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Old 04-18-2012, 10:25 AM   #1
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Default Defensive depth for Steelers leading into the draft

Here is the current depth of the Steelers' defense as it stands today going into the draft with my short assessments of player's reliability or potential when needed.

CB--------------------------------------------------------------------7 guys
Ike Taylor
Keenan Lewis
Cortez Allen
Curtis Brown
Walter McFadden -Bryant's brother? looks pretty good and could make the team.
Antonio Smith -small.
Myron Rolle -listed as a corner? Kind of slow for that. I hope they try him at S as well.

I might rule out picking a CB in the actual draft at all based on a strong top 4 guys. Any pick past say round 2 would be a 5th CB.

No visits either by top CBs and the only visit Keith Tandy could go in the 5th-6th.

pre-draft visit
Keith Tandy WVU

Safety-------------------------------------------------------5 guys
Troy Polamalu
Ryan Clark
Ryan Mundy -team likes him.
Will Allen -why?
Damon Cromartie-Smith -wish he would play like a Cromartie-something.

I think the team needs to pick a safety this year and I hope it is as early as the 3rd round if we can get LSU's Brandon Taylor. Not a high priority this year and could wait another year, but let's start grooming a guy for the future now. Injury and age concerns almost dictates a Safety picked somewhere. Could also go with a lower round safety as they can have a couple years to develop.

pre draft Visits
Jeremy Jones Wayne St projected as a UDFA

OLB----------------------------------------------4 guys
James Harrison
Lamarr Woodley
Jason Worilds -must do more if ever to be a starter.
Chris Carter -looking forward to seeing his progress.Could be tried on the inside maybe as well?

4 bodies and several pre draft visits tells me the team will draft yet another OLB prospect. A key to the team is that outside rush and with Harrison older and his pay each year getting higher I think they will pull the trigger but how high? Most visitors have been projected high round picks. How high they go may indicate what they think of Worilds and Carter and even Harrison's future with the team.

****An interesting option if they say pick an OLB in the first round would be to gradually move Harrison inside to prolong his career. ILBs play a lot longer then OLBs. He is great against the pass and run, and will wallop any RB trying to stop his inside blitz. Imagine Harrison with a full running start making contact with a RB in pass protect. It certainly would save his back from constant stress on every play.

pre draft visits
Nick Perry USC
Andre Branch Clemson
Cam Johnson Virginia
Olivier Vernon Miami

ILB---------------------------------------------6 guys
Lawrence Timmons
Larry Foote -older, wiser, slower?
Stevenson Sylvester -how about making a splash play even in a pre-season game?
Morty Ivy -liked in last year's preseason. could make the team this year.
Brandon Hicks - 4.85 40 and we thought Hightower was slow.
Marshall Mcfadden - 29 reps, 4.74 40 time.

If ever a position cried out for an infusion of some better pedigree this is the one. But do the Steelers take a bonafide beast at stopping the run and a ferocious inside blitzer like Hightower or do they take their chances with a faster cover type guy and hope he doesn't get enveloped by opposing teams offensive lines? After Hightower there is not many that can come close as run defenders and some even predict a lot higher pick of Hightower maybe even over Luke Kuechly.

pre-draft visits
Dont'a Hightower Alabama
Mychal Kendricks California
Jerrell Harris Alabama

DE-------------------------------7 guys
Brett Keisel
Ziggy (played guitar) Hood
Cameron Heyward
Korbin Bryant -showed promise last camp
Al Woods -ditto
Mike Blanc -don't think will make NFL
Kade Weston -ditto

All are the prototypical height and weight 3-4 guys and the Steelers could look to add some more competition with a late round pick. They may like Derek Wolfe in the 4th giving them a nice 4 man rotation on game days.

pre-draft visits
Derek Wolfe Cincinnati
Akiem Hicks Regina University (Canada) -not a NT body or NT strength.

NT---------------------------------------2 guys
Casey Hampton -pup list to start season?
Steven McClendon - nice that he can play the D-end position as well.

2 guys with one recovering from a torn ACL makes this actually the thinnest position on the Steeler's right now.Maybe it is the most logical choice that our #1 pick is going to be converted from DT Jerel Worthy. Brandon Thompson could be a possibility in round 2 along with the usual suspects like Josh Chapman and Alameda Ta'amu. Mike Martin or Nicolas Jean Baptiste maybe a bit later. 27 year old Hebron Fangupo may be the best value pick however as for a 5th round pick you could wind up with a starter that is dominate and you will get 5-6 years out of him before he hits Hampton's age. They will need somebody.

pre-draft visits
Hebron Fangupo BYU
John Hughes Cincinnati

Final thoughts--------------------------------------------------
-Well looks like NT and ILB scream for an influx of talent.
-The team is always trying to groom another OLB and the Harrison move inside may not be all that bad an idea.
-Get the jump on grooming another Safety sooner rather then later.
-CB seems to be the least defensive priority unless Stephen Gilmore is staring us in the face in round 1.
-DE can be drafted later for a backup and part of a 4th man rotation as we have our future starters there.

With the offensive needs as well this should be one hell of a 3 day draft.
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Old 04-20-2012, 08:05 AM   #2
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Default Re: Defensive depth for Steelers leading into the draft


NT Dontari Poe to the list of pre-draft visits joining

Hebron Fangupo BYU and
John Hughes Cincinnati
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