After further review of the players grades along with who we are mostly likely targeting, and moreso at what position, I have found that this could be the 1st year for the Steelers to possibly trade back. Now, in order to dance you need a partner. A partner that has some kind of fire, almost requiring them to anxiously move up. Enter the Franchise QB. Up until maybe a week or 2 ago, everyone agreed on only 2 QBs that earned a 1st round grade. Now, Tannehill has snuck into the battle. Plus we saw last year the likes of Locker (8), Gabbert (10), and Ponder (12) grab onto Cam's coat tails and ride into the 1st round. Can you say "overvalued"? On top of that, those same teams let Dalton fall to 35 overall. Hindsight being 20/20, Andy was the 2nd best QB in that draft. FWDD to 2012. It could happen again. Tannehill has already grabbed a grade of 8 overall, and behind him are Weeden (53), Cousins (71) and Osweiler (80). Could Weeden and Cousins really jump into the 1st round? I can see Cousins maybe, Weeden... eh. He's pushing 30. Osweiler? He's getting Roethlisberger parallels. Elway and Fox did totally revamp their offense 1/4 way into the season for Tebow, make the playoffs with him, only to trade him. So theyre familiar with the word crazy. And the Vikes have recently said their pick at 3 is open for business. See Tannehill.
But the teams that dont get 1 of the "top 3 now" QBs will have to fight like dogs for the leftovers. Thats a bright light shining on the likes of the Phins (theyre gonna blow this for yet another year), maybe the Jags (Gabbert at 10 in 2011? Really? Were they drunk?) the Browns (see Phins), and the Bills and the Chiefs looking for depth and/or a young gun. This proves that teams may need to jump back into the bottom of the 1st round. Yes, the Pats have 2 picks 27 and 30, and they love to throw them around. But this year is different. Their 27th pick might be too little, too late. This is the only time the Steelers will thank the Broncos. Elway knows Manning is old and broken. He sees the "Proceed with Caution" tape wrapped around Peyton's neck. And hes already worked out Osweiler, maybe among others. This means teams might need to be aggressive and jump the Broncos.
The top 2 candidates? The Jags and the Phins. The Jags staff, including their ownership, are brand new. They arent Gabbert people. And Mike Mularkey is a former Steelers OC, so a deal could be done quickly... and easily. It would cost their 2nd (38) and their 3rd (70). See the value chart: http://walterfootball.com/draftchart.php
The Phins might actually be in a better condition thanks to trading Marshall to the Bears for their 3rd (72) giving them an extra 3rd rounder. It could however cost the Phins their 2nd (42), 3rd (72) and possibly their 5th (145). But they do still have their 3rd, so the loss of a 2nd and 5th for a franchise QB is an easy pill to swallow. But the Phins are also going to swap back into a 4-3 defense, so they might need all the picks they can get, and shelve the franchise QB thoughts till 2013. Either way, these 2 teams are separated by around 4 spots, so to play it safe I decided to go with the Jags. The owner and Mularkey hit the reset button, and go for Cousins 9strong Senior Bowl performance). Meanwhile, our Pittsburgh Steelers, go for...
38 (From Jags) Bobby Massie, OT Ole Miss- graded as the 5th best OT in the draft (see Marcus Gilbert 2011), a starter at RT for the Rebels since he was a freshman, helping them to rank 2nd in the SEC (The Little NFL) in sacks given up (17). This kid defines what Tomlin looks for in an OL- he's a junior, played in the SEC, is over 6'5 300 pounds, is strong with a mean streak, and can play both LT as well as having the build to play inside at OG. He was a recent invite for a personal workout.
56 Mike Martin, NT Michigan- Tomlin spoke to him at the Combine, as well as attended his pro day. He also has the position flexibility that Tomlin covets. He's familiar with both a 40 and 30 front, holding down the zero tech NT spot most of the time. He was a wrestler in high school. He is the Incredible Hulk. Did I mention his explosion rate? 78.9. Thats insane. On a side note- the 2nd round looks to be a win/win situation due to Martin and now Josh Chapman are graded back to back at 81 and 79 respectively. Id be thrilled with either. Id give the nod to Martin though. And thats why Tomlin, Colbert and Co. have spent so much time with him. Its only a matter of time until he's invited for a personal workout.
70 (From Jags) Brandon Brooks, OL Miami of Ohio- will he fall to 70 overall? I bet Kugler hopes so, after all, Brooks is said to have knocked over "a Steelers rep" during his pro day. Was it Sean? I dunno, but Brooks is going to be the 1st kid that wasnt invited to the Combine to be drafted. He's big AND fast. Think of an athletic Kemoeatu without the need for anger management. Oh, and he can pass protect. We attended his pro day, and he was also a recent invite for a personal workout.
86 Mychal Kendricks, LB Cal- another position flexible player, having started at both outside and inside LB in a 3-4 defense. Clocked at 4.4 40 at the Combine with a 39 inch verticle. That makes up for his height, 5'11 240. We attended his pro day and he will be visiting this week for a personal workout.
119 Ronnie Hillman, RB San Diego State- Mendenhill's injury and play along with our depth at RB inexperience almost forces us to draft a RB. Of the half dozen he seem to be interested, the 1 common thread is- scat back. Hillman can drop to another gear altogether to get separation, while not doing the 1 thing Mendy did too often- spinning. Hillman has a very quick twitch juke. We attended his pro day.
159 Tommy Streeter, WR Miami- 6'5 219, 4.4 40. Nuff said? He is raw, and will need to work on his route running. But, he is a great safety net IF we lost Wallace in 2013. Thats plenty of time to learn. See Brown. Until then, have him play on Special Teams and run 9 Routes to get comfortable. We sent everybody and their mothers to the Miami pro day. I bet we'll work him out in house soon.
193 Keith Tandy, DB WVU- we spoke to him at the Combine, went to his pro day, and recently worked him out at our facility. Tandy plays best in off man or zone coverage with considerable speed to cover and close, and a 38 in verticle. He can also play FS if needed. As far as run support/closing speed, check this out:
He was a recent invite for a personal workout.
231 Akiem Hicks, DL Regina- Hicks is a transfer from LSU. At 6'5 320 he played thru the defensive line at Regina, but will probably fit best as a 5 tech with us. However, throw another 10-15 pounds on him, and he can back up Martin for the next 10 years, like Hampton had Hoke, MM would have Hicks. He had a fantastic East/West game. He was a recent invite for a personal workout.
240 Matt Veldman, TE North Dakota State- I stumbled across Matt while searching for a list of pro days we've attended. There were around a dozen teams at the Buffalo pro day. At 6'7 256 he is known as a very solid in line blocker, that with a 35 inch vertical on top of being 6'7 he will win most, if not all jump balls. He has very good hands, though while he is the same size as the Saints Jimmy Graham, he doesnt have his breakaway speed. A 4.7 40 is decent enough to at least make him a check down option if not a fade route winner. He is a work in progress that will easily take DJ's TE spot, with Stampley taking over the FB duties.
246 Jerrell Harris, LB Alabama- Formerly the ILB before Hightower moved in. Though Harris was so valuable that Saban took advantage of his flexibility and moved him outside. He has the build Tomlin prefers for an ILB but is built heavier than 2011 draft pick OLB Chris Carter. He will compete with Sly, Foote and Ivy for the backup ILB spot as well as play on special teams. Tomlin has a tendency to draft 2 LBs, but Im betting the age of Foote/Harrison, the lackluster play of Worilds, and the limited showing of Carter (thats the one with a T in his name) would push Tomlin to bring in another LB. Harris was recently invited for a private workout. Frankly, I prefer him to Dont'a Hightower.
248 James Stampley, FB LSU- I recently found that James is #1 on our "Fullback Watch" list. I originally thought it was the recent signing of Will Johnson, the WVU TE/FB/Hback that locked down our interest in another FB. But now I think Johnson was brought in to challenge... ummm Johnson (the DJ one) for a spot, while now DJ will have to compete not only with Will but now also with Stampley for the FB spot. LSU is one of the few teams that still uses some type of the traditional FB, though James does have hands and can also be used to carry in short yardage.