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Old 02-25-2010, 03:55 AM   #1
Galax Steeler
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Default NFL Scouting Combine: Defense priority in draft process

Thursday, February 25, 2010
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS -- Inside linebacker or nose tackle? Cornerback or guard? It will be a while before the Steelers settle on which position they will attack first with the 18th overall pick in the National Football League draft.

But the process of determining which players might best fill one of those positions begins in earnest when coach Mike Tomlin, director of football operations Kevin Colbert and numerous assistant coaches and scouts attend the NFL combine that starts today at Lucas Oil Stadium. Drills, tests, meetings and medical exams are all on the menu at the league's annual meat market of college talent.

"I think the quality of the draft is excellent," Colbert said. "It's very deep defensively. Offensively, there may not be as many big-name skill positions, but there are a lot of players. It's really a good draft, it really is."

Defense would appear to be a large priority for the Steelers, especially after the manner in which the unit slipped from its No. 1 ranking in 2008 to No. 5 in 2009. And the biggest areas of concern are defensive line, where age and quality of depth are issues; inside linebacker, where there is no young replacement for James Farrior; and cornerback, where quality, not quantity, appears to be lacking.

Some of those questions, though, could be answered today if the Steelers put a franchise tag, as expected, on five-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Casey Hampton. His return likely would mean less interest in two of the top nose tackles in the draft -- Terrence Cody of Alabama and Dan Williams of Tennessee.

Colbert said "it's an unusually deep draft" for defensive linemen. "It was unusual before the underclassmen came out. And they just enhanced it."

Here is a look at 10 players about whom the Steelers have interest and will seek answers, at the combine:

• NT Terrence Cody: Alabama ... He is a load in the middle (6 feet 5, 365 pounds) and his conditioning always will be an issue. But, when he wants to play, he is almost impossible to move.

• ILB Rolando McClain: Alabama ... At 6 feet 4, 258 pounds, he is the best inside backer in the draft and could slip as far as the 15th overall pick. That means the Steelers might not have to move up far to get him.

• DE Jared Odrick: Penn State ... A prototypical Steelers lineman who can play the three-technique or five-technique. Plays and looks a lot like Aaron Smith -- stuffing the run while collapsing the pocket.

• CB Joe Haden: Florida ... It's not a good year for cornerbacks, but Haden, who will skip his senior season, likely is the best. The Steelers need someone who can play immediately. They don't need more depth.

• ILB Sean Weatherspoon: Missouri ... At 6-2, 242 pounds, he is not as big as McClain, but he likely is quicker and a little more athletic and will be available. Lined behind Ziggy Hood with the Tigers.

• G/T Mike Iupati: Idaho ... The Steelers need a stud who can come in and play immediately on the offensive line, and Iupati, who opened eyes at the Senior Bowl, could be the guy. He also can play two positions, which the Steelers love.

• WR Golden Tate: Notre Dame ... A tough Hines Ward-type receiver with even more athletic skills who would eventually be Ward's replacement.

• OLB Navorro Bowman: Penn State ... In case you haven't noticed, there isn't a lot of depth at outside linebacker. And James Harrison will be 32 next season.

• DE Corey Wootton: Northwestern ... At 6 feet 6, 280 pounds, he can play defensive end in the 4-3 or 3-4 defense. Appears to have recovered from a knee injury at the end of his junior season.

• G Mike Johnson: Alabama ... Not a first-round pick, but the Steelers could get him on the second or possibly even third round. At 6 feet 6, 305 pounds, he also has the position flexibility to play tackle.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10056/1038481-66.stm
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Old 02-25-2010, 09:48 AM   #2
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Default Re: NFL Scouting Combine: Defense priority in draft process

do you think now that hampton is locked up for the next 3 years, that we could actually trade up in the draft to aquire Joe Haden? Let Willie Gay and Townsend walk. And have Lewis or Burnett compete for the nickel position?
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Old 02-25-2010, 10:09 AM   #3
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Default Re: NFL Scouting Combine: Defense priority in draft process

bad article. like we want to show an interest in a wide reciever idiot.
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Old 02-25-2010, 10:45 AM   #4
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Default Re: NFL Scouting Combine: Defense priority in draft process

They really should have had Earl Thomas on that list. I do like Weatherspoon and wouldn't mind getting him in the 1st now that we have signed Hampton cause I don't think E. Thomas will be there now.
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Old 02-25-2010, 01:09 PM   #5
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Default Re: NFL Scouting Combine: Defense priority in draft process

my take is the steelers have a lot of guards or players adept at playing guard, but really there aren't any tackle prospects or depth for that matter.

kemo
stapleton
essex G/T
urbik
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foster

hills will be cut during or after pre-season. that was a horrible pick, IMO.

it all comes down to who is left at 18. i don't think they will go with a NT if the hampton signing is legit.

these are the leading realistic candidates(per position of need) who the steelers have a shot at grabbing at 18...

DB - earl thomas
DL - odrick
T - bulaga
LB - weatherspoon
G - iupati

out of those players, thomas is probably the only one with a realistic shot at starting in his first year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by supa_fly_steeler
like we want to show an interest in a wide receiver
don't be surprised if they take a WR in the first or second. the steelers seem to be infatuated with WRs early (edwards, burress, holmes, sweed, randle el, blackwell, johnson, graham). on average, the steelers have a poor record with drafting WRs in the first 2 rounds. i hope they stay far away from picking a WR or RB for the entire draft.
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Old 02-25-2010, 01:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: NFL Scouting Combine: Defense priority in draft process

Quote:
Originally Posted by supa_fly_steeler View Post
bad article. like we want to show an interest in a wide reciever idiot.
I do hope we show interests in one of the later rounds though, yes 1st is too early and i would say 2nd or 3rd is too but i would like to see a WR drafted some time.
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Old 02-25-2010, 01:25 PM   #7
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Default Re: NFL Scouting Combine: Defense priority in draft process

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nadroj 20 View Post
I do hope we show interests in one of the later rounds though, yes 1st is too early and i would say 2nd or 3rd is too but i would like to see a WR drafted some time.
yea they have to look @ a WR in the later rounds......
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Old 02-25-2010, 01:49 PM   #8
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Default Re: NFL Scouting Combine: Defense priority in draft process

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nadroj 20 View Post
I do hope we show interests in one of the later rounds though, yes 1st is too early and i would say 2nd or 3rd is too but i would like to see a WR drafted some time.
selecting a wide reciever in the first few rounds just doesn't make sense.

1. they wont be wanted
2. mike wallace is our future #2 maybe even #1
3. limas mentality will just get weaker.

3b. This is the last season i'm behind him after that i flame and generally mock him. But something tells me he's going to get 200-500 year.

Theres no more excuses now.
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Old 02-25-2010, 03:32 PM   #9
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Default Re: NFL Scouting Combine: Defense priority in draft process

I really think if Earl Thomas is gone it would be wise to move down and grab Weatherspoon.
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Old 02-25-2010, 05:54 PM   #10
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Default Re: NFL Scouting Combine: Defense priority in draft process

Quote:
Originally Posted by supa_fly_steeler View Post
selecting a wide reciever in the first few rounds just doesn't make sense.

1. they wont be wanted
2. mike wallace is our future #2 maybe even #1
3. limas mentality will just get weaker.

3b. This is the last season i'm behind him after that i flame and generally mock him. But something tells me he's going to get 200-500 year.

Theres no more excuses now.
lol....Limas better step it up because if he doesn't this upcoming season he's out of pittsburgh!!!! as for wallace....this guy has a very high ceiling and he probably will be our #2 guy w/ holmes as our #1 when Ward retires.....Wallace is blazing fast and most importantly he has very reliable hands!!!!! That guy is going to develop into something special!!!!
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