Daily Archives: April 2, 2012

BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Pick No. 9 — Carolina Panthers Select Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College

Boston College's Luke Kuechly poses with the Lombardi Award on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011, in Houston. Kuechly won the Lombardi Award as the nation's top collegiate lineman Wednesday night, beating out Alabama linebackers Courtney Upshaw and Dont'a Hightower and Stanford offensive tackle Jonathan Martin for the award. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

We’re back on pace with the 9th pick of the 2012 BTSC Community Mock Draft! Thanks go to WolfpackSteelersFan for the measured analysis and thoughtful write up. Next up: Buffalo Bills, and they’ll be represented by Cannon36. -barnerburner-


The Carolina Panthers need some serious help on the defensive side of the football. In 2011, Carolina struggled to stop both the run and the pass. They gave up the eighth most rushing yards, the ninth most passing yards, and the fifth most total yards in the NFL last season. They were also eighth worst in yards per rush, and tied for last place in adjusted yards per pass (all rankings from PFR.com). So, it appears that the Panthers should really pick a top defensive player with the ninth pick in the draft. The question is, which player is the best choice and where is their biggest need? After checking a few draft sites, I saw, CB, DT, and LB all as their biggest need. Given their poor rankings in both rush and pass defense, maybe each position is equally as big of a need. If they were to consider offense with this pick, a top young WR would not be a bad idea for them, since Steve Smith is nearing the end of his career.

I also checked in with the fine folks at Cat Scratch Reader, the Panthers’ SBN blog, to get their insight into Panthers’ needs and who they favored for the ninth pick. They were as varied in opinion as the draft sites that I had seen. Some at CSR thought they were set at DT with several young options, while others thought their young options were too mediocre. Others favored LB or even OL, while most agreed that CB should only be the pick if Claiborne fell to 9, which hasn’t happened in our mock. If I went DT, who would be the choice? Should I choose Dontari Poe? After he blew up the combine, some have compared Poe to Haloti Ngata. Or, is he merely another workout warrior who has all the measurables but will be a bust? It doesn’t matter since, he’s gone already. I would have passed, though. I just don’t think a guy whose biggest factor is upside potential due to the combine is a top ten pick.

As I have continued my research, I have narrowed my picks down to the following possibilities: DE Quinton Coples, DT Fletcher Cox, LB Luke Kuechly, and G David DeCastro. Coples is rated as the top pass rushing DE in this draft by most sites that I have seen. He appears to have all the tools, and he has prototypical size for the position. The knock on him is that he lacks consistency, sometimes taking plays off, and he is a selfish player. In the past season, he resisted his coaches’ moving him to DT because he was worried how it would impact his draft status. Cox has lined up at both DT and DE, and he has a good motor. But, as mention above, the Panthers do have some young DTs that they drafted last season.

Kuechly and DeCastro seem to be the safest picks at this point. Kuechly is the top ILB in this draft, with two years of elite production at Boston College. David DeCastro has been talked about as the best OG in the past ten years. The issue with each is that the conventional wisdom is that you don’t take an ILB or a G in the top ten of the draft. Since Coples went at pick 7, my choices are now down to Kuechly or DeCastro, who seem safe bets to be solid starters for the next decade.

Ultimately, to me both were equal value, but the greatest need for Carolina is on the defensive side of the ball. Luke Kuechly, from all reports that I have seen, is a tackling machine. If the young DT’s that the Panthers have pan out, then Kuechly should add a lot in terms of shutting down the run for the Panthers. Even if they struggle, he should help them out. With 4.58 40 speed, he should also be fine in coverage across the middle. Coming from BC, I would expect him to have a high football IQ, as well.

Luke Kuechly vs Clemson 2011 (via JmpasqDraftjedi)

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Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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An Exclusive Look At Hines Ward’s Atlanta Mansion

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ATLANTA, Ga. (KDKA) — After 14 seasons with the Steelers and a potentially “Hall of Fame” worthy career Hines Ward now has a lot of free time on his hands.

He’s spending his retirement at his palatial home outside of Atlanta, Ga., where he recently took KDKA’s Bob Pompeani on an exclusive tour.

Ward says he designed the 13,000 square foot house himself, clipping pictures from magazines for years before he actually built the place.

“I just put a lot into it,” said Ward, who revealed that his mother will be moving in with him next month now that she’s retiring. “Crazy we’re retiring the same year. We’re going to take a vacation to Hawaii and just sit back and reflect and enjoy life.”

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While the house is filled with memories, the trophy room is where Hines displays his most prized possessions in a case that’s built into the wall. Inside he displays the two replica Lombardy trophies and representing the Steelers two Super Bowl victories he was a part of, along with the MVP trophy from Super Bowl XL, and the mirror ball trophy he won on Dancing With the Stars. Also on display are his two Super Bowl rings, and in the corner, son Jaden’s first t-ball trophy.

“He puts his own trophies in here,” laughed Hines.

The other room that would be the envy of any football fan: the TV room with its 100-inch flat screen TV surrounded by four 42 inch flat screens. “I look forward to having the guys over on Sunday and watching the game. It’s the Jerry Jones of man caves,” joked Hines.

When Hines and his friends aren’t making use of the TV room, you might find them in the billiard room, or the poker room, or whipping up a snack in the gourmet kitchen. Of course he also has a workout room, which still contains the hyperbaric chamber that he used to recover from injury to be able to play in the Super Bowl in 2005.

“I’m still gonna use it. I paid a lot of money for it.”

The room is painted Georgia Bulldog red, in salute to his college alma mater, with the team’s logo superimposed on the floor. The room also sports a sauna and massage tables.

The outdoor space of the home is as spectacular as the interior, with a huge pool and a full sized basketball court that also gives a nod to the Bulldogs. The court features the team logo, and Hines planted hedges all around.

“I made the hedges because Georgia is known for between the hedges. I try to bring the stadium here. It gets competitive. We play basketball and then go hop in the pool. We have some good games out here.”

Also in the backyard is a stone grotto with a hot tub and small niches for dozens of candles. “It’s nice when you light it up at night.”

Hines says he spared no expense with this house because he wanted get it just right. “(Everything I wanted) I put it in. I wanted it all,” Hines told Bob.

That includes 28 flat screen TVs that will all be tuned to one channel come fall.

“When football season comes around it’s going to be Steelers on every TV,” vows Hines.

“We’re going to be cheering them on.”

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Filed under: Sports, Steelers, Syndicated Sports Tagged: Atlanta, Bob Pompeani, Hall Of Fame, Hines Ward, Pittsburgh Steelers

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The Story On Dont’a Hightower

By Jeremy Hritz
More and more mock drafts are beginning to emerge as we get closer to Thursday, April 26th, and over and over, the most popular name to be called by the Steelers at number 24 is Alabama inside linebacker Dont’a Hightower. Conventional wisdom asserts that the Steelers will draft either an offensive lineman or Hightower with the first pick, yet the depth at the offensive line position in the draft makes it likely that the Steelers will select Hightower. Since the possibility is strong that the Steelers will take Hightower, it is worth the effort to take some time to get to know Read more […]

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Pittsburgh Steelers Announce Plans for 80th Season Celebration

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BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Pick No. 8 — Miami Dolphins Select Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M

Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) dives into the end zone for a 65-yard touchdown run as Oklahoma State safety Markelle Martin (10) tackles him during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

I would’ve had this, the 8th pick of the 2012 BTSC Community Mock Draft, up earlier but I didn’t get a chance to put it together last night. Thanks go to MiamiSteelersFan for the prompt response and write up, even though my slacking didn’t reflect it. Next up: Carolina Panthers, and they’ll also be appropriately represented by WolfpackSteelersFan. -barnerburner-


The story of the 2012 offseason for the Dolphins sounds familiar: openly shopping to replace someone who is still around. Except instead of now ex-coach Tony Sparano, it’s Matt Moore who had to sit idly as the Dolphins unsuccessfully pursued Peyton Manning, Matt Flynn, et al. Though the club did sign former Jaguars QB David Garrard, the future of the position remains murky. In a town that thrives on star-power, the Dolphins have little choice but to take a risk and draft QB Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M, with the 8th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Although lacking the glamour of Luck or RG3, the 6’4″, 220lb Tannehill should inject some hope into the perennially middle-of-the-pack organization. With the addition of Garrard, the Dolphins can let Tannehill develop for a year before putting the weight of the franchise on his shoulders. The Dolphins do have needs at WR and on the defensive line, however GM Jeff Ireland’s hand is a bit forced based on the Manning swing-and-miss. Ireland also believes the WR position in particular can be addressed in later rounds of the draft (encouraged by the success of our very own Antonio Brown, I’m sure).

Coming into March, Tannehill was considered by most as a late-first round prospect. However, based on the movement in the draft and a successful pro day, drafting Tannehill with the 8th pick isn’t the stretch it once seemed. We’ll have to wait and see if Tannehill can be the long awaited franchise QB, a role that hasn’t been filled since Dashing Dan Marino retired.

Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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In the Community – “A Look Back at 2011” (1 of 8)

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AFC North Notes: Mayock on Browns’ pick

ITEM: Mayock advocates Tannehill at No. 4 for BrownsNFL Network analyst Mike Mayock told Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer recently that Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill is a franchise quarterback and t…

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Pittsburgh Steelers Pre-Draft Visitor Profile – G Brandon Brooks – Miami (Ohio)

We are gearing up for the 2012 NFL draft now and will be profiling players the Pittsburgh Steelers have in for pre draft visits along with a few others along the well that match what the Steelers will likely have on their draft board. Up first is guard Brandon Brooks from Miami (Ohio) University.

Despite a nice senior season, Brooks did not receive an invite to the NFL scouting combine in late February and was the biggest snub of the offensive linemen draft hopefuls not in Indianapolis. During his career at Miami of Ohio he played both guard spots and some left tackle well. His thick build dictates Read more […]

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Will Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisber Have Mike Wallace To Throw To In 2012?

What are the Pittsburgh Steelers waiting for in the re-signing of the young talented wide receiver Mike Wallace? We are a month into free agency and Wallace’s future as a Pittsburgh Steeler is still surrounded with a question mark. The question remains if Ben Roethlisberger will have one of his favorite targets to throw to in 2012. The Steelers didn’t sign Hines Ward who we saw retire rather than trade in his Black and Gold to play for another team and the Steelers have had plenty of shake-ups in their coaching staff. Why they haven’t given Wallace a new deal is anyone’s guess at this point.
Wallace the three year veteran has played well for the Steelers. In 2011 he played in all 16 games and had 72 receptions for 1,193 yards and scored 8 touchdowns. In 2010 Wallace caught 60 passes from Big Ben and had 1,257 yards for a 21.0 yard average. Not bad right? What the heck are the Steelers waiting for with Wallace, there are plenty of teams that would love to have…

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