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hawaiiansteel
12-08-2010, 05:08 PM
Steelers Could Ignore OT Again in 2011 NFL Draft to Focus On Need and Value

Posted on December 7, 2010 by ted


Pittsburgh is the only NFL franchise that has not drafted an offensive tackle prospect in the first two rounds in any NFL draft over the past decade (2001-10). Do not be shocked if that streak continues in the 2011 NFL Draft. In fact, the Steelers may ignore offensive tackle altogether in April.

The Steelers rarely reach for prospects that are further down its draft value board and teams picking later in the first round simply cannot draft an offensive tackle in any round in this era without reaching at some point due to the increasing premium placed on the position by all NFL franchises.

Moreover, the Steelers could easily enter its 2011 NFL training camp (assuming a new CBA is reached and there are training camps) with three quality, proven, starting offensive tackles on its roster in LT Max Starks, RT Willie Colon and Flozell Adams, who could still start on either side.

They also could have up to two more versatile offensive linemen with significant game experience at tackle in veterans Trai Essex and Jonathan Scott, as well as two more young tackle prospects who have been on Steeler regular-season rosters in third-year left tackle Tony Hills and rookie right tackle/guard Chris Scott.

That is a lot of options for a veteran, Super Bowl-contending team with more immediate needs at right guard, cornerback and potentially defensive end if often-injured veteran Aaron Smith opts to retire after the 2010 season.

However, ignoring tackle in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft could prove disastrous for Pittsburgh as early as 2012, a season when the Steelers could be forced into starting a rookie, late, first-round offensive tackle, a recipe which is rarely successful.

After losing both Colon and Starks to season-ending injuries, the Steelers’ already-poor offensive line is now a makeshift unit.

Signing the veteran Adams right before training camp, however, has turned out to be a season-saver and one of the team’s best personnel moves of the highly-successful Kevin Colbert era. While not great, Adams has been a solid starter at right tackle this fall after spending most of his career as the Cowboys’ left tackle.

Adams, however, will turn 36 before the start of a potential 2011 season. While his annual salary doubles to $5 million in 2011, with none of it guaranteed, the Steelers will likely beg Adams to return for another training camp and would be best served keeping him on their 2011 roster even if he is an high-priced No. 3 offensive tackle.

That is because both of the Steelers’ starting offensive tackles over the past several seasons, Starks and Colon, will be returning from season-ending injuries. Moreover, while his play should not suffer upon his return in 2011, the type of neck injury Starks sustained means that any other serious injury in that area could quickly be deemed career-ending.

After struggling in pass protection early in his career, Colon emerged as one of the better right tackles in football in 2009 and was clearly the Steelers’ best offensive lineman before a season-ending Achilles tear in July that ended his 2010 season.

Colon is reportedly making great progress in his rehab, but he is unlikely a long-term answer for the Steelers for several reasons. First, players often need 1.5-2 years to recover from season-ending Achilles injuries, which is another reason why Adams will be asked back for training camp.

Second, while the Steelers’ coaching staff loves Colon and agrees with his agent that he is among the top right tackles in the NFL, Pittsburgh management has always placed more value on Starks, in large part due to his ability to play the more-important leftside.

Colon should have been eligible for unrestricted free agency after the 2009 season if not for an owner-friendly provision that kept most fourth- and fifth-year players from becoming unrestricted free agents due to a new CBA not being agreed upon. That same provision will hold for this coming off-season as well, assuming no CBA is reached.

Veteran Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Ed Bouchette wrote on the Post-Gazette‘s premium subscriber site a few weeks ago that he sees no way a CBA is reached that does not allow players like Colon to immediately become unrestricted free agents and that he expects Colon to cash in with a big paycheck while leaving the Steelers.

However, with the owners holding more cards in this labor strife due to their receiving guaranteed television revenues even if games are not played in 2011, I could easily see a scenario where teams again having the option to issue one-year tenders to their fourth- and fifth-year players like Colon and LaMarr Woodley, thus prohibiting those players from entering the free market.

If a CBA is not reached until after the draft, it seems unlikely that owners would allow the roster-shuffling chaos that would ensue with such a large group of potential free agents entering the open market so close to the season and with teams not able to draft their replacements. The later in the summer that a lockout drags on, the more likely any agreement eventually reached would prevent players like Colon from entering free agency until after the 2011 season.

Of course if a CBA is reached before the draft and the Steelers lose Colon to free agency, Adams would be the clear starter at right tackle for 2011 and tackle would become a bigger draft need for the Steelers.

However, even in that scenario, what team would pay a huge signing bonus to an undersized right tackle coming off an Achilles tear? Colon certainly would not receive the type of long-term deal reflective of a top starting right tackle in free agency.

Thus, the Steelers may be be able to resign him to a hometown discount or maybe Colon would turn down mutli-year offers, opting to instead sign a 1-year, incentive-based deal (most likely with the Steelers) with a plan of cashing in on a huge payday after returning to form in 2011.

Therefore, considering all these options, I disagree with Bouchette by arguing that the odds right now favor Colon remaining in a Steeler uniform in 2011, although that is much harder to see for 2012.

Scott is seemingly outmatched every week since he has been thrust into the Steelers’ starting left tackle role, a position he simply lacks the athleticism to play well in the NFL. However, Scott has surpassed expectations this fall and has shown himself as long-term, valuable and intelligent, reserve offensive lineman capable of playing 3-4 different positions on immediate notice. He is as tough as any Pittsburgh offensive lineman and hits somebody until the whistle. Unfortunately, that player is often not the defender he was initially assigned to block, because that man is already en route to harassing QB Ben Roethlisberger.

Essex, who has now seemingly lost his starting right guard spot for the rest of 2010 to Ramon Foster but did not fare horribly when forced to replace Adams at right tackle in the second half of last week’s 13-10 win over the Ravens, is similar to Scott in his versatility, intelligence and experience. Scott is tougher, but Essex has more size and experience within the Steelers’ system.

Both of these journeyman will be unrestricted free agents in January regardless of the CBA situation. While there will be multiple free-agent offers for top players Ike Taylor, there will likely be little external market for players like Scott and Essex. If no CBA is reached, why would an opposing owner shell out cash for a reserve offensive lineman? If a CBA is reached, then a much deeper and more talented group of offensive linemen will be available, and no franchise would sign Scott or Essex to be a starter.

Regardless, expect the Steelers to resign one of these two players of their choice to a 2-year contract in the upcoming off-season. Pittsburgh will have major free-agency issues to deal with if a CBA is reached, since Taylor, Woodley, Colon, and Matt Spaeth would all be unrestricted free agents, with the Steelers likely focusing all their energy and cash on keeping Taylor and Woodley, the latter of whom would likely receive the franchise tag if such a designation is again part of a CBA.

Taylor, however, would be the only starter on the market and the only Steeler who would receive lucrative free-agent offers if no CBA is reached. Pittsburgh must break the bank to maintain Taylor, but that would still enable the franchise to resign valuable veteran reserves like Essex or Scott to smaller, short-term contracts.

Either Scott or Essex, however, could be batting with or even sharing the right tackle job with a rookie 2012 first-round draft pick, because Colon will likely be in another uniform before the 2012 season at the latest and it hard to imagine Adams playing that long.

If that scenario scares the Steelers’ brass greatly, they could elect to draft a future starting offensive tackle late in the first round of the upcoming draft, passing over prospects at other positions who would be more likely to play sooner.

However, this is not a deep draft for tackles and Colorado’s Nate Solder, Mississippi State’s Derek Sherod, Wisconsin’s Gabe Carimi and Boston College’s Anthony Castonzo are all likely to be selected before the Steelers’ pick, assuming none of the four bomb in the post-season all-star games and workouts.

If so, at this point there appears to be no other left-tackle prospect worthy of a first-round pick and the Steelers should not be reaching for a player like Arkansas’s DeMarcus Love, who most scouts see as a right tackle who may actually end up playing guard.

The ranks of offensive tackle prospects only gets thinner in later rounds and I do not see Pittsburgh veering too far down its board just to draft a tackle when it has so many roster options at that spot for 2011.

Be sure to log back onto SteelersLounge.com tomorrow as we unveil a new 7-round Pittsburgh Steeler 2011 mock draft.

http://www.steelerslounge.com/2010/12/s ... aft-focus/ (http://www.steelerslounge.com/2010/12/steelers-ignore-ot-2011-nfl-draft-focus/)

Oviedo
12-08-2010, 05:16 PM
I would not ignore it another year unless Colon was locked up long term. Ideally, I would draft a OT and let him play OG for a year. Not all OTs could pull that off but I would seriously look at that.

Could anybody good enough to be the future starting RT really be worse than Essex or Foster?

hawaiiansteel
12-08-2010, 09:47 PM
I think we go CB in Round 1 also...


Gerry Dulac's Steelers chat transcript: 12.8.10

WEDNESDAY, 08 DECEMBER 2010 14:38 WRITTEN BY DAN GIGLER


Gerry Dulac: OK, I'm back from the locker room, where Ben Roethlisberger looks as though he fell down two flights of stairs but has all intention of playing against the Bengals.

Weinberg17: Gerry my man, in order, which stadium gets the loudest? Steelers, Ravens, Bengals, Browns?

Gerry Dulac: That is really hard for me to answer because I am sitting in a glass-enclosed press box in all of those stadiums. But the reason I will say is Heinz Field is because all the other stadiums you mention, especially Cincinnati and Cleveland, have a large portion of Steelers fans that cut into the noise level for the home team. So, based on that premise, I will say Heinz Field.

Kevin: Has Ben practiced with the visor yet? If so do you know if it bothers him and will he wear it in the game Sunday?

Gerry Dulac: Kevin, he hasn't worn it yet, but he will shortly when they practice for the first time this week. And yes he will wear the visor in the game. Will it bother him? Probably. Especially if it's raining or snowing.
The good news for Ben is that he had the gauze packing removed from his nose this morning. He told me he has slept a total of three hours the past two nights because he was unable to breathe. He also said he has a sore throat from breathing through his mouth. Right now, the protective shield is the least of his problems.

doyle37: Gerry...How funny was the film session the Steelers OLine had when they got to see Ray Lewis bounce off of Kemo ?? Did you see that ??

Gerry Dulac: I did see that, and I'm sure it received a few hoots and hollers in the film room. I haven't seen someone bounce like that since I went to the circus.

SteelCharlotteSteel: Gerry, What accounts or the big drop-off in passes thrown to Heath Miller this season? Any word on how long he will be out?

Gerry Dulac: I didn't get a chance to talk to him in the locker room, but Miller still has some tests to pass before the Steelers will consider using him against the Bengals. Mike Tomlin sounded as though he wouldn't be available for the game. Even if Miller has passed the baseline test, he will be monitored to see how he responds after having physical activity, such as running around at practice. That's what happened to Will Allen a couple weeks ago -- he was cleared to practice, but did not dress for the game because he developed headaches late in the week.

COACHFI: Odds of #22 and #20 being on the team next yr!

Gerry Dulac: I think 22's odds are better than 20's. But I think the odds that a cornerback will be taken with the No. 1 draft pick are much much better.

Weinberg17: Gerry, Smizik said he thinks Ward may only have 1 more year after this one? What do you think? Barring injury, I would think we could get at least 2 more productive seasons from Hines Ward.

Gerry Dulac: No. I tend to agree with my friend Smiz, especially if you are referring to productive seasons. In two more years, Ward will be 36. I know Terrell Owens is 36 and having a big season with the Bengals, but T.O. is something of a freak of nature and has more speed than Ward. There's a possibility Ward could play two more years, but not as a productive receiver. Maybe a No. 3 or 4 guy. Of course, all Ward has to do is read this and he'll find the right amount of "disrespect" motivation, as he always does, to prove me wrong.

Nate: Gerry, would you think we saw Sepulveda for the last time in a Steelers uniform?

Gerry Dulac: If you mean this year, yes. If you mean beyond 2010, no.

CA Stiller Fan: Gerry, will anyone be able to stop the Patriots and Tom the Bomb, Brady?

Gerry Dulac: The way he's playing now, no. Not even the Penguins are that hot.

Weinberg17: Gerry, do you think Ben truly gutty performance on Sunday night put in back in the good graces of not only Steelers fans but all NFL fans notwithstanding Baltimores of course?

Gerry Dulac: I think you're probably right. I'm not sure the term "good graces" applies, but I think his dissenters and those appalled by his off-field behavior have slowly accepted the difference between Ben the player and Ben the person. Time, accompanied by winning, heals all wounds.

http://ht.ly/1amAxv

Shawn
12-08-2010, 10:24 PM
I am more and more convinced that we will select a DB with our first pick.

Chadman
12-08-2010, 10:45 PM
Not convinced DB will be the pick. 2 seasons ago Tomlin said the Steelers need to get younger on the DL. they drafted Hood. Smith is near the end, Keisel picks up injuries, Hoke is old, Hampton is old.

Chadman suspects the Steelers will do what's best for the organisation- maintain a very strong 3-4 DL & draft a quality DL first. DB could be option 2- certainly should be picked within the first 4 rounds.

2 DL, 1 or 2 DB, 1 OL, a TE & a RB should do the trick.

Chadman
12-08-2010, 10:45 PM
That being said- don't discount a quality WR on Day 1...

RuthlessBurgher
12-09-2010, 01:15 AM
Best. Player. Available.

Always.

Could be an OT. Or an interior o-lineman. Or a d-lineman. Or a DB. Or something else.

We have to wait and see what's there.

Picking late, our front office may decide that the best guard in the draft is a better value than the 5th best tackle or corner (particularly when they already know what a gem that they have in his twin brother, and the slot next to him is a sure-fire weakness).

hawaiiansteel
12-09-2010, 02:53 AM
2011 Pittsburgh Steelers Mock Draft Version 3.0

Posted on December 8, 2010 by ted


The Steelers have four realistic options for their first-round draft pick in 2011, each of which would fill a major need. They could draft an offensive guard (Mike Pouncey) who would almost certainly start as a rookie and provide a major upgrade on the offense line like his brother, Maurkice, did for Pittsburgh at center this fall.

They could also draft one of the many outstanding, big cornerback prospects who may still be available at the end of the first round. However, could that prospect start as a rookie in D!ck LeBeau’s scheme over veterans Bryant McFadden and/or William Gay? Based on talent and coverage skills that answer is likely yes.

However, corners, in general, struggle as rookies in the NFL and LeBeau does not like to rely on rookies at any spot. Moreover, the Steelers can still probably get a quality, early contributor at corner in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

The other option is to draft for more vital long-term needs, specifically at offensive tackle or defensive end, with tackle possibly needing a new starter by 2012.

I discussed the reasons the Steelers are unlikely to take a tackle in the first round of the 2011 yesterday, even more so because any tackles with first-round grades will likely be off the board by the time the Steelers select.

The Steelers will certainly consider a defensive end in the first round, particularly if fast-rising J.J. Watt of Wisconsin or the falling Allen Bailey of Miami remains on the board.

No defensive player has seen his draft stock soar higher this fall than Watt, a fourth-year junior now expected to enter the draft and likely go in the first round. At 6-foot-5, 280 pounds, he has the frame to add another 15 pounds. He will then offer a perfect combo of size and athleticism for a 3-4 end who plays better than he looks.

In terms of appearances, no one looks better than Bailey, who most projected as a top-20 pick before the season. He looks like a combo of Joe Greene and Reggie White against lesser competition, flashing tremendous power and quickness. But after watching Bailey get dominated by big-time opponents like Ohio State and FSU this fall, he may be worthy of the “Looks Like Tarzan, Plays Like Jane” stigma for big games and the Steelers rarely draft players in the first round who do not consistently dominate at the college-level.

However, neither of those players would start at defensive end in 2011 or 2012 even if Aaron Smith retires after the 2010 season. Brett Keisel, Ziggy Hood and Casey Hampton are all under contract and slated to be a solid starting defensive line for the next couple of years, which would only be better if Smith tries to play another year or two.

An influx of younger players to develop and add depth is clearly needed on the defensive line, but it is not an area that should be addressed at the top of the 2011 NFL Draft.

So here goes our latest 2011 mock draft for the Steelers. Please note that this mock assumes that no CBA is reached before the draft in 2011, making it likely that the Steelers will maintain the rights to OLB LaMarr Woodley, OT Willie Colon, TE Matt Spaeth and CB William Gay by merely issuing 1-year tenders to each of them. If a CBA is reached before the draft, the Steelers will lose some of those players, and their needs and these projections will change.

Moreover, this mock assumes the Steelers re-sign CB Ike Taylor to a lucrative, multi-year contract, and that Pittsburgh (either before or after the draft) brings back several of its less-coveted, unrestricted free agents to short-term deals to add depth. Upcoming unrestricted free agents who could be resigned include DE Nick Eason (1-2 years), NT Chris Hoke (1 final year), OT Jonathan Scott or OL Trai Essex (2-3 years), RB Mewelde Moore (1-2 years), ILB Keyaron Fox (1-2 years) and CB/ST Anthony Madison (1 year). In addition, when a CBA is reached, it is expected to increase each team’s roster limit from 53 to probably 56, which would increase game-day rosters from 45 to 48 (excluding No. 3 QB).

Finally, this mock assumes that Aaron Smith and third-team QB Charlie Batch both retire after a highly successful 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers’ season culminates in an AFC championship loss at Foxboro to the top-seeded Patriots. Both players will long be remembered and forever loved by the Steelers Nation.

Please also recognize that any picks projected after the first round in December could see their draft standings climb or fall significantly after post-season, all-star games, and the combine and individual workouts. However, multiple services have all these players available at the spots where I project them, while every player is also ranked higher or lower than these spots by some services.

1. (30) MIKE POUNCEY, OG, 6-5, 310, Florida: Pouncey fills an immediate need at right guard, which has been the worst of the Steelers’ 22 starting positions over the last two years. Pouncey is a great run blocker, who would have instant symmetry with his twin brother Maurkice, the Steelers’ stud, starting rookie center. Pouncey is rated anywhere from the No. 20 overall player in the draft by ESPN to a mid- to late-second-round prospect by multiple services. There is a pretty good chance he would be available for the Steelers toward the end of the first round, but they would risk losing him if they tried to trade down into the second round if the Steelers are picking No. 30 as I project. Mike is not as good a prospect as his brother, who is faster and more athletic. Mike is versatile and tried to improve his draft stock by playing center this fall for the Gators after receiving a 3rd-4th-round grade from the NFL Advisory Committee after his junior campaign before electing to stay in school for another year. But that position move did not work out as planned. First, he had trouble snapping, which is the most important attribute of a center. Second, he is taller and stiffer than his brother, and thus has trouble drive-blocking, big 3-4 NTs like those he will see regularly in the NFL. Thus, RG is Mike’s best spot and no team needs a new RG more than the Steelers.

2. RASHARD CARMICHAEL, CB, 5-10, 185, Virginia Tech: Everyone knows that the Steelers like big, physical, zone coverage corners who are great tacklers. The problem is that outside of No. 1 corner Ike Taylor, the Steelers do not have a corner on their roster who can actually cover NFL receives downfield and they certainly do not have a nickleback quick enough to cover players in the slot. Enter the undersized Charmichael, who could immediately provide Pittsburgh with an upgrade over William Gay at nickleback and could eventually be an undersized but quality, full-time corner similar to Deshea Townsend, who was a underrated Steelers corner for a long time. It is a deep draft for corners, which, along with his battling injuries this fall, is a reason a playmaker with speed like Carmichael may be available late in round 2. Most of the big corners who fit the Steelers’ scheme will likely be off the board by this point in the draft and the ones who could be left, like Ras-I Dowling of Virginia whose stock has fallen precipitously, have many of the same coverage weaknesses of McFadden. Thus, Pittsburgh does not need another big corner who struggles in man-to-man coverage, but instead need a smaller, coverage corner like Charmichael, Utah’s Brandon Burton, Texas’ Curtis Brown or Georgia’s Brandon Boykin, all of whom could potentially be on the board at this point of the draft. Drafting Pouncey and Charmichael would immediately upgrade the Steelers’ two weakest areas over the last two seasons.

3. CHRISTIAN BALLARD, DE, 6-4, 295, Iowa: Ballard is a classic tweener who some teams are now viewing exclusively as a 3-4 DE prospect. He lacks the upper body strength and bulk to play 4-3 DT, or the quickness and range to play outside in a 4-3. However, he is a solid, athletic player who could be a starter and will at the minimum become a contributor in a 3-4 scheme. He has been overshadowed on the Iowa defensive line by Adrian Clayborn and Ballard has seemingly been nearly invisible on the field for entire games. But his upside is strong and he has been well-coached at Iowa. Ideally, he could be the Steelers’ No. 4 end as a rookie, No. 3 end as a second-year pro and then replace Keisel in the starting lineup in 2013.

4. IAN WILLIAMS, NT, 6-1, 305, Notre Dame: While his defensive teammates were struggling, Williams was having a strong senior season before suffering a mid-season MCL tear, which has since dropped his stock slightly. However, he is expected to play in the Sun Bowl and post-season all-star games. The Steelers will likely resign valuable reserve Chris Hoke for a final season in 2011 and starting nose tackle Casey Hampton is signed through 2012. But Hoke is 34 and Hampton is 33, so the Steelers have to start thinking about drafting and grooming a young nose tackle after ignoring the spot with all 10 of their draft picks in a 2010 NFL Draft that was loaded with 3-4 NT prospects. This year’s draft is not as deep at that spot, but Williams is a solid, hard-worker and good run-stuffer who could easily become a quality No. 2 nose tackle and may develop into a potential starter.

5. OWEN MARECIC, FB, 6-0, 245, Stanford: The Steelers would be fortunate if Marecic falls this far. Yes, I know that offensive coordinator Bruce Arians likes to infuriate fans by proclaiming his offense does not use a fullback. However, the Steelers used a fullback more than any time during the Arians’ era early in the season and had great success running the ball despite having virtually no passing threat with Ben Roethlisberger suspended, and their best run-blocking offensive lineman, Willie Colon, out with an injury. Imagine how good the ground attack would be if both of those guys returned and the Steelers actually used a real, lead-blocking fullback. Marecic, a FB/LB who is the only two-way starter in major college football, is having a strong year for a top-5 Stanford team. He would also aid multiple special-teams units and is the type of winner teams want on their rosters. Speaking of rosters, with the limit stretched to 56, Arians will no longer have an argument against keeping a pure fullback on the roster, especially one as versatile as Marecic, who is actually an average blocker for the position but still much better than the TEs and HBs the Steelers currently use as lead blockers in the I-formation.

6. JOSH BYNES, ILB, 6-2, 235, Auburn: Some Steelers fans want the organization to draft Greg Lloyd, Jr. But they must not follow college football real close, because the younger Lloyd lost his starting job at UCONN and is not worthy of being drafted. Bynes, however, is enjoying an outstanding senior season as Auburn’s defensive leader and top tackler for a second consecutive year. Bynes is physically limited, though. He lacks the size to play MLB in a 4-3 scheme or the athleticism to play WLB on the inside in a 3-4. However, he could be a Larry Foote-type, two-down player for the Steelers down the road. And this pick would be for the long-term. Keyaron Fox may be allowed to leave via free agency or the Steelers will likely not draft an ILB. James Farrior, however, is 35 and Foote is 30, so the Steelers need to add another young ILB to go along with Lawrence Timmons and 2010 rookie, 5th-round pick Stevenson Sylvester.

7. BRUCE MILLER, OLB, 6-2, 250, UCF: Miller is a highly-productive, collegiate defensive end who will be a 3-4 OLB in the NFL. He is the active leader in career quarterback sacks in major college football. With the in-season release of 2010 fourth-round pick Thad Gibson, the Steelers have a need for a fourth OLB on their 2011 roster. Now, Kevin Colbert may decide to fill that need earlier than this, because drafting OLBs early for depth over other positions of need is his annual wont, frustrating me to no end. More than likely, though, he will try to find OLB depth late in the draft this time, and Milller’s production, tenacity, and pass-rushing instincts will all look very good on film. One negative of this pick and mock draft is that while both linebackers were highly-productive college players, neither Miller or Bynes offer tremendous upside and both are too athletically limited to be special-teams standouts.

http://www.steelerslounge.com/2010/12/2 ... ersion-30/

Oviedo
12-09-2010, 08:50 AM
Miller is an exceptional player. Just not sure we are looking for another OLB.

I think instead of a FB we would be better taking an OT or Safety. FB IS NOT a priority need.

RKSteel
12-09-2010, 11:05 AM
2011 Pittsburgh Steelers Mock Draft Version 3.0

Posted on December 8, 2010 by ted

1. (32) MIKE POUNCEY, OG, 6-5, 310, Florida: Pouncey fills an immediate need at right guard, which has been the worst of the Steelers’ 22 starting positions over the last two years. Pouncey is a great run blocker, who would have instant symmetry with his twin brother Maurkice, the Steelers’ stud, starting rookie center. Pouncey is rated anywhere from the No. 20 overall player in the draft by ESPN to a mid- to late-second-round prospect by multiple services. There is a pretty good chance he would be available for the Steelers toward the end of the first round, but they would risk losing him if they tried to trade down into the second round if the Steelers are picking No. 30 as I project. Mike is not as good a prospect as his brother, who is faster and more athletic. Mike is versatile and tried to improve his draft stock by playing center this fall for the Gators after receiving a 3rd-4th-round grade from the NFL Advisory Committee after his junior campaign before electing to stay in school for another year. But that position move did not work out as planned. First, he had trouble snapping, which is the most important attribute of a center. Second, he is taller and stiffer than his brother, and thus has trouble drive-blocking, big 3-4 NTs like those he will see regularly in the NFL. Thus, RG is Mike’s best spot and no team needs a new RG more than the Steelers.

http://www.steelerslounge.com/2010/12/2 ... ersion-30/
Had to correct that. :tt2

RuthlessBurgher
12-09-2010, 11:07 AM
2011 Pittsburgh Steelers Mock Draft Version 3.0

Posted on December 8, 2010 by ted

1. (32) MIKE POUNCEY, OG, 6-5, 310, Florida: Pouncey fills an immediate need at right guard, which has been the worst of the Steelers’ 22 starting positions over the last two years. Pouncey is a great run blocker, who would have instant symmetry with his twin brother Maurkice, the Steelers’ stud, starting rookie center. Pouncey is rated anywhere from the No. 20 overall player in the draft by ESPN to a mid- to late-second-round prospect by multiple services. There is a pretty good chance he would be available for the Steelers toward the end of the first round, but they would risk losing him if they tried to trade down into the second round if the Steelers are picking No. 30 as I project. Mike is not as good a prospect as his brother, who is faster and more athletic. Mike is versatile and tried to improve his draft stock by playing center this fall for the Gators after receiving a 3rd-4th-round grade from the NFL Advisory Committee after his junior campaign before electing to stay in school for another year. But that position move did not work out as planned. First, he had trouble snapping, which is the most important attribute of a center. Second, he is taller and stiffer than his brother, and thus has trouble drive-blocking, big 3-4 NTs like those he will see regularly in the NFL. Thus, RG is Mike’s best spot and no team needs a new RG more than the Steelers.

http://www.steelerslounge.com/2010/12/2 ... ersion-30/
Had to correct that. :tt2

Maybe we trade up a couple of spots to take him at 30, just to make sure the team that we beat in the Super Bowl doesn't take him one spot ahead of us. :wink:

Oviedo
12-09-2010, 11:38 AM
2011 Pittsburgh Steelers Mock Draft Version 3.0

Posted on December 8, 2010 by ted

1. (32) MIKE POUNCEY, OG, 6-5, 310, Florida: Pouncey fills an immediate need at right guard, which has been the worst of the Steelers’ 22 starting positions over the last two years. Pouncey is a great run blocker, who would have instant symmetry with his twin brother Maurkice, the Steelers’ stud, starting rookie center. Pouncey is rated anywhere from the No. 20 overall player in the draft by ESPN to a mid- to late-second-round prospect by multiple services. There is a pretty good chance he would be available for the Steelers toward the end of the first round, but they would risk losing him if they tried to trade down into the second round if the Steelers are picking No. 30 as I project. Mike is not as good a prospect as his brother, who is faster and more athletic. Mike is versatile and tried to improve his draft stock by playing center this fall for the Gators after receiving a 3rd-4th-round grade from the NFL Advisory Committee after his junior campaign before electing to stay in school for another year. But that position move did not work out as planned. First, he had trouble snapping, which is the most important attribute of a center. Second, he is taller and stiffer than his brother, and thus has trouble drive-blocking, big 3-4 NTs like those he will see regularly in the NFL. Thus, RG is Mike’s best spot and no team needs a new RG more than the Steelers.

http://www.steelerslounge.com/2010/12/2 ... ersion-30/
Had to correct that. :tt2

Maybe we trade up a couple of spots to take him at 30, just to make sure the team that we beat in the Super Bowl doesn't take him one spot ahead of us. :wink:

Right now I would prefer Wisnewski. Thoughts????

RuthlessBurgher
12-09-2010, 12:59 PM
2011 Pittsburgh Steelers Mock Draft Version 3.0

Posted on December 8, 2010 by ted

1. (32) MIKE POUNCEY, OG, 6-5, 310, Florida: Pouncey fills an immediate need at right guard, which has been the worst of the Steelers’ 22 starting positions over the last two years. Pouncey is a great run blocker, who would have instant symmetry with his twin brother Maurkice, the Steelers’ stud, starting rookie center. Pouncey is rated anywhere from the No. 20 overall player in the draft by ESPN to a mid- to late-second-round prospect by multiple services. There is a pretty good chance he would be available for the Steelers toward the end of the first round, but they would risk losing him if they tried to trade down into the second round if the Steelers are picking No. 30 as I project. Mike is not as good a prospect as his brother, who is faster and more athletic. Mike is versatile and tried to improve his draft stock by playing center this fall for the Gators after receiving a 3rd-4th-round grade from the NFL Advisory Committee after his junior campaign before electing to stay in school for another year. But that position move did not work out as planned. First, he had trouble snapping, which is the most important attribute of a center. Second, he is taller and stiffer than his brother, and thus has trouble drive-blocking, big 3-4 NTs like those he will see regularly in the NFL. Thus, RG is Mike’s best spot and no team needs a new RG more than the Steelers.

http://www.steelerslounge.com/2010/12/2 ... ersion-30/
Had to correct that. :tt2

Maybe we trade up a couple of spots to take him at 30, just to make sure the team that we beat in the Super Bowl doesn't take him one spot ahead of us. :wink:

Right now I would prefer Wisnewski. Thoughts????

Wisniewski doesn't offer instant chemisty with our center to be a starter right off the bat. Mike is worth more to us that any other team. Twins working next to each other (who have played together for every year of their lives until this one) know each other's tendencies already.

grotonsteel
12-09-2010, 01:39 PM
Should Steelers draft Mike Pouncey just because he is Maurkice twin brother and it will look cool to have twin brothers playing together or is he really first Rd talent?

I certainly hope Steelers make a move on OT or a DB in first Rd rather than a OG unless that OG is all pro and good in pass-protection and not just a mauler.

How much of a difference in talent is there between say Mike Pouncey and Rodney Hudson??

fordfixer
12-09-2010, 01:46 PM
Should Steelers draft Mike Pouncey just because he is Maurkice twin brother and it will look cool to have twin brothers playing together or is he really first Rd talent?

I certainly hope Steelers make a move on OT or a DB in first Rd rather than a OG unless that OG is all pro and good in pass-protection and not just a mauler.

How much of a difference in talent is there between say Mike Pouncey and Rodney Hudson??
I think if you have a chance to get two guy's that have worked together as long as the Pouncey brother's have it has got to be a good thing.

Oviedo
12-09-2010, 01:48 PM
Should Steelers draft Mike Pouncey just because he is Maurkice twin brother and it will look cool to have twin brothers playing together or is he really first Rd talent?

I certainly hope Steelers make a move on OT or a DB in first Rd rather than a OG unless that OG is all pro and good in pass-protection and not just a mauler.

How much of a difference in talent is there between say Mike Pouncey and Rodney Hudson??

That is my concern. People want Mike Pouncey because of the novelty. I'm confident the front office won't be swayed by novelty.

RuthlessBurgher
12-09-2010, 01:56 PM
Should Steelers draft Mike Pouncey just because he is Maurkice twin brother and it will look cool to have twin brothers playing together or is he really first Rd talent?

I certainly hope Steelers make a move on OT or a DB in first Rd rather than a OG unless that OG is all pro and good in pass-protection and not just a mauler.

How much of a difference in talent is there between say Mike Pouncey and Rodney Hudson??

It's not because it will look cool. It's because we pretty much already know what we'd get if we drafted this kid. In the crapshoot that is the NFL draft, we already have a guy who has the exact same genetic makeup, identical physical dimensions, grew up in the same household, and played next to each other on teams since they were kids. The first Pouncey has been a resounding success, so why not repeat such success if the opportunity arising (especially considering that RG has been a notable weakness of ours for years).

Mike is a late-first early-second round talent as the best guard in the draft. What we have seen out of him as a center this year doesn't matter, since we don't need a center. If we want the best guard prospect in the draft, you draft him in the late first. He won't be available the next time we pick.

Hudson is only a mid-round prospect at only 6'2" 285 lbs. A guy that small will get bowled over by DT's in this league. He might be okay for an undersized, athletic zone blocking team like Mike Shanahan used to prefer, but we prefer the big uglies. Meanwhile, Mike is a solid 6'5" 320 lbs. like his brother.

grotonsteel
12-09-2010, 03:36 PM
I would prefer an OT or DB in first Rd than a RG but yes if Mike Pouncey is the BPA then yes Steelers should draft him.

hawaiiansteel
12-09-2010, 05:18 PM
a good analysis of the Steelers' OL and how the Ravens exploited our OL weaknesses:


Word of Muth: Mattison's Mismatches

by Ben Muth
09 Dec 2010


The Steelers beat the Ravens on Sunday in what was probably their biggest win of the season. They went on the road and beat a divisional rival to take first place in the AFC North and gain the inside track to the second seed and a first-round bye. That being said, I'm less optimistic about their Super Bowl hopes now than I was going into the weekend.

After watching the game, I just don't see how this offense is going to be able to score enough points to win three playoff games. Of course the main, although not the only, concern for this team is the offensive line. When a team's offensive line is inconsistent, the offense has trouble sustaining drives. It only takes one hold or one sack to kill a drive. When you add three sacks and two holding penalties (which is not a stretch for a mediocre offensive line) to the non-blocking-related drive-killers, drops, and turnovers, you limiting your scoring opportunities and force yourself to rely on big plays.

This column has dealt a lot with different schemes and formations teams use to gain an advantage over the defense. Every scheme ever discussed in this column has one thing in common -- they all require the ability to win one-on-one blocks at or near the point of attack. There are ways to create double teams and block defenders with formations, but somewhere along the line, your guy has to beat theirs. The Steelers are struggling in these one-on-one matchups, and that goes for everyone up front.

At guard, the Steelers have two pretty good run blockers. Chris Kemoeatu and Ramon Foster have both shown the ability to knock defensive tackles straight off the ball, especially on double teams, when they have to. While that is certainly a valuable asset, it alone doesn't make you a good run blocker. Neither man is effective blocking at the second level, and both also struggle cutting off defenders when they are on the backside of plays.

Because they have struggled so much cutting people off, Rashard Mendenhall has been forced to cut back on nearly all zone running plays. In fact, you can put Flozell Adams in the same category as the guards. The cut-back is a dangerous weapon in the zone game, but it should be a change up -- it certainly can't be the only option. After all, even Trevor Hoffman threw a fastball.

Maurkice Pouncey is a little more interesting to me. Pouncey continues to be somewhere between superb and transcendent in blocking at the second level. The guy has great clamps, the ability to just lock onto a defender with his hands, and incredibly quick feet. Not only that, he has a tremendous motor and tries to finish every play.

That being said, I've now seen him get tossed around by bigger, stronger players in a couple of games. A lot of guys (maybe all guys) are going to look bad against Haloti Ngata, but this is the NFL, and you have to be able to block elite players if you want to advance in the playoffs. This is especially true in the AFC, where the road to the Super Bowl will almost certainly go through either Vince Wilfork or Ngata, and possibly both. If the Steelers hope to make it to Dallas, Pouncey will have to find a way to hold his own against these war daddies (my personal favorite football coach talent description).

One thing that is often overlooked about defensive alignment or blitz design is matchup creation. Everyone notices when a safety comes unblocked off the edge or a linebacker destroys a quarterback because he fakes dropping into a zone before he explodes into the backfield. What defensive coordinators don't get enough credit for is putting their best players in one-on-one situations that they can win. The remainder of this article will focus on how Ravens defensive coordinator Greg Mattison got Terrell Suggs isolated on different offensive linemen.

With 12 minutes to go in the first quarter, the Steelers came out in a shotgun formation with the running back offset to the right. The Ravens came out in a four-down front (Jarret Johnson was standing up, but to an offensive lineman, he would've been counted as a down lineman) with three-techniques on both sides. Ray Lewis was standing near the line on the left side, just outside the three-techniques. The other linebacker, Tavares Gooden, wasn't near the line but was indicating, through body language and the coverage behind him, that he was coming. Now, judging by how much Ray Lewis was talking before the play, I assume the blitz was actually keyed by which direction the back was offset. Since the back is to the right, the offensive line will probably work left. As a result, the Ravens want to send the pressure to the right.

That's exactly what happened. The Ravens sent Gooden and dropped Lewis and Johnson. Pittsburgh ended up with three offensive linemen blocking Cory Redding and one-on-one blocks against Ngata, Suggs, and Gooden. Both Ngata and Suggs won, and they met at Roethlisberger for the sack -- and the broken nose.

The best thing about this really simple stunt is that the Ravens only brought four rushers, allowing them to play anything they wanted behind it (anything behind a blitz is coverage). Schemes like this are great if you think you have personnel advantages up front, because they allow you to do what you need in the secondary, while gaining slight advantages in the pass rush.

An even simpler way to get a favorable matchup for a defensive end/outside linebacker is to run a delayed TED (tackle and end) twist. This probably doesn't seem like the advantage until you think about it harder. A delayed TED, like the one the Ravens ran with about 14 minutes left in the second quarter, is designed to pick the offensive tackle off with the guard and defensive tackle. This allows the defensive end to loop inside. The key to the delay is it allows the defensive tackle to get to the point on the field where the offensive guard has to stay on him and the offensive tackle can't get inside him.

Haloti Ngata did a great job of driving up field and taking up the two blockers.
Ideally, the offensive line would be sliding away on this stunt, leaving nothing but an open rush lane or, at worst, a running back. But in this case, Pouncey was working towards the stunt. Like I said before, a defensive end or outside linebacker on a center may not seem like a mismatch, but it is more of one than it seems. Keep in mind that a center's world in pass protection usually consists of blocking 330-ponders that are three inches away from their face. Now, you are asking them to block an incredibly quick 260-pound man with a four-yard running head start.

That's not easy, and Maurkice Pouncey knows that now. When Suggs came around, it looked like Pouncey was trying to be light on his feet to counter Suggs' speed.

Unfortunately Suggs used his speed to run into Pouncey and knock him on his ass. The result was a sack. Mattison again put his guy in a situation (one-on-one with a lineman who never has to block that caliber of pass rusher) to succeed.

Finally, we reach the third-biggest play of the game (the biggest was obviously the fumble; the second was the Steelers' touchdown). It was first-and-goal late in the fourth quarter, right after the Steelers recovered Joe Flacco's fumble. The Ravens came out in the best-named front in football, the Bear -- aka, Navajo, Apache, Double Eagle, it doesn't matter which one you use. They all sound cool. The Bear front was the base front in the old 46 defense (named after Doug Plank). It consists of a head-up nose tackle, two three-techniques, and two defensive ends/outside linebackers. Buddy Ryan created it to stop the run, but more and more coordinators are using it in nickel situations to create matchup problems in pass protection.

The thing about the Bear is that there are only two ways to block it: full slide or straight man. Defensive coordinators know this, and they can tell what kind of scheme the offense is going to use based on film study. Well, the Steelers went straight man block, with a scheme most teams call "big on big" (meaning our five guys against your five).

It's probably the best way to go unless you happen to be the one NFL team with Jonathan Scott at left tackle. Unfortunately for the Steelers, their number came up, and they were stuck holding Scott. Suggs beat Scott badly with a quick jab step inside and a club to the outside and was hanging off Roethlisberger just as he finished his drop. Somehow, Roethlisberger stayed up and threw the ball away. Still, it was another example of Mattison putting a very good player, Suggs, in a very good situation.

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/word-m ... mismatches (http://www.footballoutsiders.com/word-muth/2010/word-muth-mattisons-mismatches)