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Old 04-17-2012, 06:55 AM   #1
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Default Harris: Safety key for Steelers in draft

Harris: Safety key for Steelers in draft

By John Harris
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Just so you know, quarterback, center, kicker and long snapper are the only positions off-limits to the Steelers in the first round of next week`s NFL Draft.

For instance, the Steelers could select a tackle with their first pick. Or a guard. Or a running back. Or a nose tackle, inside linebacker, outside linebacker or a cornerback to play the left side. They have legitimate needs at each of those positions.

Here`s another position of need for the Steelers, and one that has been glossed over for too long: safety.
(I totally agree with this. The odds that Troy will make it through the season with out missing games to injury is very low. - mesa)

Alabama`s Mark Barron is 6-foot-1, 213 pounds. He has been compared favorably to Troy Polamalu. He`s a perfect fit for the Steelers, who have the No. 24 overall selection.

I know, I know Ryan Clark recorded 100 tackles and made the Pro Bowl as an alternate in 2011. He`s also 32, has had injury issues, and is due to earn $6.5 million in base salary over the next two seasons. He`s been getting by on his smarts, which is a polite way of saying he`s the opposite of fast.

Clark discussed his speed or lack thereof on ESPN`s "First Take" on Monday, and he got the worse of it debating Skip Bayless (not good). The fact remains that Clark has been replaced in certain passing packages by players with less experience but who are more athletic in other words, faster going back to Super Bowl XLV against Green Bay.

The NFL, in case you didn`t notice, is a passing league. The Steelers need more defensive backs (safeties as well as corners) who can cover and possess above-average speed.

For years, Polamalu was the Steelers` athletic safety. In fact, he was the most athletic safety in the NFL, with perhaps the exception of Baltimore`s Ed Reed.

However, multiple injuries and concussions have curtailed his explosiveness. Polamalu doesn`t always fly to the ball the way he used to.

Behind Polamalu and Clark are Ryan Mundy and Will Allen, capable backups who have had ample opportunity to start but still come off the bench.

Why should the Steelers draft a safety such as Barron and not a linebacker like Alabama`s Dont`a Hightower in the first round?

First, let`s look at linebacker. The Steelers already pay big money to LaMarr Woodley, Lawrence Timmons and James Harrison. Jason Worilds is a second-round pick. Are the Steelers going to invest first-round money in another linebacker when they`ve already shelled out big dollars at that position?

It`s been said by scouts that Barron plays a lot like Polamalu. Barron is so good he could be gone early in the first round, but safeties have a tendency to drop in the draft. He also could be available for the Steelers at No. 24.

Barron can play either safety position, but he projects best at strong safety in the NFL. At Alabama, he was best at playing in the box, where he had a tendency to play the run first before falling back into coverage. A playmaker in the passing game, he had seven interceptions in 2009.

"The (Alabama) coaches feel he is an ideal role model for the younger players, showing good mentoring skills and a great work ethic,`` said Dave-Te` Thomas, who runs Scouting Services Inc. and produces The NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the draft. "He puts in the extra hours in the film and training room and is smart enough to sit in on game-planning with the coaching staff.``

Barron has been linked with the Eagles, Jets and Jaguars, all of whom pick before the Steelers. The Steelers still need to draft an athletic safety someone who can run with tight ends as well as wide receivers.

Granted, the Steelers could select a safety later in the draft if Barron is off the board, or they may go in another direction at No. 24. Of course, if they follow the safety route, whoever they select won`t be as talented as Barron. Still, the Steelers must address the safety position the sooner, the better.

Barron is a smart guy who happens to be talented. He`s also a team player, which might make him a Steeler. (Sounds good to me. I'd like this pick a lot. - mesa)

John Harris can be reached at jharris@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.

Read more: Harris: Safety key for Steelers in draft - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...#ixzz1sIWKCkPI
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Old 04-17-2012, 01:28 PM   #2
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Default Re: Harris: Safety key for Steelers in draft

I agree- safety is a position that's been overlooked and one I don't see in most mocks. I wouldn't be unhappy with a safety in Rd-1 and I wouldn't be shocked if we took one either. I don't know much about Barron or really any of the safeties in the draft but I think we will take one in the draft for sure since behind Troy and Clark, there's just Mundy and Rogers-Cromarte and Rolle I believe(Will Allen was cut I think and even if not he's easily replaceable with youth)
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:54 AM   #3
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Default Re: Harris: Safety key for Steelers in draft

Barron will be so far gone it won't even be a pipe dream the Steelers can get him. That leaves Harrison Smith in the first round or guys like Markelle Martin Oklahoma State, or Brandon Taylor LSU, in the 3rd or Brandon Hardin CB/FS OSU, Trenton Robinson Michigan State, and Aaron Henry Wisconsin later.

I like Brandon Taylor in the 3rd as Martin should be gone and Taylor is the best left on the board and can start someday soon. Ironic if Ryan Clark's replacement came out of the same school as him as well.
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Old 04-30-2012, 06:46 PM   #4
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Default Re: Harris: Safety key for Steelers in draft

Looks like Steelers did not find anyone worth taking at the safety positions. Steelers took a lot of CB's. I wonder if they will be looking at converting them over to safeties. Carnell Lake was one who played both positions.
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:30 PM   #5
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Default Re: Harris: Safety key for Steelers in draft

Only convert could be Robert Golden 5-11 202 Arizona a UDFA who played both corner and safety. I like his clips and what I read about him.

We also have Myron Rolle in camp with Damon Cromartie-Smith. Nothing to get excited about so far, but I think next year's draft will be the year we double dip at the safety position and get two really good ones.
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:06 AM   #6
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Default Re: Harris: Safety key for Steelers in draft

Our starters and our back-ups both played very well last year, so I for one have no problem with the position being overlooked at the draft.
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:11 PM   #7
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Default Re: Harris: Safety key for Steelers in draft

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Originally Posted by Kingmagyar View Post
Only convert could be Robert Golden 5-11 202 Arizona a UDFA who played both corner and safety. I like his clips and what I read about him.

We also have Myron Rolle in camp with Damon Cromartie-Smith. Nothing to get excited about so far, but I think next year's draft will be the year we double dip at the safety position and get two really good ones.
I think one of those three makes the roster. I believe we let Allen go so outside of Mundy, we really have no backups at safety. Anyhow, I think we will go safety in the draft next year and draft one of or maybe even both of Troy and Ryan's replacements. Not sure if Mundy is starting material or not going forward. Like the guy but I think he's backup/ST.
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:43 AM   #8
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Default Re: Harris: Safety key for Steelers in draft

I was surprised we passed on George Iloka, the guy's a steal for the Bengals in the 5th.
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:47 PM   #9
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Default Re: Harris: Safety key for Steelers in draft

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Originally Posted by ricardisimo View Post
Our starters and our back-ups both played very well last year, so I for one have no problem with the position being overlooked at the draft.
Neither do I because I think they will make that pick next year early in the draft...
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Old 05-03-2012, 05:13 PM   #10
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Default Re: Harris: Safety key for Steelers in draft

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Neither do I because I think they will make that pick next year early in the draft...
True Dat............but what are the odds that Robert Golden from Arizona makes the squad and maybe becomes the new Mundy of the secondary. Or at least the next Chidi Iwouma.
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