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mesaSteeler
05-07-2012, 07:53 AM
Steelers believe Ta'amu could be a boom pick
http://www.timesonline.com/sports/local_sports/steelers-believe-ta-amu-could-be-a-boom-pick/article_b4d4174a-fbf8-5b3d-8aa9-6fd4802fb529.html

Posted: Sunday, May 6, 2012 11:45 pm | Updated: 8:48 am, Mon May 7, 2012.

By Mike Bires mbires@timesonline.com | 0 comments

PITTSBURGH — When the Steelers drafted Alameda Ta’amu, he was immediately proclaimed Casey Hampton’s eventual successor.

That may happen. Then again, it’s hardly a slam dunk.

There are two things to consider: the Steelers’ checkered history with fourth-round choices and a few red flags mixed in with all the positives on Ta’amu’s resume.

For every NFL team, picking in the fourth round is a crapshoot. It’s been that way for the Steelers in the 12-year tenure of general manager Kevin Colbert. The Steelers may have struck it rich with picks like Larry Foote (2002) and Ike Taylor (‘03), but they also took their share of busts like Fred Gibson (‘05) and Tony Hills (‘08).

As far as Ta’amu is concerned, the former defensive tackle at the University of Washington had a sub-par senior season given his lofty expectations. He played so well as a junior that there was talk he could be a first-round pick if he continued to improve. At the least, he would go in either the second or third rounds.

But Ta’amu fell to the fourth round.

“We weren’t surprised (we got him in the fourth round) because everybody sees everything different,” said John Mitchell, the Steelers defensive line coach. “You put a picture up on the wall and we all look at it. Everybody sees something different. Surprised is not the word. We all see things differently. I’m happy we got him.”

On paper, Ta’amu seems like a perfect fit at nose tackle, one who’ll eventually replace Hampton, who’ll be 35 this season and comes off knee surgery.

Ta’amu is a huge man at 6-foot-2 and 346 pounds. He’s strong; he benched pressed 225 pounds 35 times at the NFL Combine. At times as a Husky he was a dominate run-stuffer who also had his moments as a pass rusher.

However, he’s also had some weight issues over the years. And at least a few pre-draft scouting reports suggested that Ta’amu had a tendency to get lazy.

“I saw that the production wasn’t there, and he didn’t have a great (senior) season,” said ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay. “But at 348 pounds, I didn’t see the effort problems that some people I’ve heard mention. He’s just a big guy. I thought he actually played with pretty good effort and had good stamina.”

“I have no concern for what (Alameda) did in college,” Mitchell said. “That’s behind him. Everything now is in front of him. I’m going to teach him what we want him to get done.”

As far as his weight, Ta’amu promises it won’t be a problem in Pittsburgh, where Hampton’s girth has been a hot topic over the years.

When Ta’amu reported to Washington as a freshman, he weighed in the 380- to 390-pound range. But he says he gained excess weight and got out of shape after breaking his foot as a high school senior.

“My weight was an issue my first two years of college. It kept going up and down,” he said. “Then it finally clicked that I had to step up and be a leader. As a leader, everyone sees what I’m doing. They follow me. I knew I had to change my ways, and since then, weight hasn’t been an issue.”

Mitchell, who’s been with the Steelers since 1994, believes he’s been around long enough to know a can’t-miss prospect when he sees one. That’s why he’s so high on Ta’amu.

“He will be able to play a long time,” Mitchell said. “He will be a very good football player.”

Time will tell.

Bust or boom?

Steelers’ fourth-round draft picks under Kevin Colbert

2000: Danny Farmer, WR, UCLA

Bust: Only four NFL starts, all with Cincinnati

2001: Mathias Nkwenti, T, Temple

Bust: Played briefly in just two games

2002: Larry Foote, LB, Michigan

Boom: Starter from 2004-2008, and a starter again this year

2003: Ike Taylor, CB, LA-LaFayette

Boom: Steelers’ best cover corner since Rod Woodson

2004: No pick

2005: Fred Gibson, WR, Georgia

Bust: Never played in an NFL game

2006: Willie Colon, T, Hofstra

Boom: Injured past two years but solid starter from 2007-2009

Orien Harris, DE, Miami (Fla.)

Bust: One pro start with five different teams

2007: Dan Sepulveda, P, Baylor

Bust: Career derailed by knee injuries that began in college

Ryan McBean, DE Oklahoma State

Bust: Played briefly in one game with Steelers; cut by Denver in April

2008: Tony Hills, T, Texas

Bust: Played in just four games in three seasons with Steelers

2009: No pick

2010: Thaddeus Gibson, DE, Ohio State

Bust: Already been on five different NFL rosters

2011: Cortez Allen, CB, The Citadel

Boom: It’s early, but Steelers really like his potential

© 2012 Timesonline.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

SteelKid212
05-07-2012, 11:59 AM
Steelers believe Ta'amu could be a boom pick
http://www.timesonline.com/sports/local_sports/steelers-believe-ta-amu-could-be-a-boom-pick/article_b4d4174a-fbf8-5b3d-8aa9-6fd4802fb529.html

Posted: Sunday, May 6, 2012 11:45 pm | Updated: 8:48 am, Mon May 7, 2012.

By Mike Bires mbires@timesonline.com | 0 comments


However, he’s also had some weight issues over the years.

SOUNDS ALLOT LIKE HAMPTON ALREADY, MORE THAN I REALIZED. :chuckle:

Fire Arians
05-07-2012, 12:01 PM
he would have been a rd. 1 or 2 pick if poe didn't blow up the combine

kan_t
05-07-2012, 12:50 PM
he would have been a rd. 1 or 2 pick if poe didn't blow up the combine

I need to thank him. Without him drafting Ta'amu AND DeCastro are nearly impossible.

Fire Arians
05-07-2012, 02:44 PM
I need to thank him. Without him drafting Ta'amu AND DeCastro are nearly impossible.

that's true, especially in decastro's case. he was projected to go to the chiefs, but they passed him cause poe dropped to them

FrancoLambert
05-07-2012, 04:55 PM
If this kid shows that he's ready by the end of pre-season he will be the starter at NT soon.
I thought Casey dropped off big time last year. Seemed way too large (to be kind) and seemed to get stood up easily and driven away from the play consistently.
He definitely was not stuffing the run.

pittpete
05-07-2012, 06:09 PM
They are talkin bout 4th rounders.

LlamaTorYoUp
05-07-2012, 07:11 PM
If this kid shows that he's ready by the end of pre-season he will be the starter at NT soon.
I thought Casey dropped off big time last year. Seemed way too large (to be kind) and seemed to get stood up easily and driven away from the play consistently.
He definitely was not stuffing the run.

Agreed on both points. Big Snack is one of my favorite Steelers, but he was in rapid decline before the injury last year. I had never seen him handled by 1 O-lineman that easily, and he didn't seem to have an answer. I still think he can be useful in certain situations, but his era of dominance is, most likely, over.

Ta'amu isn't a Hampton clone...far from it. For a man his size, Hampton's feet are amazing. Ta'amu is more of a plugger...taking up space with his size and strength. He'll be relied on to uncover our LBs (like Hampton), but doesn't have the explosive upfield burst that guys like Snack and Ngata have...yet. It'll be interesting to see if they work on that with him, or keep him more to a space-eater role.

harrison'samonster
05-07-2012, 07:22 PM
They are talkin bout 4th rounders.

then I can dig it!

steeltheone
05-07-2012, 07:32 PM
Agreed on both points. Big Snack is one of my favorite Steelers, but he was in rapid decline before the injury last year. I had never seen him handled by 1 O-lineman that easily, and he didn't seem to have an answer. I still think he can be useful in certain situations, but his era of dominance is, most likely, over.

Ta'amu isn't a Hampton clone...far from it. For a man his size, Hampton's feet are amazing. Ta'amu is more of a plugger...taking up space with his size and strength. He'll be relied on to uncover our LBs (like Hampton), but doesn't have the explosive upfield burst that guys like Snack and Ngata have...yet. It'll be interesting to see if they work on that with him, or keep him more to a space-eater role.

No way he starts in front of Hampton without injury.....

Steelersfan87
05-07-2012, 08:37 PM
Hampton's play did improve as the season wore on and his got healthier. He had to adjust to team playing him differently after seeing how effectively the Ravens were able to handle him with the chop blocks.

Hawaii 5-0
05-08-2012, 01:52 AM
Steelers’ 4th-round pick Ta’amu has kept pounds off since freshman year

By Mark Kaboly
Tribune-Review

Published: Tuesday, May 8, 2012

http://triblive.com/csp/mediapool/sites/dt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls?STREAMOID=ayvqg etE2jtkdpIYv0JdK8$daE2N3K4ZzOUsqbU5sYuvabfuw89Xg1Z 2qJB55nNEWCsjLu883Ygn4B49Lvm9bPe2QeMKQdVeZmXF$9l$4 uCZ8QDXhaHEp3rvzXRJFdy0KqPHLoMevcTLo3h8xh70Y6N_U_C ryOsw6FTOdKL_jpQ-&CONTENTTYPE=image/jpeg

Casey Hampton arrived at training camp so overweight a few years ago that Steelers coach Mike Tomlin banished him to the physically-unable-to-perform list for two weeks.

Steelers’ fourth-round pick Alameda Ta’amu can relate, but the heir apparent to Hampton at nose tackle believes the times of him “sitting on my butt all day” are well behind him.

“(Weight) was an issue my first two years of college,” Ta’amu said. “I knew I had to change my ways.”

At a position where bigger is always better, unbeknownst to him, Ta’amu took that to the extreme during his freshman year at the University of Washington.

While becoming a Parade All-American at Rainier Beach High School his senior year, the 17-year-old Ta’amu played at a hefty 330 pounds but still was able to create havoc with his unusual athleticism until a broken foot forced him to the sideline for the final two games.

After two months of healing, Ta’amu decided to play in the Offense-Defense All-American Game at the Orange Bowl, where he re-injured the foot, preventing him from working out.

Between January and July, Ta’amu gained more than 50 pounds.

“After the season, he started to eat and didn’t work out much and he just ballooned up,” said Mark Haley, Ta’amu’s high school coach. “He kind of couldn’t do a whole lot, so he just sat around and ate.”

When Ta’amu arrived for the first day of training camp at Washington, he stepped on a scale for the first time in months.

“The scale kept going up, so I hopped off and said: ‘Hold on, hold on, man,’ ” Ta’amu said. “I went into college thinking I was 330 or 340.”

Instead, he weighed 380.

“I didn’t even know I was that big,” Ta’amu said.

Despite coming to camp out of shape, Ta’amu dropped 50 pounds and contributed as a true freshman, starting five games and posting 21 tackles.

Ta’amu never had an issue with his weight since. He’s been as low as 320 pounds and weighed in at this past weekend’s rookie minicamp at 346.

The Steelers aren’t worried about any weight issues from Ta’amu.

“Here, with the nutrition plan we have in place and with working every day, that’s not going to be a problem,” defensive line coach John Mitchell said. “It doesn’t bother me.”

More of an issue is Ta’amu getting used to the switch from defensive end to nose tackle in the Steelers’ 3-4 scheme.

Ta’amu is required to occupy blocks with his wide frame and stay gap-sound rather than use his athleticism to make plays. He found out at minicamp that’s not as easy as it might seem.

“I got to the quarterback on one play, but the coaches told me that we are a gap team and we don’t need a Superman,” Ta’amu said

That’s definitely a change from the norm for Ta’amu. He’s accustomed to using his quickness and power — more than his size — to his advantage.

Haley still recalls a series of plays from Ta’amu during his senior year in high school that were stunning.

“The first one he made a stop on the opposite side of the field for no gain,” Haley said. “The next play, he sacked the quarterback about 10 yards back, and the third play he ran down their running back 35 yards down the field.”

Ta’amu’s athleticism for such a large man got him noticed nationally during his junior year of college.

Starting all 13 games and more than doubling the previous season’s tackle numbers, he finished with 39 tackles, including five tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks, and tended to play his best against top competition.

In one mock draft before his senior year, Ta’amu was projected as the 17th overall pick.

“Coming into my senior year, everybody had expectations of what I was going to do,” said Ta’amu, who never had more than five tackles in a game during his senior year. “I did my job and allowed the people around me to make plays.”

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/1452321-85/amu-steelers-pounds-pick-senior-camp-college-freshman-issue-round