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View Full Version : A thought on why restocking the DL has been so hard



Oviedo
10-22-2008, 09:07 AM
I just picked up a copy of a ProFootballWeekly draft preview. You guys all know my thoughts on DL and how I like the 4-3 even though we are humming this season playing the 3-4. Our lack of depth and youth on DL has been well documented. here is something I found interesting. Here are the Top 10 ranked college DEs right now:

1. Brian Orakpo, Texas, 6'3', 255lbs
2. Michael Johnson, Georgia, 6'7", 259lbs
3. Tyson Jackson, LSU, 6'4", 295lbs
4. Matt Shaunessey, Wisconsin, 6'5", 245lbs
5. Will Davis, Ill, 6'2", 260lbs
6. Cody Brown, Conn, 6'2", 242lbs
7. Will Johnson, Michigan, 6'5", 285lbs
8. Derek Walker, Ill, 6'3", 269lbs
9. Pannel Egboh, Stanford, 6'5", 275lbs
10. Eric Moncur, Miami, 6'2", 250lbs

If you review this list there are only two players who fit the size requirements for a 3-4 DE, Tyson Jackson and Will Johnson. So playing the 3-4 forces us to look at college DTs and try to convert them. So esentially our scheme eliminates half the available defensive line talent pool coming out of college for restocking our DL. Factor in that many more treams are playing the 3-4 going after the same DTs to convert to NT or 3-4 DE and it becomes clearer why it has become so hard for the FO to get younger.

Something to think about. Watch the rotation of the DL that the Giants use this weekened and realise that many of their pass rushing DL could not play DL for us.

RussBII
10-22-2008, 09:52 AM
That's pretty interesting.

Out of curiosity, where was Aaron Smith picked? Was he top 10 in his class? Did he play DT in college?

I really like the 3-4, I just think it can be a potentially nastier defense than the 4-3 due to speed. That's just my opinion though. I asked the above questions to see how we got our best DE. I have to assume that the Steelers Organization is aware of how difficult it is to restock our DEs and that they have a plan, i.e. drafting project players...

SteelerNation1
10-22-2008, 10:18 AM
With collegiate DE's, they usually become 3-4 OLB (for us at least). The weight is the problem for a bunch of 4-3 college DE's. Look at those guys, they are almost all in the 250 or 260 lb range. Even at 270 or 280 lbs theyd have to put on 20-30 lbs to play 3-4 DE.

SteelerNation1
10-22-2008, 10:21 AM
That's pretty interesting.

Out of curiosity, where was Aaron Smith picked? Was he top 10 in his class? Did he play DT in college?



Aaron Smith came out of Northern Colorado, which is a DII school. I read a few weeks ago on the scout.com site that Smitty was a top DL prospect his senior, but got hurt, and slipped to the fourth round. He sat for 1 year, learned the system, put on weight and the rest is history

Oviedo
10-22-2008, 10:28 AM
That's pretty interesting.

Out of curiosity, where was Aaron Smith picked? Was he top 10 in his class? Did he play DT in college?



Aaron Smith came out of Northern Colorado, which is a DII school. I read a few weeks ago on the scout.com site that Smitty was a top DL prospect his senior, but got hurt, and slipped to the fourth round. He sat for 1 year, learned the system, put on weight and the rest is history

But you identify several of the problems in "sit one year" (maybe more) and "put on weight." When you ask a player to put on weight you have no idea how that is going to effect his play in terms of speed and durability. Putting on weight also does not mean getting stronger.

I think Smith was a DT in college so he was a successful transition.

MeetJoeGreene
10-22-2008, 11:17 AM
We would still have a pretty mean 4-3 which could be quasi-3-4 if we did the following:

DL Woodley, Hoke, Smitty, Keisel (bye Casey). or Woodley, Hoke, Casey, Smitty
LB: Harrison, Farrior, Timmons (If you think about it, almost any of our LBs could play any of the LB positions)

SteelerNation1
10-22-2008, 12:25 PM
I think Smith was a DT in college so he was a successful transition.
I am almost positive he played DE in college. I'll have to check on that. Plus, IIRC Smitty was 285ish in college, so putting on 15-20 is easier than 30-40

Chemsteel
10-22-2008, 01:40 PM
The following is an excerpt from Jim Wexall's Book, Steeler Nation. It is a good read.

..."
... Let’s start with Great Grandpa Smith. He was run over by a freight wagon and killed, so his son had it rough growing up 40 miles east of here in the town of Rush.
“No matter what we tell you about my father,” said Aaron Smith’s older brother Steve, “he was so much more milder on us than his father was on him.”

Aaron’s mom and dad lived with the four boys in Colorado Springs, but Mr. Smith’s construction partner cleaned out Smith’s accounts and left town. So when Aaron was six months old the family moved to a small farmhouse near Rapid City, South Dakota. The town was booming, so Mr. Smith was hoping to pile up a stake large enough to re-start his business as a general contractor.

Times were tough on the Smiths in South Dakota. “We were collecting aluminum cans for gas and we would road-hunt at night for rabbits,” said Dave, the oldest of the Smith boys. “I will not eat rabbit to this day.”

“But some of my best childhood memories were in South Dakota,” said Steve.

“Absolutely,” agreed Dave. “That was the best time. We lived on a 40-acre alfalfa farm and around the farm went a creek in a horseshoe shape, so we had our own little island of alfalfa farm, fishing, pigs, cows, playhouses. We had running water in it. It was absolutely wonderful at times, but it was also the hardest times we lived through as a family.”

Mr. Smith soon developed diabetes and was told he only had a year or two to live, so the family moved back to Colorado to be closer to the rest of the family. Aaron was three at the time, and the diabetes turned his father into a tyrant. ...

* * * *

... “There was a constant fear in our house,” said Dave.

“Constant tension,” said Steve.

It came to a head when 12-year-old Aaron spilled milk on the counter. Dad went after Aaron, but Kevin stepped in and threw his dad across the kitchen, denting the refrigerator door.

“The next morning,” Steve said, “my mom pulled my brothers aside and said, ‘We’re leaving. When I tell you to go, you’d better grab what you can and we’re out of here.’”

Mom didn’t move too far away. The boys wanted to stay within the school district, so the three found a place a quarter of a mile from dad. It’s why Aaron continued to keep his Bokuto bedside.

“Dad could still come over at any time and break into the house,” said Dave.

“And he was really mad now because mom left him,” said Steve.

Mr. Smith passed away during Aaron’s freshman year at Sierra High. Both of the older brothers had made their peace with their father and try to look on the bright side.

“Because my father was the kind of person he was, I think all four of us boys learned to lean on each other, and we are very close,” said Steve. “I think I talk to Aaron five times a week on the phone.” ...

* * * *

... The brothers said that Aaron was far more animated in high school than he is with the Steelers. He’d throw the Hulk Hogan pose on the field, “or he’d do this thing with his arms, a sort of body-building pose, ‘Which way to the gun show?’” Dave said.

Aaron was the center on the Sierra basketball team and his rival was 6-foot-9 Lewis-Palmer High center Pat Garrity, who went to Notre Dame and was the Big East Player of the Year before moving to the NBA.

“Aaron had to play against him two or three times a season,” Steve said. “They manhandled each other. That’s how Aaron got his first broken nose – in basketball. Blood was everywhere on the court, and I remember Aaron throwing a fit because the ref didn’t call a foul. The ref said ‘No foul, no foul,’ so my brother took a handful of blood and threw it in his face and said, ‘Tell me it’s no foul!’” “Aaron’s settled down a lot since then,” Dave said. ...

* * * *

... He ended up at Northern Colorado where he filled out and blossomed into a maniacal pass-rusher. He was spurred on by his brothers. Dave bet Aaron in his sophomore year that he wouldn’t get 15 sacks. Dave lost and had to change the number on his stock car.

“I’m number 91 to this day,” he said.

Dave then bet him the next season that Aaron couldn’t set the school record for sacks. Aaron got 21.5 and shaved his brother’s head. When the NFL draft rolled around, Aaron was considered by many as one of the nation’s sleepers, and some experts believed he’d be drafted in the second round. Perhaps they got that info from the Broncos.

“The Broncos called our house and said they’d take him with the 61st pick,” said Steve. “Instead they picked a guard.”

The Broncos passed on Smith twice in the third round as well. He wasn’t drafted until the Steelers took him in the fourth round with the 109th pick. He saw action in six games as a rookie in 1999 and started the 2000 opener. He became a Pro Bowler in the 2004 season, chased down Shaun Alexander from behind (and from the opposite side) in Super Bowl XL, and entered Sunday’s game in Denver riding a streak of 121 consecutive games played.

“I don’t know how much our childhood upbringing helped,” said Steve. “Kevin ended up going to boot camp, and he said the drill sergeants made everybody in his basic training group cry at one time or another. They couldn’t get Kevin to cry. They made him spend 16 hours in the dark, dressed in his boxers in the rain and mud, trying to make him break or cry, and they couldn’t do it. Because we grew up with my dad as tough as he was, they couldn’t say anything to make him cry. Aaron was the same way. He said we can thank our dad for giving us so much negative, that you rise above it, and you focus on what you need to.

"I’ll ask Aaron about the new rookies and he’ll say they have talent but that they have to have it in the head.

Aaron Smith came to the Steelers weighing slightly over 260 lbs. He played both tackle and mostly end at Northern Colorado. He was still growing and had little difficulty putting on additional 30 lbs. of muscle in several years.

SteelerOfDeVille
10-22-2008, 04:10 PM
It's hard because when a guy like Red Bryant is there in the 3rd round, you take him. Period.

And when you don't and end up with Bruce Davis, who might turn out OK, but, is buried on the depth chart, it hurts.

Oviedo
10-22-2008, 04:42 PM
It's hard because when a guy like Red Bryant is there in the 3rd round, you take him. Period.

And when you don't and end up with Bruce Davis, who might turn out OK, but, is buried on the depth chart, it hurts.

I liked both Bryant and Dre Moore who were both available. However, Bryant is a third string DT (2 games and 6 tackles) on the Seahawks depth chart and how are they doing this year. Dre Moore is on the Tampa PS. Conclusion: while I wanted both of them too you can't fault the FO and say either is doing significantly more than Bruce Davis is doing.

SteelerNation1
10-22-2008, 08:30 PM
It's hard because when a guy like Red Bryant is there in the 3rd round, you take him. Period.

And when you don't and end up with Bruce Davis, who might turn out OK, but, is buried on the depth chart, it hurts.

I liked both Bryant and Dre Moore who were both available. However, Bryant is a third string DT (2 games and 6 tackles) on the Seahawks depth chart and how are they doing this year. Dre Moore is on the Tampa PS. Conclusion: while I wanted both of them too you can't fault the FO and say either is doing significantly more than Bruce Davis is doing.
I guess I've come to the conclusion that GREAT 3-4 DL are extremely rare and hard to find. Baltimore, NE, and Pittsburgh are probably the best at converting them in recent years.

Iron Shiek
10-22-2008, 09:29 PM
It's hard because when a guy like Red Bryant is there in the 3rd round, you take him. Period.

And when you don't and end up with Bruce Davis, who might turn out OK, but, is buried on the depth chart, it hurts.


You've got a good point SOD...

By the way...your facial representative put the entire league out of business, you gonna change up your style? When a pink haired (yet talented) "midget" hammers you, I wouldn't be showin my face...! :D

frankthetank1
10-23-2008, 08:34 AM
bj raji is an awsome DT at boston college but i am pretty biased but he still will go in the first three rounds. he needs to put on some weight but the same can be said for most college lineman

Oviedo
10-23-2008, 09:18 AM
bj raji is an awsome DT at boston college but i am pretty biased but he still will go in the first three rounds. he needs to put on some weight but the same can be said for most college lineman

In order I like:

Tyson Jackson, LSU
Peria Jerry, Miss
Terenece Cody, Alabama
Evander "Ziggy" Hood, Missouri
BJ Raji, BC
Terence Taylor, Mich.
Will Johnson, Mich.
Fili Moala, USC

Raji is listed at 334. I don't think we need to turn him into "Fat" Casey. His weight is fine. I'm sure there are some juniors who will come out that will add to this list.

BigBen2112
10-23-2008, 11:21 AM
Dont forget Vance Walker.