Category Archives: NFL News
Need proof that Michigan State University (MSU) Darqueze Dennard is the best cornerback in 2014 NFL Draft?
- 13 games during his senior campaign, Darqueze Dennard has had 111 passes targeted into his area, allowing just seventeen of those tosses to be completed (15.32%) for 91 yards.
- In the 111 passes targeted at Dennard, he recorded fourteen passes defended (four interceptions, ten deflections) and rerouted/jammed his man coverage assignments away from 62 of those tosses (55.86%)
- Wide receivers averaged just 5.35 yards per reception vs. Dennard, the lowest figure by any starting defensive back since the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) era began in 1998.
- Dennard held the opposition to an average of 0.8198 yards per pass attempt.
That pass attempt figure is the lowest ever recorded by any college player since The NFL Draft Report, a scouting information service, began compiling in-depth statistical reports for the league in 1968. To see what some are saying about the Steelers in 2014 if they would have picked Dennard, their odds in the NFL futures might have gone well and given them a higher chance of winning the AFC Division championship. Even more impressive is the fact that only two other players went through an entire season allowing less than one yard per pass attempt.
Darqueze Dennard's Workout Numbers:
40 yard dash: 4.51
20 yard: 2.50
10 yard: 1.57
225 pound bench press: 15 reps
Pro Day Numbers:
Broad Jump: 11'02
3-Cone Drill: 7.07
- Good build with decent size
- Solid in press coverage. Above average ball skills
- Physical corner and can match up with larger NFL prototypical receivers in press coverage
- Good tackler and strong in run support
- Aggressive corner
- Is a fundamentally sound corner. Possibly a day 1 starter.
- Turns his head and locates the ball well in the air. He is probably the best man-to-man cover corner in this draft.
- Serious questions are being raised on how well he can play in a zone scheme
- Is a "grabby" corner that could easily draw holding or pass interference penalties in the NFL
- Dennard is a good but not great athlete. He does not have elite speed.
|*2010||Michigan State||Big Ten||8||3||11||2.0||1.0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1|
|*2011||Michigan State||Big Ten||30||12||42||1.0||0.0||3||38||12.7||1||6||0||0||0||0|
|*2012||Michigan State||Big Ten||34||18||52||3.5||0.0||3||49||16.3||0||10||0||0||0||0|
|*2013||Michigan State||Big Ten||33||29||62||3.5||0.0||4||38||9.5||0||10||2|
Walter Football posted their latest 2014 Mock Draft dated 4/29/2014. If the draft were to unfold like this, the Steelers should feel lucky.
1.15 Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
2.14 Stephon Tuitt, DE/DT, Notre Dame
3.97 Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss
4.118 Loucheiz Purifoy, CB, Florida
5.157 Max Bullough, ILB, Michigan State
5.173 James Gayle, DE/OLB, Virginia Tech
6.192 John Urschel, G, Penn State
6.215 Kirby Van Der Kamp, P, Iowa State
Steelers fans were nervously anticipating rookie Le’Veon Bell’s NFL regular season debut as they watched their team struggle out of the gate in the 2013-2014 NFL Season. After starting a dismal 0-3, Bell joined the team and immediately took on the brunt of the workload for Mike Tomlin’s running game.
Bell sustained a foot injury in a preseason game against the Washington Redskins and not only did it drastically limit the potential of their running game — it hurt the Pittsburgh Steelers’ official NFL odds of winning.
Those who had stashed Bell on their Fantasy Football bench at the beginning of the season rejoiced as he rushed for 57 yards, caught four passes for another 27, and ran it in for two touchdowns against the Minnesota Vikings in his first regular season game, the NFL International Series game in London.
The Reynoldsberg, Ohio native entered the NFL with considerable pedigree as a second round draft pick and the top rusher in the Big Ten during the 2012 season.
His Week 6 performance against the New York Jets was less inspiring as he carried the ball 16 times for 34 yards and caught 3 passes for another 22. That didn’t worry fans much as the Black and Yellow put their first win in the books, winning 19-6.
Mike Tomlin has been supportive of Bell’s abilities and potential, and with a less-than-impressive depth chart at the running back position, expect him to continue to get the majority of the touches in the Steelers’ back field.
Pittsburgh will no doubt look to get everything they can from the young running back as they currently sit at last in the AFC North and are a long ways away from relevance for the 2013-2014 season. Barring a drastic turnaround, the Steelers playoff hopes look to have been stalled in the midst of their early season struggles.
The NFL season is finally (almost) upon us, and for fans that means it's time to gear up for game time. For NFL fans, however, this expectation process is a bit different than for most sports fans, simply because NFL fans get so closely involved with their teams. For you, that might mean ordering the latest version of NFL RedZone from your cable provider. It might mean extensive matchup analysis to prepare yourself for some football betting at Betfair online. But for a huge proportion of NFL fans, the last few weeks before the season mean one thing in particular: it's time for fantasy drafts.
Of course, preparing for your fantasy draft involves its own set of preparations as you analyze and decide which players to target. And part of this process always revolves around finding a few "steals." So with that in mind, here are 5 players who should perform above expectations this season.
1. Larry Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald has been largely cast aside by many fantasy owners after a positively disastrous 2012 campaign. The truth, however, is that Fitzgerald had an awful offense to work within last season. With Carson Palmer now slated at QB for the Cardinals, Fitzgerald should have a more reliable partner in the offense. He may never be what he once was, but he still has off-the-charts talent, and should be a top-15 WR candidate this season.
2. Maurice Jones-Drew
MJD is certainly a risky pick, coming off a season ending foot injury in 2012 to a Jacksonville team with a new zone-blocking offensive system. That said, MJD is only 27 years old, is entering a contract year, and will be hungry to prove himself after last year's debacle. This guy can still be a top-10 RB.
3. DeAngelo Williams
The upside here is that the Jonathan Stewart/DeAngelo Williams platoon will likely take a year off due to Stewart's ankle issues. Williams should be the Panthers' main RB, which should significantly boost his production. That said, Mike Tolbert is still around to vulture goal line TDs, and Cam Newton can do it himself from close range as well. Williams will be better this season than last, but don't get too carried away.
4. Dwayne Bowe
ESPN has Bowe rated as just the 21st best WR on the board, and there is certainly reason to believe this is a fair ranking. Bowe's history is one of underachieving, and his recent payday could take away some motivation. That said however, Bowe will be the #1 target on a Kansas City team that now has the ultra-effective Alex Smith at QB. He could easily turn into a top-10 or top-15 fantasy WR.
5. Giovanni Bernard
BenJarvus Green-Ellis will be the main RB in Cincinnati, but Bernard has the talent to usurp the position. Bernard is also useful as a receiver and returner, and should get plenty of opportunity to store. If you're looking for a sleeper or keeper, this kid could turn into a star.
Change with all sides has to happen over time, and there has been a gradual change in the personnel at the Steelers over the past few years. The challenge ahead this year for head coach, Mike Tomlin, will be getting back to having a winning season after a 12-4 record and a playoff loss to Denver in 2011 turned into an 8-8 season in 2012.
Defensively, the biggest loss was linebacker, James Harrison, who was released after salary-cap issues (and is now with the Bengals) but it was the offense that saw the biggest changes, with new back-ups behind quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, a new backfield, a much-changed receiving corps, and a new look on the offensive line.
The steady part of the Steelers offense is Roethlisberger; he is the main constant in the attack and, with a new supporting cast this year, fans betting on the NFL will be hoping that he (for once) can stay healthy this year and play all 16 regular season games, something that has happened only once in all his seasons as a starter.
His fitness is vital, especially with veteran backups, Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich, gone and replaced by another veteran, in Bruce Gradkowski and fourth-round draft pick, Landry Jones, who must be considered a work-in-progress. Jones went from a potential first-round pick to a fourth-rounder after a disappointing senior season; he certainly isn’t NFL ready – yet.
Pittsburgh has always been considered a team that can run the football but, last year, they couldn’t accomplish that, mainly due to injuries. This year, they certainly expect improvement to come in that department, as they have drafted Le’Veon Bell in the second round; he should quickly take over as the featured and starting back.
He’s a workhorse back with good size (6-1, 244); he’s durable, and can take tacklers a few yards; he’s also very powerful and relentless, a good acquisition for the Steelers’ style of running game that they like to play.
Bell should have solid support on the ground with Issac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer competing for the number two spot on the roster. As things stand, it looks as though Redman will get the nod. Bell is likely to see the field on 3rd down as long as he continues to improve his pass blocking & blitz pickup. Will Johnson returns at fullback and will be a good addition in a mainly blocking role.
Question marks must remain over the receiving corps though, especially as Heath Miller at tight-end, their leading receiver in 2012 (71 catches), is not yet slated to return after injury. With him missing, the receivers look like a weaker group, especially as Mike Wallace was also lost to the Dolphins.
So, what have the Steelers got in this department? Well, Emmanuel Sanders, who was a nice slot receiver last year is going to have to step-up and improve his numbers for a start.
Although he did well in 2012 (44 catches for 626 yards), he will have more pressure on him this year and will be expected to produce more; it remains to be seen if he can handle that situation. Antonio Brown needs to improve again after his form rather levelled off in 2012. After those two, the Steelers receivers are a mixture of draft picks and veterans and it remains to be seen who of those make the full roster for the season. Offense is one area where the Steelers are looking a little light, unless Sanders or Brown really engage overdrive this year.
The offensive line gets a very new look and protecting Roethlisberger will be all important; two starters are gone from the “new look” – guard, Willie Colon, and tackle, Max Starks, and it will be three-time Pro Bowl center, Maurkice Pouncey, who anchors the line.
Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams are being lined up as the tackles but there is still some doubt from NFL betting pundits over who will play left and who will play right. Guards, David DeCastro and Ramon Foster, complete the front five and it looks like the Steelers have a real belief in this line as a unit that could stay together for years – it certainly looks solid enough, providing a platform from which Roethlisberger has time and room to operate.
All in all, ‘transition’ is the right word to use about the Steelers offense – there are elements of stability there, Roethlisberger, for instance. However, much of the cast is new and it may take a while for it all to knit together.
This year, with an increased running game, we can see the Steelers getting back to their “ground and pound” style as the staple for whatever success may come their way, a return to their roots and some “blue-collar football”.
After going just 8-8 last season, the Pittsburgh Steelers lost key wide receiver Mike Wallace to free agency. He was the Steelers top receiving threat and a particularly strong deep threat as well as being the Steeler top ranked in fantasy football in 2012. As the team tries to get back into the playoff hunt, will Ben Roethlisberger have enough reliable targets to throw to?
With Wallace gone, the Steelers now have Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders as their top two options. Jerricho Cotchery will more than likely slot in at the #3 option, with Plaxico Burress and Markus Wheaton likely battling for the #4 spot. While all five of those receivers are talented, no single player is going to be able to replace Wallace’s productivity. Instead, it is going to take a collective effort to boost the passing attack.
At 5’10” and just 186 pounds, Brown does not have the size of most #1 receivers in the NFL. However, Todd Haley’s offense calls for a lot of short passes, and that is one of the strong points for the quick receiver. His numbers were down last season, but with the high-ankle sprain behind him, he could be a solid target.
Sanders seems like the player most likely to breakout as a true Wallace replacement, and Roethlisberger was so found of him that he begged management to match his offer sheet from the Patriots. He is not a big play type of guy just yet, but he does have some impressive quickness to go with reliable hands.
Of course, for the Steelers to really have a solid passing game, they will need to have things balanced out by a decent running game. Last year, they were awful running the ball, but Le’Veon Bell has a chance to help turn around that part of the offense. His running threat can open up things for Roethlisberger when the game is on the line.
Wallace is a tough player to replace, but the Steelers feel as though they have enough depth to make up his production collectively. With a healthy Roethlisberger, the passing game should be just fine in 2013.
It is pretty rare in recent years to see the Pittsburgh Steelers coming off an average season, but their 8-8 record without a playoff berth pretty much is the definition of average. Fans are hoping to see a guy taken at #17 who can step in right away and contribute. With so many variables before they pick, which direction should the Steelers go? Here are the three most likely targets, given that the team stays put in their draft position.
The pro day performance of Jarvis Jones has driven down his stock, but it still might not be low enough to slip to #17.
If he does, one has to think that the Steelers will think long and hard about him. His style would fit perfectly with what the Steelers are all about, as he relentlessly goes after the passer to create havoc in the backfield.
Mike Wallace is no longer in Pittsburgh, so getting one of the best wide receivers in the draft seems like an obvious way to fill a hole. The biggest issue for Pittsburgh is that it appears the St. Louis Rams, who pick right before them, are very interested in Patterson as well. The Tennessee standout is a great playmaker, and he appears to have the size and strength to really excel at the pro level and is one to watch when your fantasy football draft comes around.
While Patterson would be an obvious replacement for Mike Wallace, Tyler Eifert could bring a new wrinkle to the offense. Ben Roethlisberger could utilize a big target for short yardage and in the red zone, while allowing the other wide receivers to try and collectively fill in the void. Eifert’s size and speed is hard for anyone to deal with, meaning he will most likely need to be defended by two guys.
Maybe the NFL and Roger Goodell tried giving the tri-state area a bit of "Superstorm Sandy Sympathy" but it was hard to ignore the blatant poor officiating in the Giants - Steelers game. Let's face it, 99% of the poor calls went in the Giants favor. It was obvious and it was a hot topic in post game analysis, Mike & Mike in the Morning, Skip Bayless / Steven A. Smith, Around the Horn, Pardon the Interruption (PTI), etc.
The refs and the NFL office should be happy the Steelers won in spite of the bad calls or this would be a much bigger topic.
Just a few of the bad calls include:
- Andre Brown's TD that was 1/2 yard short of the endzone.
- The Ben Roethlisberger fumble. His arm was obviously going forward and it wasn't even close. That was a 7+ point swing. In my opinion, this was one of the worst calls of the entire year.
- On the same play as the fumble, Heath Miller got clipped. It was obvious and the refs didn't throw a flag.
- The unnecessary roughness call on Ryan Clark. This was simply horrendous. Clark made a completely legal hit.
- The pass interference call on Keenan Lewis was wrong and cost the Steelers 7 points (i.e. the Andrew Brown rushing TD)
We all feel for the northeast and the destruction that Superstorm Sandy left behind.
However, I don't think the NY/NJ areas needs the NFL to deliberately throw games to get them back on track.
What do you think?
Check out a story featured on the Today Show featuring Chris Rainey and Maurkice Pouncey of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Do you think Rainey will score a TD against the Bengals?
- Yes (60%, 3 Votes)
- No (40%, 2 Votes)
Total Voters: 5
- Chris Rainey, Maurkice Pouncey, Mike Pouncey
- University of Florida
- Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers Game Day & NFL Draft chat is back in action and like always...it's free! Come chat with die hard fans from across Steeler Nation live every game day and during the NFL Draft.
If you already have a Planet Steelers Forum account, all you need to do is log into the forum, and click the 'Chat' link (see the picture below):
Don't have a forum account? No problem. Just Click Here to register. You won't regret it.