Daily Archives: April 23, 2012

Steelers Have 24th Selection in 2012 NFL Draft

The Pittsburgh Steelers will have the 24th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft that will be held April 26-28 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The Steelers have a total of 10 selections in the 77t...

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Colbert and Tomlin Chat Draft and Wallace in Pre-Draft Talk with the Media

Head Coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers talks with General Manager Kevin Colbert

Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin spoke with the assembled media about the draft, and shared their thoughts on a variety of topics, including moving in the first round, the positions of need, and the talent level of this years crop of players.

Colbert said that CB’s and WR’s are aplenty in this years class, and when asked early about the prospect of moving up or down in round one, the GM stated “as always we will make our calls, we will know who’s interested in coming up or coming down or coming back up from behind us. We will weigh the costs of doing business with each of those teams.”

A lot of the talk with the Steelers has been about what is going on with the current roster. WR Mike Wallace is going to be on the Steelers roster in 2012, as he didn’t get an offer from another team as a restricted free agent.

Reports say Wallace will not sign his 1st round tender, which would pay him about $ 2.7 mil. Colbert said that he’s not changing the draft and the Steelers thoughts due to that, and Tomlin said he’s not worried about the reports that Wallace is prepared to sit out camp and not ink the tender at all.

“What goes on with our current team as it stands right now won’t influence what we are going to do in the draft,” Colbert said. “Anything like that doesn’t effect us at all.”

“We’re not worried about the reports, there were reports every day that he was going somewhere in restricted free agency,” Tomlin said. “He’s still here, and we’ll deal with it day to day.”

Colbert said that the deal with Wallace will stay the same – try to get Wallace inked. “Our goal with Mike as it’s always has been is to sign him to a long term contract,” Colbert said.

The Steelers have the 24th overall pick, and while the Steelers have lost some impact players this offseason (Hines Ward, James Farrior, Aaron Smith), Colbert says don’t look right away for Steelers draft picks to take the field and be big impact guys.

“Coach will make a final decision on when guys will play,” Colbert said. “But, there’s not of players in this draft that could come in and be immediate impact guys for us.”

The Steelers have always prided themselves on making good picks in the first three rounds, and have had more success stories than many in the NFL. Colbert said you can’t miss on those picks, as it could set back the team.

“We’ve missed like everyone else has, but we’re going to keep track by keeping score at the end of the year,” Colbert said.

Source: Steelers Gab


Former Steeler To Announce Second-Round Draft Choice

Former Steelers center Dermontti Dawson will announce Pittsburgh’s second-round draft choice this Friday, April 27, at Radio City Music Hall. This is the second consecutive year that NFL alumni hav...

Source: Pittsburgh Steelers : News

Video: Steelers Immaculate Reception Documentary: Right Place Right Time

I have received a few emails from readers asking if I have seen the latest documentary video about the Immaculate Reception, which will celebrate its 40th anniversary this coming December, so I thought I would pass it along to the rest of you in case you have not seen it. The name of the documentary is "Immaculate Reception: Right Place, Right Time." It is just under 6 minutes long and includes interviews with Franco Harris, Guy Junker and Bob Dvorchak among a few others that were at Three Rivers Stadium for the legendary AFC divisional playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Read more [...]

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Pre Draft Press Conference


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General Manager Kevin Colbert and Head Coach Mike Tomlin address the media about this upcoming weekend's NFL Draft.

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BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Pick No. 28 — Green Bay Packers Select Shea McClellin, DE/OLB, Boise State


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It took me too long to make this pick. I never expected to wrestle with it for as long as I did. Just lock-and-load to second-guess and rip away. Next up: Baltimore Ravens and they'll be represented by our very favorite, Mr MaLoR.

By the way, take note of the cool little minute-long draft profiles from SBN NFL that are embedded with these picks. It's been Michael Bean's personal project to make these videos happen, and let us know what you think of them! -barnerburner-

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I had a lot of trouble and did not know who to go with here for the Green Bay Packers.

I could at least narrow it down to one side of the ball - with their offense tops in the league in scoring and 3rd overall in yards per game, and their defense a below average 19th in scoring and the league's caboose at 32nd in yards per game.

Then I could look at their 29 total sacks - which tied them with the Colts, Bills, and Chiefs for the 27th worst mark in the league and the third-lowest total overall - to deduce that something disappeared from their Super Bowl-winning front seven in 2010 (47 sacks, tied for 2nd overall).

And then... I was stuck.

I mean I did make a pick to meet a deadline, but I'm still second-guessing it to a degree.

Do I go with a defensive lineman to play end in their 3-4? Or do I go with an outside linebacker to play opposite Clay Matthews?

Defensive linemen:

  • Devon Still, Penn State (6'5, 303)
  • Jerel Worthy, Michigan State (6'2, 308)
  • Kendall Reyes, Connecticut (6'4, 299)

Two guys with somewhat solid Day 1 grades, another guy with a late-1st/early-2nd round grade. I really wanted to throw out Jerel Worthy right from the get-go because of (what I think is) his relative lack of size (in this case, height/length). Then I looked up what Cullen Jenkins is listed at, and he's apparently 6'2, 305. It's relevant because in retrospect, the loss of Jenkins and the lack of depth to consistently fill that void this past year (Jenkins had 7 sacks in just 11 games in 2010) is what largely precipitated the Packers' fall from lofty defensive standards.

(Potential) outside linebackers:

  • Shea McClellin, Boise State (6'3, 260)
  • Andre Branch, Clemson (6'4, 259)
  • Vinny Curry, Marshall (6'3, 266)

The four big-name DE/OLB prospects - Melvin Ingram, Nick Perry, Whitney Mercilus, and Courtney Upshaw - have all been taken, leaving me with an assortment of late-1st/early-2nd round prospects.

(I also tried to consider Chandler Jones, DE from Syracuse here, but wasn't entirely sure how he could best maximize his potential in a 3-4. So I threw him out.)

Narrowing down the DL prospects

I ended up throwing Jerel Worthy out anyways because 1) the more I read about him, the more he sounded like a penetrating 4-3 DT that would be out of place at 3-4 DE (like Corey Liuget, the Chargers' 2011 1st round pick, though Liuget may still develop by leaps and bounds going into his second year); and 2) because I just can't take him over Still, when they both played the same position in the same conference and Still was the one named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year (maybe it's just me though).

The thing is, I eventually decided against Still as well. I think Still is a relatively safe pick that the Packers could take here, and he could certainly help shore up the run defense and create some pressure that linebackers can clean up on. He would definitely be an asset to the team, but my gut feeling is that his effectiveness in a 3-4 would be a step below his effectiveness as a disruptive 4-3 DT. As such, I'm not sure if his value to the Packers here is far enough ahead of the value of a DL prospect from the next tier - like Brandon Thompson from Clemson or Jared Crick from Nebraska - both of whom should be available closer to their 2nd round pick.

And since I could not take Kendall Reyes ahead of both Still and Worthy, and because Reyes' draft stock reminds me a little bit of Kentwan Balmer's back in 2008, I have to throw him out too.

Narrowing down the OLB prospects

This was really tough, but I crossed Andre Branch off the list first. It was more of a gut feeling than anything, but I'll do my best to try to articulate the logic I think I had - McClellin and Curry both seem to me like they could have more to contribute to the Packers right now, even while they grow into the defense. Curry apparently already has a good array of moves in his pass rushing arsenal, and McClellin has some moves as well and a non-stop motor that will never give up on a play, along with the experience of having lined up all over the field at Boise State. All the reports I read on Branch talked about how he can be lightning quick, but they all also talked about how he's a bit of a one-trick pony right now when pass rushing. I think I figured that of the three of them, Branch was the most likely to be a Larry English/Jerry Hughes-type bust.

So in the end...

With the 28th pick in the 2012 BTSC Community Mock Draft, the Green Bay Packers select Shea McClellin, DE/OLB, Boise State.

Yep, it just happened. At the risk of being accused of just going with a pick that's "in vogue" right now, I actually am going with McClellin. I really did not expect to decide on him, but that's just the way it shook out for me today. And I'm not going to partially cop out and say that I'd like to trade down and get him later - I'm taking Shea McClellin and I'm taking him right here. Even if the Patriots take a different pass rusher ahead of me, I have no assurance that they won't double-down and take McClellin with their other 1st rounder (they are currently without both of their leading sack-getters this past season). I can't guarantee that the 49ers won't take another OLB for their rotation either. I know that the Colts should be in the market for an edge rusher with the second pick of the 2nd round to help flesh out their brand new 3-4 (which MaLoR points out in what is a fine piece of work).

I think Vinny Curry has better potential as a pure pass rusher - and we did begin this exercise in part to try to figure out how best to address the Packers' low sack total - but by all accounts he would require a ton of work before he could start dropping into coverage. I'm not necessarily just looking for someone to duplicate Clay Matthews on the opposite side (though that's not a bad end-result); I'm looking for as well-rounded a complement as I can find, who will provide greater flexibility to the defense across all of their various formations (especially if they go back to more 3-4 base defense, and then might need OLBs to drop more often out of that formation). I think McClellin is a better OLB prospect overall, because he has the experience of standing up and moving all over the field. The tiebreaker was McClellin's ability to excel in coverage sooner than Curry could.

I know that quite a few guys at Acme Packing Company aren't quite on board with taking him in the 1st round, and that's fine. I'm just not going to take their reasoning and use it completely in lieu of mine. The kid from Boise State has got speed, awareness, and a fantastic motor - what more do you want? The only knock is sack production specifically (seeming to "regress" with just 6 sacks in 2011 after 9.5 sacks in 2010), which then turns into the usual concerns about someone that "never dominated" against non-BCS competition. In rebuttal, I think you do have to give him a bit of a pass for the drop in sacks, because the experience he was gaining in coverage had to come at the expense of pass rushing opportunities. Furthermore, when Boise State went to play Georgia at Georgia, McClellin reportedly had a great performance against Cordy Glenn.

I'm still not sure I made the right decision to pass on Devon Still. However, with the Packers typically being the least active team in free agency (even less active than us), the fact that they went out to sign a guy like Anthony Hargrove to help address the position makes me a bit more comfortable with waiting to address the DL until the 2nd round or later (they have no idea yet if Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins will return to play football, so they could take a replacement early on Day 2).

BTSC 2012 Community Mock Draft Picks:

  1. Indianapolis Colts -- Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
  2. Washington Redskins -- Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
  3. Minnesota Vikings -- Matt Kalil, OT, USC
  4. Cleveland Browns -- Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
  5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
  6. St. Louis Rams -- Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis
  7. Jacksonville Jaguars -- Quinton Coples, DE, UNC
  8. Miami Dolphins -- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Texas A&M
  9. Carolina Panthers -- Luke Kuechly, LB, Boston College
  10. Buffalo Bills -- Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame
  11. Kansas City Chiefs -- Brock Osweiler, QB, Arizona State
  12. Seattle Seahawks -- Melvin Ingram, DE/OLB, South Carolina
  13. Arizona Cardinals -- Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa
  14. Dallas Cowboys -- Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama
  15. Philadelphia Eagles -- Mark Barron, S, Alabama
  16. New York Jets -- Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
  17. Cincinnati Bengals -- Cordy Glenn, G/T, Georgia
  18. San Diego Chargers -- Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC
  19. Chicago Bears -- David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
  20. Tennessee Titans -- Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
  21. Cincinnati Bengals -- Michael Brockers, DT, LSU
  22. Cleveland Browns -- Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford
  23. Detroit Lions -- Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois
  24. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Dont'a Hightower, LB, Alabama
  25. Denver Broncos -- Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
  26. Houston Texans -- Stephen Hill, WR, Georgia Tech
  27. New England Patriots -- Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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Someone said Wallace is holding out

So the always reliable unnamed source dropped some insider info that Mike Wallace ahs decided not t o sign his tender “until he has to.” Now, Wallace hasn’t said anything about anything but apparently someone thinks they know the situation. We hate unnamed/anonymous sources – we get that Deep Throat made them cool and nothing would get written if they didn’t exist but come on, man up.
If Wallace is planning on holding out, is he planning on waiting to sign before the June 15 deadline when the Steelers can drop his tender from $ 2.74 mil down to $ 577,500? Will he wait until the Steelers head to Latrobe in July? Will he wait until just before the regular season starts in September? Will he sit out the first 10 weeks like Vincent Jackson did a few years ago?
There’s no chance Wallace sits out the entire year though, otherwise he loses his unrestricted free agent status and he’s right back where he started with all of this RFA business. And if no team bit on his $ 120 million self-appraised price tag this offseason, why would any of them jump at it a year later – when he hasn’t played for an entire season?
Kevin Colbert is supposed to talk about it today so that should shed some more light on this, but this situation is starting to get very similar to Jagr Watch and ConcussionGate so we could end up just ignoring the rumors until an actual person comes out and says something or something actually does happen instead of just continuing to react to the breaking news that there is no news.
If this is a game Wallace wants to play, the Steelers need to just walk away now. Wallace is good but he’s a one-trick pony that burns corners with ease but is pretty average when it comes to everything else that’s expected of a No. 1 wide receiver. We want Wallace back but not if it means the Steelers are going to waste their time and money on him and we end up hating him in the end.

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Mike Wallace won’t sign tender ” until he has to.”


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Mike Wallace, the biggest deep threat in football today has dug his heels in the sand and has told sources within the Steelers camp that he won’t sign his first-round tender “until he has to.”
Posturing aside, Mike Wallace and those that are advising him might want to get together and have a little pow-wow.
Wallace’s entire game up until now has circled around his speed, his speed and well his speed. The Steelers have Antonio Brown on the roster for the serious route running.
Please click the link below to read the rest of this story and watch a Mike Wallace video.

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Mike Wallace Still with the Pittsburgh Steelers After No Teams Make Offers

Mike Wallace is still with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the question now is when exactly he will join the team.
The deadline for another team to make an offer to Wallace passed on Friday with no offers to the receiver. That is good news for the Steelers because Wallace now must stay with Pittsburgh unless they choose to trade or release him, but that is highly unlikely.
However, Wallace told someone within the Steelers organization that he will not sign his tender until he has to. This could mean that Wallace will not be with the team until after training camp begins. Wallace isn’t happy with the 1st round tender that Pittsburgh is offering him, $ 2.7 million, and is seeking a long-term deal.
One can’t fault Wallace for wanting to get paid after he outplayed his initial rookie contract. Wallace is a top 10 receiver in the NFL and wants to be paid as one. The problem for Wallace is that Pittsburgh has never overpaid a player who they think is replaceable. The Steelers have two very g...

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

Money(Foot)ball: Are There Wide Receiver Bargains in the NFL Draft?

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Here is the promised continuation of my previous post, "Mike Wallace, Man of Mystery," in which I compared Mike Wallace’s stats in his first three years to a number of receivers drafted after 1995 who had similar early success. The original intention for this post was to try to project Wallace's value over the next few years.

However, there have been at least several thousand words written about the Mike Wallace situation by various of the other writers on this fine blog since that first article was published. As a result I decided to make this follow-up a more general look at the career trajectory for receivers taken at various levels in the draft.

For the original post I chose 100 receivers drafted or signed as a UDFA between 1994 and 2009, out of around 520 drafted during that time. Most of the receivers I chose had early success in the NFL. Out of those 100 I looked at 27 players whose initial three years resembled Mike Wallace’s the most closely, and added in Hines Ward for interest.

Receiver_chart_1_nfl_rankings_medium

The Top Four Picks line is a result of averaging the career results for eight receivers, Braylon Edwards, Kevin Dyson, Ike Hilliard, Plaxico Burress, Johnnie Morton, David Boston, Javon Walker, and Santana Moss. (For the purposes of comparison I assumed the two years Plaxico Burress was, shall we say, otherwise engaged didn’t occur, and moved his 2011 numbers back to 2009.)

The Round One and Two line is an average of the career results for Peerless Price, Eric Moulds, Reggie Wayne, Roddy White, Chad Ochocinco, Chris Chambers, Bobby Engram, and Vincent Jackson. The Rounds Three - UFDA line is an average of the career results for Hines Ward, Steve L. Smith, Terrell Owens, Marty Booker, Laveranues Coles, Antonio Freeman, Jerricho Cotchery, Donald Hayes, Az-Zahir Hakim, T. J. Houshmandzadeh, Wes Welker, and Rod Smith.

Now let’s turn it upside down, as it were, and look at these same receivers, except this time we will look at their Approximate Value (hereafter AV) as per Pro-Football-Reference. (You can find an explanation of the Approximate Value on their website.) It’s upside down because in the NFL stats low is better, but for the PFR stats high is better.

Av_comp_medium

The PFR plots are less "noisy" because they have constrained the numbers a good bit. A banner year for a receiver would give him an AV of +10, and the highest number I saw for anyone was less than 20. The NFL rankings go up to about 170 or so, depending on the year.

If you look at either chart, though, it looks as if the best long-term results were actually with the lower-round picks. But I also realized I was very much cherry-picking in the low rounds in particular. So I went back to the spreadsheets and entered the data for all receivers drafted between 1998 and 2007. (I stopped at 2007 to give everyone at least five years in the league before looking at their numbers, and I stopped at 1998 because I was going nuts...)

I decided to stick with the PFR numbers, and entered those for everyone drafted between 1998 and 2007. I then went through the lists for each year and removed the names of the guys who just didn’t work out. I took their name off the list if they both had a WCAV of less than five and they had a career of three seasons or less. (By way of comparison, Hines Ward’s AV just for 2011, one of his worst seasons, was 3.) I figure that anybody whose accumulated AV career score is less than five, and yet still persuade a team to sign them for additional years, must have something going for them that isn’t showing up in the rankings.

Before we look at the results, let’s look at some overall information.

The total number of players drafted between 1998 and 2007, including any UDFAs who stuck in the league long enough to generate some stats, was 349. That’s an average of almost 35 players per year.

The total number of players I removed for non-performance, if you will, was 136, or 39% of the total, leaving an average of 61% of players who pan out to some extent. The best percentage for any season was in 2003, at 67% retained. The worst two were 1998 and 2006, when only 56% of the players worked out well for the team drafting them.

So now let’s run the above chart again, but this time with only the lowest performers removed. This gives us about 2/3 of the total players to look at, as opposed to about 1/5 in the chart above.

All_receivers_medium

The results now look a lot like you would expect during the first several years, when the mediocre players drag down the averages for Round 3 - UFDA in particular.

The first few years really reinforces the Advanced NFL Stats guys contention about the difference between top-four picks and everyone else. But an interesting thing happens around Year Seven. The receivers who are still playing at this point have evened out to a great extent. I’m not sure the curves at the very end of the graph are all that meaningful, because by that point only a few players are creating the stats.

Which brings to mind another interesting question—what is the average career, and does it vary by my somewhat arbitrary divisions? I don’t know. And to find out in a meaningful way I have to add the bottom third of low or non-performers back into the equation. So this may take a minute...

Here’s what I found. For this chart I divided the receivers a bit further, this time strictly by pick number, and the rest of the charts in this post will be divided this way. I kept the top four as Group 1. The next group are the fifth through tenth receivers picked in their draft. Group 3 is the eleventh through the eighteenth picks, and the last group is everyone else, minus the UDFAs. (Since the UDFAs that have a good career are outliers, for this purpose I’ve removed them from the equation, since it’s pretty well impossible to get information on the offsetting UFDA receivers who didn’t pan out.)

Avg_career_length_medium

Once again, as you might expect the higher picks are likely to stay in the league longer. With the new CBA rules it seems to me the years of maximum interest to a front office are going to be the first four or five. So once again let’s see what the numbers look like, but this time with everyone.

The next chart is the average PFR Approximate Value, averaged by draft segment, for all the receivers chosen between 1998 and 2006, 2006 being the last year a receiver could have theoretically played six years.

Avg

Notice once again if a low pick (19 or lower) sticks long enough things even out a great deal. But nonetheless there is no getting around the facts—if you want a receiver to give you an immediate impact you generally have to take them at the very top of the draft, or spend a lot of money in free agency. Neither of these are preferred tactics for the recent Steelers organization. The other option is to get lucky.

If I was looking to get lucky I think I would take a chance on some of the guys picked as the eighth to the fifteeth receiver in a draft. You are always going to have the outliers in the lowest rounds and undrafted, like Antonio Brown or Wes Welker, but you have a good chance of getting a serviceable receiver in the eight to fifteen range, and maybe better than serviceable. Mike Wallace was the 11th pick in the 2009 draft. Hines Ward was the 14th pick in the 1998 draft. Both of them are clearly outliers—they have performed at far above their expected value.

And out of curiosity, how did the Steelers do at picking receivers during the time period we've been discussing—1998 - 2006? The Steelers made a lot more top-four picks than I would have guessed: three, in fact, Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress, and Troy Edwards. (That is three out of the 36 top four receivers during the nine-year period, or over 8%. Pittsburgh represents 3% of the league.) They also made three 2nd-tier picks, D’Wayne Bates, Antwaan Randle El, and Willie Reid. They made four 3rd-tier picks, and struck black and gold on Hines Ward, in addition to Fred Gibson, Malcolm Johnson, and Danny Farmer. Finally, there were only two end of the draft picks, both pretty much total busts: Lee Mays and Chris Taylor. Nate Washington was a UDFA who made things look much better in that category. I probably shouldn’t have included him, but the bottom line is too depressing otherwise...

Pit_vs_nfl_1_medium

Pit_vs_nfl_2_medium

The Steelers look slightly better than the rest of the league, but given the number of high picks they should look better than this. However, things have changed for the better since 2006. Santonio Holmes had his flaws, but he was a great receiver, and the Steelers got great value out of him for three years. Since 2009 they have found three bargain-barrel receivers who make up one of the most exciting receiving corps in the league. For the moment, anyhow.

Finally, to return to the original Mike Wallace question for a moment, how have similar receivers turned out as they continued beyond the third year of their career? Quite well, in fact, although interestingly there tends to be a slight dip in production after the third season. Have a look at the final chart, I promise. It's pretty "noisy" but you get the general idea:

Another_6_yr_medium

There is good reason to believe that, barring some unfortunate occurrence, Mike Wallace should continue to produce at a high level. But the fact is, there isn't really enough data to come to a firm conclusion, because what Mike has done in his first three years is quite unusual.

The Moneyball way to deal with this? The Steelers squeeze the value out of Wallace this year and let him walk next year. I don't think that's what the Front Office is hoping to do. That may be what happens, though, because they don't have a choice. But it has been a great three years. I'm hoping there will be more.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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