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hawaiiansteel
03-20-2010, 07:27 PM
Updated Steelers Fever 2010 NFL Mock Draft V2
First-Round Draft Projections
Sunday, March 14, 2010


1. St. Louis Rams - QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma
TEAM NEEDS: QB, DE, DT, OG, CB, WR
After all the hype of the Rams taking Suh with the first pick has settled down, the draftniks are finally using their heads. A team is built around a franchise QB. Especially a team that has already invested two high draft picks at DT in the last couple of years. The Rams have shown a great deal of interest in Bradford and since no one is going to want to trade for a overall #1 pick and his subsequent contract....look for the Rams to take the Oklahoma product with the first pick in this years draft.

2. Detroit Lions - DT Ndamukong Suh, Nebraska
TEAM NEEDS: DT, CB, DE, LT, OG, WR, OL DEPTH
The Lions picked up a DT in FA but they have major needs on the defensive front. Suh not only brings incredible skills and lights out athleticism, but will instantly energize the Lions fan base. The DT from Nebraska is nothing less than one of the best DT's to come out of college in the last 10 years. He is a high character player with incredible upside, able to play anywhere on the defensive front.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - DT Gerald McCoy, Oklahoma
TEAM NEEDS: DT, DE, WR, CB, S, OL DEPTH
The Buccaneers would love to draft Ndamukong Suh, but things are going pretty good when your consolation prize is Gerald McCoy. Some experts say that there is little difference between the two when you watch game tape, which is the true measure of a player's ability. McCoy may not be as strong as Suh, but he is more of a glass eater.

4. Washington Redskins - OT Russell Okung, Oklahoma State
TEAM NEEDS: OT, QB, SLB, RB, OG, C
There is a chance that Washington will draft a QB if they feel that Campbell is not the answer and that Clausen fits their system. The Redskins have a hole in their front line with the loss of Chris Samuel and Okung can provide blind side protection for whoever lines up behind center.

5. Kansas City Chiefs - OT Bryan Bulaga, Iowa
TEAM NEEDS: OT, OG, 3-4 OLB, WR, 3-4 NT, C, S
Bryan Bulaga will allow Brandon Albert to move to his more natural position of offensive guard. The Chiefs will get stronger in the trenches this year, upgrading their offensive and defensive line.

6. Seattle Seahawks - QB Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame
TEAM NEEDS: LT, OG, QB, RB, S, DL
I originally had Eric Berry in this slot, but with Clausen falling out of the top 5, Seattle will draft their QB of the future. Perfect situation for the Notre Dame QB. He will be able to learn the system and how to play at the NFL level behind incumbent QB Matt Hasselback.

7. Cleveland Browns - SS/FS Eric Berry, Tennessee
TEAM NEEDS: RT, 3-4 DE, ILB, CB, WR, S, TE
I traditionally don't like to project safeties in the top 10, due to history showing that a good safety can be drafted in any round. With Cleveland it's easier to make the exception. The Browns need a lot of help in their secondary and Berry is athletic enough to play anywhere in the backfield.

8. Oakland Raiders - OT Bruce Campbell, Maryland
TEAM NEEDS: 4-3 NT, DE, OT, RG, CB, LB, QB
A lot of drafts have OT's Anthony Davis or Trent Williams in this slot. I am going to stick with Cambell. Al Davis has shown no ability to look beyond physical measurements and Bruce Campbell is a freak. I predicted in my last mock that Campbell would be a combine warrior and the Maryland Tackle didn't disappoint.

9. Buffalo Bills - OT Trent Williams, Oklahoma
TEAM NEEDS: QB, LT, DT, OLB, WR, OL DEPTH
I think some people are over thinking this pick. The Bills released Jason Peters last year without a proper replacement and promptly fielded a patchwork offensive line all season long. Williams will fill the Bills most glaring need.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars - DE Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech
TEAM NEEDS: DE, OG, S, DT, C, WR
Jacksonville had next to no pass rush last year. Morgan should be able to upgrade the D-line and subsequently help the secondary by putting pressure on the QB.

11. Denver Broncos - ILB Rolando McClain, Alabama
TEAM NEEDS: DT, S, OT, MLB, CB DEPTH
The Broncos may have drafted a NT at this slot, but they have picked up Jamal Williams who was released by the Chargers. With the front of their defense shored up they will probably grab McClain who is a rare 3-4 ILB talent.

12. Miami Dolphins - NT Dan Williams, Tennessee
TEAM NEEDS: 3-4 NT, 3-4 OLB, 3-4 ILB, WR, S, OL DEPTH
With the signing of Dansby taking care of the Miami's need for a OLB, the Dolphins grab the best NT in this draft. Dan Williams stock is rising as teams begin to tap into the realization that true NT's are hard to find and this is a supply and demand league.

13. San Francisco 49ers - OT Anthony Davis, Rutgers
TEAM NEEDS: OT, CB, OG, DE/OLB, S, 3-4 NT
The 49ers have two picks in the top 20. Look for San Francisco to upgrade their O-line with the first pick, with the knowledge that the best of the offensive tackles may be gone if they wait. Anthony Davis has slid a bit lately but is still one of the "big 4" OT's that should go in the upper half of the first round.

14. Seattle Seahawks - RB C.J. Spiller, Clemson
TEAM NEEDS: LT, OG, QB, RB, S, DL
With the #29 ranked running game last year, Seattle grabs the dynamic playmaker out of Clemson. The future looks bright for the Seahawks if they grab their future QB and star RB in this draft.

15. New York Giants - LB Sean Weatherspoon, Missouri
TEAM NEEDS: 3-4 DE, C, 3-4 NT, OG, 3-4 ILB, WR, CB
The Giants may attempt to trade up for McClain, but with the emergence of the versatile Weatherspoon as a potential ILB, the Giants could stand pat and grab young, brash linebacker to replace Antonio Pierce. I might be a little concerned about Weatherspoon's personality mixed with the bright lights of New York but if he can stay grounded, he could flourish.

16. Tennessee Titans - CB Joe Haden, Florida
TEAM NEEDS: DE, CB, OG, OLB, WR, OL DEPTH
Haden's forty time drops him out of the top 10, but as the best cover corner in this draft he wont make it past the Titans. If Haden runs faster at his pro-day, he will be drafted earlier than this and the Titans will probably go with a WR.

17. San Francisco 49ers - OLB Sergio Kindle, Texas
TEAM NEEDS: OT, CB, OG, DE/OLB, S, 3-4 NT
San Francisco helped their O-line with their first pick and grabs a linebacker that will make Coach Singletary smile with their second. Perfect 3-4 OLB prospect with incredible upside. Look for the 49ers to become the team to beat in the NFC West.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers - CB Earl Thomas, Texas
TEAM NEEDS: CB, OT, FS, OG, 3-4 NT, 3-4 ILB, 3-4 OLB DEPTH
The Steelers have been unusually busy in the offseason. They have managed to keep their three priority free agents and have added depth at a few key positions. Pittsburgh still needs youth at several defensive spots. With NT Dan Williams and the top two ILB's off the board, look for the Steelers to bring in the versatile Earl Thomas who might become the best CB on their team. It doesn't hurt that he can fill in competently at the safety position.

19. Atlanta Falcons - DE Everson Griffen, USC
TEAM NEEDS: CB, DE, OLB, WR/TE, OL DEPTH, DT DEPTH
The return of Peria Jerry should help the Falcons anemic pass rush. Add Everson Griffin to the equation and the Falcons have the beginnings of a D-line that has been a weakness for too long.

20. Houston Texans - OG Mike Iupati, Idaho
TEAM NEEDS: OG, CB, 4-3 NT, FS, DE DEPTH, RB
Mike Iupati has emerged as the best Guard in this draft. He has a few issues at pass protection but is a day one starter for a team that is already offensively potent.

21. Cincinnati Bengals - WR Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State
TEAM NEEDS: OG, S, TE, WR, DT, SLB
The closer we get to the draft the more I think we will see WR's value drop a bit. Bryant is a good fit for the Bengals who need someone to line up on the other side of Chad Ocho-Cinco. TE is a possibility here but there is enough value in the second round to warrant waiting to fill that position.

22. New England Patriots - DT Jared Odrick, Penn State
TEAM NEEDS: 3-4 OLB, 3-4 DE, OG, ILB DEPTH, TE, WR DEPTH
I have projected the Patriots to draft a DE in the first round for awhile. Odrick is a perfect candidate to move to 3-4 DE and the Patriots desperately need a presence at a position that has been undermanned since Seymour was let go.

23. Green Bay Packers - CB Kyle Wilson, Boise State
TEAM NEEDS: LT, CB, S, DL, 3-4 OLB DEPTH, RB
Kyle Wilson has made a believer out of most of his doubters. The Packers corners are aging and they could easily use a starter to replace Al Harris. At the very least Kyle Wilson provides depth to a very thin position.

24. Philadelphia Eagles - DE Jason Pierre-Paul, South Florida
TEAM NEEDS: DE, FS, OG, CB depth, OLB, RB DEPTH
Outside of Trent Cole, the Eagles have very little in the way of DE's. Pierre-Paul is a bit of a one year wonder, so there is some gamble to taking him in the first round, but I look for a team like the Eagles to take a chance that is past years performance translates to the Pro level.

25. Baltimore Ravens - CB Devin McCourty, Rutgers
TEAM NEEDS: WR, CB, DE/OLB, TE, DL DEPTH
The Ravens filled their biggest need in a big way by picking up Anquan Boldin in Free Agency. I do look for Baltimore to find another WR in the later rounds of this draft, but in the first round I think they find a solution to their poor cornerback play. Devin McCourty is one of my favorite CB's in this draft and I think that in a few years he will mentioned as one of the best in the NFL.

26. Arizona Cardinals - OT Charles Brown, Southern California
TEAM NEEDS: LT, ILB, OLB, OL DEPTH, CB, TE
Brown showed up at the combine a little heavier than anticipated. That was a good thing for his draft value as some had written off as a finesse zone blocking OT. The truth is that Brown is a very strong specimen that might take a short while to touch up his technique, but who has the potential for a very good payoff.

27. Dallas Cowboys - S Taylor Mays, USC
TEAM NEEDS: OT, FS, ILB, DE, CB DEPTH, OG DEPTH
Mays is ultra athletic and some think that his coverage problems are correctable. I think he is a great fit for the Cowboys who would find more value at the safety spot than at their other needs.

28. San Diego Chargers - RB Ryan Mathews, Fresno State
TEAM NEEDS: RB, RT, 3-4 NT, CB, 3-4 DE, LB DEPTH
Matthews is another draft climber and has cemented himself as the second best RB in this draft. Look for San Diego to grab a premier RB in the first round and look for a NT replacement for Williams in the second.

29. New York Jets - OLB Brandon Graham, Michigan
TEAM NEEDS: 3-4 DE, 3-4 OLB, OG, CB, WR, 3-4 NT
A prospect that has compared himself to the Steelers Lamarr Woodley. OLB is the biggest team need for the Jets, though it's possible that they might go with a Defensive End if they find Carlos Dunlap as an attractive prospect.

30. Minnesota Vikings - QB Colt McCoy, Texas
TEAM NEEDS: OG, S, CB DEPTH, QB, LB DEPTH, DL DEPTH
This is the pick that I am going to get the most criticism about. Under ideal circumstance McCoy can learn under Brett Farve, but if the Vikings starting QB retires (again) McCoy is the only prospect left on the board that has first year starting potential. Technically this pick isn't that much of a reach since I have McCoy rated as the #39 overall talent this year.

31. Indianapolis Colts - DT Brian Price, UCLA
TEAM NEEDS: DT, OT, CB, OG, DE DEPTH, LB DEPTH
If Brown was still available, the Colts may go OT, but I think that DT is actually a bigger need. Price is a beast. He had 23.5 tackles for loss and 7 sacks last year. The Colts are a tough team to predict as they will buck conventional wisdom and draft for need over BPA.

32. New Orleans Saints - DE Carlos Dunlap, Florida
TEAM NEEDS: OLB, NT, DE, C, OT DEPTH, TE DEPTH
With the aging and injured Charles Grant being released, the Saints can retool the DE position with 6-6 277 pounds Carlos Dunlap. Dunlap has a few character issued that the Saints will look at carefully, but if he passes muster he strengthens the position dramatically.

NW Steeler
03-20-2010, 08:11 PM
Thomas makes a lot of sense, especially since all of the "experts" are saying that he can play safety as well. He instantly becomes our nickel back and probably displaces Gay by mid-season. Then again, Burnett could probably replace Gay before then. Thomas would be a big, physical corner and I think will be a good pick. I'd rather see him than Iupati or Pouncey.

Shawn
03-20-2010, 09:00 PM
Thomas makes a lot of sense, especially since all of the "experts" are saying that he can play safety as well. He instantly becomes our nickel back and probably displaces Gay by mid-season. Then again, Burnett could probably replace Gay before then. Thomas would be a big, physical corner and I think will be a good pick. I'd rather see him than Iupati or Pouncey.

Actually Thomas is smallish and physical enough. But, everything else he possesses is elite...coverage skills, bawk hawking ability...he is a true play maker. I still like him better as a safety than a DB personally but he will be great at both.

Chadman
03-20-2010, 09:05 PM
When did Earl Thomas ever play CB?

Does the idea he could be drafted to play CB not concern anyone? Chadman has read that he has terrificstraight line speed, but hasn't heard any super-positive talk about his ability to stay with WR's, or turn & run with a WR one-on-one.

And yet there are so many of you convinced that this guy could be the answer to our CB woes?

Chadman would draft Thomas simpy to be a FS. If the Steelers want a CB- go get a CB. Jerome Murphy in Round 2 seems quite intriguing.

Lebsteel
03-20-2010, 11:32 PM
When did Earl Thomas ever play CB?

Does the idea he could be drafted to play CB not concern anyone? Chadman has read that he has terrificstraight line speed, but hasn't heard any super-positive talk about his ability to stay with WR's, or turn & run with a WR one-on-one.

And yet there are so many of you convinced that this guy could be the answer to our CB woes?

Chadman would draft Thomas simpy to be a FS. If the Steelers want a CB- go get a CB. Jerome Murphy in Round 2 seems quite intriguing.

03/19/2010 - TOP RATED NFL DRAFT SCOUT CORNERBACKS: *Earl Thomas, Texas, 5-10, 208, 1: He entered the draft as a redshirt sophomore after setting a school record with eight interceptions last season while playing safety. He then bulked up from his college weight of 195 pounds to 208 at the combine, possibly in response to concerns voiced by scouts about his ability to hold up at the next level, where he might project better as a cornerback. "The extra weight helps if I'm going to be in the box banging heads out there," Thomas says of the prospect of remaining at safety. He was a ballhawking center fielder, leading the nation with 24 passes broken up last year and collecting 143 tackles since 2008. He has the speed, instincts and attitude to play safety, but also owns the hips, man-to-man skills and ability to high-point balls in flight that could make him a formidable corner. But his college career wasn't perfect. He was the victim when Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree made the game-winning catch against Texas in 2008, and he missed several tackles in the BCS title game loss to Alabama. - Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange, NFLDraftScout.com/CBS Sports/USA TODAY

Shawn
03-20-2010, 11:38 PM
When did Earl Thomas ever play CB?

Does the idea he could be drafted to play CB not concern anyone? Chadman has read that he has terrificstraight line speed, but hasn't heard any super-positive talk about his ability to stay with WR's, or turn & run with a WR one-on-one.

And yet there are so many of you convinced that this guy could be the answer to our CB woes?

Chadman would draft Thomas simpy to be a FS. If the Steelers want a CB- go get a CB. Jerome Murphy in Round 2 seems quite intriguing.

Yes it concerns me personally. I think there will be an obvious learning curve. That's why I prefer him in the position he played in college...FS.

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
03-20-2010, 11:55 PM
When did Earl Thomas ever play CB?

Does the idea he could be drafted to play CB not concern anyone? Chadman has read that he has terrificstraight line speed, but hasn't heard any super-positive talk about his ability to stay with WR's, or turn & run with a WR one-on-one.

And yet there are so many of you convinced that this guy could be the answer to our CB woes?

Chadman would draft Thomas simpy to be a FS. If the Steelers want a CB- go get a CB. Jerome Murphy in Round 2 seems quite intriguing.

I'm not concerned. Thomas has the athletic abilty and natural skills to become a special player at CB. He also welcomes the challenge to switch to CB and that does nothing but help the situation.

Thomas is not a straight line speed guy. If you saw him at the combine, you would have seen great change of direction abilty. Loose hips, explosive closing burst, and a natural ability for tracking the ball in the air. Maybe one of the most fluid DBs in this draft. He has a nose for the ball and cover skills of a corner. It sounds like you just described Murphy actually. Another year in school, Thomas would not have been in our conversations unless we were picking in the top 10. Personally, Thomas would be my choice even if Berry & Haden were both there.

I actually think Murphy's stock has dropped some. He might be an early 3rd guy. Big hitting CB. Might be better suited for FS because his hips are a little tight. He didn't look as good as the top guys coming out of his backpedal. He's actually one of those guys who could be a solid CB but a special FS.

StarSpangledSteeler
03-21-2010, 03:38 AM
I don't think Thomas falls to 18.

Chadman
03-21-2010, 09:17 AM
When did Earl Thomas ever play CB?

Does the idea he could be drafted to play CB not concern anyone? Chadman has read that he has terrificstraight line speed, but hasn't heard any super-positive talk about his ability to stay with WR's, or turn & run with a WR one-on-one.

And yet there are so many of you convinced that this guy could be the answer to our CB woes?

Chadman would draft Thomas simpy to be a FS. If the Steelers want a CB- go get a CB. Jerome Murphy in Round 2 seems quite intriguing.

I'm not concerned. Thomas has the athletic abilty and natural skills to become a special player at CB. He also welcomes the challenge to switch to CB and that does nothing but help the situation.

Thomas is not a straight line speed guy. If you saw him at the combine, you would have seen great change of direction abilty. Loose hips, explosive closing burst, and a natural ability for tracking the ball in the air. Maybe one of the most fluid DBs in this draft. He has a nose for the ball and cover skills of a corner. It sounds like you just described Murphy actually. Another year in school, Thomas would not have been in our conversations unless we were picking in the top 10. Personally, Thomas would be my choice even if Berry & Haden were both there.

I actually think Murphy's stock has dropped some. He might be an early 3rd guy. Big hitting CB. Might be better suited for FS because his hips are a little tight. He didn't look as good as the top guys coming out of his backpedal. He's actually one of those guys who could be a solid CB but a special FS.


Funny...Chadman thinks the opposite. Here's the thing- the combine has a few tests that actually are worth considering when looking at DB's, particularly CB's. You mention that Murphy is stiff hipped, that he has trouble coming out of his backpeddle. Yet, the two tests designed to expose his lateral quickness (shuttle drills) & his change of direction ability (cone drills) are the two drills that Murphy exceeded in- he was awesome in both. What he lacks is pure foot speed, only running the 40 in 4.5, where Thomas ran a 4.43. Strangely (and concerningly), Thomas has no times posted on either the shuttle or cone drills- did he not run them? If so, why not?

Funny thing about watching game tape to combine drills- and this one works in reverse to everything Chadman believes in when it comes to assessing college players- is that game tape can be decieving. You have to factor in the strength of the players around Thomas, and their ability to allow Thomas to go for the big play. Sure- he had a wonderful career in college. But there is little evidence outside of a few nice articles written about him that prove any real ability to play CB at a high level. After all, it is generally accepted that CB's are 'better' athletes than Safeties- more agile, explosive, quicker. That is why many people believe 'slower' CB's can transition to FS easily- they are superior athletes that can move to a position that limits any liability they may have. It's VERY RARE that a FS in college moves to CB- it's taking a guy that wasn't considered a good enough 'island defender' to play CB at college & then deciding he's good enough to do it in the pro's. Not only that- but if chosen at #18, it would mean he's considered better than all but 1 actual college CB for the pro's. And this is a good year for CB's too. Don't get Chadman wrong- he believes Thomas is a special talent. But he's the 2nd best FS in the draft. Not the 2nd best CB. If it's a CB you are after at #18, you take Wilson from Boise St.

Chadman
03-21-2010, 09:31 AM
It's the same thing with guys like Iupati- he's the #1 OG, and as an OG, worthy of a Round 1 grade, and worthy of being the first OG drafted. But if you viewed him as an OT, a position he doesn't play- a physically more demanding position- then you don't take him as the #2 OT on the draft board. In fact, if he was to be viewed simply as an OT, he probably drops to mid 2nd round.

Taylor Mays is almost a LB size. But if he was viewed as simply a LB, after playing Safety his whole career, you most likely drop him behind Weatherspoon, most likely a couple below that even. He has no body of work to say he is a LB.

Best example might be TJ Ward though. He was considered the 3rd best CB on his team, so they shift him to FS, the position that can hide his lack of genuine foot speed & change of direction, in order to get the best 4 DB's on the field. They didn't shift a FS to CB.

OT's can play OG, because it's less physically demanding. CB's can play FS, because it's less physically demanding. OG's don't get moved to OT very often. FS's don't get shifted to CB.

Chadman
03-21-2010, 09:42 AM
Here's what CBS says about Thomas..

Read & React: Recognizes what's coming quickly and has the speed to get to the spot to make a play. As a safety, he was a bit overaggressive, biting on play-action and underneath routes which leaves cornerbacks on an island.

Man Coverage: Needs technique work before making the move to cornerback. Backpedal is high and slow, and lags in recovery on double moves and catching up to receivers running quick outs or square-ins. Has the speed to turn and run with receivers.

Zone Coverage: Attacks throws in front of him and has good range as a safety. Can make the interception or a big hit to separate the man from the ball. Makes quarterbacks pay for late throws over the middle, baiting them into making poor decisions. Excellent hand-eye coordination.

Closing/Recovery: Very good burst and closing speed to the ball. Wins most battles for the ball in the air. Slow to plant and drive in coverage but can close when the play is in front of him. Recovers from false steps to get back to receivers.

Run Support: Willing to support the run. Flies into the action at full speed, pounding backs in the open field. Will overpursue and fail to break down, missing tackles. Will struggle to get off receiver or lineman blocks.
Tackling: Inconsistent as a tackler in space despite good statistics. Larger receivers and tough running backs run through his tackles in space. Ends up riding big receivers for a few yards before bringing them down. A special teams force in college and will be used there in the pros.

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
03-21-2010, 11:42 AM
Funny...Chadman thinks the opposite. Here's the thing- the combine has a few tests that actually are worth considering when looking at DB's, particularly CB's. You mention that Murphy is stiff hipped, that he has trouble coming out of his backpeddle. Yet, the two tests designed to expose his lateral quickness (shuttle drills) & his change of direction ability (cone drills) are the two drills that Murphy exceeded in- he was awesome in both. What he lacks is pure foot speed, only running the 40 in 4.5, where Thomas ran a 4.43. Strangely (and concerningly), Thomas has no times posted on either the shuttle or cone drills- did he not run them? If so, why not?

Funny thing about watching game tape to combine drills- and this one works in reverse to everything Chadman believes in when it comes to assessing college players- is that game tape can be decieving. You have to factor in the strength of the players around Thomas, and their ability to allow Thomas to go for the big play. Sure- he had a wonderful career in college. But there is little evidence outside of a few nice articles written about him that prove any real ability to play CB at a high level. After all, it is generally accepted that CB's are 'better' athletes than Safeties- more agile, explosive, quicker. That is why many people believe 'slower' CB's can transition to FS easily- they are superior athletes that can move to a position that limits any liability they may have. It's VERY RARE that a FS in college moves to CB- it's taking a guy that wasn't considered a good enough 'island defender' to play CB at college & then deciding he's good enough to do it in the pro's. Not only that- but if chosen at #18, it would mean he's considered better than all but 1 actual college CB for the pro's. And this is a good year for CB's too. Don't get Chadman wrong- he believes Thomas is a special talent. But he's the 2nd best FS in the draft. Not the 2nd best CB. If it's a CB you are after at #18, you take Wilson from Boise St.

I don't want to knock Murphy because if the Steelers are still looking for a CB in the 3rd....I would take him. I like him, he would fit in the Steelers system. Murphy had a nice 20 shuttle, 2nd in CB, but his cone time was not even in the Top 10. I take it you didn't watch the combine position drills. These are the drills that simulate game situations and not times drills. Murphy wasn't bad but...He was a little stiff, high in his back pedal, and not one of the better change of direction guys. I belive he also put his hand down at least once changing direction while loosig speed.

Thomas's skill set shows up in film as well. Regardless of the talent around him, he still has to react to the play in the game. He could be the "rare" player you mentioned because of his skils and athletic ability.Thomas was the best player in the secondary at Texas, and according to his coach, played S to take full advantage of all his talents. Playing centerfield allowed him to run sideline to sidleine without his back to the QB. In college, it is not uncommon to have a player in this position if he is a good tackler & run supporter, which Thomas is. Thomas is actually the best FS on many peoples boards including Mayock. Berry wasn't the best safety in the positions drills. Thomas is also rated as the #2 CB on many peoples boards.

There were discussions in the combine coverage how the prototype S like Berry needs to evolve in the new pass happy NFL. The S need to support the run but cover like a CB. Thomas has shown CB ability and fits this mold. SO even if the transition doesn't work...You have the S you are looking for. But thomas has shown an exceptional nose for the ball in college and combined with his S abilities....Could make him one of the most complete CBs the Steelers have seen since Rod Woodson. A better comparison might be when Lake moved to CB because of injury. Thomas is more athletic but the same nose for the ball. Many people will argue that Thomas is the best DB in this draft. One more year in college...There might not have been an argument.

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
03-21-2010, 12:21 PM
It's the same thing with guys like Iupati- he's the #1 OG, and as an OG, worthy of a Round 1 grade, and worthy of being the first OG drafted. But if you viewed him as an OT, a position he doesn't play- a physically more demanding position- then you don't take him as the #2 OT on the draft board. In fact, if he was to be viewed simply as an OT, he probably drops to mid 2nd round.

Iupati was abused at the Senior Bowl in pass protection. He has lazy feet right now because he dominated aginst lesser competition. Could be coachable bu there are concerns about his intelligence. However, he is athletic, has the build and frame of an OT with room to grow, Long Arms, and tremendous "upside". That is the only reason he is being considered 1st round talent. There are better "pure Gs" in this draft but Iupati might be able to improve and/or change postion.

Taylor Mays is almost a LB size. But if he was viewed as simply a LB, after playing Safety his whole career, you most likely drop him behind Weatherspoon, most likely a couple below that even. He has no body of work to say he is a LB.

Taylor Mays would never make it as a LB. There is no way he can play on the LOS and he would be consumed by blockers. Mays could be a liabilty at S in coverage and that is why the whole LB tag came out.

Best example might be TJ Ward though. He was considered the 3rd best CB on his team, so they shift him to FS, the position that can hide his lack of genuine foot speed & change of direction, in order to get the best 4 DB's on the field. They didn't shift a FS to CB.

Ward went to S because of his abilty to support the run. His skill set allowed it. There isn't a formula like you are trying to indicate.

OT's can play OG, because it's less physically demanding. CB's can play FS, because it's less physically demanding. OG's don't get moved to OT very often. FS's don't get shifted to CB.
OT get moved to G because they can't protect the edge. It could be from poor feet, short arms, bad hand placement, etc. Physicality has nothing to do with it. G actually have to be more physical to be stout. They have to hold up the front bubble of the pocket in pass protection and obtain leverage and not lose ground in run so the pulling lineman can get to the hole.

Again, what is with your imaginary formula? It is about the skill set. Not all CBs can play S. It is a unique position. I'm sure Cromartie would be a Pro Bowl S. S have different responsibilities inside the hashes. Every CB doesn't possess this abilty. If that was the case, we would see all the failed CBs move to S. Why didn't Colclough move to S? There is a difference beween having good reaction with your back turned to the CB mirroring a WR than pure insticts of a S who is playing center field watching the QB and the play unfold. Instincts are a big part of what seperates a CB from S. CBs need instincts to jump routes, recognize the attack of a zone, or the ability to read a route by the WR actions. S are the LBs of the secondary. They are reading the play pre-snap dictated by alignment and motion. They are reading the play through the QB, RB, OL, after snap and then reacting if is a pass by reading the QBs eyes and the route progressions. It is harder to be a CB because some of the skills have to be God given athletic skills. The football instincts of a S are not in every CB.

steelblood
03-21-2010, 12:26 PM
Chadman,

I've watched Earl Thomas play several times. He is special. He has fantastic instincts and burst like Troy. He is a special football player and is only 20 years old. You can't teach what he has. And, he is a very polished and accomplished player for his age. Barring injury, he'll be a turnover producing ballhawk in this league. That is exactly what the Steelers need.

As far as him playing corner, you need to consider that the steelers play a lot of off man and zone. The skill set of a good FS translates well to Steelers-style corner play because their play usually involves keeping the action in front of them, reading the play, and reacting quickly. If we employed more bump and run, I'd worry that we were asking a very good safety to do things that didn't come naturally and didn't suit his skill set. But, in the case of the Steelers style corner play, Thomas would be a very good fit.

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
03-21-2010, 12:42 PM
Here's what CBS says about Thomas..

Read & React: Recognizes what's coming quickly and has the speed to get to the spot to make a play. As a safety, he was a bit overaggressive, biting on play-action and underneath routes which leaves cornerbacks on an island.

Man Coverage: Needs technique work before making the move to cornerback. Backpedal is high and slow, and lags in recovery on double moves and catching up to receivers running quick outs or square-ins. Has the speed to turn and run with receivers.

Zone Coverage: Attacks throws in front of him and has good range as a safety. Can make the interception or a big hit to separate the man from the ball. Makes quarterbacks pay for late throws over the middle, baiting them into making poor decisions. Excellent hand-eye coordination.

Closing/Recovery: Very good burst and closing speed to the ball. Wins most battles for the ball in the air. Slow to plant and drive in coverage but can close when the play is in front of him. Recovers from false steps to get back to receivers.

Run Support: Willing to support the run. Flies into the action at full speed, pounding backs in the open field. Will overpursue and fail to break down, missing tackles. Will struggle to get off receiver or lineman blocks.
Tackling: Inconsistent as a tackler in space despite good statistics. Larger receivers and tough running backs run through his tackles in space. Ends up riding big receivers for a few yards before bringing them down. A special teams force in college and will be used there in the pros.
You should post everything. Here is more that CBS had to say...If you want to use them as the standard.
Latest News
03/19/2010 - TOP RATED NFL DRAFT SCOUT CORNERBACKS: *Earl Thomas, Texas, 5-10, 208, 1: He entered the draft as a redshirt sophomore after setting a school record with eight interceptions last season while playing safety. He then bulked up from his college weight of 195 pounds to 208 at the combine, possibly in response to concerns voiced by scouts about his ability to hold up at the next level, where he might project better as a cornerback. "The extra weight helps if I'm going to be in the box banging heads out there," Thomas says of the prospect of remaining at safety. He was a ballhawking center fielder, leading the nation with 24 passes broken up last year and collecting 143 tackles since 2008. He has the speed, instincts and attitude to play safety, but also owns the hips, man-to-man skills and ability to high-point balls in flight that could make him a formidable corner. But his college career wasn't perfect. He was the victim when Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree made the game-winning catch against Texas in 2008, and he missed several tackles in the BCS title game loss to Alabama. - Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange, NFLDraftScout.com/CBS Sports/USA TODAY

We can go on forever with the arguments. Regardless of where the Steelers see him, he still is a 1st round talent at S. It is still a position of need for the Steelers. He can always play there if he can't play at CB. I think the CB move will prolong his career and he will be a playmaker in the Steeler scheme at CB. If he was going to be a bump & run CB with his back to the QB all the time....I would not be in support of the move. The thought of Polamalu & Thomas on the hashes reading the QB's eyes with Harison, Woodley, & Timmons rushing has me excited if he was picked by the Steelers. The QB better not hang the ball and be on target!

Oviedo
03-21-2010, 01:29 PM
Let me help settle the debate. CJ Spiller at #18. There is absolutely no argument that he is special and they is no discussion about whether he can convert to other positions. As a matter of fact he can fill three roles from Day 1. Hope that helps.

SteelCzar76
03-21-2010, 02:05 PM
Sooooo,......draft an undersized poor tackling player (Thomas) in the top half of the first round to play a position that he has never played (CB),...and expect him to excel at said position at the PROFESSIONAL level ?

Hey,..that has worked out so very well for us with Huey Timmons,...why not ! :tt1 :lol:

In all seriousness though,....."position flexibilty" usually denotes that a guy is a jack of a few trades whom is a master of none.

Bottom line,..if the F/O is looking for a CB in the first,....they should in fact draft someone whom not only ACTUALLY played the position, but was exceptionally productive at said position against their collegiate peers.

MaxAMillion
03-21-2010, 03:09 PM
I say leave Thomas at free safety. Terrific safety play is a must in today's NFL. I think the entire defense will be better with improvement in the play of the safeties. I have my doubts about whether Thomas will even be there at 18.

Chadman
03-21-2010, 06:00 PM
We can go on forever with the arguments. Regardless of where the Steelers see him, he still is a 1st round talent at S. It is still a position of need for the Steelers

Absolutely no argument there. Thomas is an exceptional FS talent. Chadman just has concerns if he is being drafted #18 overall to play CB.

If drafted to play FS, no argument at all.

RuthlessBurgher
03-22-2010, 12:34 AM
Chadman,

I've watched Earl Thomas play several times. He is special. He has fantastic instincts and burst like Troy. He is a special football player and is only 20 years old. You can't teach what he has. And, he is a very polished and accomplished player for his age. Barring injury, he'll be a turnover producing ballhawk in this league. That is exactly what the Steelers need.

As far as him playing corner, you need to consider that the steelers play a lot of off man and zone. The skill set of a good FS translates well to Steelers-style corner play because their play usually involves keeping the action in front of them, reading the play, and reacting quickly. If we employed more bump and run, I'd worry that we were asking a very good safety to do things that didn't come naturally and didn't suit his skill set. But, in the case of the Steelers style corner play, Thomas would be a very good fit.

This point about Thomas' skill set meshing well with what the Steelers ask their CB's to do (give a cushion and keep the action in front of you), is the best that I have read on here so far. I think if we draft Thomas, the idea will be for him to be the free safety of the future (which would ultimately be the best fit for him...him and Troy back there together would be a sight to behold), but with Ryan Clark now re-signed and Will Allen added, that is not our biggest immediate need. With his positional flexibility, though, in the the interest of putting the best four DB's on the field at the same time, Thomas would likely start his Steeler career competing with the likes of Gay, Burnett, and Lewis for the #2 starting CB spot (and if not, a spot in the nickel or dime defense as a rookie). If we know one thing about Tomlin, it's that he loves positional flexibility, meaning that Earl Thomas will be a major consideration should he be available at #18.

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
03-22-2010, 09:11 AM
We can go on forever with the arguments. Regardless of where the Steelers see him, he still is a 1st round talent at S. It is still a position of need for the Steelers

Absolutely no argument there. Thomas is an exceptional FS talent. Chadman just has concerns if he is being drafted #18 overall to play CB.

If drafted to play FS, no argument at all.

You know Chadman, this is all pure specualtion. Teams are working him at CB. His position tab has changed on many sites. The Steelers are bringing him in for a workout too. I wish I could see the workout and how they invision him if he is a Steeler. Maybe, they only see him as a S...We won't know unless we draft him. If they do, the conversation will build momentum through the off season.

I agree with many football minds who say Thomas has the skills to make the transition. There is the same amount that says he doesn't. I can see your concern about trying to convert him. I'm ok either way because he still has value at #18 if he struggles and they move him back to FS. I have the same concern with Iupati as you have with Thomas so I could ubderstand. But, we don't know what the Steelers are thinking. They say he is their #1 G, but he really is the only #1 G in this draft. He has the build & athletic abilty to move to T, but we can only speculate where the Steelers see him. If they only see him as a G and are seriously considering picking him...It means 1 of 2 things about Urbik. They are "writing off Urbik" as a future starter at G or the rumors about him moving to C are true. I'm hoping the C rumors are true.

I'm sure we will have more conversations about these 2 in the near future. It could all be smoke, but it looks like Thomas or Iupati are targets. My #1 guy was Spoon but it appears he will be off the board. Even if he isn't, I don't see it now with Foote. I believe the Steelers will draft an OLB in the 1st three rounds. Everything is beginning to point to Thomas or Iupati. Things could change over the next month but that is where I would put the money right now.

Shawn
03-22-2010, 10:00 AM
Sooooo,......draft an undersized poor tackling player (Thomas) in the top half of the first round to play a position that he has never played (CB),...and expect him to excel at said position at the PROFESSIONAL level ?

Hey,..that has worked out so very well for us with Huey Timmons,...why not ! :tt1 :lol:

In all seriousness though,....."position flexibilty" usually denotes that a guy is a jack of a few trades whom is a master of none.

Bottom line,..if the F/O is looking for a CB in the first,....they should in fact draft someone whom not only ACTUALLY played the position, but was exceptionally productive at said position against their collegiate peers.

5 foot 10 208 isn't a midget. I believe that's exactly how big Troy is. Maybe we shouldn't have drafted him either. It's not like Troy never overplayed a tackle either...he has certainly wiffed and been run over. It's happened to the best of DBs. Thomas tackles very well and is elite in coverage. If he is here I have to believe we take him.

papillon
03-22-2010, 10:26 AM
When did Earl Thomas ever play CB?

Does the idea he could be drafted to play CB not concern anyone? Chadman has read that he has terrificstraight line speed, but hasn't heard any super-positive talk about his ability to stay with WR's, or turn & run with a WR one-on-one.

And yet there are so many of you convinced that this guy could be the answer to our CB woes?

Chadman would draft Thomas simpy to be a FS. If the Steelers want a CB- go get a CB. Jerome Murphy in Round 2 seems quite intriguing.

Cornerback of last resort, free safety baby, draft Earl at 1.18. Besides, Heath needs another Earl on the team. :lol: :tt2

Pappy

Oviedo
03-22-2010, 10:29 AM
Sooooo,......draft an undersized poor tackling player (Thomas) in the top half of the first round to play a position that he has never played (CB),...and expect him to excel at said position at the PROFESSIONAL level ?

Hey,..that has worked out so very well for us with Huey Timmons,...why not ! :tt1 :lol:

In all seriousness though,....."position flexibilty" usually denotes that a guy is a jack of a few trades whom is a master of none.

Bottom line,..if the F/O is looking for a CB in the first,....they should in fact draft someone whom not only ACTUALLY played the position, but was exceptionally productive at said position against their collegiate peers.

5 foot 10 208 isn't a midget. I believe that's exactly how big Troy is. Maybe we shouldn't have drafted him either. It's not like Troy never overplayed a tackle either...he has certainly wiffed and been run over. It's happened to the best of DBs. Thomas tackles very well and is elite in coverage. If he is here I have to believe we take him.

The criticism of Thomas was just window dressing to give him a reason to post in this thread his same old rehashed factless criticism of Timmons and therefore indirectly Tomlin. He has probably never watched Thomas play.

NW Steeler
03-22-2010, 10:31 AM
I'm sure if Tomlin sees Thomas is as "ordinary as a bowl of grits", we are certain to draft him, right Czar? :wink:

SteelCzar76
03-22-2010, 04:43 PM
Sooooo,......draft an undersized poor tackling player (Thomas) in the top half of the first round to play a position that he has never played (CB),...and expect him to excel at said position at the PROFESSIONAL level ?

Hey,..that has worked out so very well for us with Huey Timmons,...why not ! :tt1 :lol:

In all seriousness though,....."position flexibilty" usually denotes that a guy is a jack of a few trades whom is a master of none.

Bottom line,..if the F/O is looking for a CB in the first,....they should in fact draft someone whom not only ACTUALLY played the position, but was exceptionally productive at said position against their collegiate peers.

5 foot 10 208 isn't a midget. I believe that's exactly how big Troy is. Maybe we shouldn't have drafted him either. It's not like Troy never overplayed a tackle either...he has certainly wiffed and been run over. It's happened to the best of DBs. Thomas tackles very well and is elite in coverage. If he is here I have to believe we take him.

It's like this Shawn, contrary to what the Floridian homie Oviedo would like to make anyone else believe,...i have watched Thomas play a considerable amount of football. :lol:

And i am simply stating facts,...his (Thomas) game weight of 190-195 pounds at 5'10 is indeed on the small side for a safety. There is no comparison at all to Troy whom is a very stout and unusually strong natural 215-220 or so with explosive core strength.

Is Thomas small for a corner?,....not at all. But the key here is,...he is not a CORNERBACK.

Again, if you want a CB, an OLB, ILB, S, or otherwise,.....don't get try to get "cute". Just draft the best player available at the particular position that not only fills the need,..but also a player whom has ACTUALLY played the position successfully on the collegiate level at the very least.

Oh,.. and part of keeping it simple is also being certain that said player actually fits your particular system.(be it a 3-4 or 4-3)

It's not rocket science.

SteelCzar76
03-22-2010, 04:50 PM
I'm sure if Tomlin sees Thomas is as "ordinary as a bowl of grits", we are certain to draft him, right Czar? :wink:


Fair to say NW,...but hey,...what can we do but sit back and enjoy the very "ordinariness" in terms of production from any pro football player that one could equate with a "Bowl of Grits". Though,..admittedly i have yet to come to terms with exactly what the aforementioned grits have to do with football at all on any level ? :lol:

hawaiiansteel
03-22-2010, 05:04 PM
I'm sure if Tomlin sees Thomas is as "ordinary as a bowl of grits", we are certain to draft him, right Czar? :wink:


Fair to say NW,...but hey,...what can we do but sit back and enjoy the very "ordinariness" in terms of production from any pro football player that one could equate with a "Bowl of Grits". Though,..admittedly i have yet to come to terms with exactly what the aforementioned grits have to do with football at all on any level ? :lol:


probably toughness...you gotta be tough to play football and it's very tough to finish a whole bowl of grits. :lol:



Unusual Southern Foods - Grits
Southerners Enjoy Ground Corn Grits for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner


Mar 29, 2008 Cyndi Allison

Grits are popular in the South, and grits are gaining ground in other parts of the country. Grits are a good item to add to your pantry. Inexpensive and tasty.

A group of kids from the South traveled up north for the national 4-H convention. One of the boys wanted grits with his breakfast, but he had heard that northerners weren’t big on grits. Being quite polite, as is typical of those of the Southern persuasion, he inquired, “Do you serve grits here?” His very accommodating northern waitress assured him, “Oh yes. We serve anyone.”

Grits are now being touted as upscale with some of the gourmet restaurants offering this Southern staple as well as wilted salads (lettuce soaked in bacon grease) and charging an “arm and a leg” as they say in the South. This doesn’t put grits on the gastronomic map, but it is helping spread the grits across the country.

What Are Grits?
This is a common question and understandable. Grits look kind of like coarse, white sand, and the name doesn’t provide many clues either. It’s little wonder that those from outside the South might wonder what the heck grits really are.

The non-technical answer is that grits are ground corn. It’s not quite that simple. The hard hull is removed. Then, the inner part of the corn is processed (mashed and dried). The end result is grits – or little white corn granules.



Read more at Suite101: Unusual Southern Foods - Grits: Southerners Enjoy Ground Corn Grits for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner http://southerncuisine.suite101.com/art ... z0iwQQIuMD (http://southerncuisine.suite101.com/article.cfm/unusual_southern_foods_grits#ixzz0iwQQIuMD)

NW Steeler
03-22-2010, 05:30 PM
So does that mean that grits are NOT ordinary? Because I think that must be the meaning Tomlin is trying to relate to. Funny, because when I first heard Tomlin say that I thought that grits would be considered very ordinary, but I guess they aren't? I don't know because I live in the northwest. The first time I ever heard of a grit was in My Cousin Vinny!

Czar, I have to give you some slack though, I thought you would be all over Foote's signing, coming back to make up for the mistake of drafting Timmons as his replacement.

SteelCzar76
03-23-2010, 02:57 PM
So does that mean that grits are NOT ordinary? Because I think that must be the meaning Tomlin is trying to relate to. Funny, because when I first heard Tomlin say that I thought that grits would be considered very ordinary, but I guess they aren't? I don't know because I live in the northwest. The first time I ever heard of a grit was in My Cousin Vinny!

Czar, I have to give you some slack though, I thought you would be all over Foote's signing, coming back to make up for the mistake of drafting Timmons as his replacement.

I am originally from Los Angeles NW,.. though i now reside in Atlanta. And i am now quite familiar with what a Grit is at this point. :P Though as i said before,...from my personal experience with the game of football i still don't get the comparison. :lol:

In regards to me commenting on Foote,..i don't have to,.. as my predictions regarding the impact or (lack thereof) that Timmons would have on this team have been nearly spot on since he was drafted. (his fans can hate that until the end of time,...but it is indeed truth )

Therefore the return of the solid actual ILB in Foote whom knows this system in his sleep is no surprise to me at all. (Though he will never be confused with Dick Butkus)

I guess Potsie is now the scapegoat in order to keep coming up with excuses. :lol:

But i digress as this thread is indeed about Thomas. Stand up young man, talented football player,..but not an NFL Cornerback IMO.

Again,.. if Tomlin/Colbert indeed want a CB in the first they should take Haden or Kyle Wilson (whom i feel is far closer to Haden than people realize) and "stop playing".

hawaiiansteel
03-23-2010, 03:42 PM
Jim Wexell from SteelCityInsider has Earl Thomas as the current favorite to be selected by the Steelers in Round 1.

I think this pick makes a lot of sense, Earl Thomas can compete for the starting CB position opposite Ike Taylor (job is wide open) and immediately help out as the team's 3rd safety (only has to beat out Nate Allen and Ryan Mundy) and in nickel packages (replacing the departed Deshea Townsend).




3-1 – Earl Thomas, FS, Texas: Here’s 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 – seemingly on purpose – 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. He’ll 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 Steelers’ nickel back and third safety.

However, with Thomas’s 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), it’s 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, there’s 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, it’s the move I expect them to make.

Oviedo
03-23-2010, 04:02 PM
Jim Wexell from SteelCityInsider has Earl Thomas as the current favorite to be selected by the Steelers in Round 1.

I think this pick makes a lot of sense, Earl Thomas can compete for the starting CB position opposite Ike Taylor (job is wide open) and immediately help out as the team's 3rd safety (only has to beat out Nate Allen and Ryan Mundy) and in nickel packages (replacing the departed Deshea Townsend).




3-1 – Earl Thomas, FS, Texas: Here’s 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 – seemingly on purpose – 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. He’ll 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 Steelers’ nickel back and third safety.

However, with Thomas’s 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), it’s 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, there’s 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, it’s the move I expect them to make.

Nate Allen is a Safety from USF hoping to get drafted this season. Will Allen we recently signed.

No need to trade up to get a player in one of the deepest positions in this draft.

hawaiiansteel
03-23-2010, 07:43 PM
Jim Wexell from SteelCityInsider has Earl Thomas as the current favorite to be selected by the Steelers in Round 1.

I think this pick makes a lot of sense, Earl Thomas can compete for the starting CB position opposite Ike Taylor (job is wide open) and immediately help out as the team's 3rd safety (only has to beat out Nate Allen and Ryan Mundy) and in nickel packages (replacing the departed Deshea Townsend).




3-1 – Earl Thomas, FS, Texas: Here’s 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 – seemingly on purpose – 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. He’ll 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 Steelers’ nickel back and third safety.

However, with Thomas’s 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), it’s 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, there’s 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, it’s the move I expect them to make.

Nate Allen is a Safety from USF hoping to get drafted this season. Will Allen we recently signed.

No need to trade up to get a player in one of the deepest positions in this draft.



i agree with you, i wouldn't trade up for Earl Thomas either. but if Thomas fell to us i would think the Steelers would have to seriously consider him.

NJ-STEELER
03-23-2010, 08:30 PM
NFLN mike mayock now has thomas at #7 overall just ahead of haden and eric berry

says he's never seen a saefty as instinctive as him



interseting

Oviedo
03-24-2010, 10:09 AM
NFLN mike mayock now has thomas at #7 overall just ahead of haden and eric berry

says he's never seen a saefty as instinctive as him



interseting

My experience watching drafts and the NFL for over 30 years is that the two biggest positions where there is the highest "miss" rate in projecting success in the NFL is for WRs and DBs. Just my observations. That is why a DB in Round 1 makes me nervous.

RuthlessBurgher
03-24-2010, 10:32 AM
NFLN mike mayock now has thomas at #7 overall just ahead of haden and eric berry

says he's never seen a saefty as instinctive as him



interseting

My experience watching drafts and the NFL for over 30 years is that the two biggest positions where there is the highest "miss" rate in projecting success in the NFL is for WRs and DBs. Just my observations. That is why a DB in Round 1 makes me nervous.

Plenty of bust QB's and DT's as well.