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johnstownsteel
03-03-2009, 04:47 PM
with the 3-4 defense, do we really need to look at defensive line during the early rounds of the upcoming draft? here's my thinking... our defense is predicated on strong play from our linebackers. exactly why i think the steelers f.o. looks at the position during most drafts. anyway, it's my thinking that our front 3 just needs to be strong at the point of attack...not necessarily wreaking havoc in the backfield but doing just enough to clog things up for our backers to do their thing.

if that's the case, can't we get these types of players somewhere in the middle rounds ala smitty and keisel? and if so, do you think the steelers feel the same way and will be targeting ol, cb and yes...linebacker?

Oviedo
03-03-2009, 05:01 PM
Ideal DL in Round 1 would be Tyson Jackson but he is very likely gone before 1.32. My next choice is the second best NT in the draft Ron Brace. NTs are to the DL in a 3-4 what LT are to OLs. Just like LT on the OL, NT is the hardest position on a 3-4 DL to get a stud and you grab them when they are there.

johnstownsteel
03-03-2009, 05:11 PM
Ideal DL in Round 1 would be Tyson Jackson but he is very likely gone before 1.32. My next choice is the second best NT in the draft Ron Brace. NTs are to the DL in a 3-4 what LT are to OLs. Just like LT on the OL, NT is the hardest position on a 3-4 DL to get a stud and you grab them when they are there. i agree, nose tackles are a premium but i disagree that tyson jackson would be a target for our steelers. i just think the steeler f.o. feel you can get and develop 3-4 ends in the mid rounds.

RuthlessBurgher
03-03-2009, 05:21 PM
Ideal DL in Round 1 would be Tyson Jackson but he is very likely gone before 1.32. My next choice is the second best NT in the draft Ron Brace. NTs are to the DL in a 3-4 what LT are to OLs. Just like LT on the OL, NT is the hardest position on a 3-4 DL to get a stud and you grab them when they are there. i agree, nose tackles are a premium but i disagree that tyson jackson would be a target for our steelers. i just think the steeler f.o. feel you can get and develop 3-4 ends in the mid rounds.

Sure, that worked for Smith and Keisel...but didn't work for Ryan McBean, Orien Harris, Shaun Nua, etc. You can't just plug any old guy in there, and it takes some time to develop a good one. And with more and more teams trying to run a 3-4, late round gems will be even harder to find. You may have to take them early than you might have in the past because of increased competition for their services.

johnstownsteel
03-03-2009, 05:27 PM
Ideal DL in Round 1 would be Tyson Jackson but he is very likely gone before 1.32. My next choice is the second best NT in the draft Ron Brace. NTs are to the DL in a 3-4 what LT are to OLs. Just like LT on the OL, NT is the hardest position on a 3-4 DL to get a stud and you grab them when they are there. i agree, nose tackles are a premium but i disagree that tyson jackson would be a target for our steelers. i just think the steeler f.o. feel you can get and develop 3-4 ends in the mid rounds.

Sure, that worked for Smith and Keisel...but didn't work for Ryan McBean, Orien Harris, Shaun Nua, etc. You can't just plug any old guy in there, and it takes some time to develop a good one. And with more and more teams trying to run a 3-4, late round gems will be even harder to find. You may have to take them early than you might have in the past because of increased competition for their services. so we'll have to change our mo up a bit i guess. you make complete sense though. will be interesting to see if the steelers line of thinking remains the same or they are continue to fill those spots with mid range prospects.

SteelerOfDeVille
03-03-2009, 05:38 PM
Ideal DL in Round 1 would be Tyson Jackson but he is very likely gone before 1.32. My next choice is the second best NT in the draft Ron Brace. NTs are to the DL in a 3-4 what LT are to OLs. Just like LT on the OL, NT is the hardest position on a 3-4 DL to get a stud and you grab them when they are there. i agree, nose tackles are a premium but i disagree that tyson jackson would be a target for our steelers. i just think the steeler f.o. feel you can get and develop 3-4 ends in the mid rounds.
would you take Aaron Smith in the 1st? I wouldn't hesitate.

The D-Line is WAY under valued in a good 3-4... waht makes the LB's good is GOOD d-line that keeps the o-line off them. Ask Ray Lewis (who begged for someone after Siriaguusa retired). 12th pick in the 1st round for him... and suddenly, the Ravens d is great and they are are competitive again...

mshifko
03-03-2009, 08:16 PM
if we go defense in the first round, we have to draft a DL IMO...like deville said, the DL is the major component in a 3-4, we need to have some depth and future replacements for our current guys

steeler_fan_in_t.o.
03-03-2009, 10:20 PM
Selecting a DL early helps us in so many ways.

1) Obviously it upgrades a position.

2) It helps us in an area of age

3) It helps the cap because drafting a DE probably means that Travis K is gone, a NT means either Hamp or Hoke is let go. In any of those cases we save over a mil, in the case of Big Casey, over $3M.

RuthlessBurgher
03-03-2009, 11:49 PM
Selecting a DL early helps us in so many ways.

1) Obviously it upgrades a position.

2) It helps us in an area of age

3) It helps the cap because drafting a DE probably means that Travis K is gone, a NT means either Hamp or Hoke is let go. In any of those cases we save over a mil, in the case of Big Casey, over $3M.

I doubt that they would cut Hampton this offseason, although I do think that they need to pick up a rookie NT in this draft that we can groom to replace Hampton after this season (I would imagine that 2009 will be his last year in the Black and Gold). It would be odd for a 3-4 team to carry 3 NT's, but I think they can do it. Casey is your starter and Hoke is your backup and the rookie would be inactive on gameday more often than not. Chris Hoke could also more over into the rotation at 3-4 DE in a pinch, so that flexibility would be useful. How can they fit an extra guy on their roster like this? Cut Carey Davis. Normally, we keep 5 RB's and 3 TE's coming out of camp. Last year, it was Parker, Mendenhall, Moore, Russell, and Davis (FB) plus Miller, Spaeth, and McHugh (H-back). Since McHugh has shown he can function as both the 3rd TE and as the most effective blocking FB on the roster, he fills both spots and you can let Davis go, giving us an extra spot on the 53 man roster for a 3rd NT. And if McHugh happens to get hurt in a game, you can use a NT as a short yardage blocking FB.

papillon
03-04-2009, 12:17 AM
Selecting a DL early helps us in so many ways.

1) Obviously it upgrades a position.

2) It helps us in an area of age

3) It helps the cap because drafting a DE probably means that Travis K is gone, a NT means either Hamp or Hoke is let go. In any of those cases we save over a mil, in the case of Big Casey, over $3M.

I doubt that they would cut Hampton this offseason, although I do think that they need to pick up a rookie NT in this draft that we can groom to replace Hampton after this season (I would imagine that 2009 will be his last year in the Black and Gold). It would be odd for a 3-4 team to carry 3 NT's, but I think they can do it. Casey is your starter and Hoke is your backup and the rookie would be inactive on gameday more often than not. Chris Hoke could also more over into the rotation at 3-4 DE in a pinch, so that flexibility would be useful. How can they fit an extra guy on their roster like this? Cut Carey Davis. Normally, we keep 5 RB's and 3 TE's coming out of camp. Last year, it was Parker, Mendenhall, Moore, Russell, and Davis (FB) plus Miller, Spaeth, and McHugh (H-back). Since McHugh has shown he can function as both the 3rd TE and as the most effective blocking FB on the roster, he fills both spots and you can let Davis go, giving us an extra spot on the 53 man roster for a 3rd NT. And if McHugh happens to get hurt in a game, you can use a NT as a short yardage blocking FB.

I doubt a first round NT would be inactive on game day. Someone would have to go or restructure to stay, IMO. I wish they would wave good bye to Carey Davis already; I just don't see what the Steelers see in him.

Pappy

RuthlessBurgher
03-04-2009, 12:25 AM
Selecting a DL early helps us in so many ways.

1) Obviously it upgrades a position.

2) It helps us in an area of age

3) It helps the cap because drafting a DE probably means that Travis K is gone, a NT means either Hamp or Hoke is let go. In any of those cases we save over a mil, in the case of Big Casey, over $3M.

I doubt that they would cut Hampton this offseason, although I do think that they need to pick up a rookie NT in this draft that we can groom to replace Hampton after this season (I would imagine that 2009 will be his last year in the Black and Gold). It would be odd for a 3-4 team to carry 3 NT's, but I think they can do it. Casey is your starter and Hoke is your backup and the rookie would be inactive on gameday more often than not. Chris Hoke could also more over into the rotation at 3-4 DE in a pinch, so that flexibility would be useful. How can they fit an extra guy on their roster like this? Cut Carey Davis. Normally, we keep 5 RB's and 3 TE's coming out of camp. Last year, it was Parker, Mendenhall, Moore, Russell, and Davis (FB) plus Miller, Spaeth, and McHugh (H-back). Since McHugh has shown he can function as both the 3rd TE and as the most effective blocking FB on the roster, he fills both spots and you can let Davis go, giving us an extra spot on the 53 man roster for a 3rd NT. And if McHugh happens to get hurt in a game, you can use a NT as a short yardage blocking FB.

I doubt a first round NT would be inactive on game day. Someone would have to go or restructure to stay, IMO. I wish they would wave good bye to Carey Davis already; I just don't see what the Steelers see in him.

Pappy

I'm not saying first round NT. I am not in the Ron Brace first round fan club...I'd be on board if he somehow fell to 64, but I think that he would be a reach at 32 (then again, I though Casey was a reach where we drafted him even though we traded down in the first round that year, so what do I know...at least the guy that I wanted instead, Steve Hutchinson, turned out to be a heckuva player as well). The only NT candidate with a first round grade in my mind is Brace's BC teammate Raji, who will likely be drafted in the top 10. I was thinking more like the kid from Stillman in round 3 or 4, who will be a project (inactive on gamedays during his rookie season, and perhaps even backing up Hoke in 2010 before he is ready for prime time in his 3rd NFL season). I would still prefer to address the o-line in round one.

Chadman
03-04-2009, 02:55 AM
Chadman's tip- Brace will go earlier than you'd expect- he might not be on the board at #32. With so many teams going 3-4, and so few NT's of note in this draft, Brace will go early.

Add Tyson Jackson to those that will go early too- guys his size at 3-4 DE will go early.

If the Steelers go DL in Round 1- put a cheeky $20 on Ziggy Hood sneaking in...

NW Steeler
03-04-2009, 03:50 AM
I know he's not a first or second rounder, but for some reason I like that NT from Michigan. What round is he projected to go in? We've had some good luck with Michigan players. That dude is stout and powerful.

Oviedo
03-04-2009, 09:31 AM
Selecting a DL early helps us in so many ways.

1) Obviously it upgrades a position.

2) It helps us in an area of age

3) It helps the cap because drafting a DE probably means that Travis K is gone, a NT means either Hamp or Hoke is let go. In any of those cases we save over a mil, in the case of Big Casey, over $3M.

I doubt that they would cut Hampton this offseason, although I do think that they need to pick up a rookie NT in this draft that we can groom to replace Hampton after this season (I would imagine that 2009 will be his last year in the Black and Gold). It would be odd for a 3-4 team to carry 3 NT's, but I think they can do it. Casey is your starter and Hoke is your backup and the rookie would be inactive on gameday more often than not. Chris Hoke could also more over into the rotation at 3-4 DE in a pinch, so that flexibility would be useful. How can they fit an extra guy on their roster like this? Cut Carey Davis. Normally, we keep 5 RB's and 3 TE's coming out of camp. Last year, it was Parker, Mendenhall, Moore, Russell, and Davis (FB) plus Miller, Spaeth, and McHugh (H-back). Since McHugh has shown he can function as both the 3rd TE and as the most effective blocking FB on the roster, he fills both spots and you can let Davis go, giving us an extra spot on the 53 man roster for a 3rd NT. And if McHugh happens to get hurt in a game, you can use a NT as a short yardage blocking FB.

I doubt a first round NT would be inactive on game day. Someone would have to go or restructure to stay, IMO. I wish they would wave good bye to Carey Davis already; I just don't see what the Steelers see in him.

Pappy

I'm not saying first round NT. I am not in the Ron Brace first round fan club...I'd be on board if he somehow fell to 64, but I think that he would be a reach at 32 (then again, I though Casey was a reach where we drafted him even though we traded down in the first round that year, so what do I know...at least the guy that I wanted instead, Steve Hutchinson, turned out to be a heckuva player as well). The only NT candidate with a first round grade in my mind is Brace's BC teammate Raji, who will likely be drafted in the top 10. I was thinking more like the kid from Stillman in round 3 or 4, who will be a project (inactive on gamedays during his rookie season, and perhaps even backing up Hoke in 2010 before he is ready for prime time in his 3rd NFL season). I would still prefer to address the o-line in round one.

You have to ignore "grades" Picking as low as we do you have to get players when they are available. Brace will go much earlier than you think and IMO will definitely be gone by the mid 2nd Round. If you agree with that how is 1.32 really a big reach. He fills a need and he would be available then. He won't be available the next time we pick.

I think everyone tends to underestimate how importnat the NT is in our 3-4. I'll bet the other 10-11 teams playing the 3-4 next year aren't going to undervalue the NT position.

Oviedo
03-04-2009, 09:33 AM
I know he's not a first or second rounder, but for some reason I like that NT from Michigan. What round is he projected to go in? We've had some good luck with Michigan players. That dude is stout and powerful.

Terence Taylor is likely to go in Round 3 or very early Round 4. Once again with us picking so low we will miss out on him too unless we overdraft the so called "grades." The same with Sammie Lee Hill from Stillman. If we want a NT we will have to use our Round 1 or 2 picks or the best will be gone.

steeler_fan_in_t.o.
03-04-2009, 10:06 AM
Selecting a DL early helps us in so many ways.

1) Obviously it upgrades a position.

2) It helps us in an area of age

3) It helps the cap because drafting a DE probably means that Travis K is gone, a NT means either Hamp or Hoke is let go. In any of those cases we save over a mil, in the case of Big Casey, over $3M.

I doubt that they would cut Hampton this offseason, although I do think that they need to pick up a rookie NT in this draft that we can groom to replace Hampton after this season (I would imagine that 2009 will be his last year in the Black and Gold). It would be odd for a 3-4 team to carry 3 NT's, but I think they can do it. Casey is your starter and Hoke is your backup and the rookie would be inactive on gameday more often than not. Chris Hoke could also more over into the rotation at 3-4 DE in a pinch, so that flexibility would be useful. How can they fit an extra guy on their roster like this? Cut Carey Davis. Normally, we keep 5 RB's and 3 TE's coming out of camp. Last year, it was Parker, Mendenhall, Moore, Russell, and Davis (FB) plus Miller, Spaeth, and McHugh (H-back). Since McHugh has shown he can function as both the 3rd TE and as the most effective blocking FB on the roster, he fills both spots and you can let Davis go, giving us an extra spot on the 53 man roster for a 3rd NT. And if McHugh happens to get hurt in a game, you can use a NT as a short yardage blocking FB.

I agree that it is very unlikely that we move out Hampton this off season, I just wanted to put the number out there to show the option. It is interesting that after winning a SB we are in position to not lose one starter. That is excellent work by the FO.

The most likely scenario if we draft a NT high is that Hoke enters the DE rotation as a backup and we let someone go - Kirschke or Eason. While Davis is an easy target for removal, he might have to fight for his position as it is and might be cut to make room for an extra WR to carry with no defined #3 WR. Davis also doesn't save us much under the cap to cut, whereas Travis saves us over $1M.

RuthlessBurgher
03-04-2009, 10:36 AM
Chadman's tip- Brace will go earlier than you'd expect- he might not be on the board at #32. With so many teams going 3-4, and so few NT's of note in this draft, Brace will go early.

Add Tyson Jackson to those that will go early too- guys his size at 3-4 DE will go early.

If the Steelers go DL in Round 1- put a cheeky $20 on Ziggy Hood sneaking in...

Yeah, you never know...Brace could go earlier than 32 even. But to me, that would reek of desperation like the Bills taking John McCargo with the 26th overall pick a few years ago. I still want the teams to pick the best available player as they normally do in the first round (with the exception of a few positions like QB, RB, TE, etc.), and I think that there will be a much better o-lineman or possibly a top corner who would be higher rated than Ron Brace. Is there a substantial difference between Brace and Hill from Stillman as a pro prospect (other than the level of competition they faced in college) or even Taylor from Michigan?

pfelix73
03-04-2009, 11:14 AM
"Ideal DL in Round 1 would be Tyson Jackson but he is very likely gone before 1.32. My next choice is the second best NT in the draft Ron Brace. NTs are to the DL in a 3-4 what LT are to OLs. Just like LT on the OL, NT is the hardest position on a 3-4 DL to get a stud and you grab them when they are there."

Bravo. Couldn't have said it better myself.

I like Brace too. It might be a tad early at 1.32 to pick him it might be a possibility- then again maybe not.... Big Snack ain't getting any younger and I will be anxious to see how well prepared he will be when he comes to camp this year.

Oviedo
03-04-2009, 04:12 PM
Some very good insights on our DL needs for an SCI article. The article is quite long so I have quoted some parts.


Finally, you have the LeBeau Zone Blitz system. Zone blitz techniques have been around for a while but LeBeau took the concept and developed an entirely different 34 system in the 90ís. LeBeauís system looks to use deception, mismatches and overloads along the line to generate QB pressure. Blitzes come frequently, but at the same time pass coverage is maintained by requiring the D-lineman and linebackers to drop back in coverage.

This system requires D-linemen to play predominantly 1-gap as well as possess the athletic ability to drop back in coverage. Also, both inside and outside linebackers must be able to drop in coverage as well as rush the passer. It makes for a unique player skill-set which other 34 teams donít follow.

Youíll find this system currently used by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In order to highlight the differences I provide the following:

Personnel:
LeBeau :
NT Height & Weight: 6-1 325
DE Height & Weight: 6-5 292
OLB Height & Weight:6-1 254
ILB Height & Weight: 6-1 237


LOOKING TO THE DRAFT

As my analysis shows, LeBeauís system is unique enough from other 34 teams, thus requiring different types of players both in physical stature and abilities.

Defensive ends are smaller and more agile in order to play in LeBeauís demanding zone-blitz system. While someone such as Tyson Jackson fits all 34 systems, players that are slightly undersized, like a Zach Potter (277lbs) or a Kyle Moore (272lbs), fit that niche area where they are not quick enough for most 43 teams, nor large enough to play in a conventional 34. Players such as these fit line coach John Mitchellís unselfish philosophy well, and can still be found as Day 2 draft selections. And since Brett Keisel and Aaron Smith see so much playing time, it would be beneficial to draft a player with the talent to fit into a rotation or be used in the Steelersí nickel package. Either way, that should add up to significant playing time and a nice rest for both players.

Nose tackle is also a concern, but with Hampton only seeing half the snaps, and Hoke a capable backup, itís not as important as finding another defensive end -- for this year at least.

Every team is looking for a pass-rushing 34 OLB, and with more teams now playing this defense, drafting a good one will now require using a premium selection. Long gone are the days of drafting Joey Porter and Jason Gildon in the 3rd round. Pittsburgh will also need to look for players with the athletic ability to drop in zone coverage since this is a requirement in its system. Look for prospects that performed well at the NFL combine who demonstrated the necessary agility in the drills to make the transition. As an example, Clay Matthews would be a perfect schematic fit for the Steelers.

Steelers inside linebackers must also be able to rush the quarterback. This is what sets LeBeauís scheme apart, and because of this Pittsburgh uses converted OLBs who have demonstrated the ability to act as the 4th or 5th pass rusher. Lawrence Timmons, Larry Foote and James Farrior are all converted college OLBs. Some Day 2 prospects to target would be Jason Williams, Lee Robinson, Zack Follett, Moise Fokou, and Kaluka Maiava.

Throw in some aggressive zone cover corners that can tackle like Darius Butler, and there you have it.

Look for more detailed positional breakdowns coming up.