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Oviedo
03-16-2010, 01:27 PM
Wexell is absolutely the best of the Steelers' writers. No one else is close. If he says something it has a basis in fact.


With Steelers turning to the draft, we do too



By Jim Wexell
Publisher SteelCityInsider.com
Posted Mar 16, 2010



| More

SCI.com publisher Jim Wexell puts odds on the seven-player pool he believes the Steelers will choose from in the first round of the 2010 draft.

The Larry Foote signing put a close to the Steelersí free agency season. Of course, Kevin Colbert said heíll keep his eyes open, but told reporters that ďthe focus is going to shift more heavily toward the draft.Ē
We can do that. The Foote signing was a final piece of the pre-draft puzzle as we get around to posting odds on the Steelersí first-round pick.

From the longshots to the favorite, hereís what my instincts are telling me:

18-1 Ė Jared Odrick, DE, Penn State: I watched this guy all year and was captivated by his height, quickness and relentless motor. No, he was not a two-gapper, but I strongly doubt that Aaron Smith was a two-gapper during his days at Northern Colorado. He was taught, and so can Odrick. But the rest of the draft analysts donít seem to share my enthusiasm on Odrick anyway. And even if Mike Tomlin shows up at Penn Stateís Pro Day and shouts out encouragement as he did to Quentin Groves a few years ago, I donít see a two-man position receiving a second consecutive No. 1 pick, particularly since the Steelers also kept last yearís sixth-round pick, Sunny Harris, and hold him in high regard at the position.

15-1 Ė Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida: This is another guy about whom I raved all season, but that was when I thought he was a second-rounder. His stock has risen, and Iím not really sure why. He didnít have a first-round game against Alabama, and at 304 pounds ran a 5.27 40 at the combine. Heís quick to the second level, but rarely pulled at Florida. A very good player, Pouncey can also play guard, but I only see the Steelers considering him as a member of a pool of late first-rounders in a trade-down. I prefer they wait on Baylorís J.D. Walton in R2-3 if theyíre finally going to put a high priority on the center position.

12-1 Ė Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama: What? You say I may as well throw long odds on Eric Berry and C.J. Spiller, too, since the Steelers wonít have a chance to draft them either? Well, I believe thereís a good chance McClain will fall to the Steelers Ė and that they will pass. Yes, itís a surprise, particularly since Iíve tooted this guyís horn all season long. But Iíve also always questioned his motor. It was something I tried to repress because I admire his leadership, intelligence and run-stuffing ability so much. I think I just wanted him to be the perfect replacement for James Farrior. But Iíve been hearing whispers about him lacking speed. At his Pro Day he ran well, and told scouts that heíd been bothered by a hamstring injury since mid-season. So I went back and watched the national title game, and his lack of speed is clear. Texas ran five outside plays that shouldíve involved McClain Ė or any inside linebacker worthy of pick 18. He got to one, only because the flow took him that way and he broke quickly to break up the screen pass. But he was hopelessly outrun on two outside running plays and two bubble screens. Itís a wonder Texas didnít run outside more often because they were hugely successful. If it was the hamstring, well, thatíll be tough to prove. Throw in his admission of having Crohnís disease and I see McClain slipping. I also watched Brandon Spikes the other night and would prefer drafting him in the second round to McClain in the first.

8-1 Ė Joe Haden, CB, Florida: In watching Spikes, it wasnít difficult to miss Haden as he broke sharply on short passes and came up hard in run support. Heís a viciously physical cornerback, something the Steelers require. But, is he fast enough? That question arose up after the 193-pounder ran a 4.58 40 at the combine. In taking a closer look at his bowl game, Cincinnatiís receivers twice beat Haden deep. The first time he was fooled on a gadget play and recovered in the nick of time to break up the underthrown pass. On the second, he was clearly beaten but the deep ball was overthrown and incomplete. Certainly itís a small sampling, but the question remains in my mind, particularly in a draft thatís thick with upper mid-round cornerbacks. While Haden plays a position at which the Steelers have a clear need, and he plays it with Steelers-style toughness, the odds are high because someone may draft him earlier. And if heís not drafted earlier, itís possible the Steelers are worrying about his speed as well. (P.S.: The Steelers drafted my 8-1 choice last year.)

5-1 Ė Sean Weatherspoon, ILB, Missouri: This guy dropped on the tote board when the Steelers signed Larry Foote the other day. Iíd given several reasons why Weatherspoon makes sense for the Steelers, and thereís a good chance heíll be available at pick 18. But with two solid backups now behind Farrior and Lawrence Timmons, and two just-signed special-teams stars from the CFL behind Foote and Keyaron Fox, it would make little sense to squeeze Weatherspoon onto the roster for future consideration. So, why have him rated so high at 5-1? Well, I can just hear Mike Tomlin telling reporters on draft day that Weatherspoon will start his career as an OLB Ė a position with a hole on the second-team depth chart Ė because thatís where he played in college. Yes, Weatherspoon, like Timmons before him, was a 4-3 OLB, but he prefers the middle and thatís where 4-3 OLBs play on 3-4 NFL teams. This thinking would be swallowed whole by the media, as it was when the Steelers tried to tell us that Timmons was an outside linebacker on draft day 2007.

4-1 Ė Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho: At the combine, new OL coach Sean Kugler told Iupati he was the Steelersí No. 1 offensive lineman. And Iupati fits a position of need. Heís a 6-5+, 331-pounder who can not only run better than any other Steelers lineman, he has the frame to add 20 more pounds. Heís a monster and would help the Steelers with their short-yardage game. But Iupatiís shown to be a liability in pass protection. His supporters claim these problems can be fixed, that heís played too little football and probably hasnít received much coaching yet. Still, in my mind, a guard at pick 18 should be a sure thing, as Steve Hutchinson was at pick 17 in 2001. But the upside here is too big to ignore, and itís quite likely heíll be available when the Steelers take their turn.

3-1 Ė Earl Thomas, FS, Texas: Hereís a guy I was willing to ignore because of A.) the depth of the position in the draft, B.) his poor showing against the Alabama run game, and, C.) the fact the Steelers signed two safeties in free agency and already have Troy Polamalu at the position. Then I learned yesterday that the Steelers had scheduled Thomas for a visit on April 8-9. When I searched his numbers for my story, I read an intelligent write-up in which the analyst compared Thomas to Polamalu. Not that I take such media remarks seriously, but when I turned the tape on to re-watch Thomas in the national championship game, the comparison rang true. Sure, Thomas was run over a couple of times by the Alabama RBs. But as I watched him closely, I saw the quick-twitch Polamalu speed as Thomas came up hard to upend Alabama backs on a handful of occasions with shoulder-first dives at their feet. I also watched Thomas stop three breakaway Alabama plays down the sideline with a burst of speed from the middle of the field. I also watched Alabama Ė seemingly on purpose Ė avoid throwing at all to anyone covered by Thomas. The three or four deep Alabama passes were all thrown with the other Texas safety over the top. Nick Saban was not about to let Thomas beat him, because, as a redshirt sophomore, Thomas had intercepted a school-record eight passes, 10 in his two-year career. In the title game, he was used as a chess piece in the Polamalu mold: He blitzed, covered slot receivers, played deep center field, played in the box, and on special teams he was used as a jammer and later came off the edge and almost blocked a punt. Heíll play this coming season as a 21-year-old and is nearly the exact size (5-10.2, 208) as Polamalu (5-10.1, 206) when Polamalu came out. Polamalu ran a 4.40 40 at his combine and dipped into the 4.3s at his Pro Day. Thomas ran a 4.48 at the combine and will likely run faster at his Pro Day (March 31). Thomas might also be able to play cornerback, and could in the least replace Deshea Townsend as the Steelersí nickel back and third safety.

However, with Thomasís stock on the rise, and the prototype having been established by Polamalu (no safety shorter than 5-11 had been drafted in the first round for 19 years before Polamalu), itís unlikely that Thomas will be available at pick 18. The Jacksonville Jaguars, at 10, are becoming the choice landing spot on mock drafts for Thomas, after the safety-deficient Jags addressed their other main weakness by signing pass-rusher Aaron Kampman in free agency.

But, thereís the possibility of trading up, something Kevin Colbert has done twice. The first time in team history was in 2003, when the Steelers held their breath as the San Diego Chargers, picking 15th with a hole at SS after losing Rodney Harrison, traded down 15 spots to draft a CB named Sammy Davis. The Steelers then moved up 11 spots to draft Polamalu with the 16th pick. It cost them third-round and sixth-round picks, which was less than half of the points required, according to the draft pick value board. If the Steelers can procure a similar deal this year, or even pay a smaller price if the Jaguars pass on Thomas at 10, itís the move I expect them to make.

birtikidis
03-16-2010, 01:36 PM
not a bad write up. I think his evaluation of Haden isn't very good. the kid started 3 years at Florida and he only mentions 2 plays? seriously? the kid is worthy of a top ten pick and he rags him for 2 freakin plays!

RuthlessBurgher
03-16-2010, 01:43 PM
That's weird, I read an online scouting report of Earl Thomas yesterday that compared him to Polamalu as well. I wonder if it was the same one. Here's the one I found (I appears to have been written back before players committed to the draft, though):

http://draftboardinsider.com/cgi-bin/prospect.cgi?id=1089


Scouting Report: Thomas has a solid build, lean with a small waist and long limbs. He plays a FS at Texas but is asked to do a little of everything. And trust me, he does it all. Only a redshirt sophomore but his coverage skills are very good. He has great anticipation and does an excellent job of reading and diagnosing the making the big play on the ball. He's one of the most physical safetys in the draft, and has no qualms about sacrificing his body for a play. Some think that he's better suited to play a very physical CB in the NFL, to maximize his coverage skills, and try and keep his body in tact. The only real negatives to Thomas' game are the fact that he plays more physical than his frame will hold and it could shorten his NFL career and that he does at times play a little out of control and forgets his assignments.

Draft Status: Thomas is only a redshirt sophomore, but if the Longhorns win a national title, there's a real chance he makes the jump to the NFL. If he did, he'd be no worse than the 2nd safety off the board and probably the 3rd defensive back which means he's probably a top 15 pick. For a player so young, but so talented all that can happen at this point is to have his game get picked apart and hurt his stock. He's not going to get any bigger or any faster or any stronger, and his skills set is what it is.

Final Analysis: Love, love love what Thomas brings to the table. He reminds me a ton of Joe Haden only playing safety. He's got good size for CB, a little undersized for a safety as physical as he is. But he's got great strength both in coverage and in run support, he runs very well, is a great leaper, and has soft hands. He can blitz when asked to, and literally anchors the back 4 of the Longhorn defense. No matter what happens for the Longhorns this year, Thomas would be foolish to return to school when his stock really can't get much higher.

Reminds me of: Troy Polamalu, S Pittsburgh Steelers-Both a little undersized, super aggressive, and able to do anything on the football field. Thomas can certainly grow into the kind of impact player Polamalu is, given the right scheme and coaching. All the physical tools are there.

hawaiiansteel
03-16-2010, 01:55 PM
Wexell is absolutely the best of the Steelers' writers. No one else is close. If he says something it has a basis in fact.


With Steelers turning to the draft, we do too



By Jim Wexell
Publisher SteelCityInsider.com
Posted Mar 16, 2010



| More

SCI.com publisher Jim Wexell puts odds on the seven-player pool he believes the Steelers will choose from in the first round of the 2010 draft.

The Larry Foote signing put a close to the Steelersí free agency season. Of course, Kevin Colbert said heíll keep his eyes open, but told reporters that ďthe focus is going to shift more heavily toward the draft.Ē
We can do that. The Foote signing was a final piece of the pre-draft puzzle as we get around to posting odds on the Steelersí first-round pick.

From the longshots to the favorite, hereís what my instincts are telling me:

18-1 Ė Jared Odrick, DE, Penn State: I watched this guy all year and was captivated by his height, quickness and relentless motor. No, he was not a two-gapper, but I strongly doubt that Aaron Smith was a two-gapper during his days at Northern Colorado. He was taught, and so can Odrick. But the rest of the draft analysts donít seem to share my enthusiasm on Odrick anyway. And even if Mike Tomlin shows up at Penn Stateís Pro Day and shouts out encouragement as he did to Quentin Groves a few years ago, I donít see a two-man position receiving a second consecutive No. 1 pick, particularly since the Steelers also kept last yearís sixth-round pick, Sunny Harris, and hold him in high regard at the position.

15-1 Ė Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida: This is another guy about whom I raved all season, but that was when I thought he was a second-rounder. His stock has risen, and Iím not really sure why. He didnít have a first-round game against Alabama, and at 304 pounds ran a 5.27 40 at the combine. Heís quick to the second level, but rarely pulled at Florida. A very good player, Pouncey can also play guard, but I only see the Steelers considering him as a member of a pool of late first-rounders in a trade-down. I prefer they wait on Baylorís J.D. Walton in R2-3 if theyíre finally going to put a high priority on the center position.

12-1 Ė Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama: What? You say I may as well throw long odds on Eric Berry and C.J. Spiller, too, since the Steelers wonít have a chance to draft them either? Well, I believe thereís a good chance McClain will fall to the Steelers Ė and that they will pass. Yes, itís a surprise, particularly since Iíve tooted this guyís horn all season long. But Iíve also always questioned his motor. It was something I tried to repress because I admire his leadership, intelligence and run-stuffing ability so much. I think I just wanted him to be the perfect replacement for James Farrior. But Iíve been hearing whispers about him lacking speed. At his Pro Day he ran well, and told scouts that heíd been bothered by a hamstring injury since mid-season. So I went back and watched the national title game, and his lack of speed is clear. Texas ran five outside plays that shouldíve involved McClain Ė or any inside linebacker worthy of pick 18. He got to one, only because the flow took him that way and he broke quickly to break up the screen pass. But he was hopelessly outrun on two outside running plays and two bubble screens. Itís a wonder Texas didnít run outside more often because they were hugely successful. If it was the hamstring, well, thatíll be tough to prove. Throw in his admission of having Crohnís disease and I see McClain slipping. I also watched Brandon Spikes the other night and would prefer drafting him in the second round to McClain in the first.

8-1 Ė Joe Haden, CB, Florida: In watching Spikes, it wasnít difficult to miss Haden as he broke sharply on short passes and came up hard in run support. Heís a viciously physical cornerback, something the Steelers require. But, is he fast enough? That question arose up after the 193-pounder ran a 4.58 40 at the combine. In taking a closer look at his bowl game, Cincinnatiís receivers twice beat Haden deep. The first time he was fooled on a gadget play and recovered in the nick of time to break up the underthrown pass. On the second, he was clearly beaten but the deep ball was overthrown and incomplete. Certainly itís a small sampling, but the question remains in my mind, particularly in a draft thatís thick with upper mid-round cornerbacks. While Haden plays a position at which the Steelers have a clear need, and he plays it with Steelers-style toughness, the odds are high because someone may draft him earlier. And if heís not drafted earlier, itís possible the Steelers are worrying about his speed as well. (P.S.: The Steelers drafted my 8-1 choice last year.)

5-1 Ė Sean Weatherspoon, ILB, Missouri: This guy dropped on the tote board when the Steelers signed Larry Foote the other day. Iíd given several reasons why Weatherspoon makes sense for the Steelers, and thereís a good chance heíll be available at pick 18. But with two solid backups now behind Farrior and Lawrence Timmons, and two just-signed special-teams stars from the CFL behind Foote and Keyaron Fox, it would make little sense to squeeze Weatherspoon onto the roster for future consideration. So, why have him rated so high at 5-1? Well, I can just hear Mike Tomlin telling reporters on draft day that Weatherspoon will start his career as an OLB Ė a position with a hole on the second-team depth chart Ė because thatís where he played in college. Yes, Weatherspoon, like Timmons before him, was a 4-3 OLB, but he prefers the middle and thatís where 4-3 OLBs play on 3-4 NFL teams. This thinking would be swallowed whole by the media, as it was when the Steelers tried to tell us that Timmons was an outside linebacker on draft day 2007.

4-1 Ė Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho: At the combine, new OL coach Sean Kugler told Iupati he was the Steelersí No. 1 offensive lineman. And Iupati fits a position of need. Heís a 6-5+, 331-pounder who can not only run better than any other Steelers lineman, he has the frame to add 20 more pounds. Heís a monster and would help the Steelers with their short-yardage game. But Iupatiís shown to be a liability in pass protection. His supporters claim these problems can be fixed, that heís played too little football and probably hasnít received much coaching yet. Still, in my mind, a guard at pick 18 should be a sure thing, as Steve Hutchinson was at pick 17 in 2001. But the upside here is too big to ignore, and itís quite likely heíll be available when the Steelers take their turn.

3-1 Ė Earl Thomas, FS, Texas: Hereís a guy I was willing to ignore because of A.) the depth of the position in the draft, B.) his poor showing against the Alabama run game, and, C.) the fact the Steelers signed two safeties in free agency and already have Troy Polamalu at the position. Then I learned yesterday that the Steelers had scheduled Thomas for a visit on April 8-9. When I searched his numbers for my story, I read an intelligent write-up in which the analyst compared Thomas to Polamalu. Not that I take such media remarks seriously, but when I turned the tape on to re-watch Thomas in the national championship game, the comparison rang true. Sure, Thomas was run over a couple of times by the Alabama RBs. But as I watched him closely, I saw the quick-twitch Polamalu speed as Thomas came up hard to upend Alabama backs on a handful of occasions with shoulder-first dives at their feet. I also watched Thomas stop three breakaway Alabama plays down the sideline with a burst of speed from the middle of the field. I also watched Alabama Ė seemingly on purpose Ė avoid throwing at all to anyone covered by Thomas. The three or four deep Alabama passes were all thrown with the other Texas safety over the top. Nick Saban was not about to let Thomas beat him, because, as a redshirt sophomore, Thomas had intercepted a school-record eight passes, 10 in his two-year career. In the title game, he was used as a chess piece in the Polamalu mold: He blitzed, covered slot receivers, played deep center field, played in the box, and on special teams he was used as a jammer and later came off the edge and almost blocked a punt. Heíll play this coming season as a 21-year-old and is nearly the exact size (5-10.2, 208) as Polamalu (5-10.1, 206) when Polamalu came out. Polamalu ran a 4.40 40 at his combine and dipped into the 4.3s at his Pro Day. Thomas ran a 4.48 at the combine and will likely run faster at his Pro Day (March 31). Thomas might also be able to play cornerback, and could in the least replace Deshea Townsend as the Steelersí nickel back and third safety.

However, with Thomasís stock on the rise, and the prototype having been established by Polamalu (no safety shorter than 5-11 had been drafted in the first round for 19 years before Polamalu), itís unlikely that Thomas will be available at pick 18. The Jacksonville Jaguars, at 10, are becoming the choice landing spot on mock drafts for Thomas, after the safety-deficient Jags addressed their other main weakness by signing pass-rusher Aaron Kampman in free agency.

But, thereís the possibility of trading up, something Kevin Colbert has done twice. The first time in team history was in 2003, when the Steelers held their breath as the San Diego Chargers, picking 15th with a hole at SS after losing Rodney Harrison, traded down 15 spots to draft a CB named Sammy Davis. The Steelers then moved up 11 spots to draft Polamalu with the 16th pick. It cost them third-round and sixth-round picks, which was less than half of the points required, according to the draft pick value board. If the Steelers can procure a similar deal this year, or even pay a smaller price if the Jaguars pass on Thomas at 10, itís the move I expect them to make.





Great article, thanks for posting. I also have a great respect for what Wexell writes.

I know Geno Atkins ate Iupati up during the Senior Bowl game, but look at Iupati's 2009 season stats -

Iupati started all 12 games at left guard, played 807 snaps and had 49 knockdowns and 21 pancake blocks. He did not allow a quarterback sack all season.

Everyone has a bad game now and then. But if you look at Iupati's larger body of work and give him some coaching, this guy could be a fixture and Pro Bowler at LG for the next 10 years.

Lebsteel
03-16-2010, 01:55 PM
With what he says about Iupati, I hope he is more like a 20-1 prospect. I don't want a project lineman who has a problem in college with pass protection. If we had to go OL I'd much rather take Trent Williams. I do like what he says about Thomas and I really think Thomas could start at CB for the Steelers. If Lewis or Burnett step up this year, then we may not have to worry about resigning Ike and we would have a CB duo/trio for the next decade.

Also, Thomas ran a 4.44 at the combine, so he may go under 4.40 at his Pro Day
http://walterfootball.com/combine2010S.php

Dee Dub
03-16-2010, 02:04 PM
Here's my prediction...

Steelers will still draft Sean Weatherspoon simply because he will be the highest rated on their board at 18. Then they will cut James Farrior. The signing of Foote enables the Steelers to not rush Weatherspoon.

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
03-16-2010, 02:22 PM
Here's my prediction...

Steelers will still draft Sean Weatherspoon simply because he will be the highest rated on their board at 18. Then they will cut James Farrior. The signing of Foote enables the Steelers to not rush Weatherspoon.

If I'm in the FO...Knowing Foote is on the roster...Seeing Farrior's play down the stretch in 2009...This thought would cross my mind if Weatherspoon is there.

Dee Dub
03-16-2010, 02:23 PM
Personally I think Wexell is full of you know what.

Wexell wrote---

12-1 Ė Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama: What? You say I may as well throw long odds on Eric Berry and C.J. Spiller, too, since the Steelers wonít have a chance to draft them either? Well, I believe thereís a good chance McClain will fall to the Steelers Ė and that they will pass. Yes, itís a surprise, particularly since Iíve tooted this guyís horn all season long. But Iíve also always questioned his motor. It was something I tried to repress because I admire his leadership, intelligence and run-stuffing ability so much. I think I just wanted him to be the perfect replacement for James Farrior. But Iíve been hearing whispers about him lacking speed. At his Pro Day he ran well, and told scouts that heíd been bothered by a hamstring injury since mid-season. So I went back and watched the national title game, and his lack of speed is clear. Texas ran five outside plays that shouldíve involved McClain Ė or any inside linebacker worthy of pick 18. He got to one, only because the flow took him that way and he broke quickly to break up the screen pass. But he was hopelessly outrun on two outside running plays and two bubble screens. Itís a wonder Texas didnít run outside more often because they were hugely successful. If it was the hamstring, well, thatíll be tough to prove. Throw in his admission of having Crohnís disease and I see McClain slipping. I also watched Brandon Spikes the other night and would prefer drafting him in the second round to McClain in the first. [/quote]

QuestionÖ.how do you gauge a players motor? Are you there on the field or watching from a television? Are you at practice? And if you can gauge that why cant you also gauge his playing speed? Yet you saw enough of him all year to toot this players horn? YeahÖ.that sounds intelligent. :roll:

phillyesq
03-16-2010, 02:25 PM
So far this year, there hasn't been anybody that I've really wanted the Steelers to draft or not draft.

The more I read about Thomas, the more I'm starting to lean in that direction. Having another playmaker in the secondary would be a huge asset for the defense. Even though he is young, I'd hope that Thomas could contribute in the nickel immediately. I'm not sure if he'll end up as a corner or a safety, but either way, I think he could only help the defense.

At first, I really liked Iupati. I'd love to see the Steelers get somebody massive on the offensive line who can move people out in the running game. But the concerns about his pass protection ability worry me. More than that, there seem to be a lot of scouting reports suggesting that he isn't the brightest offensive lineman. The current group of lineman seem to have trouble understanding their responsibilities with stunts and blitzes; I don't want to see somebody else that will have that same difficulty.

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
03-16-2010, 02:29 PM
Wexell is absolutely the best of the Steelers' writers. No one else is close. If he says something it has a basis in fact.


With Steelers turning to the draft, we do too



By Jim Wexell
Publisher SteelCityInsider.com
Posted Mar 16, 2010



| More

SCI.com publisher Jim Wexell puts odds on the seven-player pool he believes the Steelers will choose from in the first round of the 2010 draft.

The Larry Foote signing put a close to the Steelersí free agency season. Of course, Kevin Colbert said heíll keep his eyes open, but told reporters that ďthe focus is going to shift more heavily toward the draft.Ē
We can do that. The Foote signing was a final piece of the pre-draft puzzle as we get around to posting odds on the Steelersí first-round pick.

From the longshots to the favorite, hereís what my instincts are telling me:

18-1 Ė Jared Odrick, DE, Penn State: I watched this guy all year and was captivated by his height, quickness and relentless motor. No, he was not a two-gapper, but I strongly doubt that Aaron Smith was a two-gapper during his days at Northern Colorado. He was taught, and so can Odrick. But the rest of the draft analysts donít seem to share my enthusiasm on Odrick anyway. And even if Mike Tomlin shows up at Penn Stateís Pro Day and shouts out encouragement as he did to Quentin Groves a few years ago, I donít see a two-man position receiving a second consecutive No. 1 pick, particularly since the Steelers also kept last yearís sixth-round pick, Sunny Harris, and hold him in high regard at the position.

15-1 Ė Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida: This is another guy about whom I raved all season, but that was when I thought he was a second-rounder. His stock has risen, and Iím not really sure why. He didnít have a first-round game against Alabama, and at 304 pounds ran a 5.27 40 at the combine. Heís quick to the second level, but rarely pulled at Florida. A very good player, Pouncey can also play guard, but I only see the Steelers considering him as a member of a pool of late first-rounders in a trade-down. I prefer they wait on Baylorís J.D. Walton in R2-3 if theyíre finally going to put a high priority on the center position.

12-1 Ė Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama: What? You say I may as well throw long odds on Eric Berry and C.J. Spiller, too, since the Steelers wonít have a chance to draft them either? Well, I believe thereís a good chance McClain will fall to the Steelers Ė and that they will pass. Yes, itís a surprise, particularly since Iíve tooted this guyís horn all season long. But Iíve also always questioned his motor. It was something I tried to repress because I admire his leadership, intelligence and run-stuffing ability so much. I think I just wanted him to be the perfect replacement for James Farrior. But Iíve been hearing whispers about him lacking speed. At his Pro Day he ran well, and told scouts that heíd been bothered by a hamstring injury since mid-season. So I went back and watched the national title game, and his lack of speed is clear. Texas ran five outside plays that shouldíve involved McClain Ė or any inside linebacker worthy of pick 18. He got to one, only because the flow took him that way and he broke quickly to break up the screen pass. But he was hopelessly outrun on two outside running plays and two bubble screens. Itís a wonder Texas didnít run outside more often because they were hugely successful. If it was the hamstring, well, thatíll be tough to prove. Throw in his admission of having Crohnís disease and I see McClain slipping. I also watched Brandon Spikes the other night and would prefer drafting him in the second round to McClain in the first.

8-1 Ė Joe Haden, CB, Florida: In watching Spikes, it wasnít difficult to miss Haden as he broke sharply on short passes and came up hard in run support. Heís a viciously physical cornerback, something the Steelers require. But, is he fast enough? That question arose up after the 193-pounder ran a 4.58 40 at the combine. In taking a closer look at his bowl game, Cincinnatiís receivers twice beat Haden deep. The first time he was fooled on a gadget play and recovered in the nick of time to break up the underthrown pass. On the second, he was clearly beaten but the deep ball was overthrown and incomplete. Certainly itís a small sampling, but the question remains in my mind, particularly in a draft thatís thick with upper mid-round cornerbacks. While Haden plays a position at which the Steelers have a clear need, and he plays it with Steelers-style toughness, the odds are high because someone may draft him earlier. And if heís not drafted earlier, itís possible the Steelers are worrying about his speed as well. (P.S.: The Steelers drafted my 8-1 choice last year.)

5-1 Ė Sean Weatherspoon, ILB, Missouri: This guy dropped on the tote board when the Steelers signed Larry Foote the other day. Iíd given several reasons why Weatherspoon makes sense for the Steelers, and thereís a good chance heíll be available at pick 18. But with two solid backups now behind Farrior and Lawrence Timmons, and two just-signed special-teams stars from the CFL behind Foote and Keyaron Fox, it would make little sense to squeeze Weatherspoon onto the roster for future consideration. So, why have him rated so high at 5-1? Well, I can just hear Mike Tomlin telling reporters on draft day that Weatherspoon will start his career as an OLB Ė a position with a hole on the second-team depth chart Ė because thatís where he played in college. Yes, Weatherspoon, like Timmons before him, was a 4-3 OLB, but he prefers the middle and thatís where 4-3 OLBs play on 3-4 NFL teams. This thinking would be swallowed whole by the media, as it was when the Steelers tried to tell us that Timmons was an outside linebacker on draft day 2007.

4-1 Ė Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho: At the combine, new OL coach Sean Kugler told Iupati he was the Steelersí No. 1 offensive lineman. And Iupati fits a position of need. Heís a 6-5+, 331-pounder who can not only run better than any other Steelers lineman, he has the frame to add 20 more pounds. Heís a monster and would help the Steelers with their short-yardage game. But Iupatiís shown to be a liability in pass protection. His supporters claim these problems can be fixed, that heís played too little football and probably hasnít received much coaching yet. Still, in my mind, a guard at pick 18 should be a sure thing, as Steve Hutchinson was at pick 17 in 2001. But the upside here is too big to ignore, and itís quite likely heíll be available when the Steelers take their turn.

3-1 Ė Earl Thomas, FS, Texas: Hereís a guy I was willing to ignore because of A.) the depth of the position in the draft, B.) his poor showing against the Alabama run game, and, C.) the fact the Steelers signed two safeties in free agency and already have Troy Polamalu at the position. Then I learned yesterday that the Steelers had scheduled Thomas for a visit on April 8-9. When I searched his numbers for my story, I read an intelligent write-up in which the analyst compared Thomas to Polamalu. Not that I take such media remarks seriously, but when I turned the tape on to re-watch Thomas in the national championship game, the comparison rang true. Sure, Thomas was run over a couple of times by the Alabama RBs. But as I watched him closely, I saw the quick-twitch Polamalu speed as Thomas came up hard to upend Alabama backs on a handful of occasions with shoulder-first dives at their feet. I also watched Thomas stop three breakaway Alabama plays down the sideline with a burst of speed from the middle of the field. I also watched Alabama Ė seemingly on purpose Ė avoid throwing at all to anyone covered by Thomas. The three or four deep Alabama passes were all thrown with the other Texas safety over the top. Nick Saban was not about to let Thomas beat him, because, as a redshirt sophomore, Thomas had intercepted a school-record eight passes, 10 in his two-year career. In the title game, he was used as a chess piece in the Polamalu mold: He blitzed, covered slot receivers, played deep center field, played in the box, and on special teams he was used as a jammer and later came off the edge and almost blocked a punt. Heíll play this coming season as a 21-year-old and is nearly the exact size (5-10.2, 208) as Polamalu (5-10.1, 206) when Polamalu came out. Polamalu ran a 4.40 40 at his combine and dipped into the 4.3s at his Pro Day. Thomas ran a 4.48 at the combine and will likely run faster at his Pro Day (March 31). Thomas might also be able to play cornerback, and could in the least replace Deshea Townsend as the Steelersí nickel back and third safety.

However, with Thomasís stock on the rise, and the prototype having been established by Polamalu (no safety shorter than 5-11 had been drafted in the first round for 19 years before Polamalu), itís unlikely that Thomas will be available at pick 18. The Jacksonville Jaguars, at 10, are becoming the choice landing spot on mock drafts for Thomas, after the safety-deficient Jags addressed their other main weakness by signing pass-rusher Aaron Kampman in free agency.

But, thereís the possibility of trading up, something Kevin Colbert has done twice. The first time in team history was in 2003, when the Steelers held their breath as the San Diego Chargers, picking 15th with a hole at SS after losing Rodney Harrison, traded down 15 spots to draft a CB named Sammy Davis. The Steelers then moved up 11 spots to draft Polamalu with the 16th pick. It cost them third-round and sixth-round picks, which was less than half of the points required, according to the draft pick value board. If the Steelers can procure a similar deal this year, or even pay a smaller price if the Jaguars pass on Thomas at 10, itís the move I expect them to make.





I'm still feeling Spoon....
BUT...
Thomas is on their radar in my opinion.
I wish I could be there for the workout. I bet they work him heavily at CB and ask him how he feels about playing there. The guy is fluid...He doesn't throttle down at all when he turns his hips. I have a little concern of durabilty if he stays at S. I hope there is a write up about the workout. I'm beginning to think that Thomas is the trade up guy in the first. Possible 10 picks in this draft...Be lucky if half make it. The FA signings give them the flexibilty to make some moves in the 1st & 2nd.

ANPSTEEL
03-16-2010, 02:36 PM
Here's my prediction...

Steelers will still draft Sean Weatherspoon simply because he will be the highest rated on their board at 18. Then they will cut James Farrior. The signing of Foote enables the Steelers to not rush Weatherspoon.

Interesting idea-

The signing of Foote, does allow for transitioning Timmons to the Buck.

I don't think they'd cut Farrior this season though. Maybe just ask him to re-structure??

I used to think they were targeting Williams in 1- but now, the more I look at it...

I think they'll try to trade down in the 1st and up in the 2nd.

I think the targets will be

CB and C/G in either order.

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
03-16-2010, 02:44 PM
He is right about McClain. I've liked Spoon more since the Senior Bowl. McClain "lumbers" to the ball. He has poor change of direction and is more of a wrap up guy. He should be more physical at that size but what I see is a guy afraid to motor though a player because of the fear of the guy making a cut and getting away from him. There is alot of Bama footage on youtube where you see McClain going through the motions when plays go outside...No pursuit. Mcclain reminds me of an athletic 3-4 DE trying to play ILB. Run between the tackles at him...He will be stout. Make him run to the football...It is trouble. If he has to start & stop coming off blocks, change direction to shoot a gap, or even break down when the RB changes direction...He will be out of the play. He looks like a big truck with bad brakes when he plays football.

Oviedo
03-16-2010, 02:49 PM
Wexell is absolutely the best of the Steelers' writers. No one else is close. If he says something it has a basis in fact.


With Steelers turning to the draft, we do too



By Jim Wexell
Publisher SteelCityInsider.com
Posted Mar 16, 2010



| More

SCI.com publisher Jim Wexell puts odds on the seven-player pool he believes the Steelers will choose from in the first round of the 2010 draft.

The Larry Foote signing put a close to the Steelersí free agency season. Of course, Kevin Colbert said heíll keep his eyes open, but told reporters that ďthe focus is going to shift more heavily toward the draft.Ē
We can do that. The Foote signing was a final piece of the pre-draft puzzle as we get around to posting odds on the Steelersí first-round pick.

From the longshots to the favorite, hereís what my instincts are telling me:

18-1 Ė Jared Odrick, DE, Penn State: I watched this guy all year and was captivated by his height, quickness and relentless motor. No, he was not a two-gapper, but I strongly doubt that Aaron Smith was a two-gapper during his days at Northern Colorado. He was taught, and so can Odrick. But the rest of the draft analysts donít seem to share my enthusiasm on Odrick anyway. And even if Mike Tomlin shows up at Penn Stateís Pro Day and shouts out encouragement as he did to Quentin Groves a few years ago, I donít see a two-man position receiving a second consecutive No. 1 pick, particularly since the Steelers also kept last yearís sixth-round pick, Sunny Harris, and hold him in high regard at the position.

15-1 Ė Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida: This is another guy about whom I raved all season, but that was when I thought he was a second-rounder. His stock has risen, and Iím not really sure why. He didnít have a first-round game against Alabama, and at 304 pounds ran a 5.27 40 at the combine. Heís quick to the second level, but rarely pulled at Florida. A very good player, Pouncey can also play guard, but I only see the Steelers considering him as a member of a pool of late first-rounders in a trade-down. I prefer they wait on Baylorís J.D. Walton in R2-3 if theyíre finally going to put a high priority on the center position.

12-1 Ė Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama: What? You say I may as well throw long odds on Eric Berry and C.J. Spiller, too, since the Steelers wonít have a chance to draft them either? Well, I believe thereís a good chance McClain will fall to the Steelers Ė and that they will pass. Yes, itís a surprise, particularly since Iíve tooted this guyís horn all season long. But Iíve also always questioned his motor. It was something I tried to repress because I admire his leadership, intelligence and run-stuffing ability so much. I think I just wanted him to be the perfect replacement for James Farrior. But Iíve been hearing whispers about him lacking speed. At his Pro Day he ran well, and told scouts that heíd been bothered by a hamstring injury since mid-season. So I went back and watched the national title game, and his lack of speed is clear. Texas ran five outside plays that shouldíve involved McClain Ė or any inside linebacker worthy of pick 18. He got to one, only because the flow took him that way and he broke quickly to break up the screen pass. But he was hopelessly outrun on two outside running plays and two bubble screens. Itís a wonder Texas didnít run outside more often because they were hugely successful. If it was the hamstring, well, thatíll be tough to prove. Throw in his admission of having Crohnís disease and I see McClain slipping. I also watched Brandon Spikes the other night and would prefer drafting him in the second round to McClain in the first.

8-1 Ė Joe Haden, CB, Florida: In watching Spikes, it wasnít difficult to miss Haden as he broke sharply on short passes and came up hard in run support. Heís a viciously physical cornerback, something the Steelers require. But, is he fast enough? That question arose up after the 193-pounder ran a 4.58 40 at the combine. In taking a closer look at his bowl game, Cincinnatiís receivers twice beat Haden deep. The first time he was fooled on a gadget play and recovered in the nick of time to break up the underthrown pass. On the second, he was clearly beaten but the deep ball was overthrown and incomplete. Certainly itís a small sampling, but the question remains in my mind, particularly in a draft thatís thick with upper mid-round cornerbacks. While Haden plays a position at which the Steelers have a clear need, and he plays it with Steelers-style toughness, the odds are high because someone may draft him earlier. And if heís not drafted earlier, itís possible the Steelers are worrying about his speed as well. (P.S.: The Steelers drafted my 8-1 choice last year.)

5-1 Ė Sean Weatherspoon, ILB, Missouri: This guy dropped on the tote board when the Steelers signed Larry Foote the other day. Iíd given several reasons why Weatherspoon makes sense for the Steelers, and thereís a good chance heíll be available at pick 18. But with two solid backups now behind Farrior and Lawrence Timmons, and two just-signed special-teams stars from the CFL behind Foote and Keyaron Fox, it would make little sense to squeeze Weatherspoon onto the roster for future consideration. So, why have him rated so high at 5-1? Well, I can just hear Mike Tomlin telling reporters on draft day that Weatherspoon will start his career as an OLB Ė a position with a hole on the second-team depth chart Ė because thatís where he played in college. Yes, Weatherspoon, like Timmons before him, was a 4-3 OLB, but he prefers the middle and thatís where 4-3 OLBs play on 3-4 NFL teams. This thinking would be swallowed whole by the media, as it was when the Steelers tried to tell us that Timmons was an outside linebacker on draft day 2007.

4-1 Ė Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho: At the combine, new OL coach Sean Kugler told Iupati he was the Steelersí No. 1 offensive lineman. And Iupati fits a position of need. Heís a 6-5+, 331-pounder who can not only run better than any other Steelers lineman, he has the frame to add 20 more pounds. Heís a monster and would help the Steelers with their short-yardage game. But Iupatiís shown to be a liability in pass protection. His supporters claim these problems can be fixed, that heís played too little football and probably hasnít received much coaching yet. Still, in my mind, a guard at pick 18 should be a sure thing, as Steve Hutchinson was at pick 17 in 2001. But the upside here is too big to ignore, and itís quite likely heíll be available when the Steelers take their turn.

3-1 Ė Earl Thomas, FS, Texas: Hereís a guy I was willing to ignore because of A.) the depth of the position in the draft, B.) his poor showing against the Alabama run game, and, C.) the fact the Steelers signed two safeties in free agency and already have Troy Polamalu at the position. Then I learned yesterday that the Steelers had scheduled Thomas for a visit on April 8-9. When I searched his numbers for my story, I read an intelligent write-up in which the analyst compared Thomas to Polamalu. Not that I take such media remarks seriously, but when I turned the tape on to re-watch Thomas in the national championship game, the comparison rang true. Sure, Thomas was run over a couple of times by the Alabama RBs. But as I watched him closely, I saw the quick-twitch Polamalu speed as Thomas came up hard to upend Alabama backs on a handful of occasions with shoulder-first dives at their feet. I also watched Thomas stop three breakaway Alabama plays down the sideline with a burst of speed from the middle of the field. I also watched Alabama Ė seemingly on purpose Ė avoid throwing at all to anyone covered by Thomas. The three or four deep Alabama passes were all thrown with the other Texas safety over the top. Nick Saban was not about to let Thomas beat him, because, as a redshirt sophomore, Thomas had intercepted a school-record eight passes, 10 in his two-year career. In the title game, he was used as a chess piece in the Polamalu mold: He blitzed, covered slot receivers, played deep center field, played in the box, and on special teams he was used as a jammer and later came off the edge and almost blocked a punt. Heíll play this coming season as a 21-year-old and is nearly the exact size (5-10.2, 208) as Polamalu (5-10.1, 206) when Polamalu came out. Polamalu ran a 4.40 40 at his combine and dipped into the 4.3s at his Pro Day. Thomas ran a 4.48 at the combine and will likely run faster at his Pro Day (March 31). Thomas might also be able to play cornerback, and could in the least replace Deshea Townsend as the Steelersí nickel back and third safety.

However, with Thomasís stock on the rise, and the prototype having been established by Polamalu (no safety shorter than 5-11 had been drafted in the first round for 19 years before Polamalu), itís unlikely that Thomas will be available at pick 18. The Jacksonville Jaguars, at 10, are becoming the choice landing spot on mock drafts for Thomas, after the safety-deficient Jags addressed their other main weakness by signing pass-rusher Aaron Kampman in free agency.

But, thereís the possibility of trading up, something Kevin Colbert has done twice. The first time in team history was in 2003, when the Steelers held their breath as the San Diego Chargers, picking 15th with a hole at SS after losing Rodney Harrison, traded down 15 spots to draft a CB named Sammy Davis. The Steelers then moved up 11 spots to draft Polamalu with the 16th pick. It cost them third-round and sixth-round picks, which was less than half of the points required, according to the draft pick value board. If the Steelers can procure a similar deal this year, or even pay a smaller price if the Jaguars pass on Thomas at 10, itís the move I expect them to make.





I'm still feeling Spoon....
BUT...
Thomas is on their radar in my opinion.
I wish I could be there for the workout. I bet they work him heavily at CB and ask him how he feels about playing there. The guy is fluid...He doesn't throttle down at all when he turns his hips. I have a little concern of durabilty if he stays at S. I hope there is a write up about the workout. I'm beginning to think that Thomas is the trade up guy in the first. Possible 10 picks in this draft...Be lucky if half make it. The FA signings give them the flexibilty to make some moves in the 1st & 2nd.

I'm still expecting the shocker. Trade up for Spiller. That will keep this board humming for months but it will get us the biggest impact player in this draft. So I'm good.

cruzer8
03-16-2010, 02:50 PM
I'm still feeling Spoon....
BUT...
Thomas is on their radar in my opinion.
I wish I could be there for the workout. I bet they work him heavily at CB and ask him how he feels about playing there. The guy is fluid...He doesn't throttle down at all when he turns his hips. I have a little concern of durabilty if he stays at S. I hope there is a write up about the workout. I'm beginning to think that Thomas is the trade up guy in the first. Possible 10 picks in this draft...Be lucky if half make it. The FA signings give them the flexibilty to make some moves in the 1st & 2nd.

I heard him interviewed on the radio and he said most teams have been working him at CB. He said that seems to be where teams want him to play.

ANPSTEEL
03-16-2010, 02:54 PM
I'm still feeling Spoon....
BUT...
Thomas is on their radar in my opinion.
I wish I could be there for the workout. I bet they work him heavily at CB and ask him how he feels about playing there. The guy is fluid...He doesn't throttle down at all when he turns his hips. I have a little concern of durabilty if he stays at S. I hope there is a write up about the workout. I'm beginning to think that Thomas is the trade up guy in the first. Possible 10 picks in this draft...Be lucky if half make it. The FA signings give them the flexibilty to make some moves in the 1st & 2nd.

I heard him interviewed on the radio and he said most teams have been working him at CB. He said that seems to be where teams want him to play.

I guess I can dig Thomas, if the team really feels he can play corner.

I was just never sold on drafting him at 18 to play FS. This is not an indication of his ability to play FS- just my thoughts on the value of FS in the 1st, when very serviceable starting FS can be found in 2-4, imo.

Lebsteel
03-16-2010, 03:08 PM
Wexell is absolutely the best of the Steelers' writers. No one else is close. If he says something it has a basis in fact.


With Steelers turning to the draft, we do too



By Jim Wexell
Publisher SteelCityInsider.com
Posted Mar 16, 2010



| More

SCI.com publisher Jim Wexell puts odds on the seven-player pool he believes the Steelers will choose from in the first round of the 2010 draft.

The Larry Foote signing put a close to the Steelersí free agency season. Of course, Kevin Colbert said heíll keep his eyes open, but told reporters that ďthe focus is going to shift more heavily toward the draft.Ē
We can do that. The Foote signing was a final piece of the pre-draft puzzle as we get around to posting odds on the Steelersí first-round pick.

From the longshots to the favorite, hereís what my instincts are telling me:

18-1 Ė Jared Odrick, DE, Penn State: I watched this guy all year and was captivated by his height, quickness and relentless motor. No, he was not a two-gapper, but I strongly doubt that Aaron Smith was a two-gapper during his days at Northern Colorado. He was taught, and so can Odrick. But the rest of the draft analysts donít seem to share my enthusiasm on Odrick anyway. And even if Mike Tomlin shows up at Penn Stateís Pro Day and shouts out encouragement as he did to Quentin Groves a few years ago, I donít see a two-man position receiving a second consecutive No. 1 pick, particularly since the Steelers also kept last yearís sixth-round pick, Sunny Harris, and hold him in high regard at the position.

15-1 Ė Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida: This is another guy about whom I raved all season, but that was when I thought he was a second-rounder. His stock has risen, and Iím not really sure why. He didnít have a first-round game against Alabama, and at 304 pounds ran a 5.27 40 at the combine. Heís quick to the second level, but rarely pulled at Florida. A very good player, Pouncey can also play guard, but I only see the Steelers considering him as a member of a pool of late first-rounders in a trade-down. I prefer they wait on Baylorís J.D. Walton in R2-3 if theyíre finally going to put a high priority on the center position.

12-1 Ė Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama: What? You say I may as well throw long odds on Eric Berry and C.J. Spiller, too, since the Steelers wonít have a chance to draft them either? Well, I believe thereís a good chance McClain will fall to the Steelers Ė and that they will pass. Yes, itís a surprise, particularly since Iíve tooted this guyís horn all season long. But Iíve also always questioned his motor. It was something I tried to repress because I admire his leadership, intelligence and run-stuffing ability so much. I think I just wanted him to be the perfect replacement for James Farrior. But Iíve been hearing whispers about him lacking speed. At his Pro Day he ran well, and told scouts that heíd been bothered by a hamstring injury since mid-season. So I went back and watched the national title game, and his lack of speed is clear. Texas ran five outside plays that shouldíve involved McClain Ė or any inside linebacker worthy of pick 18. He got to one, only because the flow took him that way and he broke quickly to break up the screen pass. But he was hopelessly outrun on two outside running plays and two bubble screens. Itís a wonder Texas didnít run outside more often because they were hugely successful. If it was the hamstring, well, thatíll be tough to prove. Throw in his admission of having Crohnís disease and I see McClain slipping. I also watched Brandon Spikes the other night and would prefer drafting him in the second round to McClain in the first.

8-1 Ė Joe Haden, CB, Florida: In watching Spikes, it wasnít difficult to miss Haden as he broke sharply on short passes and came up hard in run support. Heís a viciously physical cornerback, something the Steelers require. But, is he fast enough? That question arose up after the 193-pounder ran a 4.58 40 at the combine. In taking a closer look at his bowl game, Cincinnatiís receivers twice beat Haden deep. The first time he was fooled on a gadget play and recovered in the nick of time to break up the underthrown pass. On the second, he was clearly beaten but the deep ball was overthrown and incomplete. Certainly itís a small sampling, but the question remains in my mind, particularly in a draft thatís thick with upper mid-round cornerbacks. While Haden plays a position at which the Steelers have a clear need, and he plays it with Steelers-style toughness, the odds are high because someone may draft him earlier. And if heís not drafted earlier, itís possible the Steelers are worrying about his speed as well. (P.S.: The Steelers drafted my 8-1 choice last year.)

5-1 Ė Sean Weatherspoon, ILB, Missouri: This guy dropped on the tote board when the Steelers signed Larry Foote the other day. Iíd given several reasons why Weatherspoon makes sense for the Steelers, and thereís a good chance heíll be available at pick 18. But with two solid backups now behind Farrior and Lawrence Timmons, and two just-signed special-teams stars from the CFL behind Foote and Keyaron Fox, it would make little sense to squeeze Weatherspoon onto the roster for future consideration. So, why have him rated so high at 5-1? Well, I can just hear Mike Tomlin telling reporters on draft day that Weatherspoon will start his career as an OLB Ė a position with a hole on the second-team depth chart Ė because thatís where he played in college. Yes, Weatherspoon, like Timmons before him, was a 4-3 OLB, but he prefers the middle and thatís where 4-3 OLBs play on 3-4 NFL teams. This thinking would be swallowed whole by the media, as it was when the Steelers tried to tell us that Timmons was an outside linebacker on draft day 2007.

4-1 Ė Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho: At the combine, new OL coach Sean Kugler told Iupati he was the Steelersí No. 1 offensive lineman. And Iupati fits a position of need. Heís a 6-5+, 331-pounder who can not only run better than any other Steelers lineman, he has the frame to add 20 more pounds. Heís a monster and would help the Steelers with their short-yardage game. But Iupatiís shown to be a liability in pass protection. His supporters claim these problems can be fixed, that heís played too little football and probably hasnít received much coaching yet. Still, in my mind, a guard at pick 18 should be a sure thing, as Steve Hutchinson was at pick 17 in 2001. But the upside here is too big to ignore, and itís quite likely heíll be available when the Steelers take their turn.

3-1 Ė Earl Thomas, FS, Texas: Hereís a guy I was willing to ignore because of A.) the depth of the position in the draft, B.) his poor showing against the Alabama run game, and, C.) the fact the Steelers signed two safeties in free agency and already have Troy Polamalu at the position. Then I learned yesterday that the Steelers had scheduled Thomas for a visit on April 8-9. When I searched his numbers for my story, I read an intelligent write-up in which the analyst compared Thomas to Polamalu. Not that I take such media remarks seriously, but when I turned the tape on to re-watch Thomas in the national championship game, the comparison rang true. Sure, Thomas was run over a couple of times by the Alabama RBs. But as I watched him closely, I saw the quick-twitch Polamalu speed as Thomas came up hard to upend Alabama backs on a handful of occasions with shoulder-first dives at their feet. I also watched Thomas stop three breakaway Alabama plays down the sideline with a burst of speed from the middle of the field. I also watched Alabama Ė seemingly on purpose Ė avoid throwing at all to anyone covered by Thomas. The three or four deep Alabama passes were all thrown with the other Texas safety over the top. Nick Saban was not about to let Thomas beat him, because, as a redshirt sophomore, Thomas had intercepted a school-record eight passes, 10 in his two-year career. In the title game, he was used as a chess piece in the Polamalu mold: He blitzed, covered slot receivers, played deep center field, played in the box, and on special teams he was used as a jammer and later came off the edge and almost blocked a punt. Heíll play this coming season as a 21-year-old and is nearly the exact size (5-10.2, 208) as Polamalu (5-10.1, 206) when Polamalu came out. Polamalu ran a 4.40 40 at his combine and dipped into the 4.3s at his Pro Day. Thomas ran a 4.48 at the combine and will likely run faster at his Pro Day (March 31). Thomas might also be able to play cornerback, and could in the least replace Deshea Townsend as the Steelersí nickel back and third safety.

However, with Thomasís stock on the rise, and the prototype having been established by Polamalu (no safety shorter than 5-11 had been drafted in the first round for 19 years before Polamalu), itís unlikely that Thomas will be available at pick 18. The Jacksonville Jaguars, at 10, are becoming the choice landing spot on mock drafts for Thomas, after the safety-deficient Jags addressed their other main weakness by signing pass-rusher Aaron Kampman in free agency.

But, thereís the possibility of trading up, something Kevin Colbert has done twice. The first time in team history was in 2003, when the Steelers held their breath as the San Diego Chargers, picking 15th with a hole at SS after losing Rodney Harrison, traded down 15 spots to draft a CB named Sammy Davis. The Steelers then moved up 11 spots to draft Polamalu with the 16th pick. It cost them third-round and sixth-round picks, which was less than half of the points required, according to the draft pick value board. If the Steelers can procure a similar deal this year, or even pay a smaller price if the Jaguars pass on Thomas at 10, itís the move I expect them to make.





Great article, thanks for posting. I also have a great respect for what Wexell writes.

I know Geno Atkins ate Iupati up during the Senior Bowl game, but look at Iupati's 2009 season stats -

Iupati started all 12 games at left guard, played 807 snaps and had 49 knockdowns and 21 pancake blocks. He did not allow a quarterback sack all season.

Everyone has a bad game now and then. But if you look at Iupati's larger body of work and give him some coaching, this guy could be a fixture and Pro Bowler at LG for the next 10 years.
If Iupati played at a school like Ohio State, Florida, Texas, etc... and gave up no sacks, then I would be impressed. Playing at Idaho, I think his real first test against top notch talent was at the Senior Bowl.

hawaiiansteel
03-16-2010, 03:56 PM
Wexell is absolutely the best of the Steelers' writers. No one else is close. If he says something it has a basis in fact.


With Steelers turning to the draft, we do too



By Jim Wexell
Publisher SteelCityInsider.com
Posted Mar 16, 2010



| More

SCI.com publisher Jim Wexell puts odds on the seven-player pool he believes the Steelers will choose from in the first round of the 2010 draft.

The Larry Foote signing put a close to the Steelersí free agency season. Of course, Kevin Colbert said heíll keep his eyes open, but told reporters that ďthe focus is going to shift more heavily toward the draft.Ē
We can do that. The Foote signing was a final piece of the pre-draft puzzle as we get around to posting odds on the Steelersí first-round pick.

From the longshots to the favorite, hereís what my instincts are telling me:

18-1 Ė Jared Odrick, DE, Penn State: I watched this guy all year and was captivated by his height, quickness and relentless motor. No, he was not a two-gapper, but I strongly doubt that Aaron Smith was a two-gapper during his days at Northern Colorado. He was taught, and so can Odrick. But the rest of the draft analysts donít seem to share my enthusiasm on Odrick anyway. And even if Mike Tomlin shows up at Penn Stateís Pro Day and shouts out encouragement as he did to Quentin Groves a few years ago, I donít see a two-man position receiving a second consecutive No. 1 pick, particularly since the Steelers also kept last yearís sixth-round pick, Sunny Harris, and hold him in high regard at the position.

15-1 Ė Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida: This is another guy about whom I raved all season, but that was when I thought he was a second-rounder. His stock has risen, and Iím not really sure why. He didnít have a first-round game against Alabama, and at 304 pounds ran a 5.27 40 at the combine. Heís quick to the second level, but rarely pulled at Florida. A very good player, Pouncey can also play guard, but I only see the Steelers considering him as a member of a pool of late first-rounders in a trade-down. I prefer they wait on Baylorís J.D. Walton in R2-3 if theyíre finally going to put a high priority on the center position.

12-1 Ė Rolando McClain, ILB, Alabama: What? You say I may as well throw long odds on Eric Berry and C.J. Spiller, too, since the Steelers wonít have a chance to draft them either? Well, I believe thereís a good chance McClain will fall to the Steelers Ė and that they will pass. Yes, itís a surprise, particularly since Iíve tooted this guyís horn all season long. But Iíve also always questioned his motor. It was something I tried to repress because I admire his leadership, intelligence and run-stuffing ability so much. I think I just wanted him to be the perfect replacement for James Farrior. But Iíve been hearing whispers about him lacking speed. At his Pro Day he ran well, and told scouts that heíd been bothered by a hamstring injury since mid-season. So I went back and watched the national title game, and his lack of speed is clear. Texas ran five outside plays that shouldíve involved McClain Ė or any inside linebacker worthy of pick 18. He got to one, only because the flow took him that way and he broke quickly to break up the screen pass. But he was hopelessly outrun on two outside running plays and two bubble screens. Itís a wonder Texas didnít run outside more often because they were hugely successful. If it was the hamstring, well, thatíll be tough to prove. Throw in his admission of having Crohnís disease and I see McClain slipping. I also watched Brandon Spikes the other night and would prefer drafting him in the second round to McClain in the first.

8-1 Ė Joe Haden, CB, Florida: In watching Spikes, it wasnít difficult to miss Haden as he broke sharply on short passes and came up hard in run support. Heís a viciously physical cornerback, something the Steelers require. But, is he fast enough? That question arose up after the 193-pounder ran a 4.58 40 at the combine. In taking a closer look at his bowl game, Cincinnatiís receivers twice beat Haden deep. The first time he was fooled on a gadget play and recovered in the nick of time to break up the underthrown pass. On the second, he was clearly beaten but the deep ball was overthrown and incomplete. Certainly itís a small sampling, but the question remains in my mind, particularly in a draft thatís thick with upper mid-round cornerbacks. While Haden plays a position at which the Steelers have a clear need, and he plays it with Steelers-style toughness, the odds are high because someone may draft him earlier. And if heís not drafted earlier, itís possible the Steelers are worrying about his speed as well. (P.S.: The Steelers drafted my 8-1 choice last year.)

5-1 Ė Sean Weatherspoon, ILB, Missouri: This guy dropped on the tote board when the Steelers signed Larry Foote the other day. Iíd given several reasons why Weatherspoon makes sense for the Steelers, and thereís a good chance heíll be available at pick 18. But with two solid backups now behind Farrior and Lawrence Timmons, and two just-signed special-teams stars from the CFL behind Foote and Keyaron Fox, it would make little sense to squeeze Weatherspoon onto the roster for future consideration. So, why have him rated so high at 5-1? Well, I can just hear Mike Tomlin telling reporters on draft day that Weatherspoon will start his career as an OLB Ė a position with a hole on the second-team depth chart Ė because thatís where he played in college. Yes, Weatherspoon, like Timmons before him, was a 4-3 OLB, but he prefers the middle and thatís where 4-3 OLBs play on 3-4 NFL teams. This thinking would be swallowed whole by the media, as it was when the Steelers tried to tell us that Timmons was an outside linebacker on draft day 2007.

4-1 Ė Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho: At the combine, new OL coach Sean Kugler told Iupati he was the Steelersí No. 1 offensive lineman. And Iupati fits a position of need. Heís a 6-5+, 331-pounder who can not only run better than any other Steelers lineman, he has the frame to add 20 more pounds. Heís a monster and would help the Steelers with their short-yardage game. But Iupatiís shown to be a liability in pass protection. His supporters claim these problems can be fixed, that heís played too little football and probably hasnít received much coaching yet. Still, in my mind, a guard at pick 18 should be a sure thing, as Steve Hutchinson was at pick 17 in 2001. But the upside here is too big to ignore, and itís quite likely heíll be available when the Steelers take their turn.

3-1 Ė Earl Thomas, FS, Texas: Hereís a guy I was willing to ignore because of A.) the depth of the position in the draft, B.) his poor showing against the Alabama run game, and, C.) the fact the Steelers signed two safeties in free agency and already have Troy Polamalu at the position. Then I learned yesterday that the Steelers had scheduled Thomas for a visit on April 8-9. When I searched his numbers for my story, I read an intelligent write-up in which the analyst compared Thomas to Polamalu. Not that I take such media remarks seriously, but when I turned the tape on to re-watch Thomas in the national championship game, the comparison rang true. Sure, Thomas was run over a couple of times by the Alabama RBs. But as I watched him closely, I saw the quick-twitch Polamalu speed as Thomas came up hard to upend Alabama backs on a handful of occasions with shoulder-first dives at their feet. I also watched Thomas stop three breakaway Alabama plays down the sideline with a burst of speed from the middle of the field. I also watched Alabama Ė seemingly on purpose Ė avoid throwing at all to anyone covered by Thomas. The three or four deep Alabama passes were all thrown with the other Texas safety over the top. Nick Saban was not about to let Thomas beat him, because, as a redshirt sophomore, Thomas had intercepted a school-record eight passes, 10 in his two-year career. In the title game, he was used as a chess piece in the Polamalu mold: He blitzed, covered slot receivers, played deep center field, played in the box, and on special teams he was used as a jammer and later came off the edge and almost blocked a punt. Heíll play this coming season as a 21-year-old and is nearly the exact size (5-10.2, 208) as Polamalu (5-10.1, 206) when Polamalu came out. Polamalu ran a 4.40 40 at his combine and dipped into the 4.3s at his Pro Day. Thomas ran a 4.48 at the combine and will likely run faster at his Pro Day (March 31). Thomas might also be able to play cornerback, and could in the least replace Deshea Townsend as the Steelersí nickel back and third safety.

However, with Thomasís stock on the rise, and the prototype having been established by Polamalu (no safety shorter than 5-11 had been drafted in the first round for 19 years before Polamalu), itís unlikely that Thomas will be available at pick 18. The Jacksonville Jaguars, at 10, are becoming the choice landing spot on mock drafts for Thomas, after the safety-deficient Jags addressed their other main weakness by signing pass-rusher Aaron Kampman in free agency.

But, thereís the possibility of trading up, something Kevin Colbert has done twice. The first time in team history was in 2003, when the Steelers held their breath as the San Diego Chargers, picking 15th with a hole at SS after losing Rodney Harrison, traded down 15 spots to draft a CB named Sammy Davis. The Steelers then moved up 11 spots to draft Polamalu with the 16th pick. It cost them third-round and sixth-round picks, which was less than half of the points required, according to the draft pick value board. If the Steelers can procure a similar deal this year, or even pay a smaller price if the Jaguars pass on Thomas at 10, itís the move I expect them to make.





Great article, thanks for posting. I also have a great respect for what Wexell writes.

I know Geno Atkins ate Iupati up during the Senior Bowl game, but look at Iupati's 2009 season stats -

Iupati started all 12 games at left guard, played 807 snaps and had 49 knockdowns and 21 pancake blocks. He did not allow a quarterback sack all season.

Everyone has a bad game now and then. But if you look at Iupati's larger body of work and give him some coaching, this guy could be a fixture and Pro Bowler at LG for the next 10 years.
If Iupati played at a school like Ohio State, Florida, Texas, etc... and gave up no sacks, then I would be impressed. Playing at Idaho, I think his real first test against top notch talent was at the Senior Bowl.



yes, but Iupati looked terrific in the Senior Bowl practices all week long. it was only in the game when he was playing out of position at RG that he struggled.

Iupati is way better than Essex, Foster, Legursky or Urbik...

pfelix73
03-16-2010, 04:00 PM
"Iupati is way better than Essex, Foster, Legursky or Urbik..."


Your nuts. That's such a poor statement-- prove it.
:shock:

flippy
03-16-2010, 04:03 PM
I'd be cool if we got TP II.

RuthlessBurgher
03-16-2010, 04:22 PM
"Iupati is way better than Essex, Foster, Legursky or Urbik..."


Your nuts. That's such a poor statement-- prove it.
:shock:

I'd say that Iupati has more raw talent than any of those guys. But even if we drafted him, I couldn't see him starting from day one over those more experienced guys. Faneca started 12 games here as a rook, but he went to LSU, not Idaho. I think he'd have to take some time to learn the system and to adjust to the speed of the game before he would be ready to contribute.

Shawn
03-16-2010, 04:46 PM
I think if everyone he has is on the board it will come down to Haden and Thomas...and the edge goes to Thomas. But, I think it's possible both are off the board by the time the Steelers pick. That leaves Weatherspoon, Iupati, Odrick. The more I think about the pick the more I believe it could be the guy from that group I don't want who is Iupati. To appease Rooney they could very well take a freagin OG with #18. Which IMO would be pathetic.

pfelix73
03-16-2010, 04:53 PM
Just because Rooney says that doesn't mean you take a RB or a OL at #18. You could very well just change some of your offensive philosophy and draft a real FB in this years draft... Change some formations, etc.

There are many ways that you can run the ball more. Not just by drafting another OL, etc.

NJ-STEELER
03-16-2010, 04:54 PM
kiper has pouncey going at 24 now.

if thats true.

is drating him 6 spots higher really that much a reach?

hawaiiansteel
03-16-2010, 05:00 PM
"Iupati is way better than Essex, Foster, Legursky or Urbik..."


Your nuts. That's such a poor statement-- prove it.
:shock:


ok, let's look at the first two sentences of Wexell's write-up on Iupati again...


4-1 Ė Mike Iupati, OG, Idaho: At the combine, new OL coach Sean Kugler told Iupati he was the Steelersí No. 1 offensive lineman. And Iupati fits a position of need.



new OL coach Sean Kugler must also be nuts then for rating Iupati as the Steelers' No. 1 offensive lineman...and Wexell is nuts for ranking Iupati as the second most likely player to be selected by the Steelers.

and why does Iupati fit a position of need? maybe because our current OG candidates aren't that good?

pfelix73
03-16-2010, 05:03 PM
#1 OL in the draft, silly. Not the #1 OL on the team!

Unreal.....

A position of need? Half this stuff that comes out of the coaches mouths this time of year is just bunk...its that way for a reason...


Oh, and by the way? Wexell is guessing right along with the rest of us....

Oviedo
03-16-2010, 05:22 PM
kiper has pouncey going at 24 now.

if thats true.

is drating him 6 spots higher really that much a reach?

Huge reach because talent wise he is a mid Round 2 pick. You guys have to have watched him to appreciate how he is not a Steelers type Center. Florida ran everything to the edges and outside and he did not have to be the power drive blocker that he will have to be in the AFC North against the huge NTs there are in our Division. He is great at pulling because that is what he did at Florida but that won't be what he has to do in NFL.

hawaiiansteel
03-16-2010, 05:25 PM
#1 OL in the draft, silly. Not the #1 OL on the team!

Unreal.....

A position of need? Half this stuff that comes out of the coaches mouths this time of year is just bunk...its that way for a reason...


Oh, and by the way? Wexell is guessing right along with the rest of us....


yes, silly...i'm very well aware that since Iupati is not on our team (yet) that he cannot be the Steelers No. 1 OL. i was merely quoting Wexell's words, I was just making the point that our current OL coach Sean Kugler also thinks very highly of Iupati as he has him rated as the #1 OL in the entire draft.

Essex is in the last year of his contract, Urbik wasn't even good enough to dress on game days last year, Legursky is more a center than a guard, and Foster...i gotta give him credit for filling in admirably last season.

OG is definitely a position of need, if you don't think so then we will just have to agree to disagree. as for me being nuts, have you been talking with my mother-in-law?

pfelix73
03-16-2010, 05:27 PM
LOL- Yea. Just yesterday she was talking about you. My Mother-in-law would say the same. Funny how they are all that way.

hawaiiansteel
03-16-2010, 05:36 PM
LOL- Yea. Just yesterday she was talking about you. My Mother-in-law would say the same. Funny how they are all that way.



they are obviously both nuts! :Cheers

Shawn
03-16-2010, 05:58 PM
LOL- Yea. Just yesterday she was talking about you. My Mother-in-law would say the same. Funny how they are all that way.

My MIL loves me...what you foos talking about. :D

Chadman
03-16-2010, 06:03 PM
Without trying to kick-start the value of Iupati debate, think about this...

All season long, he has graded out well. His whole career has graded well. Leading up to the Senior Bowl, he was projected as the #1 OG & possibly the #4 OT available. He killed it in practice. Then, after a poor Senior Bowl game, he's over rated?

It sounds strangely familiar to what happened to this other guy Chadman remembers...a guy that had an outstanding college career, was rated as a sure-fire 1st round pick leading up to the Senior Bowl, but had a below-par game at the Senior Bowl & subsequently dropped in the rankings into the 2nd round....and was later picked by the Pittsburgh Steelers...and became their starting LOLB the next year...you know him right? LaMarr Woodley? Remember him?

Don't judge a player based on one game. Iupati was rated that high for a reason leading up to the Senior Bowl.

RuthlessBurgher
03-16-2010, 06:32 PM
#1 OL in the draft, silly. Not the #1 OL on the team!

Unreal.....

A position of need? Half this stuff that comes out of the coaches mouths this time of year is just bunk...its that way for a reason...


Oh, and by the way? Wexell is guessing right along with the rest of us....


yes, silly...i'm very well aware that since Iupati is not on our team (yet) that he cannot be the Steelers No. 1 OL. i was merely quoting Wexell's words, I was just making the point that our current OL coach Sean Kugler also thinks very highly of Iupati as he has him rated as the #1 OL in the entire draft.

Essex is in the last year of his contract, Urbik wasn't even good enough to dress on game days last year, Legursky is more a center than a guard, and Foster...i gotta give him credit for filling in admirably last season.

OG is definitely a position of need, if you don't think so then we will just have to agree to disagree. as for me being nuts, have you been talking with my mother-in-law?

Kugler is the one who is nuts if he truly believes that Iupati is a better OL prospect than, say, Russell Okung. Sure, there is a much greater gap between Iupati and the #2 guard than there is between Okung and the #2 tackle, but Okung is a superior overall OL prospect (Koogs may have just said that because he knows that his team has no reasonable shot to get a guy like Okung, but chances are that Iupati could be available when we pick).

Chadman
03-16-2010, 06:38 PM
#1 OL in the draft, silly. Not the #1 OL on the team!

Unreal.....

A position of need? Half this stuff that comes out of the coaches mouths this time of year is just bunk...its that way for a reason...


Oh, and by the way? Wexell is guessing right along with the rest of us....


yes, silly...i'm very well aware that since Iupati is not on our team (yet) that he cannot be the Steelers No. 1 OL. i was merely quoting Wexell's words, I was just making the point that our current OL coach Sean Kugler also thinks very highly of Iupati as he has him rated as the #1 OL in the entire draft.

Essex is in the last year of his contract, Urbik wasn't even good enough to dress on game days last year, Legursky is more a center than a guard, and Foster...i gotta give him credit for filling in admirably last season.

OG is definitely a position of need, if you don't think so then we will just have to agree to disagree. as for me being nuts, have you been talking with my mother-in-law?

Kugler is the one who is nuts if he truly believes that Iupati is a better OL prospect than, say, Russell Okung. Sure, there is a much greater gap between Iupati and the #2 guard than there is between Okung and the #2 tackle, but Okung is a superior overall OL prospect (Koogs may have just said that because he knows that his team has no reasonable shot to get a guy like Okung, but chances are that Iupati could be available when we pick).

Before we degenerate into a screaming hissy-fit over who said what- pretty sure Coach Kugler said Iupati was the OL that the Steelers had #1 on THEIR DRAFT BOARD- ie, the guy they rated #1 in OL that should be available to them on draft day- not that he is the best OL in the draft.

hawaiiansteel
03-16-2010, 06:41 PM
#1 OL in the draft, silly. Not the #1 OL on the team!

Unreal.....

A position of need? Half this stuff that comes out of the coaches mouths this time of year is just bunk...its that way for a reason...


Oh, and by the way? Wexell is guessing right along with the rest of us....


yes, silly...i'm very well aware that since Iupati is not on our team (yet) that he cannot be the Steelers No. 1 OL. i was merely quoting Wexell's words, I was just making the point that our current OL coach Sean Kugler also thinks very highly of Iupati as he has him rated as the #1 OL in the entire draft.

Essex is in the last year of his contract, Urbik wasn't even good enough to dress on game days last year, Legursky is more a center than a guard, and Foster...i gotta give him credit for filling in admirably last season.

OG is definitely a position of need, if you don't think so then we will just have to agree to disagree. as for me being nuts, have you been talking with my mother-in-law?

Kugler is the one who is nuts if he truly believes that Iupati is a better OL prospect than, say, Russell Okung. Sure, there is a much greater gap between Iupati and the #2 guard than there is between Okung and the #2 tackle, but Okung is a superior overall OL prospect (Koogs may have just said that because he knows that his team has no reasonable shot to get a guy like Okung, but chances are that Iupati could be available when we pick).



or maybe Koogs said Iupati is the #1 OL on the Steelers board because the Steelers are not considering taking an OT in the first round, but may consider an OG?

RuthlessBurgher
03-16-2010, 06:47 PM
#1 OL in the draft, silly. Not the #1 OL on the team!

Unreal.....

A position of need? Half this stuff that comes out of the coaches mouths this time of year is just bunk...its that way for a reason...


Oh, and by the way? Wexell is guessing right along with the rest of us....


yes, silly...i'm very well aware that since Iupati is not on our team (yet) that he cannot be the Steelers No. 1 OL. i was merely quoting Wexell's words, I was just making the point that our current OL coach Sean Kugler also thinks very highly of Iupati as he has him rated as the #1 OL in the entire draft.

Essex is in the last year of his contract, Urbik wasn't even good enough to dress on game days last year, Legursky is more a center than a guard, and Foster...i gotta give him credit for filling in admirably last season.

OG is definitely a position of need, if you don't think so then we will just have to agree to disagree. as for me being nuts, have you been talking with my mother-in-law?

Kugler is the one who is nuts if he truly believes that Iupati is a better OL prospect than, say, Russell Okung. Sure, there is a much greater gap between Iupati and the #2 guard than there is between Okung and the #2 tackle, but Okung is a superior overall OL prospect (Koogs may have just said that because he knows that his team has no reasonable shot to get a guy like Okung, but chances are that Iupati could be available when we pick).

Before we degenerate into a screaming hissy-fit over who said what- pretty sure Coach Kugler said Iupati was the OL that the Steelers had #1 on THEIR DRAFT BOARD- ie, the guy they rated #1 in OL that should be available to them on draft day- not that he is the best OL in the draft.

You still rank everyone on your draft board, Chad (except for guys that you absolutely would not draft due to character concerns, medical concerns, or whatever). You never know who might fall. No one expected Mendenhall to be available at #23, but he was on our draft board.

hawaiiansteel
03-16-2010, 07:05 PM
#1 OL in the draft, silly. Not the #1 OL on the team!

Unreal.....

A position of need? Half this stuff that comes out of the coaches mouths this time of year is just bunk...its that way for a reason...


Oh, and by the way? Wexell is guessing right along with the rest of us....


yes, silly...i'm very well aware that since Iupati is not on our team (yet) that he cannot be the Steelers No. 1 OL. i was merely quoting Wexell's words, I was just making the point that our current OL coach Sean Kugler also thinks very highly of Iupati as he has him rated as the #1 OL in the entire draft.

Essex is in the last year of his contract, Urbik wasn't even good enough to dress on game days last year, Legursky is more a center than a guard, and Foster...i gotta give him credit for filling in admirably last season.

OG is definitely a position of need, if you don't think so then we will just have to agree to disagree. as for me being nuts, have you been talking with my mother-in-law?

Kugler is the one who is nuts if he truly believes that Iupati is a better OL prospect than, say, Russell Okung. Sure, there is a much greater gap between Iupati and the #2 guard than there is between Okung and the #2 tackle, but Okung is a superior overall OL prospect (Koogs may have just said that because he knows that his team has no reasonable shot to get a guy like Okung, but chances are that Iupati could be available when we pick).

Before we degenerate into a screaming hissy-fit over who said what- pretty sure Coach Kugler said Iupati was the OL that the Steelers had #1 on THEIR DRAFT BOARD- ie, the guy they rated #1 in OL that should be available to them on draft day- not that he is the best OL in the draft.

You still rank everyone on your draft board, Chad (except for guys that you absolutely would not draft due to character concerns, medical concerns, or whatever). You never know who might fall. No one expected Mendenhall to be available at #23, but he was on our draft board.


let's hypothetically say that the Steelers know that they would NOT draft a QB in the first round under any circumstance...would they still bother having Bradford and Clausen on their draft board?

ikestops85
03-16-2010, 07:19 PM
let's hypothetically say that the Steelers know that they would NOT draft a QB in the first round under any circumstance...would they still bother having Bradford and Clausen on their draft board?

The answer to that is a resounding YES. That way if your franchise QB rides a bike without a helmut the day before you draft you are prepared. :lol:

hawaiiansteel
03-16-2010, 07:29 PM
let's hypothetically say that the Steelers know that they would NOT draft a QB in the first round under any circumstance...would they still bother having Bradford and Clausen on their draft board?

The answer to that is a resounding YES. That way if your franchise QB rides a bike without a helmut the day before you draft you are prepared. :lol:



all the Steelers would need to do in that case is to draft Tim Tebow, he looks really good in the Black & Gold... :tt2

http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2010/0309/nfl_e_steelertebow_300.jpg

Lebsteel
03-16-2010, 07:33 PM
let's hypothetically say that the Steelers know that they would NOT draft a QB in the first round under any circumstance...would they still bother having Bradford and Clausen on their draft board?

The answer to that is a resounding YES. That way if your franchise QB rides a bike without a helmut the day before you draft you are prepared. :lol:



all the Steelers would need to do in that case is to draft Tim Tebow, he looks really good in the Black & Gold... :tt2

http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2010/0309/nfl_e_steelertebow_300.jpg
TEBOW!!! TEBOW!! TEBOW!! He would make a great Steeler.........

backup QB......great job on the PhotoShop work!

ikestops85
03-16-2010, 07:41 PM
let's hypothetically say that the Steelers know that they would NOT draft a QB in the first round under any circumstance...would they still bother having Bradford and Clausen on their draft board?

The answer to that is a resounding YES. That way if your franchise QB rides a bike without a helmut the day before you draft you are prepared. :lol:



all the Steelers would need to do in that case is to draft Tim Tebow, he looks really good in the Black & Gold... :tt2

http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2010/0309/nfl_e_steelertebow_300.jpg
TEBOW!!! TEBOW!! TEBOW!! He would make a great Steeler.........

backup QB......great job on the PhotoShop work!

Yes .. Tebow @ #18!! That would shock a few people. :tt2

NJ-STEELER
03-16-2010, 07:47 PM
let's hypothetically say that the Steelers know that they would NOT draft a QB in the first round under any circumstance...would they still bother having Bradford and Clausen on their draft board?

The answer to that is a resounding YES. That way if your franchise QB rides a bike without a helmut the day before you draft you are prepared. :lol:



all the Steelers would need to do in that case is to draft Tim Tebow, he looks really good in the Black & Gold... :tt2

http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2010/0309/nfl_e_steelertebow_300.jpg

looks like mike tomczak on steroids

steelz09
03-16-2010, 08:34 PM
The more I think about it, the more I don't think the Steelers draft philosophy should or would change:

In not particular order:

1) Iupati or another tackle. Tackle is definitely an issue. No way do I see the Steelers drafting another guard. How many do we need on the roster?!

2) Weatherspoon / McClain - Just two strong candidates. It's just hard to imagine for the Steelers to draft a LB when they signed Foote and also have Fox. How could they fit a first rounder when they have Farrior, Timmons, Fox, and Foote already on the roster? But how can on either of these guys if they're BPA?

3) Earl Thomas - Just too dynamic of a playmaker and can play multiple positions. Could be an immediate starter at CB and transition to FS later..many possibilities. He should be the player selected if available.

4) Odrick - I don't know much about him but I'm all about having good depth especially on the defensive line considering given the age of Keisel and Smith and the injuries problems Smith has had as of late. Sunny Harris and Hood were good additions last year but I would have no problem adding another one this year.

5) Dan Williams - See #4. Hoke is old and Casey is only signed for three years. Draft Williams as your future NT. You have your replacement who can backup pro bowler Hampton. Williams could even rotate in on the d-line.

6) Haden - CB is the weakest link on this defense. I have confidence in the two young guys from last year but in this pass happy league, you need to be deep in the secondary.

I honestly see at least 3 of these players being available at #18. We always hear "no way will they be available when we pick", but they always are. Teams ahead of us have OT needs, DL (at least the 2 top DE's will be drafted), QB needs, RB needs, S (Eric Berry), etc.

eniparadoxgma
03-16-2010, 09:30 PM
Florida sucks.

...and that's about all I have to say about that.

RuthlessBurgher
03-16-2010, 10:27 PM
let's hypothetically say that the Steelers know that they would NOT draft a QB in the first round under any circumstance...would they still bother having Bradford and Clausen on their draft board?

The answer to that is a resounding YES. That way if your franchise QB rides a bike without a helmut the day before you draft you are prepared. :lol:



all the Steelers would need to do in that case is to draft Tim Tebow, he looks really good in the Black & Gold... :tt2

http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2010/0309/nfl_e_steelertebow_300.jpg

He'd have to change his number if he wants to be our new H-back. :wink:

Discipline of Steel
03-16-2010, 10:37 PM
The more I think about it, the more I don't think the Steelers draft philosophy should or would change:

In not particular order:

1) Iupati or another tackle. Tackle is definitely an issue. No way do I see the Steelers drafting another guard. How many do we need on the roster?!

2) Weatherspoon / McClain - Just two strong candidates. It's just hard to imagine for the Steelers to draft a LB when they signed Foote and also have Fox. How could they fit a first rounder when they have Farrior, Timmons, Fox, and Foote already on the roster? But how can on either of these guys if they're BPA?

3) Earl Thomas - Just too dynamic of a playmaker and can play multiple positions. Could be an immediate starter at CB and transition to FS later..many possibilities. He should be the player selected if available.

4) Odrick - I don't know much about him but I'm all about having good depth especially on the defensive line considering given the age of Keisel and Smith and the injuries problems Smith has had as of late. Sunny Harris and Hood were good additions last year but I would have no problem adding another one this year.

5) Dan Williams - See #4. Hoke is old and Casey is only signed for three years. Draft Williams as your future NT. You have your replacement who can backup pro bowler Hampton. Williams could even rotate in on the d-line.

6) Haden - CB is the weakest link on this defense. I have confidence in the two young guys from last year but in this pass happy league, you need to be deep in the secondary.

I honestly see at least 3 of these players being available at #18. We always hear "no way will they be available when we pick", but they always are. Teams ahead of us have OT needs, DL (at least the 2 top DE's will be drafted), QB needs, RB needs, S (Eric Berry), etc.

Hey, your top three draft picks are the same as mine...until we signed Larry Foote. Now I would take a DL instead of Spikes.

Oviedo
03-17-2010, 07:52 AM
Florida sucks.

...and that's about all I have to say about that.

No, they don't suck but they can be a misleading team because they have soooo much talent. The overwhelm teams to the point that you don't get a true read on what their players do because they typically force the other team to play most the games from a huge disadvanatge and therefore they make them do things they would not normally do.

Watch the really close games that Florida plays or the ones that they lose and you get a more balanced read on their players.

eniparadoxgma
03-17-2010, 02:37 PM
Florida sucks.

...and that's about all I have to say about that.

No, they don't suck but they can be a misleading team because they have soooo much talent. The overwhelm teams to the point that you don't get a true read on what their players do because they typically force the other team to play most the games from a huge disadvanatge and therefore they make them do things they would not normally do.

Watch the really close games that Florida plays or the ones that they lose and you get a more balanced read on their players.

Don't take my comment seriously. It was more of a stab at 'em because I'm at their SEC rival Kentucky. That, and I like to screw with flasteel. :tt2 :tt2 :tt2

I actually don't watch college football at all.