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Old 12-22-2013, 02:10 PM   #1
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Default 20 questions before the draft

20 questions
Defense
Who will play OLB? Worilds or Woodley. Who stays?

Who will be our NT? Steve McLendon-is he the NT of future or a future DE?

Jarvis Jones. Move to ILB or will his pass rush improve?

Who will be our FS? Ryan Clark-resign or let walk? Are Robert Golden and Shamarko Thomas ready?

Who will play ILB next to Timmons? Vince Williams-Is he our ILB? Spence or even Jarvis Jones?

Who will be our other DE next to Heyward? Brett Keisel-Ziggy Hood-resign or let walk?Arnfelt/Nick Williams ready?

Sean Spence-is he healed and able to play to his potential?

Ike Taylor- does he have 1 more year left and who replaces him? Wm. Gay? draft a CB early?

Curtis Brown-resign or let walk?

Al Woods-resign or let walk? Hopefully we resign him.


Offense
Who will play LT? Is Kelvin Beachum the LT of the future? Will Adams or Gilbert get a shot or will we draft a LT early?

Who will back Pouncey up? Fernando Velasco/ Cody Wallace- who do we resign or let walk?

Who will #3 TE be? David Paulson/David Johnson/Michael Palmer or will we draft Heath's eventual replacement?

Who will be our #2 WR next to Antonio Brown? Is Marcus Wheaton ready to step up or draft WR?

Manny Sanders- resign or let walk?

Jonathan Dwyer- resign or let walk?

Jericho Cotchery-resign or let walk?

Stephens-Howing-resign or let walk?

Felix Jones-resign or let walk?

Landry Jones- is he the guy to groom for future or draft QB

This will be another busy offseason!

What do you think will happen?
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Old 12-22-2013, 08:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: 20 questions before the draft

Defense
1. When all is said and done I think Colbert pulls some magic and finds a way to keep both, but Woodley will be gone by the end of next season. If push comes to shove I think we go the June 1 cut route with him as I think Worilds has come on strong and will now be the #1 offseason priority.

2. I think we draft Louis Nix if we have the chance and there isn't another obvious choice. Mclendon is not a true NT and might be a serviceable end. If no Nix we go another year of Mclendon but draft a NT in rounds 4-7 who hopefully shows promise.

3. Jarvis Jones might project well as an ILB, but he won't move unless we get Barr or Clowney. With an offseason of strength and conditioning he could be worlds (Worilds? lol) better at pass rushing. He hasn't gotten many sacks this year but the instincts are definitely there and he has shown flashes of pass-rushing ability throughout the year, just hasn't put it all together.

4. Clark is definitely gone, me thinks. Shamarko Thomas will probably start at FS but truthfully he projects much more as a SS. I think we draft a true FS early this year or next year but either way they won't start unless injuries force them to.

5. Vince Williams is our ILB unless we pull off the Christmas miracle, make the playoffs, and draft someone like CJ Mosley who could be taken in the latter half of the draft.

6. As bad as Ziggy is at times, he is serviceable and I think he'll be re-signed to a cheap deal. He's not killing our cap, he wasn't worth the first round investment but we could do much worse than him at DE. If we get Nix, we let Ziggy go and shift Mclendon to DE.

7. I hope so, but I don't know if he'll ever be what he could have been. He would be nice ILB depth but he'll have to really prove himself over time to unseat Williams, who now has an advantage in experience in addition to health and size.

8. Of all the vets, Ike definitely stays. He's still a contributor, loved by the organization, and has no replacement. Gay is a great nickel back (three years ago never thought I'd say that) but he's not starter material. Ike's hopeful replacement should be drafted this year but Ike will still be here next season.

9. Could go either way. Valuable special teamer, not valuable cornerback. If he wants to stay here for cheap I don't see why we wouldn't keep him, I don't really see anyone else giving him a good contract.

10. Woods is worth re-signing but the "he's out future at NT" is overblown IMO. It was the same thing with Mclendon last year, he really hasn't proven anything.

Offense
1. Tough question. I think Gilbert winds up at LT, Adams at RT, Beachum at primary backup when all is said and done.

2. I would re-sign Velasco but he may have proven too much and another team may want him as a starter now.

3. I'm hoping we draft Heath's replacement, we could use one of these new huge, athletic pass-catching TE's, but Paulson isn't the worst 3rd stringer if the draft doesn't pan out that way.

4. I hope we re-sign Cotchery, I'd have no problem with him at #2 wideout. I have no problem giving Wheaton slot time but bumping him all the way to #2 is a little much. I would also draft Mike Evans or Sammy Watkins in a second if Louis Nix and the can't-pass-on prospects are off the board.

5. Sanders should be gone, too many wasted opportunities with no results for him.

6. Re-sign Dwyer, he's fantastic off the bench.

7. Said this earlier but definitely re-sign Cotchery, he's money.

8. Stephens-Howling I would also try to keep, he brings a nice speed option out of the backfield.

9. Felix is just a crappier LSH, let him go.

10. Landry Jones is hardly the future, but I don't think we need to think about a future QB for a few more years.
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Old 12-22-2013, 08:35 PM   #3
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Default Re: 20 questions before the draft

Nice post! I'll have to come back to this later when I can think better.
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Old 12-25-2013, 08:26 AM   #4
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Default Re: 20 questions before the draft

Dale Lolley
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Monday, December 23, 2013


Tomlin special edition and other stuff
Before I get into the Tomlin press conference today, I was questioned on why I thought the Steelers offseason cap problems were an easy fix:

Here's the breakdown.

Pittsburgh has 43 players under contract for next season at $131 million and change. The cap is expected to be between $126 and $127 million.

The first order of business will be to release Levi Brown at a savings of $6.25 million. That's perhaps the easiest cap cut in the history of cap cuts. That move alone puts the Steelers under the 2014 cap.

But wait, that means they'll only have 42 players under contract. OK.

A conventional restructure of Lawrence Timmons' contract, turning his base salary into bonus money would be an additional savings of $3.9 million. They could also do the same with Antonio Brown and pick up another $3.9 million.

In the matter of three moves, we just trimmed about $14.5 million off the cap, with the only release being a player who's never played a down for the Steelers.

The Steelers have no restricted free agents this season, so they won't have to worry about clearing space for any tender offers.

They can also gain further money by extending Ben Roethlisberger's contract.

In this case, you offer Roethlisberger a six-year deal - in reality four new years since he's still got two remaining - at between $100 and $110 million with a $30 million bonus.

Now, on this, I'm using cap expert Ian Whetstone's numbers. So in this case, you lower his base salary in 2014 to $2.1 million, which would shave another $4 million off your 2014 cap.

That brings the cap savings with now four offseason moves to $18.5 million without working up too much of a sweat.

BTW, Roethlisberger's future numbers, in this scenaro would be $5.6 in 2015, $14.8 in 2016, $15.5 in 2017, $17.2 in 2018 and $19.8 in 2019. His cap hit in 2015 would remain what it is now ($18.4) and going up to $20.8, $21.5, $23.2 and $19.8 in the final seasons.

They are big future numbers, but that's the going rate for a franchise quarterback who seems to be finding his groove in Todd Haley's offense.

And there are still some other moves the team could make - asking some vets to take pay cuts or releasing LaMarr Woodley after June 1 - that would free up even more cash.

This is why I don't feel the Steelers are in dire straights with their cap this year.
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Old 12-25-2013, 10:53 AM   #5
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Default Re: 20 questions before the draft

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhantomJB93 View Post
Offense
1. Tough question. I think Gilbert winds up at LT, Adams at RT, Beachum at primary backup when all is said and done. I like Beachum to stay here! He's proved you don't have to be prototypical to play here...

2. I would re-sign Velasco but he may have proven too much and another team may want him as a starter now. I'd re-sign Velasco and move Maurkice Pouncey to G

3. I'm hoping we draft Heath's replacement, we could use one of these new huge, athletic pass-catching TE's, but Paulson isn't the worst 3rd stringer if the draft doesn't pan out that way. Even though Spaeth FINALLY caught a TD he can go..

4. I hope we re-sign Cotchery, I'd have no problem with him at #2 wideout. I have no problem giving Wheaton slot time but bumping him all the way to #2 is a little much. I would also draft Mike Evans or Sammy Watkins in a second if Louis Nix and the can't-pass-on prospects are off the board. Cotch is servicable until Wheaton learns...

5. Sanders should be gone, too many wasted opportunities with no results for him. Is Evans definitely coming out? If we don't draft Nix then yes, unfortunately, let Sanders 2 step elsewhere!

6. Re-sign Dwyer, he's fantastic off the bench. I love Dwyer-slim! Felix Jones can go bye bye...

7. Said this earlier but definitely re-sign Cotchery, he's money. Money well spent.. Too bad he wasn't this reliable earlier in his career!

8. Stephens-Howling I would also try to keep, he brings a nice speed option out of the backfield. Books still out on him

9. Felix is just a crappier LSH, let him go.

10. Landry Jones is hardly the future, but I don't think we need to think about a future QB for a few more years. Is he even still on the team?
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Old 12-26-2013, 01:17 PM   #6
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Default Re: 20 questions before the draft

I think all of these questions are pretty easily remedied with the exception of CB Depth and stopping the run. I think it's imperative we make opposing offenses one dimensional again.

NT Louis Nix would be my pick if he's there when we draft. You can move McClendon to DE and resign Hood and let Keisel walk. The Dline then has depth youth and talent. It allows second year players like Vince Williams and Jarvis Jones to face easier match ups in the box and on the edge. It would solidify the front seven, if Nix is not there then you have to address either an offensive playmaker for Ben or more protection...defensive backfield needs depth and future talent as well. HaHa Clinton-Dix a true center fielder or Darqueze Dennard would be my considerations there.
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Old 12-26-2013, 01:18 PM   #7
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Default Re: 20 questions before the draft

Great breakdown on that cap scenario deweybeachdde, it doesn't look as bad as I thought.
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Old 01-01-2014, 02:28 PM   #8
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Default Re: 20 questions before the draft

Interesting read in Steelers Depot today
In summary, re-sign Worilds
Draft a starting caliber CB in 1st or 2nd round and a second CB in middle rounds 3,4, or 5
Play Sharmarko Thomas at one of the Safety positions next year
Pick up a veteran ILB to start next to Timmons
Keep an eye on what we do at NT. Internal options of Woods or Hood. Sprinkle 4-3 into defense to utilize talent
Resign some of the Offensive line for veteran depth
Resign Sanders and not use a High pick to replace him
Draft a TE to develop to eventually replace Heath and Spaeth in a few years

Thanks Mike Reynolds


SteelersDepot

By Michael K. Reynolds

Not to be lost in the fanfare of the nearly miraculous entry into the playoffs by the Pittsburgh Steelers is the fact the team remains a work in progress when it comes to returning to the elite status it’s enjoyed the past decade.

The good news is this is a team on the rise with an impressive 6-2 finish to the season. The Black and Gold is only a few key plays and players away from being a strong contender once again.

Which means there is much to be optimistic about the 2014 season. A few shrewd moves by the front office could get the team positioned for excellence and with a strong youth movement already afoot, the Steelers could be locked and loaded for many years to come.

But ONLY if they are successful this off-season. Which means this could be shaping up to be the most important period of free-agency and draft time the team has experienced since…well…last year, which was critical as well.

So as we wipe away our tears following the Kansas City Chiefs lay-down, here are three key New Years Resolutions for the Black and Gold.

1. Break the Steelers Free Agency Mold
Almost with a touch of arrogance the Steelers front office has approached free agency as if it is the dalliance of idiots and spendthrifts. However; with so many critical holes in the team, Pittsburgh needs to reinvent itself this off-season and become more of a player in free agency. No. This doesn’t mean flying midnight jets out to pick up 100 million dollar free agents, but the team should be strategic and relentless in its approach to picking up mid-level players who can instantly improve the team. It also means they are going to have to take a hard line with their over-priced, over-the-hill veteran players in order to have some money to spend. It’s time to discover how committed these players are to getting another Super Bowl run before their retirement. This includes Ben Roethlisberger whose new contract extension may have more impact on the Steelers future than anything else.

2. All In for the Defense
Perhaps nothing pointed out the lack of confidence Coach Mike Tomlin had in his defense more than when he unsuccessfully went for it on fourth and 10 on his OWN 10-yard line with the game on the line and ample time on the clock against the Dolphins. The once proud Steelers defense that has carried the team on its shoulders for so many years has been in slow decline since their Super Bowl loss to the Green Bay Packers. The list of deficiencies is long: inability to stop the run, lack of speed in the secondary, and at times a seeming absence of will. This is a team short on leadership and talent and they need to focus all of their attention on bringing this unit back on a rise to glory.

Here’s what is needed on the defense through free agency or the draft:

Resigning of Jason Worilds
Pay the man. It’s clear now the only thing Jason Worilds was missing was an opportunity to play. Without Worilds you are left with an overpriced LaMarr Woodley who can’t stay healthy and Jarvis Jones, who by all measures was a large disappointment as a pass rusher. Whether it’s through reasonable negotiation or a franchise tag this is the biggest no-brainer of the off-season. The 3-4 defense is dead without a pass rush.

Acquire a top-end cornerback and another for depth
When you consider he can’t catch, which eliminates playmaking ability, and with his once-vaunted speed in decline, fan and media favorite Ike Taylor will at best be a mediocre number two cornerback in 2014. There is some talk he may move to safety which would address a loss of speed but would do nothing to cure his dolphin flipper hands. Regardless, if he’s willing to take a major pay cut, Ike can still help the Steelers for another couple of years, but it’s time for the team to invest in their next great cornerback of the future. Could that be Cortez Allen? He’s demonstrated he’ll be at least be a strong number two, so he must be extended. But with this pass-happy league, the Steelers will need a “ready to play” cornerback in one of the top two rounds of the draft or through free agency. They’ll need another quality pick in rounds three to five.

Promotion of Shamarko Thomas to safety and acquire another for depth
The acquisition of Will Allen provided some initial stabilization to the defense, but it also stunted the progress of rookie Shamarko Thomas who lost precious playing time. The Steelers invested a 2014 third round draft pick in the young cannonball and they should commit to him at one of the safety positions next year.

Upgrade at inside linebacker
Larry Foote is too old. Vince Williams is too slow. Terence Garvin is not strong enough. Sean Spence is still a pipe dream. Put them together and you might have a player, but this position is too important in the 3-4 to show weakness. This is a prime spot for adding a veteran with some tread on his tire to allow the other players to develop. Or is perhaps Jarvis Jones better suited to inside in the NFL? Regardless of the direction, the Steelers need to get back to greatness at the linebacker position across the board.

Upgrade the front seven against the run
The trademark of the Steelers defense has always been the ability to stop the run. This quality eluded them this season and stands out as a critical leak to fix. Is Steve McLendon unfairly targeted as the problem (as Dave Bryan strongly contends) or is a change at the nose needed? Can Al Woods be the answer? Can Ziggy Hood be resigned and have his strength put to better use? Or with weakness at linebacker and a lack of a Casey Hampton-type nosetackle, should the Steelers consider sprinkling in some 4-3 in their scheme where the talents of McLendon, Woods and Hood may be better suited? This question will need to be answered if the Steelers hope to stop the run in 2014. Keep a sharp eye on the early front office maneuvers as it will tip their hand on their thoughts.

3. Tweak the Offense
One of the biggest surprises of the season is how the offense came together toward the end of the season. The year began with the line being a liability. It ended with the line being a strength. Yes, the run blocking needs to improve but pass protection evolved to be their best in many years. Kelvin Beachum shocked at left tackle. Marcus Gilbert solidified at right. David DeCastro ascended at right guard and Ramon Foster was productive at left. Fernando Velasco, Cody Wallace, Mike Adams and yes…Guy Whimper proved they can add depth and quality to the roster. Even getting Levi Brown resigned at the veteran minimum could really solidify the bench. Then there is the return of Maurkice Pouncey, which is like adding a free number one draft pick to 2014. Le’Veon Bell…answered the rookie bell and Antonio Brown had an All-Pro type of season and has years of productivity ahead of him. With quarterback Ben Roethlisberger playing at peak performance and using a quick release that could extend his career, the future is looking bright for the offense. But some tweaks are still necessary in order to dominate.

Upgrade at wide receiver
Much depends on what the Steelers do with Emmanuel Sanders. Although most of the Steelers faithful are considering him long gone and saying good riddance to boot, it would behoove the team to make an effort to keep him in Black and Gold. It takes years to develop wide receivers and if they could keep Sanders it would bring stability and youth to that position for years. If Sanders is gone, the Steelers will almost certainly need to use one of their first or second round draft picks on another receiver, a selection which is much more desperately needed for defense. Could they use a tall receiver? Are they missing a deeper threat? Yes…but even this year’s offense is strong enough for a Super Bowl if it was paired with one of our great defenses of the recent past. Hopefully Sanders can learn from his former Young Money buddy, Mike Wallace, and realize just because the cash is green, doesn’t mean the grass is greener. Especially when you’re leaving Heinz Field and Steelers Nation.

Retain the offensive line
The Steelers have all of the quality and depth they need if they are able to retain the players they have on the offensive line. What they need now is an intensive off-season to reduce injuries and to develop strength in order to weave together a powerful unit for years to come. Sign where they can and extend where possible. No need to dabble too much in free agency or to go high in the draft if they can simply keep their own.

Prospect at Tight End
The full return to the health of Heath Miller and Matt Spaeth will be all the Steelers need to make a major upgrade at tight end for 2014. This allows them to get a low-cost, high upside prospect or two to develop over the next couple of years.

What about you? What do you think are the top New Years Resolutions for the Pittsburgh Steelers?

Last edited by deweybeachde; 01-01-2014 at 03:27 PM. Reason: Missed re-signing Sanders
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Old 01-01-2014, 02:36 PM   #9
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Default Re: 20 questions before the draft

great article! I thought this is huge and it's something we should all keep in mind as fans:

"there is much to be optimistic about the 2014 season. A few shrewd moves by the front office could get the team positioned for excellence and with a strong youth movement already afoot, the Steelers could be locked and loaded for many years to come.

But ONLY if they are successful this off-season. Which means this could be shaping up to be the most important period of free-agency and draft time the team has experienced since…well…last year, which was critical as well."

They aren't necessarily going to carry the success into the next season, this 2013 team did a fantastic job of pulling together, but there could just as easily be another big salary cap purge that will leave them in a position similar to the beginning of this past season.

I have high hopes though!
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