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Jooser
06-29-2009, 11:34 AM
http://news.steelers.com/article/105920/



Eighth of nine draft picks signs
Monday, June 29, 2009

By BOB LABRIOLA
Steelers.com
It’s no simple thing for a rookie to win a starting job in the NFL, and it’s almost impossible to do if said rookie doesn’t report to training camp on time. By signing a three-year contract with the Steelers on Monday, Kraig Urbik took care of the easy part.

Urbik, 6-foot-5, 328 pounds, was the first of three third-round picks made by the Steelers in the 2009 draft, and he became the eighth of their nine selections to sign a contract. Only No. 1 pick Ziggy Hood remains unsigned, with players due to report to training camp on July 31.

A veteran of 50 college starts at Wisconsin – 34 at right guard and 16 at right tackle – Urbik will arrive at his first NFL camp thrown into the mix at right guard, where the depth chart figures to list Darnell Stapleton and Trai Essex above him.

Stapleton made the team as an undrafted rookie in 2007, and his ability to play all three interior line positions is valuable to an NFL coach. When starting right guard Kendall Simmons injured an Achilles last Sept. 29 in a game against the Baltimore Ravens, Stapleton stepped in and filled the spot through the rest of the regular season and the march to the Super Bowl.

Essex, a third-round draft pick in 2005 as a left tackle in college, came close to being waived at the end of training camp in 2007, but since then has developed into a guy who has filled in capably when called upon. The Steelers thought enough of him to re-sign him this offseason after he had become an unrestricted free agent.

Urbik has an advantage over the 305-pound Stapleton in size and one in experience as a right guard over Essex, but rookies have a lot to overcome in terms of learning the offense and understanding how to be a professional.

Then again, the Steelers have something of a recent history of starting rookie offensive linemen. Simmons – a No.1 pick in 2002 – was the most recent example, and he was preceded by both Marvel Smith in 2000 and Alan Faneca in 1998.

“I love him,” said offensive coordinator Bruce Arians of Urbik during the draft. “Big, tough, nasty type of guy who has position flexibility. This kid understands football.”

RuthlessBurgher
06-29-2009, 11:48 AM
Excellent news! Great to have 8 draft picks signed in June when camp is still a month away.

And then there was one...

http://www.footballburrito.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/evanderhood2.jpg

Someone should tell the folks at Madden that we already have a 94, though.

Then again, the Madden folks gave Timmons his college number of 83 when he was a rookie, even though we already had Heath Miller (and you can't have a number in the 80's on defense in the NFL)

http://pastapadre.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2007/04/ltimmons2.jpg

Jooser
06-29-2009, 12:16 PM
I haven't read the numbers yet. I am quietly optimistic about Urbik. Out of all the rookies, I think he can start. No one is talking about him, but I think he wins the RG spot in camp.

phillyesq
06-29-2009, 12:49 PM
Absolutely great to already have 8 of the 9 draft picks signed. As I've said before, I think that Urbick will likely end up competing for a starting job, but I'd be surprised if he is a day 1 starter. I'd imagine that he might take over at midseason, especially if Stapelton wears down like he did last year.

pfelix73
06-29-2009, 12:59 PM
I think for him to start right away is a bit too optimistic. He'd have to beat out 2 vets. Maybe towards the end of the season or next year....

:tt1

stlrz d
06-29-2009, 07:05 PM
Absolutely great to already have 8 of the 9 draft picks signed. As I've said before, I think that Urbick will likely end up competing for a starting job, but I'd be surprised if he is a day 1 starter. I'd imagine that he might take over at midseason, especially if Stapelton wears down like he did last year.

:nono

:P

phillyesq
06-29-2009, 07:40 PM
Absolutely great to already have 8 of the 9 draft picks signed. As I've said before, I think that Urbick will likely end up competing for a starting job, but I'd be surprised if he is a day 1 starter. I'd imagine that he might take over at midseason, especially if Stapelton wears down like he did last year.

:nono

:P

Harsh!

I was on the phone at work when I posted that...

Jooser
06-29-2009, 08:00 PM
Absolutely great to already have 8 of the 9 draft picks signed. As I've said before, I think that Urbick will likely end up competing for a starting job, but I'd be surprised if he is a day 1 starter. I'd imagine that he might take over at midseason, especially if Stapelton wears down like he did last year.

:nono

:P

Harsh!

I was on the phone at work when I posted that...

What do you expect from someone who disses Renegade?! :loser

stlrz d
06-29-2009, 08:03 PM
Absolutely great to already have 8 of the 9 draft picks signed. As I've said before, I think that Urbick will likely end up competing for a starting job, but I'd be surprised if he is a day 1 starter. I'd imagine that he might take over at midseason, especially if Stapelton wears down like he did last year.

:nono

:P

Harsh!

I was on the phone at work when I posted that...

Would this guy accept that excuse? :lol:

http://citythatreeds.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/mike-tomlin-041108.jpg

RuthlessBurgher
06-29-2009, 09:10 PM
[quote=phillyesq]Absolutely great to already have 8 of the 9 draft picks signed. As I've said before, I think that Urbick will likely end up competing for a starting job, but I'd be surprised if he is a day 1 starter. I'd imagine that he might take over at midseason, especially if Stapelton wears down like he did last year.

:nono

:P

Harsh!

I was on the phone at work when I posted that...

Would this guy accept that excuse? :lol:

http://citythatreeds.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/mike-tomlin-041108.jpg[/quote:335kjycd]

He might post it on "The News"

steelcityrules!!
06-29-2009, 10:36 PM
For all the high hopes we have for urbik on day 1, he will have to supplant someone on a virtually intact championship winning O-line.

Don't get me wrong, it's not a line chock full of pro bowlers... but I'm guessing some pretty ridiculous chips on some shoulders come late july in camp.

I predict a much-improved line in terms of chemistry and depth this fall. A good number of our starting linemen are quite young, and were pretty raw last fall.

RuthlessBurgher
06-30-2009, 12:04 AM
For all the high hopes we have for urbik on day 1, he will have to supplant someone on a virtually intact championship winning O-line.

Don't get me wrong, it's not a line chock full of pro bowlers... but I'm guessing some pretty ridiculous chips on some shoulders come late july in camp.

I predict a much-improved line in terms of chemistry and depth this fall. A good number of our starting linemen are quite young, and were pretty raw last fall.

However, on the flip side, we know that with all of the other potential free agents that need to be signed beyond this season now that the Starks deal is complete (Miller, Clark, Reed, Keisel, Hampton, Parker, Townsend, etc.), people tend to overlook the fact that Colon and Hartwig are on that list as well. There is a great likelihood that both will be gone after this year. If Urbik does not get the job coming out of camp this year, but gets the starting RG gig coming out of camp next year, there is a possibility that 3 out of 5 o-lineman will be brand new in 2010, totally throwing the continuity concept out of whack.

It could go from:

Starks-Kemoeatu-Hartwig-Stapleton-Colon in 2009

to:

Starks-Kemoeatu-Shipley-Urbik-Hills in 2010

That is some serious upheaval all at once to replace the entire right side of your o-line simulateously.

They might realize that they can afford a small bit of change this season (replacing just one guy, Stapleton for Urbik) in order to have at least one position on the right side of the line to be stable for the following season. If they have to insert Shipley and Colon as new starters at C and RT in 2010, at least Urbik would then have a year of experience under his belt and can be somewhat of a stabilizing force on that side of line instead of yet another question mark.

Plus, he could just be downright better than Stapleton, which I think he is already, physically at least. If he can get the playbook down during camp and show off his talents during the preseason without having to think so much, I think the kid has a legit shot at it. After all, Kendall Simmons, Marvel Smith, and Alan Faneca all got starting experience as rookie, so why not Urbik? Sure, they were two first round picks and a second round pick while Kraig is a third round pick, but he would be supplanting an UDFA in Stapleton who seems like he could be useful in a versatile backup role (like Trai Essex) but not a guy who you think of as an impact starter in the long term.

papillon
06-30-2009, 12:10 AM
I wish they would just let Hartwig walk now. He's only better than Mahan, because, was quite possibly the worst starting center ever in NFL history and he's only marginally better (IMHO).

The team needs some new blood and this would be a great place to see some of it.

Pappy

RuthlessBurgher
06-30-2009, 12:15 AM
I wish they would just let Hartwig walk now. He's only better than Mahan, because, was quite possibly the worst starting center ever in NFL history and he's only marginally better (IMHO).

The team needs some new blood and this would be a great place to see some of it.

Pappy

After Hartwig, though, the next best option at center is currently your starting right guard. The only other options are a rookie 6th round pick and a UDFA from last year. You don't cut your starting center for that pupu platter right now.

I think they do let Hartwig walk after this season, and he may be replaced by Stapleton, Shipley, or Legursky at that point in 2010 (I'm assuming that Urbik should have a stronghold on the starting RG position by that point). But there is no point in accelerating that timetable when the guys behind Hartwig simply are not ready yet.

phillyesq
06-30-2009, 05:49 PM
I wish they would just let Hartwig walk now. He's only better than Mahan, because, was quite possibly the worst starting center ever in NFL history and he's only marginally better (IMHO).

The team needs some new blood and this would be a great place to see some of it.

Pappy

After Hartwig, though, the next best option at center is currently your starting right guard. The only other options are a rookie 6th round pick and a UDFA from last year. You don't cut your starting center for that pupu platter right now.

I think they do let Hartwig walk after this season, and he may be replaced by Stapleton, Shipley, or Legursky at that point in 2010 (I'm assuming that Urbik should have a stronghold on the starting RG position by that point). But there is no point in accelerating that timetable when the guys behind Hartwig simply are not ready yet.

I agree. It would be great if Stapelton, Shipley or Legursky can beat out Hartwig for the center job, but we should be sure that one of them can do so before replacing Hartwig. He is a competent veteran with a low cap number. No reason to get rid of him this year. But I also hope that this is his last year.

steelcityrules!!
06-30-2009, 08:00 PM
For all the high hopes we have for urbik on day 1, he will have to supplant someone on a virtually intact championship winning O-line.

Don't get me wrong, it's not a line chock full of pro bowlers... but I'm guessing some pretty ridiculous chips on some shoulders come late july in camp.

I predict a much-improved line in terms of chemistry and depth this fall. A good number of our starting linemen are quite young, and were pretty raw last fall.

However, on the flip side, we know that with all of the other potential free agents that need to be signed beyond this season now that the Starks deal is complete (Miller, Clark, Reed, Keisel, Hampton, Parker, Townsend, etc.), people tend to overlook the fact that Colon and Hartwig are on that list as well. There is a great likelihood that both will be gone after this year. If Urbik does not get the job coming out of camp this year, but gets the starting RG gig coming out of camp next year, there is a possibility that 3 out of 5 o-lineman will be brand new in 2010, totally throwing the continuity concept out of whack.

It could go from:

Starks-Kemoeatu-Hartwig-Stapleton-Colon in 2009

to:

Starks-Kemoeatu-Shipley-Urbik-Hills in 2010

That is some serious upheaval all at once to replace the entire right side of your o-line simulateously.

They might realize that they can afford a small bit of change this season (replacing just one guy, Stapleton for Urbik) in order to have at least one position on the right side of the line to be stable for the following season. If they have to insert Shipley and Colon as new starters at C and RT in 2010, at least Urbik would then have a year of experience under his belt and can be somewhat of a stabilizing force on that side of line instead of yet another question mark.

Plus, he could just be downright better than Stapleton, which I think he is already, physically at least. If he can get the playbook down during camp and show off his talents during the preseason without having to think so much, I think the kid has a legit shot at it. After all, Kendall Simmons, Marvel Smith, and Alan Faneca all got starting experience as rookie, so why not Urbik? Sure, they were two first round picks and a second round pick while Kraig is a third round pick, but he would be supplanting an UDFA in Stapleton who seems like he could be useful in a versatile backup role (like Trai Essex) but not a guy who you think of as an impact starter in the long term.

I hear ya.
It will be interesting, as I think I'm somewhat still in cowher-mode when thinking of rookies coming in and being planted firmly on the pine. To that degree, the actions of Tomin have echoed that at least at the start of the season.

I think urbik will get time in the lineup unless he just isn't as ready as we thought. The interesting part is Hills, who I guess is making leaps and bounds progress and could seriously contend for time as well.

not sure what to wish for... rookies with mucho potential to make more mistakes out there, or decent-average vets to get the majority of the time and at least net us a better result on game day.

buckeyehoppy
06-30-2009, 08:02 PM
For all the high hopes we have for urbik on day 1, he will have to supplant someone on a virtually intact championship winning O-line.

Don't get me wrong, it's not a line chock full of pro bowlers... but I'm guessing some pretty ridiculous chips on some shoulders come late july in camp.

I predict a much-improved line in terms of chemistry and depth this fall. A good number of our starting linemen are quite young, and were pretty raw last fall.

However, on the flip side, we know that with all of the other potential free agents that need to be signed beyond this season now that the Starks deal is complete (Miller, Clark, Reed, Keisel, Hampton, Parker, Townsend, etc.), people tend to overlook the fact that Colon and Hartwig are on that list as well. There is a great likelihood that both will be gone after this year. If Urbik does not get the job coming out of camp this year, but gets the starting RG gig coming out of camp next year, there is a possibility that 3 out of 5 o-lineman will be brand new in 2010, totally throwing the continuity concept out of whack.

It could go from:

Starks-Kemoeatu-Hartwig-Stapleton-Colon in 2009

to:

Starks-Kemoeatu-Shipley-Urbik-Hills in 2010

That is some serious upheaval all at once to replace the entire right side of your o-line simulateously.

They might realize that they can afford a small bit of change this season (replacing just one guy, Stapleton for Urbik) in order to have at least one position on the right side of the line to be stable for the following season. If they have to insert Shipley and Colon as new starters at C and RT in 2010, at least Urbik would then have a year of experience under his belt and can be somewhat of a stabilizing force on that side of line instead of yet another question mark.

Plus, he could just be downright better than Stapleton, which I think he is already, physically at least. If he can get the playbook down during camp and show off his talents during the preseason without having to think so much, I think the kid has a legit shot at it. After all, Kendall Simmons, Marvel Smith, and Alan Faneca all got starting experience as rookie, so why not Urbik? Sure, they were two first round picks and a second round pick while Kraig is a third round pick, but he would be supplanting an UDFA in Stapleton who seems like he could be useful in a versatile backup role (like Trai Essex) but not a guy who you think of as an impact starter in the long term.

Don't be so sure that Hills doesn't beat out Colon in THIS TC. Now that Starks is in the fold, how much of a chance will Hills be given to take Max's job? I say not much.

Sure, you want him to be able to spell Max. But you also want him to get PT. Well, RT may be the only place he gets a realistic shot. No one can tell me that a healthy Hills, given a chance to compete for a starting spot at RT isn't at least a even money bet to take the starting nod from Colon.

I think Urbik will at least come close to snagging the starting RG job right out of camp. Stapleton. Darnell is a player I really like and I am impressed that he held the fort capably at RG last year. But, given my druthers, I'd like to see him get a crack at the starting C gig in 2010. The C in football is not unlike the C in baseball. Both have to be gritty as hell, good leaders and able to take an @$$ kicking when called upon...and Stapleton, even undersized, looks like he can handle the job if given a fair shot at it.

A starting OL in 2010 consisting of the following:

LT- Starks
LG- Kemo
C- Stapleton
RG- Urbik
RT- Hills

wouldn't be so bad at all. And some of those guys (Urbik and Hills) will be able, IMHO, to get on-the-job experience this season.