Daily Archives: May 20, 2012

Steelers and Bengals Drafts Discussed on Yahoo Sports’ Shutdown Corner Podcast with Doug Farrar and Greg Cosell


Yahoo Shutdown Corner editor Doug Farrar had draft guru Greg Cosell on his podcast Thursday, talking about the early projections of the 2012 draft classes of the AFC North.

They both rightfully lavished heavy praise on the draft class of the Cincinnati Bengals, both this year and last year. The Bengals’ trade-down move behind Pittsburgh to select Wisconsin OG Kevin Zeitler while the Steelers selected Stanford OG David DeCastro, a move that could end up being one of the better debates in football; who would you rather have? The mauler (Zeitler) or the technician (DeCastro)?

Cosell on A.J. Green: ‘I think he’s well on his way to being a top 5 receiver in this league. He seems like a much smoother and quicker athlete than someone who’s 6-foot-4.’

Cosell on the Bengals CB Dre Kirkpatrick: “He did not consistently play to his physical attributes, but his physical skill set is definitely there. I’ve heard people talk about transitioning him to safety, I don’t know why they’d want to do that.”

(NOTE: Kirkpatrick recently signed a four-year contract with Cincinnati)

“I really like Mike Zimmer as a defensive coach. I think a number of these (younger) guys will get a chance to contribute.”

This is the part that scares me about Cincinnati. They have drafted very well, and even better for them, they’ve taken guys who can play right away. Is Kirkpatrick very dissimilar to Browns CB Joe Haden? Both of them will be outstanding cornerbacks in the league

Cosell on the future argument of Zeitler vs. DeCastro: “I’m in the minority here, but personally, I thought Zeitler was a little bit more complete than DeCastro. I think Zeitler is a better athlete than DeCastro is. I thought he had more scheme versatility. I thought Zeitler fits great in a zone scheme, and I’m not sure DeCastro does. Given what the Bengals want their guards to do, I think Zeitler is the better choice, and I think he would have been the better choice if both would have been available.”

It’s worth noting Farrar notes his “man crush” with DeCastro. He also noted he didn’t see a great level of strength with DeCastro in comparison to Zeitler.

Steel City Insider publisher Jim Wexell has also noted Zeitler’s strength and power as well. DeCastro is more of a technician, and the highest and best use for each of them is a dime vs. 10 cents. If Zeitler bludgeons people and DeCastro simply outplays people, they’re both likely to get the job done the vast majority of the time.

Cosell on Steelers RB Chris Rainey: “I love this pick for them. It’s funny how things change in given years, and where people get drafted — I like Rainey more than Dexter McCluster, and McCluster was a second-round pick of the Chiefs [in the 2910 NFL draft]. The reason he’s a fifth-round pick? He is what he is. He’s not a feature back, but you design 12 to 15 plays [around him], whatever you choose — but this guy can score from anywhere on the field.”

Well put, if you’re a supporter of Rainey. He’s not going to be a feature back (probably), but is Darren Sproles a feature back? He’s a highly effective player, and that’s certainly a high ceiling to expect from the rookie, but drawing up a certain amount of plays designed to get Rainey the ball in space is a smart idea. The amount of touches he’ll get – something we’ve discussed on BTSC a few times – remains to be seen, but plain and simple, speed kills.

Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

Ohio State Players Will No Longer Miss OTA Sessions Starting Next Season

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If you have not heard by now, the Pittsburgh Steelers first and second round draft picks, guard David DeCastro and tackle Mike Adams, will not be able to take part in the teams’ first OTA session that takes place this upcoming week because the semesters have not ended at their respective schools. Both Ohio State and Stanford use the quarter system instead of the semester system and this is what is preventing both of the rookie linemen from being able to attend.

As Ed Bouchette points out, Adams will miss the OTA sessions through the first week of June, but he should be able to attend the mini-camp Read more […]

Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers

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Wallace Not Expected for Start of Steelers OTAs This Week

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The Steelers will begin OTA’s on Tuesday and will likely be without wide receiver Mike Wallace and two offensive line starters.

Wallace has not signed the one-year, $ 2,742,000 tender offered him as a restricted free agent, and various reports say he will not do so before Tuesday.

Wallace is not required to sign the tender and the only thing required of any of their players — provided they are under contract — is to attend minicamp June 12-14, which will end these spring sessions.

Come June 15, however, the Steelers are permitted to change the amount of that tender to 110 percent of Wallace’s 2011 salary. That would reduce his ’12 salary to $ 577,000. Sources say they will not do that, at least not before training camp opens.

Two rookies possibly being counted on to start on the line cannot report for OTAs either. The top two draft picks, guard David DeCastro and tackle Mike Adams, cannot attend until the semesters end at their schools. That means Adams, of Ohio State, will miss through the first week of June. DeCastro will miss all of OTAs and minicamp because Stanford’s spring quarter goes through mid-June.

Source: Steelers Gab

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Former Steelers LB Greg Lloyd Sounds Off On Direction of Offensive NFL


Many Steelers fans have been waiting for former LB Greg Lloyd to weigh in on the NFL’s current direction of offensive emphasis and general “safety” initiatives.

The wait is over.

Lloyd, speaking to WXIX-TV in Cincinnati while at Bengals coach Marvin Lewis’s charity golf tournament (Lewis was Lloyd’s position coach in Pittsburgh), minced no words over the matter, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who remembers Lloyd from his “I Wasn’t Hired For My Disposition” t-shirts.

He played up the recent scoring increases the NFL has seen in comments about the state of the league.

I don’t want to see a game where the damn score is 75 to one or 75 to two, all this passing and passing. I want to see somebody hit a quarterback, … that is what people come to see. And at the end of the day if he gets hurt, so be it.

It’s unclear whether NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will seek to fine Lloyd for his comments, but no doubt, someone’s going to try to reach out to Lloyd, typically media-reclusive, to ask him about bounties. No mention of that question is in the report.

What is, though, is Lloyd’s typical bravado and wit, calling out Goodell for what he feels is a watering down of the game he played at a high level throughout the 1990s, as well as a lack of effort, in his eyes, to have protected players during his time.

This is not PBS, it’s not the public channel that you go watch. It’s the National Football League, it’s a violent freaking game. The point of it is that if the NFL and the league would get behind and start taking care of their older players and taking care of guys, they wouldn’t have these issues. As opposed to saying, ‘Hey, go out there, do it hard, then bang we’re done with you.’

Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

Greg Lloyd: If QBs get hurt, so be it–but care for them in retirement

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Former Steelers linebacker Greg Lloyd says he’s sick of seeing the way the NFL is changing to a league that makes protecting the quarterback paramount. “I don’t want to see a game where the damn score is 75-1 or 75-2, all this passing and passing,” Lloyd said on WXIX-TV in Cincinnati, via NFL.com. “I want…

Source: ProFootballTalk » Pittsburgh Steelers

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Steelers Transactions Include Release of OT Trevis Turner, Signing of CB Andre Freeman, K Danny Hrapmann


Tribune-Review reporter Scott Brown, amongst others, reported Friday the Steelers released OT Trevis Turner, and signed CB Andre Freeman, an UDFA out of Slippery Rock.

The move to release Turner was likely in part to the recent signing of OT Kyle Jolley, who also looks to contend for the last tackle spot the team will carry with it on its full 53-man roster. Turner would still be practice-squad eligible.

The Steelers also recently signed rookie free agent K Danny Hrapmann, a 2010 All-America selection who tailed off a bit his senior year with Southern Mississippi. Bringing in competition for your kicker, especially when he’s Shaun Suisham, is a good idea, but it takes quite a bit for a rookie free agent to beat out a veteran in the off-season.

Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

Ex-Trinity star looks forward to life after football

Thu, 17 May 2012 17:23:14

Andrew Sweat held the dream of playing in the NFL for 18 years, from age 5 …

Source: TribLIVE RSS Feeds

Is the Position of Running Back Still a Valued Commodity? Not as Much as in Years Past According to the Draft Trends

TUSCALOOSA, AL - APRIL 17:  Running back Trent Richardson #3 of the University of Alabama Crimson Tide runs for a first down during the Alabama spring game at Bryant Denny Stadium on April 17, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Dave Martin/Getty Images)

It’s pretty safe to say that a huge segment of Steeler Nation still loves the running game. It’s Steelers football. It’s our identity. If you make any case for why franchise quarterbacks and passing the football are the way to win in today’s NFL, you’d probably get five counter-arguments from Steelers fans emphatically stating that a good ground attack is always the best way to win a football game.

“Forget about the trends! It doesn’t matter what the rest of the NFL is doing! This is Steelers Country, and here, we run the ball!”

However, it’s kind of hard to ignore trends in sports because they usually tell a pretty good story.

Growing up in the 80’s, I was a huge fan of running backs, and there certainly were plenty to be entertained by. I loved watching guys like Eric Dickerson, Tony Dorsett, Walter Payton and John Riggins take over games either by running away from their competition or running them over.

I was also pretty intrigued by college running backs, and as most of you probably know who read my stuff regularly, I often fantasized of the day that the Steelers would use their first round pick to draft that franchise running back of the future. I would then finally get to watch an awesome Dickerson-esque franchise back play for the Steelers and dominate both the opposition and the record books each and every Sunday.

There always seemed to be plenty of backs taken every year in the first round, but other than the time the Steelers selected Tim Worley out of Georgia with the 7th overall selection in the 1989 NFL Draft (so much for that fantasy), they usually focused their first round energy on building up other areas of the team.

But this isn’t, yet, another post by yours truly lamenting that sore subject of my youth. No, this is about the four-decade decline of running backs being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.

I’m obviously a big enough football fan to know that the NFL has trended towards the air more and more with each passing (no pun intended) year, but I hadn’t really paid attention to the number of running backs drafted in the first round in each decade; that’s not something you just know off-hand unless you’re either Mel Kiper or just plain nuts about the draft.

But I became intrigued by the subject after the conclusion of the most recent NFL Draft. There were three running backs drafted in the first round this year, and that isn’t necessarily an indication of a downward trend–for example, there were only three running backs drafted in in the first round in 1984 and 1985 combined–but it did spark my interest enough to do some research on the trends of running backs drafted in the first round, and whether or not there actually has been a decline over the years.

Thanks to wikipedia, I was able to do that research, and the stats tell me that the number of running backs drafted in the first round has trended downward over the past four-decades.

In a twenty year span from 1970-1989, there were 88 running backs drafted in the first round for an average of 4.4 per draft.

That tells me that teams were placing way more emphasis on the run in those days, and they needed a horse in order to carry out their game-day strategy.

However, over the next twenty years, things shifted just a bit. From 1990-2009, there were 65 running backs drafted in the first round for an average of 3.25 per draft.

If there aren’t as many running backs taken in the first round these days, what offensive skill position is gaining momentum?

Well, wide receiver, of course.

In the decade of the ’70’s, there were 25 wide receivers drafted in the first round compared to 41 running backs. But in the decade just concluded–the 00’s–there were 43 wide receivers drafted compared to 31 running backs.

These days, receivers like A.J. Green and Julio Jones are being drafted in the top 10–last year, the Atlanta Falcons traded five draft picks to the Cleveland Browns in order to move into the sixth spot so they could draft Jones–while productive running backs like Chris Johnson and Mark Ingram are slipping into the end of the first round.

This tells me that NFL teams are putting way more emphasis on passing the football these days, and they need a gazelle in-order to carry out their game-day strategy.

So, while we might still covet a good hard-nosed running attack here in Steeler Nation, it’s easy to see what the rest of the NFL likes.

Franchise backs are still nice to have (who wouldn’t want Adrian Peterson as the focal point of their team?), but wide receivers are just a little more valuable in today’s NFL.

At least that’s what the draft trends say.

Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

Steelers fill out preseason roster with signings

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Fri, 18 May 2012 17:23:15

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