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Old 04-25-2012, 07:10 AM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Secondary primary for Steelers in NFL Draft

Secondary primary for Steelers in NFL Draft
Photo by Travis Bell/Sideline Carolina
About Ralph N. Paulk
Tribune-Review Sports reporter Ralph N. Paulk can be reached via e-mail or at

Depth at DB

Defensive backs drafted by the Steelers since 2008:

2008:S Ryan Mundy, West Virginia (6th round)

2009:CB Keenan Lewis, Oregon State; CB Joe Burnett, Central Florida (3rd)

2010: CB Crezdon Butler, Clemson (5th, compensatory pick)

2011: CB Curtis Brown, Texas (3rd); CB Cortez Allen, Citadel (4th)

Head of the class

2012 NFL Draft prospects: Defensive backs

1. CB Morris Clairborne, LSU

2. CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama

3. CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina

4. S Mark Barron, Alabama

5. S Harrison Smith, Notre Dame

6. CB Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech

7. CB Trumaine Johnson, Montana

8. CB Janoris Jenkins, North Alabama

By Ralph N. Paulk
Tribune-Review

Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 12:30 a.m.
Updated 7 hours ago

In the weeks leading to the NFL Draft, it’s difficult to imagine coach Mike Tomlin didn’t relive the final seconds of the Steelers’ stunning 29-23 overtime defeat in the opening round of AFC playoffs in Denver.

If it wasn’t safety Ryan Mundy biting on a Tim Tebow play fake, it was Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas slapping aside cornerback Ike Taylor as he sprints toward the end zone for the game-winning 80-yard touchdown.

On Monday, Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert made it clear the Steelers are prepared to address their shortcomings in the secondary. While offensive line might be a position of need, last year’s top-ranked pass defense needs a playmaker, considering the Steelers had only 11 interceptions.

“Need is not a good word,” Colbert said.

Need might be an ugly word for Colbert, but the Steelers’ pass coverage breakdowns in big games may necessitate taking the best available defensive back in the first round Thursday. If there’s any doubt, Tomlin only needs to reflect on the Mile High debacle — or Baltimore’s Torrey Smith splitting cornerback William Gay and safety Ryan Clark for a game-clinching 27-yard scoring reception to cap a 92-yard drive with eight seconds left for a 23-20 win at Heinz Field in November.

Taylor, for the most part, was consistent in 2011. Clark led the Steelers with 100 tackles, and safety Troy Polamalu had 91 tackles and a team-high two interceptions.

But last year’s third- and fourth-round picks, cornerbacks Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen, were slowed by injuries. Crezdon Butler and Keenan Lewis were steady but unspectacular.

“What’s going on with our current team won’t influence what we do in the draft,” Colbert said. “We’re going to look at this with the potential to add more players to the mix.”

Brown and Allen could have bigger roles with the release of veteran Bryant McFadden and the departure of Gay via free agency.

“There’s a possibility that we could add some competition there but we are excited about the prospects of these young men — Brown and Allen,” Tomlin said. “We drafted them a year ago with the potential of these things in mind. They’ve been a part of our program and have been given the opportunity to contribute in some ways, on special teams and even in some sub-package defense for Cortez.”

With the 24th overall pick, the Steelers probably won’t have a chance at the top defensive back prospects — cornerbacks Morris Clairborne of LSU and Dre Kirkpatrick of Alabama, and safety Mark Barron of Alabama.

Colbert said the talent pool is deep with cornerbacks. He isn’t nearly as confident in finding safeties, particularly late in the draft.

But if the Steelers are left without an offensive lineman worthy of a first-round pick, several defensive backs could be available — including cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore of South Carolina and Jayron Hosley of Virginia Tech, and safety Harrison Smith of Notre Dame.

Ralph N. Paulk is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at rpaulk@tribweb.com or 412-320-7923.

Read more: | TribLIVE | Pittsburgh http://triblive.com/sports/1085348-8...#ixzz1t3MiHdGz
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Old 04-25-2012, 09:45 AM   #2
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Default Re: Secondary primary for Steelers in NFL Draft

I do believe we should start grooming a safety and Brandon Taylor, Markelle Martin, Brandon Hardin or Trenton Robinson would be a nice edition to the team but with us being 4 strong at CB I do not believe we need to draft a CB before the 5th-6th round if at all.
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Old 04-25-2012, 02:45 PM   #3
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Default Re: Secondary primary for Steelers in NFL Draft

There is only one safety with a first round grade, and people are talking about him being a top 10 pick now. They do not need a first round CB. Of course they'll draft one eventually, since they always carry at least 5. I think they may carry only 5 this year, however, since they seem to really like Da'mon Cromartie-Smith. Or perhaps they could save some cap money by cutting Will Allen and having Cromartie-Smith be the 4th S. Ralph Paulk is always skewed toward the secondary, so his comments are to be taken with a grain of salt.
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Old 04-25-2012, 03:36 PM   #4
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Default Re: Secondary primary for Steelers in NFL Draft

SS, Antonio Allen/ South Carolina



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Old 04-25-2012, 03:55 PM   #5
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Default Re: Secondary primary for Steelers in NFL Draft

I've been getting ripped on this forum talking about this exact thing, Guess what Steeler Nation the best thing that happed to this team in years is the departure of Gay to open a spot for a 1st round CB who is ready to Start NOW! Gay was an improved CB but not right for a team that requires a CB to play on an island as the Steelers do.
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Old 04-25-2012, 05:07 PM   #6
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Default Re: Secondary primary for Steelers in NFL Draft

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Originally Posted by casteeler View Post
I've been getting ripped on this forum talking about this exact thing, Guess what Steeler Nation the best thing that happed to this team in years is the departure of Gay to open a spot for a 1st round CB who is ready to Start NOW! Gay was an improved CB but not right for a team that requires a CB to play on an island as the Steelers do.
Not gonna rip you for saying cornerbackis a need but I will for you thinking a cornerback would start in this defense his first year. Receiver talent and skill is far greater in the NFL and requires a lot of study to be a productive cornerback, and on top of that Labeau has the most intricate play design of any defensive coordinator in the league. Almost all of Steelers Nation is confident in our 3 young corners and the coaches are enthusiast to see what they can do with greater play time.
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Old 04-25-2012, 05:31 PM   #7
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Default Re: Secondary primary for Steelers in NFL Draft

def. need a safety, set at corner...
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Old 04-25-2012, 08:16 PM   #8
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Default Re: Secondary primary for Steelers in NFL Draft

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Originally Posted by Dalarin View Post
Not gonna rip you for saying cornerbackis a need but I will for you thinking a cornerback would start in this defense his first year. Receiver talent and skill is far greater in the NFL and requires a lot of study to be a productive cornerback, and on top of that Labeau has the most intricate play design of any defensive coordinator in the league. Almost all of Steelers Nation is confident in our 3 young corners and the coaches are enthusiast to see what they can do with greater play time.
This^. I think we are good at CB and that one, if not both of our young draft picks will step up this year. I also think we will get solid play from Lewis. That said I can understand some people thinking CB is a need because Allen and Brown have are unproven. But we will not START a rookie CB on this team. If we were to get someone like Dre Kirkpatrick he might see a good amount of play time, but as mentioned, with the intricacy of this defense they will not start and likely won't be any better THIS YEAR then Gay was last year. There are plenty other positions we need help at more then CB: O line needs drastic help, we need an ILB and a NT, we need to start grooming a safety. But it will be interesting to see what we do if a solid #1 CB is around when we pick, will we go for them or not?
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Old 04-26-2012, 01:43 AM   #9
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Default Re: Secondary primary for Steelers in NFL Draft

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Originally Posted by casteeler View Post
I've been getting ripped on this forum talking about this exact thing, Guess what Steeler Nation the best thing that happed to this team in years is the departure of Gay to open a spot for a 1st round CB who is ready to Start NOW! Gay was an improved CB but not right for a team that requires a CB to play on an island as the Steelers do.
Name me more than 5 cornerbacks in the league that you would have play on an island as you say. Atlanta just got Asante Samuels to bolster what they saw as a weakness with Brent Grimes and Dunta Robinson. In other words, a player that got picked ahead of Roethlisberger and a guy that they just franchised were still not good enough.

And you expect the steelers to have 2 shut down corners. You are living in fairy land my friend. and you unfairly pinned all your misery on one player -William Gay. You like things simple because if it is simple in your mind, you can follow it.

All I'll say is that you've got a whole lot of learning and growing to do.
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Old 04-26-2012, 05:17 AM   #10
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Default Re: Secondary primary for Steelers in NFL Draft

Need to find a Safety that can play in Denver. I see us making a few trips up there come playoff time.
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