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View Full Version : Why We Need to Go Outside Linebacker in the First, But Probably Won't


SteelersCanada
04-09-2013, 12:51 PM
The draft is almost here! In fact ...

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Ya, I'm excited. I think all of us are excited about the draft. A lot of us recognize that this is probably the most important draft for this front office in Tomlin's tenure thus far. We have to nail this draft - we have to. I don't think it's going too far to say that we have a lot of holes on both sides of the ball but more glaringly on defense than offense. One of these holes that is talked a lot of about (with good reason) is Outside Linebacker. Losing James Harrison won't hurt as much as some will say, but losing his presence and leadership is more important than losing his actual play. The lack of depth behind him is startling. We need to fill that hole for multiple reasons and the best way to do it would be at 17, right?

Probably. But we won't.

There's Suddenly A Lot of Depth at OLB in This Draft

Where did all these guys come from? Suddenly, there's a ton of prospects past the first round that look promising and could potentially be the guy for this team. What's more shocking is they can be found in virtually every round. Guys like Lemonier, Washington, S. Moore, Collins and Okafor can all be found past the first round and a lot, if not all, of these guys will be there at 48. This might soften the blow of missing on guys like Jordan, Ansah and Mingo.

These guys all have their issues whether it be medical, physical or mental lapses, but a lot of their errors and mistakes are coachable and thus fixable.

We Shouldn't Reach For a Prospect at 17

We shouldn't take Tank Carradine if he's there at 17 for the same reason we shouldn't take Tyler Eifert when he's there at 17 - we can't reach for a prospect. We don't pick in the top 20 often but when we do, we can't be picking at a position in which one of our guys already has it locked down. Now, this is not the same thing as picking a Safety despite having Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu - those guys are on the back nine of their careers. Miller might be as well, but he still has a lot football left in him.

We can't reach for a guy simply because he's there. We've never drafted for need and we can't now. Reaching for a guy like Carradine, Okafor or Moore in the first round would be a mistake. When we're picking this high, we need to get as close to a surefire prospect as we can get.

Past the Initial Three, There's a Substantial Drop Off

Dion Jordan, Ezekial Ansah, Barkevious Mingo. These are the guys that will be taken between 5 and 15. They're raw, but they're explosive. Past these guys in the first round, there's a significant drop off in talent. A lot of guys are high on Jarvis Jones (me included) but there are some serious red flags with this kid. I'm not talking about his Pro Day or Combine numbers, I'm talking about his medical issues and sudden reports of his questionable work ethic. He put up insane numbers in college football and what makes this more special, he did it in the SEC. Do you know who else put up nice numbers in college? Vernon Gholston.

While there is a talent pool in the second, third and fourth rounds of pass rushers, past these initial three guys it's night and day in terms of initial impact and ceiling.

I know what you're thinking now: but SC! these are reasons we shouldn't draft a pass rusher in the first!

I decided to start with the positivity first because, well, here comes the negativity.

Have You Seen Our Depth at OLB? Yikes.

What depth?

Behind Woodley we have Robinson. With the recently departed Harrison, Worilds is expected to step up and take on the Right Outside role and there are serious questions whether or not he's ready and capable of taking on this role, but put that on the back burner for a second. Behind him, there's Chris Carter. That's it. That's all we have. While I think Woodley will have a bounce back year, is anyone really comfortable having Robinson and/or Carter playing in relief for either of these guys? I'm not. I'm reeeaaaaally not.

The lack of depth brings me to ...

We Have a Lack of Talent at Outside Linebacker Right Now

This is big. To be honest, I'm not exactly sure why no one else is talking about this. Every time someone mentions OLB bells and whistles should go off reminding us that we have a serious lack of talent at our pass rushing positions right now. Woodley's last couple of seasons have been marred by injury and on the right side sits Jason Worilds. Worilds while playing on the left side has flashed but on the right side ... Nothing. Nada. Zilch. But again, Worilds on the back burner for now.

Woodley needs to have a bounce back year. He absolutely has to. 4 sacks last year is unacceptable and I don't care what reason he has. Be it injury or lack of physical training or injury because of lack of physical training, he has to fix it. If we're going to return to form in not just sacks but turnovers, Woodley has to come out and have a record season. Anything below 12 sacks for him would be disappointing.

The Jason Worilds Paradox

This is by far the biggest one. There are question marks and red flags when it comes to Worilds everywhere and one doesn't need to dig very deep to find them. I'm rooting for the kid, I honestly am. I hope he comes out and sets the world (field?) on fire and lights up opposing backfields. I'm also realistic and recognize the chances of him doing this are pretty close to 0. Remember what I said earlier on what he had done on the right side? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. When playing in relief for Woodley he was able to apply pretty consistent pressure and was fairly solid against the run. However (you guys should've sensed the "but" coming) when playing in relief for Harrison, he looked average. No, he didn't look average. He looked bad. Bad. There's a reason for this though: LOLB and ROLB are not interchangeable positions. Just because you can apply pressure on the left side doesn't mean you have the athleticism or strength to play against the best Tackles this game has.

This leads to what I call the Jason Worilds paradox:

It's a lose / lose with Jason Worilds. We can't win. We're fucked.

Let's assume for a second that Worilds comes out and has a huge year. He comes out, lights up opposing backfields and is a force to be reckoned with. Let's say, for all intents and purposes, he gets anywhere between 10 - 14 sacks. Guess what? This is his contract year. Paul Kruger just signed a 5 year, 40 million dollar deal with the Cleveland Browns. He got 9 sacks last year. Even if you split the difference on Worilds and say he gets 12 sacks, that puts him right there with DeMarcus Ware in 2012. Ware signed a 7 year, 78 million dollar deal a few years back.

That's a lot of money for Jason Worilds. Even at a conservative estimate at 10 sacks, that puts him right up there with Anthony Spencer who was franchise tagged at the price of over 10 million dollars. Is anyone comfortable giving Worilds that kind of money? I'm not.

Well, what's the other scenario you might be asking.

Worilds comes out flat and doesn't produce. He comes out and produces what I think he's going to and we struggle on defense again due to lack of a pass rush. This fucks us four ways straight. One, it shows that Worilds isn't capable of handling full time OLB duties. Two, we need to draft and probably play a rookie in 2014. Three, it wouldn't matter what kind of shape Woodley could come into next season at if he's constantly getting double and triple teamed because they know Worilds can be shut down by just their Tackle. Finally, we would again see a lack of turnovers due to a lack of consistent pressure. We would be delaying the inevitable by pushing back our need for an OLB to 2014. We're looking at another 8-8 or 9-7 season if the pressure and turnovers don't pick up considerably.

We can't win. In either scenario, we're looking at a rookie to fill in for 2014. I suggest you guys become Alabama fans and watch CJ Mosley because it looks like he'll be our starting ROLB in 2014.

Let's end things on a more positive note though. I hate to end things in a negative way.

There Are Elite Prospects That Aren't Pass Rushers at 17

Kenny Vaccaro, Arthur Brown, Alec Ogletree, Tavon Austin and Matt Elam.

Those are the guys I can see being available at 17 for us to pick from. I'm very much okay with any one of those guys. While there are some that would be more of a reach than others, they would all fill a need and would be considered elite prospects. Out of those guys I'd love to see Vaccaro or Brown in a Steelers jersey. That being said, I'd take any one of those guys in the first round. Austin has explosive playmaking ability and Elam hits like a truck. Ogletree has his issues, but man can that kid play football.

I think that with the importance our 'Backers play in our scheme, more specifically our Outside Linebackers, we need to go pass rusher in the first round if someone like KeKe Mingo is there. But we probably won't.

harrison'samonster
04-09-2013, 01:04 PM
Thanks for the post! You make a good argument. I still don't know if we absolutely must go with OLB in the 1st, but if the Steelers decide that the player they want is there, then go for it.

Like you say, the OLB and LB position in general are essential to a good 3-4 defense. The Steelers need to do what they have to in order to put the best team possible on the field.

Bane
04-09-2013, 01:08 PM
I'm still holding out hope (albeit limited hope) for Clowney. :chuckle:

SteelersCanada
04-09-2013, 01:17 PM
Thanks for the post! You make a good argument. I still don't know if we absolutely must go with OLB in the 1st, but if the Steelers decide that the player they want is there, then go for it.

Like you say, the OLB and LB position in general are essential to a good 3-4 defense. The Steelers need to do what they have to in order to put the best team possible on the field.

As usual, good points. I might just be worrying a little bit too much about Worilds, you're right. I hope he comes out and blows it up.

I'm still holding out hope (albeit limited hope) for Clowney. :chuckle:

You and me both.

Rabbit
04-09-2013, 01:40 PM
I think it's a bit silly to compare Jarvis Jones to Vernon Gholston. They were virtually polar opposites as prospects.

- Jones had ridiculous production; Gholston was mediocre on the stat sheet
- Jones showed up more the bigger the stage got; Gholston shrunk against tougher matchups
- Gholston was a workout warrior; Jones has poor workout times
- Gholston seemed disinterested in football; Jones loves the sport

Steelstoned1972
04-09-2013, 01:42 PM
I agree we definitely need some outside backers. it seems the highest we ever taken one in recent years has been woodley in the 2nd round. Timmons was round 1 but he obviously is ilb position. Is that simply because they didnt have a pass rusher slated as bpa for their slotted draft position or because they have faith after a few years they will coach up a olb that they feel fits their scheme....or a combination of the two ? I dont know the answer but i wouldnt be surprised if we grab a few in rounds 2 -6 . I dont think they will take one at 17 unless they are in love with the pick.

harrison'samonster
04-09-2013, 01:44 PM
I agree we definitely need some outside backers. it seems the highest we ever taken one in recent years has been woodley in the 2nd round. Timmons was round 1 but he obviously is ilb position. Is that simply because they didnt have a pass rusher slated as bpa for their slotted draft position or because they have faith after a few years they will coach up a olb that they feel fits their scheme....or a combination of the two ? I dont know the answer but i wouldnt be surprised if we grab a few in rounds 2 -6 . I dont think they will take one at 17 unless they are in love with the pick.

the theory is that now that more teams are switching to 3-4, the earlier the 3-4 LB players are being drafted. I think your last point hits it on the head.

SteelersCanada
04-09-2013, 01:45 PM
I think it's a bit silly to compare Jarvis Jones to Vernon Gholston. They were virtually polar opposites as prospects.

- Jones had ridiculous production; Gholston was mediocre on the stat sheet
- Jones showed up more the bigger the stage got; Gholston shrunk against tougher matchups
- Gholston was a workout warrior; Jones has poor workout times
- Gholston seemed disinterested in football; Jones loves the sport

In 2007 Gholston got 14 sacks. It wasn't in the SEC which I acknowledged, but it 14 sacks isn't mediocre.

While I am still high on Jones and think he's a great prospect, there are legitimate concerns. There were games where he almost disappeared and the Alabama game is an example of that.

The comparison isn't that ludicrous.

Vis
04-09-2013, 01:46 PM
One of the advantages of having so so many needs is the freedom to take the best available without regard to position

Steel_Bus_24
04-09-2013, 01:48 PM
If there is one OLB that has more red flags for me then Jones....its Mingo. Major turn off for me when you got teammates saying he was taking chunks and chunks of games off. Plus LSU has been a pretty stacked D....you would like to see more production from him with all that other talent around him

After Woodley 2.0(ie Lazy/hurt Version)....I don't want anymore of that type of attitude/mentality or as Tomlin would say "Approach" in the locker room. The Steelers need to get the eye of the tiger back and realize teams aren't going to just hand them wins This Im a great football Player, I don't need to have great practices to be great on gameday crap needs to be thrown out

Really the only OLBs that Id like to see the Steelers take at 17 would be Jordan or Ansah. I think you can find much better value at other positions there or get more value by trading down

GMU Steeler
04-09-2013, 01:49 PM
One of the advantages of having so so many needs is the freedom to take the best available without regard to position

BPAAtN- Best Player Available According to Need. Anyhow, I think we're going defense with our first pick. I can't see us going WR or RB this early.

harrison'samonster
04-09-2013, 01:54 PM
BPAAtN- Best Player Available According to Need. Anyhow, I think we're going defense with our first pick. I can't see us going WR or RB this early.

sounds good to me. I think the only spot they can't pass up on offense in the 1st is if another top O-line player drops. I would like to see us pick up a play maker either at WR or TE somewhere in the draft.

As for best player available in the 1st, if we end up having a top pass-rusher drop to us, then there are plenty of safeties we can draft later.

Steelstoned1972
04-09-2013, 01:55 PM
One of the advantages of having so so many needs is the freedom to take the best available without regard to position

even though we have so many needs in a sick sorta way i am excited about bpa as well. seems to generate a little more excitement for this draft compared to previous drafts. heres to hoping we end up with 4 or 5 starters for the future:tt02:

Rabbit
04-09-2013, 01:57 PM
In 2007 Gholston got 14 sacks. It wasn't in the SEC which I acknowledged, but it 14 sacks isn't mediocre.

While I am still high on Jones and think he's a great prospect, there are legitimate concerns. There were games where he almost disappeared and the Alabama game is an example of that.

The comparison isn't that ludicrous.

LOL what?

Jarvis Jones vs Alabama: 6 tackles (3 TFL), 2 sacks, FF

That's not disappearing at all. His biggest games came against Alabama, Florida, Missouri and Nebraska in their bowl game.

Vernon Gholston got half of his sacks in 2007 against Northwestern, Akron and Kent State.

Not an applicable comparison.

GMU Steeler
04-09-2013, 02:02 PM
sounds good to me. I think the only spot they can't pass up on offense in the 1st is if another top O-line player drops. I would like to see us pick up a play maker either at WR or TE somewhere in the draft.

As for best player available in the 1st, if we end up having a top pass-rusher drop to us, then there are plenty of safeties we can draft later.
Yeah. Can't wait to see what happens. Speaking of safeties, I'd just love it if we got a new Troy for the next generation..

SteelersCanada
04-09-2013, 02:06 PM
LOL what?

Jarvis Jones vs Alabama: 6 tackles (3 TFL), 2 sacks, FF

That's not disappearing at all. His biggest games came against Alabama, Florida, Missouri and Nebraska in their bowl game.

Vernon Gholston got half of his sacks in 2007 against Northwestern, Akron and Kent State.

Not an applicable comparison.

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Not the greatest game by him.

Again, I already acknowledged he didn't play in the SEC. There's a reason why most people were high on him coming out of college - he was a sack machine. There was no reason to think otherwise. Does this remind you of anyone?

I'm not saying Jones is going to be Gholston, but it's not apples and oranges here.

Rabbit
04-09-2013, 02:11 PM
So, what, everyone who produces sacks at the collegiate level is gonna be a bust? I'm not entirely sure what you're implying. I've already listed plenty of reasons in how Jones is a better prospect than Gholston was. I don't get how you can be high on Barkevious Mingo, who took entire games off, but not a guy who actually busts his ass and produces against tough competition.

pczach
04-09-2013, 02:13 PM
LOL what?

Jarvis Jones vs Alabama: 6 tackles (3 TFL), 2 sacks, FF

That's not disappearing at all. His biggest games came against Alabama, Florida, Missouri and Nebraska in their bowl game.

Vernon Gholston got half of his sacks in 2007 against Northwestern, Akron and Kent State.

Not an applicable comparison.

I know what you're saying about the production against quality opponents, but you're forgetting one thing. Gholston played well against the run and the pass. Jones has been a complete no show when it comes to physically holding the edge to contain the run. He shoots gaps to make plays behind the line of scrimmage, or rushes up field looking for another sack, and they run right underneath him. This isn't even debatable. Georgia had one of the worst run defenses in college football despite having NFL talent everywhere, and Jones was a large part of that. You can't fall in love with rushing the quarterback and sacks when that's all he does. You still have to play the run, especially in Pittsburgh. Yeah, he had some sacks against Alabama, but how many yards did they rush for? I'm not saying he can't be good, I'm just wary of what I've seen him do against the run.

SteelersCanada
04-09-2013, 02:18 PM
So, what, everyone who produces sacks at the collegiate level is gonna be a bust? I'm not entirely sure what you're implying. I've already listed plenty of reasons in how Jones is a better prospect than Gholston was. I don't get how you can be high on Barkevious Mingo, who took entire games off, but not a guy who actually busts his ass and produces against tough competition.

Where and how did you get that from what I was saying? There's a reason why people are concerned about this kid. It's not just because of his injury. Go back and watch that video - how many times did Fluker hand his ass to him? They probably gameplanned for him and that's great, but Fluker made him look average for the majority of that game.

I've already talked about why I like Mingo. I've also talked about that Mingo hasn't ever come out and said he took plays off, Montgomery did.

Is Jones going to be a bust? Probably not. I'm just telling you there are legitimate reasons to be concerned about this kid.

Rabbit
04-09-2013, 02:21 PM
Why would it be more concerning that Mingo admits it instead of his teammates? The way it is seems particularly more damning. What use would his teammates have in attacking his reputation if there was no truth behind it?