not literally atleast lol

let the kids get exited over the new additions to the team :hatsoff:

Don't mind him. He's still livid we didn't draft his boy Hightower.