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Old 04-24-2011, 10:17 AM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Harris: Lining up to ink Ike

Harris: Lining up to ink Ike

By John Harris
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, April 23, 2011

He can't catch a cold, much less an interception. His questionable hands are the object of ridicule, but free agent cornerback Ike Taylor could have the last laugh.

New York. Philadelphia. Denver. St. Louis. Arizona. Houston. Those are some of the teams targeting Taylor, whose combination of pass coverage skills and run-forcing ability are difficult to come by.

Other teams such as Baltimore Baltimore! Carolina, Washington, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and Dallas could also be in play for Taylor, who turns 31 on May 5.

When it comes to the soap opera involving Taylor's NFL future will he stay or will he go? it isn't about for whom he'll play in 2011 as much as where he won't play.

"I still say the Giants, but I'm hearing Denver and Houston. St. Louis loves him a lot,'' said Dave-Te' Thomas, who operates Scouting Services Inc. and produces the NFL Draft Report for 27 of the 32 teams. "The Giants have always been high on Taylor. And with his agent's relationship with the Giants, I could see them getting involved."

Taylor is represented by New York-based attorney Joel Segal.

"I see him ending up anywhere but Pittsburgh," Thomas said. "He's in a great situation because it's a bad draft for cornerbacks.''

That's bad news for the Steelers, who because of the lockout will be forced to approach the draft next week assuming Taylor won't be back.

"Teams have to go into this draft with a whole new mindset,'' Thomas said. "If you have a player who's a free agent, you have to consider him (gone).''

The most surprising element about Taylor's foray into free agency isn't that he may not finish his career with the Steelers. Rather, it's why the Steelers permitted Taylor to become an unrestricted free agent.

The Steelers' lack of talent at cornerback behind Taylor headlined by Bryant McFadden, William Gay, Keenan Lewis, Anthony Madison and Crezdon Butler is well documented. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. this week said the Steelers will have "monumental issues if Taylor isn't there.''

Kiper made no mention of Taylor's 11 career interceptions in eight seasons with a high of three in 2007. Thomas believes that lack of interceptions is why the Steelers have been reluctant to re-sign Taylor.

"If Taylor had those interceptions, the Steelers would have known they had to sign him, so they're using that as an excuse,'' Thomas said. "I just don't think that Pittsburgh thinks he's worth the money. If he was worth the money, they should have gotten a deal done a long time ago.

"He's made sacrifices. He re-did his contract to help them (Taylor restructured his contract twice so the Steelers could sign linebacker James Harrison and running back Rashard Mendenhall). Ike is a great stepchild for the Steelers. He will do everything the stepfather wants him to do, but the stepfather still feels he's not one of their own. They've seen how many times he's conceded at the contract table and that Ike will concede this time.

"This time, Ike is saying, 'I need my money.' ''

Taylor has been off-limits to the media since February. He told the Tribune-Review during the week of the NFL Scouting Combine he was excited about his pending free agency.

"This is a good time for me to be a free agent," Taylor said. "Teams (have seen) my tape. People are finally paying attention."

Thomas considers Taylor among his greatest success stories. He advised teams prior to the 2003 draft to select Taylor over Louisiana-Lafayette teammate Charles Tillman, who was more highly regarded coming out of college. Tillman was drafted in the second round, two rounds before Taylor. But Taylor has had a better NFL career.

Still, Thomas didn't hesitate to criticize Taylor's hands, which are the weakest part of his game.

"Even though I discovered Ike, I'm not going to play favorites,'' Thomas said. "I've got to call it like it is. He knows what his weaknesses are, so he concentrates on his strengths.''

Those strengths have teams lining up to sign Taylor, who has never missed a game because of injury.

In Baltimore, owner Steve Bisciotti told reporters during his end-of-the-season news conference that the Ravens pattern themselves after the Steelers. What better way to emulate Baltimore's top rival in the AFC North than to sign Taylor, who would fill a need at cornerback while also weakening the Steelers?

"They have those two Super Bowl trophies in the last five years, so they have the confidence,'' Bisciotti said of the Steelers. "We're trying to be there, and we're close. When we get there, we're going to be more confident.''

If the thought of Taylor signing with the hated Ravens raises the hair on the back of your neck, so should the Steelers' unexplained willingness to allow Taylor to become an unrestricted free agent.

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



Read more: Harris: Lining up to ink Ike - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...#ixzz1KSDIkpgC
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Old 04-24-2011, 11:43 AM   #2
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Default Re: Harris: Lining up to ink Ike

Oh boy. This scares the living shit out of me
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Old 04-24-2011, 12:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: Harris: Lining up to ink Ike

This article makes it sound like Taylor is the biggest name in free agency. He's not. Asomugha is the much bigger fish. And with each passing day the lockout situation isn't resolved, the chance that free agency is canceled this year entirely becomes better and better.

Last edited by Sixburgher; 04-24-2011 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 04-24-2011, 06:59 PM   #4
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Default Re: Harris: Lining up to ink Ike

If we lose him someone else will step up. It's the Steeler way. The cupboard looks pretty bare at DB, but we'll be OK. If the Steelers don't resign Ike, it's because they are probably being smart with their money. They just don't overpay for talent. Would love for us to lock him up for 3 or 4 more years though.

If he goes to Baltimore it will make me sick initially, until he gets to see how it feels being on the losing side in a big game. The Jets AFCC game was sweet with Santonio walking off Heinz Field and going home instead of to the Super Bowl with us, where he should have been if he could have just kept out of trouble.
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Old 04-24-2011, 09:30 PM   #5
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Default Re: Harris: Lining up to ink Ike

If he isn't re-signed, I look for him to go to Steelers West - Arizona. If he goes to Baltimore, I'm going to puke.
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Old 04-24-2011, 09:50 PM   #6
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Default Re: Harris: Lining up to ink Ike

Quote:
Originally Posted by mesaSteeler View Post
Harris: Lining up to ink Ike
"I see him ending up anywhere but Pittsburgh," Thomas said. "He's in a great situation because it's a bad draft for cornerbacks.
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...#ixzz1KSDIkpgC

With Peterson, Amukamara, A. Williams, Jimmy Smith, Ras-I Dowling, and Curtis Martin, this is one of the deepest CB classes in a long time. I have no idea what Thomas is talking about.
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Old 04-25-2011, 10:28 AM   #7
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Default Re: Harris: Lining up to ink Ike

If we actually do lose Ike, we better be REALLY aggressive in the free agent market for once. We have a VERY small window to get back to the Super Bowl, like two years with the current guys, and even if we got Patrick Peterson in the draft (I know thats not happening just using an example) the corner situation would still be abysmal because no rookie is going to come in and anchor a secondary against top wideouts.

I'm not saying we need to shell out a billion dollars for Nnamdi (although if Taylor leaves I believe we should put eveything we possibly can into getting Aso) but we're gonna need SOMEBODY notable, talented, and experienced.
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Old 04-25-2011, 11:27 AM   #8
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Default Re: Harris: Lining up to ink Ike

Quote:
Originally Posted by StainlessStill View Post
Oh boy. This scares the living shit out of me
I don't know. If the market truly is dry for CB help, and we do end
up having free agency at some point, we have to move on. Ike
is not worth top CB $. 2nd tier? I think so. But if he commands top
shelf CB $, have to move on. I am expecting McFaddon to be much
better, as he had a bad hip all year. If he has healed up he will be
back to being solid. We just have to find a decent starter for the
other side, with Gay playing in the slot, where he is fine.
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Old 04-25-2011, 11:30 AM   #9
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Default Re: Harris: Lining up to ink Ike

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhantomJB93 View Post
If we actually do lose Ike, we better be REALLY aggressive in the free agent market for once. We have a VERY small window to get back to the Super Bowl, like two years with the current guys, and even if we got Patrick Peterson in the draft (I know thats not happening just using an example) the corner situation would still be abysmal because no rookie is going to come in and anchor a secondary against top wideouts.

I'm not saying we need to shell out a billion dollars for Nnamdi (although if Taylor leaves I believe we should put eveything we possibly can into getting Aso) but we're gonna need SOMEBODY notable, talented, and experienced.
I disagree. _IF_ (and we know it won't happen) we got Peterson, he
would, indeed, hold up if we just had him play man. He is so
physically talented, that if you just ask him, "Line up on your guy
and cover him" he will be able to do that even as a rookie. He has
sick skills. He is also sick stupid, but if all you ask is to cover his
man, he can do that. Deion Sanders could cover, even as a rookie.
Peterson my not have _that_ level of cover skills, but he is still mad
skilled.

Moot point, since we won't sniff that high of a pick.
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Old 04-25-2011, 11:31 AM   #10
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Default Re: Harris: Lining up to ink Ike

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanRooney View Post
With Peterson, Amukamara, A. Williams, Jimmy Smith, Ras-I Dowling, and Curtis Martin, this is one of the deepest CB classes in a long time. I have no idea what Thomas is talking about.
Just an asshole agent, lying when his lips move.
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