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Old 02-20-2009, 11:41 PM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Column: Steelers off-season decision just beginning

Column: Steelers off-season decision just beginning
http://timesonline.com/articles/2009...0222885313.txt
By Mike Bires, Times Sports Staff

The Pittsburgh Steelers have made their first move in their attempt to field a team capable of a serious Super Bowl defense. They played tag again with Max Starks.

On Thursday, they tagged Starks as a franchise player in a move that figures to keep their offensive line basically intact for the 2009 season.

It’s the first of several major decisions for the powers to be, most notably personnel director Kevin Colbert.

Next up is finalizing an extension for linebacker James Harrison, the MVP of SB 43. An announcement may come sooner than later.

Harrison’s agent, Rochester Township’s Bill Parise, has already begun negotiations. Colbert said recently that re-signing Harrison was his No. 1 priority, even more important than dealing with issues on the offensive line.

If Colbert is true to his word, Harrison’s new deal is expected.

Next on Colbert’s to-do list is deciding on starting cornerback Bryant McFadden, who’s eligible for unrestricted free agency starting a week from today.

Preferably, the Steelers would love to keep McFadden. He’s their second-best corner. But McFadden has said he’s excited about getting that “nice check” he could fetch on the open market.

With the money Harrison will soon get and the $8.5 million Starks will make as a franchise player, the Steelers may not be able to match offers McFadden may get from other teams.

“He is a priority,” Colbert said of McFadden. “(But) we understand that we’re not going to be able to keep this team together. We will continue to negotiate with all of our free agents.”

Even though the Steelers could lose McFadden and second-team wide receiver Nate Washington via free agency, they’re optimistic about matters on the O-line.

Now that Starks is the franchise player, Marvel Smith’s days in Pittsburgh are over. With a chronic back problem, he’s damaged goods. That’s why the Steelers were willing to pay Starks the average salary of the five highest-paid linemen in the league.

Last year when he was the transition player, Starks was paid $6.9 million, the average of the 10 highest-paid salaries for an O-lineman. Now that he’s at left tackle, where he played once Smith went down in Week 6, Starks is better suited. Don’t be surprised if Starks agrees to tear up his franchise player contract in favor of a long-term deal. After all, he’s only 27.

Regarding left guard Chris Kemoeatu, 26, who is eligible for unrestricted free agency, look for him to be re-signed soon, too.

Right tackle Willie Colon, who took the starting job away from Starks two years ago, turns 26 in ApriI.

After a slow start, Justin Hartwig developed into a steady center. At 30, he’s still has a lot of football ahead of him.

At right guard, Kendall Simmons, who is soon to be 30, hopes to recover from an Achilles’ tendon injury and play significantly better than his replacement, Darnell Stapleton.

The Steelers should have most of their free-agent matters settled soon. Then they can concentrate on the draft.

Defensive line, offensive line, wide receiver and cornerback seem to be the most pressing needs.

“We always talk about the Steeler Way,” Colbert said. “It’s all about trying to do the right thing all the time.”

Mike Bires can be reached online at mbires@timesonline.com
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Old 02-21-2009, 05:43 AM   #2
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Default Re: Column: Steelers off-season decision just beginning

So it's settled then, we take a CB in the first Rd. I blame the Raiders.

Just in case:

SI.com

Offensive lineman

1. Eugene Monroe, Virginia, OT: A dominating tackle prospect with exceptional athleticism and body control. Best described as a "dancing bear" on the edge, Monroe does an outstanding job of shadowing agile rushers off the edge. His ability to stay square in pass protection is rare and has scouts raving about his potential on the next level. Though some would like to see Monroe play more aggressively as a run blocker, his finesse style is effective due to his sound technique and fundamentals. He is masterful at working angles and is an efficient blocker on the second level. Monroe is undoubtedly the best tackle prospect at the position and should be the first offensive linemen taken on draft day.

2. Jason Smith, Baylor, OT: A former tight end who brings outstanding athleticism to the position. Smith has the lateral quickness to neutralize speed rushers off the edge and possesses the strength and body control to stop bull rushers in their tracks. Though Smith is exceptional in pass protection, he has also shown signs of developing into a dominant run blocker. He consistently moves defenders off the ball and is one of the best finishers in this year's draft class. With a rare combination of size, strength and athleticism, Smith is a franchise-type offensive tackle who should come off the board early in the first round.

3. Andre Smith, Alabama, OT: A mammoth offensive line prospect who simply mauls defenders at the point of attack. Blessed with exceptional size and strength, Smith is most effective as a drive blocker in the running game. His ability to create a surge along the line will improve any running game. As a pass blocker, Smith has good balance and body control, but struggles against speed off the corner. Though he is able engulf most rushers with his size, he will have problems containing elite rushers as a pro. In fact, his struggles have led some scouts to project Smith as a guard prospect. Smith is still considered a first-round talent, but teams are undecided to which position will best suit his skill set.

4. Michael Oher, Mississippi, OT: An intriguing prospect with the physical tools to develop into a top notch offensive tackle. As one of the best athletes at the position, Oher displays the balance and body control to handle finesse rushers off the edge. Additionally, the former Rebel has the strength to stop bull rushers without allowing penetration. Oher also shows good strength and power as a run blocker. He routinely dominates defenders at the point of attack, and creates a solid push along the line. Though scouts would love to see Oher dominate his foes consistently, they love his potential and view him as one of the top prospects at the position.

5. Alex Mack, California, C: An outstanding prospect with terrific size and strength for the position. Mack is explosive after the snap and shows tremendous power moving defenders off the ball. His ability to hold his own against a number of heavyweights at the Senior Bowl cemented his status as a top-notch interior run blocker. While Mack has been lauded for his physicality in the running game, he also has the balance and body control to neutralize pass rushers. He anchors well against power and shows surprising quickness when mirroring quick rushers in pass protection. It is rare for a center prospect to come off the board in the first round, but Mack's overall ability is so superior he warrants serious consideration at the bottom of the round.

6. William Beatty, Connecticut, OT: The former Husky's performance during Senior Bowl week skyrocketed his value on draft boards. An exceptional athlete with outstanding size and strength, Beatty shows the potential to develop into a franchise-caliber offensive tackle. Though he is still raw in some technical aspects of the position, Beatty's footwork and lateral quickness allow him to effectively shadow speed rushers off the edge in pass protection. As a run blocker, Beatty has the quickness and movement skills to work effectively on the second level. He routinely seals the edge on outside runs and is an impressive blocker in space. With enormous potential and upside, Beatty will continue to climb up the charts with solid pro workouts and may wind up sneaking into the bottom of the first round.

7. Max Unger, Oregon, C: An exceptional center prospect with rare athleticism and body control for his size, Unger possesses outstanding movement skills and is one of the few centers in the game capable of getting out of his stance to pull on outside runs. Additionally, Unger is a quick-footed athlete who is nimble enough to shadow finesse rushers in pass protection. His balance is rare for such a big man, and many scouts project Unger as a combo player (center/guard) as a pro. At any rate, Unger is one of the top interior blockers available and should hear name called near the top of the second round.

8. Jamon Meredith, South Carolina, OT: An experienced and durable prospect with solid overall skills. Meredith started 25-consecutive games for the Gameprofanityfilterprofanityfilterprofanityfilterp rofanityfilters and projects as a right tackle as a pro. Armed with a strong punch and surprisingly light feet, Meredith shines in pass protection. Though his lack of bulk (he only weighed 289 during his senior season) makes him susceptible to bull rushes and power moves, he does a respectable job of battling top rushers on the edge. As a run blocker, Meredith lacks the power to consistently move defenders off the ball, but is a sticky blocker who works hard to finish. With solid tackle prospects scarce, teams value an all-around prospect like Meredith and will make a play for his services in the second round.

9. Eben Britton, Arizona, OT: A prototypical tackle prospect with exceptional size (6-foot-6, 310 pounds) and skills for the position, Britton is a better-than-advertised athlete who effectively uses his long arms to keep defenders stymied in pass protection. Although he occasionally loses discipline with his footwork and fundamentals, Britton's raw talent allows him to win the majority of his battles on the edge. As a run blocker, Britton is neither dominating nor forceful, but he is effective at keeping his guy out of the play. Britton is far from a polished product at this point, but his size and untapped potential makes him an intriguing prospect in the second round.

10. Phil Loadholt, Oklahoma, OT: The former Sooner star is a behemoth (6-8, 348 pounds) with good strength and power. Loadholt uses his massive frame to engulf defenders at the point of attack and is most effective as a straight-line blocker in the running game. Although he flashes some agility for his size, he lacks the movement skills to be effective on the second level. In addition, his lack of athleticism is exposed in pass protection, as he routinely struggles against speed rushers off the edge. While Loadholt is sure to have his struggles on the edge as pro, some scouts believe that he has a chance to develop into a serviceable pro in the right run-based system.
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Old 02-21-2009, 05:50 AM   #3
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Default Re: Column: Steelers off-season decision just beginning

. Michael Oher, Mississippi, OT: An intriguing prospect with the physical tools to develop into a top notch offensive tackle. As one of the best athletes at the position, Oher displays the balance and body control to handle finesse rushers off the edge. Additionally, the former Rebel has the strength to stop bull rushers without allowing penetration. Oher also shows good strength and power as a run blocker. He routinely dominates defenders at the point of attack, and creates a solid push along the line. Though scouts would love to see Oher dominate his foes consistently, they love his potential and view him as one of the top prospects at the position.

He's my favorite

Here's a behind the scenes story on Oher.....

http://www.nfl.com/combine/story?id=...s&confirm=true


Another player I really like is....Kraig Urbik of Wisconsin OG, OT

Last edited by Steelcitygal87; 02-21-2009 at 06:33 AM.
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Old 02-21-2009, 06:37 AM   #4
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Default Re: Column: Steelers off-season decision just beginning

after watch bench press in combine,louis vasquez is really strong and we can take a good o-lineman in round 2 so in round one the question is the b-mac problem if he gone steelers looks at cornerback and our defensive line is old but i prefer an o-lineman in round one.
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Old 02-21-2009, 08:26 AM   #5
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Default Re: Column: Steelers off-season decision just beginning

i say drafting a cb is a big in the 1st day if we don't sign b-mac... deshea is old and we need to find another young good corner...

dumbass raiders 3 yrs 43 mill.... grrr
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Old 02-21-2009, 10:42 PM   #6
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Default Re: Column: Steelers off-season decision just beginning

I just hope and pray the tag on Starks does not hurt us in trying to retain McFadden. Most likely though he will be leaving for a bigger paycheck. I would rather have seen us keep our 2nd best CB on this roster than an average LT and paying him an average of the top 5 OL players. Can't wait to see what kind of deal Harrison gets.
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Old 02-21-2009, 10:44 PM   #7
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Default Re: Column: Steelers off-season decision just beginning

Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyoder6 View Post
i say drafting a cb is a big in the 1st day if we don't sign b-mac... deshea is old and we need to find another young good corner...

dumbass raiders 3 yrs 43 mill.... grrr
You thinking 2nd round?
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Old 02-21-2009, 10:52 PM   #8
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Default Re: Column: Steelers off-season decision just beginning

Depending on who is on the board, I wouldn't be surprised to see us trade our first round pick for a 2nd round and 3rd round pick.

Pick up a decent O line and CB in the second round, then go fishing for a D line and some other lineman in the 3rd round with 3 picks in the third round. Yeah, I like that idea a lot. . . IF some good lineman are still available when it comes time for us to draft in the second.
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