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Oviedo
03-04-2010, 10:37 AM
IMO Wexell is the best and most accurate source of info on the Steelers. Therefore I read whatever he writes. Here are his Combine notes. BTW, he thinks Weatherspoon is "the guy" at #18


From the notebook of a sportswriter who watched every minute of televised draft combine, just so you wouldn’t have to:



>Two highlights, journalistically, were Mike Mayock nearly coming to blows with gadabout Rich Eisen over too much Tim Tebow coverage, and guest analyst Deion Sanders coming down hard on USC safety Taylor Mays by saying, “Last year, he played like a dog.”

>If you’re looking for raves in this column about either Tebow or Mays, you can stop reading now.

>With the understanding that 90 percent of the scouting work has been completed before the combine, I still can’t help being swayed by the workouts. That’s why my best guess at this point for pick No. 18 is future buck linebacker Sean Weatherspoon.

>Perhaps Mike Tomlin’s taste is swaying me. Weatherspoon’s a quick-twitch guy, whereas I normally would’ve gone for the big, nasty captain type in Brandon Spikes.

>The ghost of Levon Kirkland is a tough one for us old-timers to chase.

>I’d watched Weatherspoon stand out for that awful, run-leaky Missouri defense in 2008, and was then disappointed with his invisible 2009 performances against Nebraska and Navy. So I wrote him off as media hype.

>And then he moved inside for the Senior Bowl and played lights out. Not a take-on-the-blocks backer, he flashed suddenness and coverage skills.

>Yes, he’s Lawrence Timmons II, but when Tomlin expressed interest in Weatherspoon at the combine, I sat up and paid attention. When Weatherspoon benched 34 reps, glowed to the media about his love of playing inside and controlling the action, and showed the verbal skills of a future play-caller, I leaned in to watch and listen. His movement skills during the combine workout then made me believe that Tomlin had his third “quick-twitch” defensive first-rounder.

>Hey, no sense needing Kirkland to stop the run when you’ve just re-signed Casey Hampton.

>I can live with two Lawrence Timmons in the middle, as long as one of them speaks up, which Weatherspoon will do.

>So where does that leave the secondary and the interior offensive line? Well, I’m sure the coaches will tell us how wonderful the young defensive backs are coming along. So that leaves the interior OL.

>Mike Iupati is a 6-5+, 330-pound left guard who can run like no other lineman on the roster. He’s another option at pick 18. If you watched him during his bowl game, you salivated. If you watched him pass block at the Senior Bowl, you feared for Ben’s brain.

>Iupati couldn’t get to college, initially, because of academics. After you watched his bowl game, you wanted to believe it was simply because of language difficulties after moving from Samoa. After you watched his Senior Bowl, you worried about his low Wonderlic score of 13.

>I picture the massive road-grader helping at the goal line and knocking down linebackers in front of screens. But I also picture him and Kemo helping Roethlisberger up after both guards pulled and ran into each other on an all-out inside pass blitz.

>Had the Steelers shored up their interior OL last year in the first round, they’d be free to pick a true fit for their defensive line this year in Jared Odrick. But that’s just me.

>Earl Thomas, right now, would be my third guess for pick 18, but it appears the Texas ballhawk will be drafted earlier, since he’s a free safety who can cover like a cornerback.

>My favorite safety coming into the combine was Chad Jones of LSU. And I liked his workout more than most reviewers; I think he’s a hammer in the middle with ballhawk potential – ask Penn State. But they’re saying he was dispassionate about the game in interviews. Sigh.

>If Jones can’t be had later, T.J. Ward is another outstanding third-round safety. And at that point, it won’t matter whether he’s a free or strong safety, just get him in here.

>Center/guard Maurkice Pouncey is another potential first-rounder. But while his size and passion and alertness would help immensely, Matt Tennant in the second round would bring a better technician into the fold.

>Joe Haden tested poorly, so he could come into play at pick 18. But my favorite cornerback, Rutgers tough guy and special-teams demon Devin McCourty, tested brilliantly. I wouldn’t kick up a fuss should the Steelers draft him first in what would surely be called a “reach” by others.

>Want a ballhawk corner in the third round? Walter Thurmond of Oregon is in hiding with a knee injury. He’s your man.

>Do I think ILB Rolando McClain will slip to pick 18? No. Would I take him if he did? In a second. Would I question why he takes off so many plays during games? Reluctantly.

>Then, of course, there are the offensive tackles, but I doubt Bryan Bulaga will fall. Anthony Davis’s work ethic scares me. Charles Brown’s finesse game scares me. Trent Williams’s weak bowl effort at center scares me (but I can hear Tomlin praising his “five-position capability”). Bruce Campbell’s inconsistent play scares me.

>If I wanted a tackle – and you never know what Steelers brass is thinking at that position – I’d look for Rodger Saffold or Jason Fox after the first round.

>At nose tackle, I liked Dan Williams a lot more when he was the unheralded mid-rounder who played well for Tennessee. But I shuddered when he was the must-have-in-the-first guy of the pre-Hampton extension.

>But if you really want the best available athlete, at a position where depth is an issue, there’s Brandon Graham, the LaMarr Woodley clone from Michigan, and Jerry Hughes, the James Harrison clone from TCU. Used to be a guy around here called Noll, who cared only about great athletes such as these. So that’s never a bad fallback. Even if they didn’t play for Missouri.

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
03-04-2010, 10:59 AM
I hope so!!! :P

Lebsteel
03-04-2010, 11:02 AM
IMO Wexell is the best and most accurate source of info on the Steelers. Therefore I read whatever he writes. Here are his Combine notes. BTW, he thinks Weatherspoon is "the guy" at #18


From the notebook of a sportswriter who watched every minute of televised draft combine, just so you wouldn’t have to:



>Two highlights, journalistically, were Mike Mayock nearly coming to blows with gadabout Rich Eisen over too much Tim Tebow coverage, and guest analyst Deion Sanders coming down hard on USC safety Taylor Mays by saying, “Last year, he played like a dog.”

>If you’re looking for raves in this column about either Tebow or Mays, you can stop reading now.

>With the understanding that 90 percent of the scouting work has been completed before the combine, I still can’t help being swayed by the workouts. That’s why my best guess at this point for pick No. 18 is future buck linebacker Sean Weatherspoon.

>Perhaps Mike Tomlin’s taste is swaying me. Weatherspoon’s a quick-twitch guy, whereas I normally would’ve gone for the big, nasty captain type in Brandon Spikes.

>The ghost of Levon Kirkland is a tough one for us old-timers to chase.

>I’d watched Weatherspoon stand out for that awful, run-leaky Missouri defense in 2008, and was then disappointed with his invisible 2009 performances against Nebraska and Navy. So I wrote him off as media hype.

>And then he moved inside for the Senior Bowl and played lights out. Not a take-on-the-blocks backer, he flashed suddenness and coverage skills.

>Yes, he’s Lawrence Timmons II, but when Tomlin expressed interest in Weatherspoon at the combine, I sat up and paid attention. When Weatherspoon benched 34 reps, glowed to the media about his love of playing inside and controlling the action, and showed the verbal skills of a future play-caller, I leaned in to watch and listen. His movement skills during the combine workout then made me believe that Tomlin had his third “quick-twitch” defensive first-rounder.

>Hey, no sense needing Kirkland to stop the run when you’ve just re-signed Casey Hampton.

>I can live with two Lawrence Timmons in the middle, as long as one of them speaks up, which Weatherspoon will do.

>So where does that leave the secondary and the interior offensive line? Well, I’m sure the coaches will tell us how wonderful the young defensive backs are coming along. So that leaves the interior OL.

>Mike Iupati is a 6-5+, 330-pound left guard who can run like no other lineman on the roster. He’s another option at pick 18. If you watched him during his bowl game, you salivated. If you watched him pass block at the Senior Bowl, you feared for Ben’s brain.

>Iupati couldn’t get to college, initially, because of academics. After you watched his bowl game, you wanted to believe it was simply because of language difficulties after moving from Samoa. After you watched his Senior Bowl, you worried about his low Wonderlic score of 13.

>I picture the massive road-grader helping at the goal line and knocking down linebackers in front of screens. But I also picture him and Kemo helping Roethlisberger up after both guards pulled and ran into each other on an all-out inside pass blitz.

>Had the Steelers shored up their interior OL last year in the first round, they’d be free to pick a true fit for their defensive line this year in Jared Odrick. But that’s just me.

>Earl Thomas, right now, would be my third guess for pick 18, but it appears the Texas ballhawk will be drafted earlier, since he’s a free safety who can cover like a cornerback.

>My favorite safety coming into the combine was Chad Jones of LSU. And I liked his workout more than most reviewers; I think he’s a hammer in the middle with ballhawk potential – ask Penn State. But they’re saying he was dispassionate about the game in interviews. Sigh.

>If Jones can’t be had later, T.J. Ward is another outstanding third-round safety. And at that point, it won’t matter whether he’s a free or strong safety, just get him in here.

>Center/guard Maurkice Pouncey is another potential first-rounder. But while his size and passion and alertness would help immensely, Matt Tennant in the second round would bring a better technician into the fold.

>Joe Haden tested poorly, so he could come into play at pick 18. But my favorite cornerback, Rutgers tough guy and special-teams demon Devin McCourty, tested brilliantly. I wouldn’t kick up a fuss should the Steelers draft him first in what would surely be called a “reach” by others.

>Want a ballhawk corner in the third round? Walter Thurmond of Oregon is in hiding with a knee injury. He’s your man.

>Do I think ILB Rolando McClain will slip to pick 18? No. Would I take him if he did? In a second. Would I question why he takes off so many plays during games? Reluctantly.

>Then, of course, there are the offensive tackles, but I doubt Bryan Bulaga will fall. Anthony Davis’s work ethic scares me. Charles Brown’s finesse game scares me. Trent Williams’s weak bowl effort at center scares me (but I can hear Tomlin praising his “five-position capability”). Bruce Campbell’s inconsistent play scares me.

>If I wanted a tackle – and you never know what Steelers brass is thinking at that position – I’d look for Rodger Saffold or Jason Fox after the first round.

>At nose tackle, I liked Dan Williams a lot more when he was the unheralded mid-rounder who played well for Tennessee. But I shuddered when he was the must-have-in-the-first guy of the pre-Hampton extension.

>But if you really want the best available athlete, at a position where depth is an issue, there’s Brandon Graham, the LaMarr Woodley clone from Michigan, and Jerry Hughes, the James Harrison clone from TCU. Used to be a guy around here called Noll, who cared only about great athletes such as these. So that’s never a bad fallback. Even if they didn’t play for Missouri.


I didn't see Spiller mentioned. :wink: Wexell seems to agree with many on this board. I'm glad to hear his opinion on Iupati.

Jom112
03-04-2010, 11:55 AM
>My favorite safety coming into the combine was Chad Jones of LSU. And I liked his workout more than most reviewers; I think he’s a hammer in the middle with ballhawk potential – ask Penn State. But they’re saying he was dispassionate about the game in interviews. Sigh.


He liked Chad's workout? The 9 reps at 225 that he did at 220 lbs?

Out of all the safeties he probably had the worst upper body that I saw at the combine. He's a baseball player and throws 96 mph, which is why he's not built like a football player yet. He needs some serious time in the gym before he becomes a good safety IMHO. Probably a year or two on the bench before he becomes a good starter.

But maybe that works out for you guys since you don't play rookies on defense anyway... :lol:

steelsnis
03-04-2010, 12:03 PM
I'm not sure I get the infatuation with the results of the bench press. I guess it can translate for some positions (O-lineman, D-lineman) but what on Earth could it possibly tell you about a Safety???

If the guy had a good career playing safety in a great conference (i admittedely know nothing about the guy) and has the ability to hit hard and speed to cover TE's in the slot, who cares what his bench press #'s are?

Oviedo
03-04-2010, 12:08 PM
I'm not sure I get the infatuation with the results of the bench press. I guess it can translate for some positions (O-lineman, D-lineman) but what on Earth could it possibly tell you about a Safety???

If the guy had a good career playing safety in a great conference (i admittedely know nothing about the guy) and has the ability to hit hard and speed to cover TE's in the slot, who cares what his bench press #'s are?

:Agree It is just insight but not necessarily meaningful. If he has been playing baseball for LSU he probably laid off weights for several months.

I have seen him play several times and he has no pronlem wrapping up players and bringing them to the ground. He can also deliver huge hits.

I wonder how many reps Ryan Clark could do right now.

birtikidis
03-04-2010, 12:14 PM
the last time I tackled a guy, i didn't extend my arms, i pulled them towards me (after i wrapped them around the guys legs). isn't that kinda the opposite of a bench press?
one thing i thought was funny, before my car accident i could press 225 23 times, was kinda funny to know that there were a few guys that i could out rep that were at the combine.

birtikidis
03-04-2010, 12:15 PM
I wonder how many reps Ryan Clark could do right now.
even better, I wonder how many Troy can? we know he doesn't lift, so i wouldn't guess many.

flippy
03-04-2010, 12:55 PM
There's gonna be so many to choose from that could be great players. That's why I think it makes sense to trade down.

steelblood
03-04-2010, 01:07 PM
>My favorite safety coming into the combine was Chad Jones of LSU. And I liked his workout more than most reviewers; I think he’s a hammer in the middle with ballhawk potential – ask Penn State. But they’re saying he was dispassionate about the game in interviews. Sigh.


He liked Chad's workout? The 9 reps at 225 that he did at 220 lbs?

Out of all the safeties he probably had the worst upper body that I saw at the combine. He's a baseball player and throws 96 mph, which is why he's not built like a football player yet. He needs some serious time in the gym before he becomes a good safety IMHO. Probably a year or two on the bench before he becomes a good starter.

But maybe that works out for you guys since you don't play rookies on defense anyway... :lol:

i thought he looked good in drills. The nine reps don't scare me either. I always notice him when I watch LSU play. He sticks out because he has fantastic instincts, tracks the ball very well, and delivers some slobber-knockers. The bench press was terrible, but it doesn't worry me much. Once he quits baseball and totally commits to football, he can commit to lifting more.

feltdizz
03-04-2010, 01:23 PM
Tyrone Carter looks like he can bench more then any other Steeler DB on our team.

Back in HS I'll never forget my first football camp up in Erie PA... guys were huge and it was obvious I was a little light on the muscle side... but once drills started I was able to show ball hawking skills others didn't have.

A kid can be a weight lifting freak... but 9 out of 10 times the kid who played football, kill the man with the ball and rundown damn near everyday since the age of 5 will look better then the bulky kid who looks like a baller but is stiff as a board.

Mister Pittsburgh
03-04-2010, 01:24 PM
I pitched in college and hardly ever bench pressed at all. Baseball is mostly all legs/hips.

SteelAbility
03-04-2010, 01:56 PM
Tyrone Carter looks like he can bench more then any other Steeler DB on our team.

Back in HS I'll never forget my first football camp up in Erie PA... guys were huge and it was obvious I was a little light on the muscle side... but once drills started I was able to show ball hawking skills others didn't have.

A kid can be a weight lifting freak... but 9 out of 10 times the kid who played football, kill the man with the ball and rundown damn near everyday since the age of 5 will look better then the bulky kid who looks like a baller but is stiff as a board.

Noone is saying BP is THE measure of effectiveness. It is AN indicator. At the NFL level, eventually a huge hit has force transfer through the upper body. How much of that contact can a guy who has the upper body strength of an average 185 pounder withstand?

And I think the idea is that a weight-lifting freak can switch up his training to ramp up football skills with little or no sacrifice in physicality (due to proper diet and nutrition).

Dee Dub
03-04-2010, 02:25 PM
OK I got comment on a couple of these.

Wexel Wrote: (about Weatherspoon) “ and showed the verbal skills of a future play-caller”

Since when is verbal skills an attribute for being able to call/change defensive alignments? Being articulate is cool but I want someone who is smart and football quick. Not just a great talker.

Wexel Wrote:” I can live with two Lawrence Timmons in the middle, as long as one of them speaks up, which Weatherspoon will do”.

Uhhhhhh…..again…I would think that a football players ability would be a little more important than whether or not they spoke up?


Wexel Wrote: “My favorite safety coming into the combine was Chad Jones of LSU. And I liked his workout more than most reviewers; I think he’s a hammer in the middle with ballhawk potential – ask Penn State. But they’re saying he was dispassionate about the game in interviews. Sigh.”

I agree with him on Chad Jones however my suggestion would be to stop listening to what the so-called experts say when it goes against what you have actually seen on the football field. If one plays above average I’d like to think that is far from being “dispassionate”.

Wexel Wrote: “Want a ballhawk corner in the third round? Walter Thurmond of Oregon is in hiding with a knee injury. He’s your man.”

Agree again! I’ve talked about Thurmond (and Jarious Byrd his former teammate), for quite some time. Before Thurmond got injured it was said that he was the better cover man of the two and that is saying something since Bryd picked 8 INT’s his rookie year. Deion Sanders said to keep an eye on him as a sleeper.

Wexel Wrote: “Charles Brown’s finesse game scares me.”

Interesting. For what he knocks Iupati (pass blocking), he is scared by the strength that gives Brown the ability to do so. Hmmmmm??

Wexel Wrote: “If I wanted a tackle – and you never know what Steelers brass is thinking at that position – I’d look for Rodger Saffold or Jason Fox after the first round.”

My question is this?? Why? Because of what you saw of them at the combine or what you saw of them on the field?? And how much did you know and see of Saffold before this combine??

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
03-04-2010, 03:58 PM
OK I got comment on a couple of these.

Wexel Wrote: (about Weatherspoon) “ and showed the verbal skills of a future play-caller”

Since when is verbal skills an attribute for being able to call/change defensive alignments? Being articulate is cool but I want someone who is smart and football quick. Not just a great talker.

Wexel Wrote:” I can live with two Lawrence Timmons in the middle, as long as one of them speaks up, which Weatherspoon will do”.

Uhhhhhh…..again…I would think that a football players ability would be a little more important than whether or not they spoke up?


Wexel Wrote: “My favorite safety coming into the combine was Chad Jones of LSU. And I liked his workout more than most reviewers; I think he’s a hammer in the middle with ballhawk potential – ask Penn State. But they’re saying he was dispassionate about the game in interviews. Sigh.”

I agree with him on Chad Jones however my suggestion would be to stop listening to what the so-called experts say when it goes against what you have actually seen on the football field. If one plays above average I’d like to think that is far from being “dispassionate”.

Wexel Wrote: “Want a ballhawk corner in the third round? Walter Thurmond of Oregon is in hiding with a knee injury. He’s your man.”

Agree again! I’ve talked about Thurmond (and Jarious Byrd his former teammate), for quite some time. Before Thurmond got injured it was said that he was the better cover man of the two and that is saying something since Bryd picked 8 INT’s his rookie year. Deion Sanders said to keep an eye on him as a sleeper.

Wexel Wrote: “Charles Brown’s finesse game scares me.”

Interesting. For what he knocks Iupati (pass blocking), he is scared by the strength that gives Brown the ability to do so. Hmmmmm??

Wexel Wrote: “If I wanted a tackle – and you never know what Steelers brass is thinking at that position – I’d look for Rodger Saffold or Jason Fox after the first round.”

My question is this?? Why? Because of what you saw of them at the combine or what you saw of them on the field?? And how much did you know and see of Saffold before this combine??

I think you misread in football sense. I'm not sure if you played or not. If you did than you will follow.

Being vocal is something that you are just born with. Not everyone on that field wants to talk, correct someone, make a call, call out a formation, etc. Some players just want to have that role. They want to be a director rather than a player in the band. They have confidence in what they recognize and what adjustment they will make in the DL & LB calls. They can motivate in game...A trait that makes a defense gel. They will tell you when you miss an assignment...Tell you to pick up your game. A leader...not a follower. Spoons athletic ability speaks for itself. He carried a 3.7 or better in college. He has football smarts & instincts. But he has some intangibles that you can't teach a player who wants to play inside and be the "QB" of the defense. I will give you a comparison. Timmons has the abilities to play ILB...But I don't think he is vocal enough to direct this defense & lead this team. Things happen in a game where a player on the field needs to get into his teammates heads. Spoon will do that wherever he plays and make everyone around him better. I hope it is here.

Dee Dub
03-04-2010, 04:22 PM
[quote="Dee Dub":3qlh1auf]OK I got comment on a couple of these.

Wexel Wrote: (about Weatherspoon) “ and showed the verbal skills of a future play-caller”

Since when is verbal skills an attribute for being able to call/change defensive alignments? Being articulate is cool but I want someone who is smart and football quick. Not just a great talker.

Wexel Wrote:” I can live with two Lawrence Timmons in the middle, as long as one of them speaks up, which Weatherspoon will do”.

Uhhhhhh…..again…I would think that a football players ability would be a little more important than whether or not they spoke up?


Wexel Wrote: “My favorite safety coming into the combine was Chad Jones of LSU. And I liked his workout more than most reviewers; I think he’s a hammer in the middle with ballhawk potential – ask Penn State. But they’re saying he was dispassionate about the game in interviews. Sigh.”

I agree with him on Chad Jones however my suggestion would be to stop listening to what the so-called experts say when it goes against what you have actually seen on the football field. If one plays above average I’d like to think that is far from being “dispassionate”.

Wexel Wrote: “Want a ballhawk corner in the third round? Walter Thurmond of Oregon is in hiding with a knee injury. He’s your man.”

Agree again! I’ve talked about Thurmond (and Jarious Byrd his former teammate), for quite some time. Before Thurmond got injured it was said that he was the better cover man of the two and that is saying something since Bryd picked 8 INT’s his rookie year. Deion Sanders said to keep an eye on him as a sleeper.

Wexel Wrote: “Charles Brown’s finesse game scares me.”

Interesting. For what he knocks Iupati (pass blocking), he is scared by the strength that gives Brown the ability to do so. Hmmmmm??

Wexel Wrote: “If I wanted a tackle – and you never know what Steelers brass is thinking at that position – I’d look for Rodger Saffold or Jason Fox after the first round.”

My question is this?? Why? Because of what you saw of them at the combine or what you saw of them on the field?? And how much did you know and see of Saffold before this combine??

I think you misread in football sense. I'm not sure if you played or not. If you did than you will follow.

Being vocal is something that you are just born with. Not everyone on that field wants to talk, correct someone, make a call, call out a formation, etc. Some players just want to have that role. They want to be a director rather than a player in the band. They have confidence in what they recognize and what adjustment they will make in the DL & LB calls. They can motivate in game...A trait that makes a defense gel. They will tell you when you miss an assignment...Tell you to pick up your game. A leader...not a follower. Spoons athletic ability speaks for itself. He carried a 3.7 or better in college. He has football smarts & instincts. But he has some intangibles that you can't teach a player who wants to play inside and be the "QB" of the defense. I will give you a comparison. Timmons has the abilities to play ILB...But I don't think he is vocal enough to direct this defense & lead this team. Things happen in a game where a player on the field needs to get into his teammates heads. Spoon will do that wherever he plays and make everyone around him better. I hope it is here.[/quote:3qlh1auf]

So Chad Ochocino is a loud mouth and is very vocal does he qualify?

The talking, correcting, making a call, directing, as you put it, is more about being a leader. It doesn’t mean you have to be an overly vocal person to do this.

That is something that comes from character. Something inside. And I knew and played with quite a few players who had that and it had very little to do with how vocal they were or weren’t.

I can be an eloquent, loud, vocal speaker but that doesn’t make me a good general.

Shawn
03-04-2010, 05:03 PM
Earl Thomas is shooting up draft boards from what I'm reading...he very well might not be there at 18. If he isn't...there are only two realistic guys I would want.

Weatherspoon or Odrick.

birtikidis
03-04-2010, 05:06 PM
Earl Thomas is shooting up draft boards from what I'm reading...he very well might not be there at 18. If he isn't...there are only two realistic guys I would want.

Weatherspoon or Odrick.
unless we trade back i agree 100%

Oviedo
03-04-2010, 05:15 PM
Earl Thomas is shooting up draft boards from what I'm reading...he very well might not be there at 18. If he isn't...there are only two realistic guys I would want.

Weatherspoon or Odrick.

Both would be good. I would definitely not reach for a CB like Patrick Robinson or Kyle Wilson or worse yet an OT like Bruce Campbell aka Jamain Stephens Jr.

I haven't seen where Thomas is shooting up the boards. He is still arguably the second or third best safety.

hawaiiansteel
03-04-2010, 05:41 PM
IMO Wexell is the best and most accurate source of info on the Steelers. Therefore I read whatever he writes. Here are his Combine notes. BTW, he thinks Weatherspoon is "the guy" at #18


From the notebook of a sportswriter who watched every minute of televised draft combine, just so you wouldn’t have to:



>Two highlights, journalistically, were Mike Mayock nearly coming to blows with gadabout Rich Eisen over too much Tim Tebow coverage, and guest analyst Deion Sanders coming down hard on USC safety Taylor Mays by saying, “Last year, he played like a dog.”

>If you’re looking for raves in this column about either Tebow or Mays, you can stop reading now.

>With the understanding that 90 percent of the scouting work has been completed before the combine, I still can’t help being swayed by the workouts. That’s why my best guess at this point for pick No. 18 is future buck linebacker Sean Weatherspoon.

>Perhaps Mike Tomlin’s taste is swaying me. Weatherspoon’s a quick-twitch guy, whereas I normally would’ve gone for the big, nasty captain type in Brandon Spikes.

>The ghost of Levon Kirkland is a tough one for us old-timers to chase.

>I’d watched Weatherspoon stand out for that awful, run-leaky Missouri defense in 2008, and was then disappointed with his invisible 2009 performances against Nebraska and Navy. So I wrote him off as media hype.

>And then he moved inside for the Senior Bowl and played lights out. Not a take-on-the-blocks backer, he flashed suddenness and coverage skills.

>Yes, he’s Lawrence Timmons II, but when Tomlin expressed interest in Weatherspoon at the combine, I sat up and paid attention. When Weatherspoon benched 34 reps, glowed to the media about his love of playing inside and controlling the action, and showed the verbal skills of a future play-caller, I leaned in to watch and listen. His movement skills during the combine workout then made me believe that Tomlin had his third “quick-twitch” defensive first-rounder.

>Hey, no sense needing Kirkland to stop the run when you’ve just re-signed Casey Hampton.

>I can live with two Lawrence Timmons in the middle, as long as one of them speaks up, which Weatherspoon will do.

>So where does that leave the secondary and the interior offensive line? Well, I’m sure the coaches will tell us how wonderful the young defensive backs are coming along. So that leaves the interior OL.

>Mike Iupati is a 6-5+, 330-pound left guard who can run like no other lineman on the roster. He’s another option at pick 18. If you watched him during his bowl game, you salivated. If you watched him pass block at the Senior Bowl, you feared for Ben’s brain.

>Iupati couldn’t get to college, initially, because of academics. After you watched his bowl game, you wanted to believe it was simply because of language difficulties after moving from Samoa. After you watched his Senior Bowl, you worried about his low Wonderlic score of 13.

>I picture the massive road-grader helping at the goal line and knocking down linebackers in front of screens. But I also picture him and Kemo helping Roethlisberger up after both guards pulled and ran into each other on an all-out inside pass blitz.

>Had the Steelers shored up their interior OL last year in the first round, they’d be free to pick a true fit for their defensive line this year in Jared Odrick. But that’s just me.

>Earl Thomas, right now, would be my third guess for pick 18, but it appears the Texas ballhawk will be drafted earlier, since he’s a free safety who can cover like a cornerback.

>My favorite safety coming into the combine was Chad Jones of LSU. And I liked his workout more than most reviewers; I think he’s a hammer in the middle with ballhawk potential – ask Penn State. But they’re saying he was dispassionate about the game in interviews. Sigh.

>If Jones can’t be had later, T.J. Ward is another outstanding third-round safety. And at that point, it won’t matter whether he’s a free or strong safety, just get him in here.

>Center/guard Maurkice Pouncey is another potential first-rounder. But while his size and passion and alertness would help immensely, Matt Tennant in the second round would bring a better technician into the fold.

>Joe Haden tested poorly, so he could come into play at pick 18. But my favorite cornerback, Rutgers tough guy and special-teams demon Devin McCourty, tested brilliantly. I wouldn’t kick up a fuss should the Steelers draft him first in what would surely be called a “reach” by others.

>Want a ballhawk corner in the third round? Walter Thurmond of Oregon is in hiding with a knee injury. He’s your man.

>Do I think ILB Rolando McClain will slip to pick 18? No. Would I take him if he did? In a second. Would I question why he takes off so many plays during games? Reluctantly.

>Then, of course, there are the offensive tackles, but I doubt Bryan Bulaga will fall. Anthony Davis’s work ethic scares me. Charles Brown’s finesse game scares me. Trent Williams’s weak bowl effort at center scares me (but I can hear Tomlin praising his “five-position capability”). Bruce Campbell’s inconsistent play scares me.

>If I wanted a tackle – and you never know what Steelers brass is thinking at that position – I’d look for Rodger Saffold or Jason Fox after the first round.

>At nose tackle, I liked Dan Williams a lot more when he was the unheralded mid-rounder who played well for Tennessee. But I shuddered when he was the must-have-in-the-first guy of the pre-Hampton extension.

>But if you really want the best available athlete, at a position where depth is an issue, there’s Brandon Graham, the LaMarr Woodley clone from Michigan, and Jerry Hughes, the James Harrison clone from TCU. Used to be a guy around here called Noll, who cared only about great athletes such as these. So that’s never a bad fallback. Even if they didn’t play for Missouri.





:Agree

I find Wexell to be the most accurate and knowledgeable of all the Steelers' beat writers and try to read everything he writes.

Thanks for posting, I had not seen this article. :Cheers

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
03-04-2010, 05:41 PM
So Chad Ochocino is a loud mouth and is very vocal does he qualify?

You are missing the point. Nobody said trash talking loud mouth. That is not what he is saying. Put tape over Ray Lewis's mouth for a whole game. ????????? Get it now? It isn't the trash talking. I'm talking about what comes out of his mouth that pertains to the competitve nature of the game. Not everyone can do that.

The talking, correcting, making a call, directing, as you put it, is more about being a leader. It doesn’t mean you have to be an overly vocal person to do this.

James Harrion is a leader. He isn't vocal on the field. He doesn't do any of the above. I don't think he even wants to. Troy is a leader. He isn't vocal on the field. I really think you don't see the difference. Compare Lewis to Harrison. Who is going to motivate you more in game verbally...Lewis or Harrison? Who will get on you when you miss an assignment in the huddle...Lewis or Harrison? Who will make the callouts for the DL to shift TE, who will call out something he recognizes from the film, or who will call out motion to transfer man? What would Harrison do...Point & hope someone sees him? This is what Lewis does...That's him. He wants that responsibilty on his back. Did you see him in the ProBowl? A field general...Every play he was getting Harrison & Woodley in position. Not everyone wants that responsibilty. Not everyone can function & talk under pressure. It is a different type of player...A different breed!

That is something that comes from character. Something inside. And I knew and played with quite a few players who had that and it had very little to do with how vocal they were or weren’t.

It is part of the character. But a good character doesn't make you an ILB or a verbal person. Being a verbal person doesn't give you good or bad character. You don't even have to have good character to be a leader on the football field. It is more than one aspect of his character/personality that give him this quality. Leaders can lead by example like Harrison. Some are leaders because they want the responsiblity of people following them by direction. Not everyone wants that burden but Spoon welcomes it.

I can be an eloquent, loud, vocal speaker but that doesn’t make me a good general.
And who said that?
I'm sure a mime could have a Hall of Fame career running a defense from the ILB spot. Maybe that helps.

Shawn
03-04-2010, 05:48 PM
Earl Thomas is shooting up draft boards from what I'm reading...he very well might not be there at 18. If he isn't...there are only two realistic guys I would want.

Weatherspoon or Odrick.

Both would be good. I would definitely not reach for a CB like Patrick Robinson or Kyle Wilson or worse yet an OT like Bruce Campbell aka Jamain Stephens Jr.

I haven't seen where Thomas is shooting up the boards. He is still arguably the second or third best safety.

Many scouts believe him to be the second best safety and db in the draft. The talk I'm reading is his numbers and work outs have increased his stock...the thoughts on him being able to play db as well have pushed him into the top half of the first round. I certainly hope they are wrong.

Dee Dub
03-04-2010, 06:04 PM
[quote="Dee Dub":1kvfvxjm]
So Chad Ochocino is a loud mouth and is very vocal does he qualify?

You are missing the point. Nobody said trash talking loud mouth. That is not what he is saying. Put tape over Ray Lewis's mouth for a whole game. ????????? Get it now? It isn't the trash talking. I'm talking about what comes out of his mouth that pertains to the competitve nature of the game. Not everyone can do that.

The talking, correcting, making a call, directing, as you put it, is more about being a leader. It doesn’t mean you have to be an overly vocal person to do this.

James Harrion is a leader. He isn't vocal on the field. He doesn't do any of the above. I don't think he even wants to. Troy is a leader. He isn't vocal on the field. I really think you don't see the difference. Compare Lewis to Harrison. Who is going to motivate you more in game verbally...Lewis or Harrison? Who will get on you when you miss an assignment in the huddle...Lewis or Harrison? Who will make the callouts for the DL to shift TE, who will call out something he recognizes from the film, or who will call out motion to transfer man? What would Harrison do...Point & hope someone sees him? This is what Lewis does...That's him. He wants that responsibilty on his back. Did you see him in the ProBowl? A field general...Every play he was getting Harrison & Woodley in position. Not everyone wants that responsibilty. Not everyone can function & talk under pressure. It is a different type of player...A different breed!

That is something that comes from character. Something inside. And I knew and played with quite a few players who had that and it had very little to do with how vocal they were or weren’t.

It is part of the character. But a good character doesn't make you an ILB or a verbal person. Being a verbal person doesn't give you good or bad character. You don't even have to have good character to be a leader on the football field. It is more than one aspect of his character/personality that give him this quality. Leaders can lead by example like Harrison. Some are leaders because they want the responsiblity of people following them by direction. Not everyone wants that burden but Spoon welcomes it.

I can be an eloquent, loud, vocal speaker but that doesn’t make me a good general.
And who said that?
I'm sure a mime could have a Hall of Fame career running a defense from the ILB spot. Maybe that helps.[/quote:1kvfvxjm]

You are right I don’t get it. Wexell equates good signal calling with good verbal skills. I don’t see that. I think what goes hand & hand with great defensive signal calling is intelligence and the ability to read and react quickly. Again you don’t have to be eloquent, speak loud, or be motivational, to be a good defensive signal caller. That’s my opinion.

Now if you or he is saying Weatherspoon has the personality and intelligence to be a top flight captain/signal caller of a defense, then I agree whole hardily. And that has nothing to do with his verbal skills

NW Steeler
03-04-2010, 07:02 PM
So I turned on the TV at lunch today and the first thing that popped up on the screen was Earl Thomas running his 40. That's it, he's our pick. Seriously though, if he is off the board, I like Weatherspoon, but something still tells me that an OL will be the pick. I doubt they will pick Odrick with the other deficiencies they have right now.

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
03-05-2010, 10:06 AM
[quote="JUST-PLAIN-NASTY":2lq1npkn][quote="Dee Dub":2lq1npkn]
So Chad Ochocino is a loud mouth and is very vocal does he qualify?

You are missing the point. Nobody said trash talking loud mouth. That is not what he is saying. Put tape over Ray Lewis's mouth for a whole game. ????????? Get it now? It isn't the trash talking. I'm talking about what comes out of his mouth that pertains to the competitve nature of the game. Not everyone can do that.

The talking, correcting, making a call, directing, as you put it, is more about being a leader. It doesn’t mean you have to be an overly vocal person to do this.

James Harrion is a leader. He isn't vocal on the field. He doesn't do any of the above. I don't think he even wants to. Troy is a leader. He isn't vocal on the field. I really think you don't see the difference. Compare Lewis to Harrison. Who is going to motivate you more in game verbally...Lewis or Harrison? Who will get on you when you miss an assignment in the huddle...Lewis or Harrison? Who will make the callouts for the DL to shift TE, who will call out something he recognizes from the film, or who will call out motion to transfer man? What would Harrison do...Point & hope someone sees him? This is what Lewis does...That's him. He wants that responsibilty on his back. Did you see him in the ProBowl? A field general...Every play he was getting Harrison & Woodley in position. Not everyone wants that responsibilty. Not everyone can function & talk under pressure. It is a different type of player...A different breed!

That is something that comes from character. Something inside. And I knew and played with quite a few players who had that and it had very little to do with how vocal they were or weren’t.

It is part of the character. But a good character doesn't make you an ILB or a verbal person. Being a verbal person doesn't give you good or bad character. You don't even have to have good character to be a leader on the football field. It is more than one aspect of his character/personality that give him this quality. Leaders can lead by example like Harrison. Some are leaders because they want the responsiblity of people following them by direction. Not everyone wants that burden but Spoon welcomes it.

I can be an eloquent, loud, vocal speaker but that doesn’t make me a good general.
And who said that?
I'm sure a mime could have a Hall of Fame career running a defense from the ILB spot. Maybe that helps.[/quote:2lq1npkn]

You are right I don’t get it. Wexell equates good signal calling with good verbal skills. I don’t see that. I think what goes hand & hand with great defensive signal calling is intelligence and the ability to read and react quickly. Again you don’t have to be eloquent, speak loud, or be motivational, to be a good defensive signal caller. That’s my opinion.

Now if you or he is saying Weatherspoon has the personality and intelligence to be a top flight captain/signal caller of a defense, then I agree whole hardily. And that has nothing to do with his verbal skills[/quote:2lq1npkn]
I could see how you would read the article in this post and come to that conclusion. I don't know if this was the whole article but I think Weatherspoons LB skills are implied in that article. He is just stating why he would be best for Farrior's spot because of his abilty to be verbal on the field and he welcomes the responsibilty of being the play caller & field general on defense.