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Old 04-27-2007, 10:02 PM   #1

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Default Lenny P. of ESPN Inside Tip Sheet

Here are 2 little snip-its

Steelers cornering market: The Steelers' interest in University of Pittsburgh cornerback Darrelle Revis, whom team officials know well, because the Panthers share a practice facility with the NFL team, is pretty legitimate. But almost as compelling as the possibility that a kid from Aliquippa, Pa., could wind up playing for the team he idolized as a kid is the reclamation project that first-year head coach Mike Tomlin has taken on with veteran corner Ike Taylor.

Despite possessing some of the worst hands of any cornerback in the league, Taylor, a four-year pro, was viewed as an emerging young star only a year ago, and the Steelers signed him to a new five-year, $22.5 million contract last September. By the end of the year, though, Taylor had been benched by then-coach Bill Cowher, who lost as much confidence in the right cornerback as Taylor had lost in himself. Tomlin, though, restored Taylor to the No. 1 unit in last week's minicamp, and has been working overtime to pump up the talented young cornerback.

"I love him," a freshly motivated Taylor said of his rookie coach. "I try to talk to him every day, just to see where I'm at, just to see the little things I might need to work on. He's a hands-on guy. I couldn't ask for anything better."

Tomlin is a former secondary coach and understands that Taylor can be as good as any cover defender in the league. So he's definitely not about to give up on him. Tomlin also understands that you can never have enough good corners. So while the Steelers have some solid young outside coverage guys in Taylor, Bryant McFadden and Ricardo Colclough, they wouldn't mind landing Revis, who is one of only two surefire first-round cornerbacks in this year's draft.

Faneca can be had for right price: Pittsburgh officials won't trade star left guard Alan Faneca just to get rid of the six-time Pro Bowl performer who has not participated in the offseason conditioning program and skipped the first minicamp under Tomlin. But they will listen to offers and consider dealing him for the right price. Owner Dan Rooney and team president Art Rooney II will do just about anything they can to avoid distractions for Tomlin. And the potential training camp absence of Faneca, a team captain, qualifies as a distraction. Faneca is upset that his contract, which calls for him to earn a base salary of $3.375 million in 2007, hasn't been extended. He sees the money that lesser guards are earning now and is justifiably miffed. Beyond that, Faneca wasn't thrilled when the Steelers hired Tomlin over his former offensive line coach Russ Grimm.

The Steelers, who aren't about to start paying their guards $7 million a year just because some other misguided franchises have begun to do so, might jump if someone offered a second-rounder for Faneca this weekend. And don't be surprised if Pittsburgh chooses Auburn guard Ben Grubbs in the first round. The No. 15 slot is probably too high for Grubbs, who some feel is the second-best offensive lineman in the draft, but Pittsburgh might be able to slide back a few spots and still grab him. Grubbs is a Steelers-type player, a blue-collar, smashmouth guy who will grow into a Pro Bowl guard. The Steelers aren't in love with their other starting guard, Kendall Simmons, who is going into the final year of his contract. Coupled with the problems they are experiencing with Faneca, it could be that the Steelers will undertake a dramatic overhaul at the guard position.

What do you guys think? ... I would be pretty pumped if we dropped back in the first, picked up Grubbs, got an extra second or third and could add a skill position player at WR and RB and still be able to get an OLB or DE tweener in the secondv
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Old 04-27-2007, 10:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: Lenny P. of ESPN Inside Tip Sheet

Hey, paw-n-maul-u, I moved this thread to the "Draft Central" forum as it seems more appropriate there. Thanks.
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