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hawaiiansteel
02-08-2011, 03:15 AM
Mayock: As many as nine defensive ends could go in the first

Posted by Evan Silva on February 7, 2011


NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock has been following the postseason all-star game circuit over the past several weeks, making stops in Orlando for the East-West Shrine, Mobile for the Senior Bowl, and San Antonio for the NFLPA game (formerly “Texas vs. Nation”). Mayock appeared on Total Access Monday evening for an update on the most talented position in this year’s draft class.

It’s defensive end by a long shot. Mayock projected as many as nine defensive ends being drafted in the first round, adding “You’re certainly gonna see seven or eight.”

Mayock pinpointed Clemson’s Da’Quan Bowers as the cream of this year’s crop, calling him a “top-five pick” with the potential to go No. 1 overall to the Panthers.

Added Mayock of Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt, “He’s a beast. He’s a first-round pick.” Mayock says he just finished watching tape on Watt, and ranked the onetime Central Michigan tight end as the premier 3-4 defensive end in the 2011 class. Cal’s Cameron Jordan and Ohio State’s Cameron Heyward are second and third, respectively.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/20 ... the-first/ (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/02/07/mayock-as-many-as-nine-defensive-ends-could-go-in-the-first/)

steeler_fan_in_t.o.
02-08-2011, 11:59 AM
DE is a difficult position to look at because the typical DE is an OLB for us, and I can't see us taking an OLB early this draft.

Then again, if I was going through a list of defensive linemen and saw a guy at 6-3, 300 I would probably bypass him as a potential 3-4 DE. That would be Ziggy Hood.

hawaiiansteel
02-08-2011, 06:48 PM
What Should the Steelers Do With Aaron Smith?

Posted on February 8, 2011 by adam


Aaron Smith has played 156 games over 12 years with the Pittsburgh Steelers since being selected in the fourth-round of the 1999 draft. He’s been a workhorse in their 3-4 defense and a vital cog in a system that requires him to sacrifice personal glory for the good of the team (though, that’s probably a cliche at this point regarding what he does, but it doesn’t make it any less true). As we sit today, he’s been one of the best all-around defensive ends in the NFL, a two-time Super Bowl Champion, and by nearly all accounts, one of the good guys.

Unfortunately, there’s also this harsh reality: he’s played in just 38 of a possible 71 games (playoffs included) over the past four seasons, and 11 of 35 over the past two. That leads to the inevitable questions of how much the Steelers can rely on him next season, and is it perhaps time to part ways with a player that’s been one of the best at his position over the past decade?

In past years, Smith’s absence led to grim results for the Steelers defense, as the bottom fell out of the run defense in 2007, resulting in Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor destroying them in two separate games at Heinz Field (including a playoff game), and a 9-7 mark in 2009, one year removed from a Super Bowl victory. This season, however, the Steelers defense, particularly its historically dominant run defense, never missed a beat, and that’s due in large part to the development of 2009 first-round pick Ziggy Hood. He had to grow up on the job, and he did just that.

I think, when healthy, Smith can still be a high-level player in the Steelers defense. But you also know the saying: it’s better to let a player go a year early as opposed to a year late. Smith’s replacement is already on the roster (Ziggy Hood) and ready for his opportunity to shine, while the Steelers still have Brett Keisel on the other side of the line and a capable backup that’s also steadily improved the past couple of years in Nick Eason. Depth beyond that might be an issue, but no more of an issue than it was this season, and it’s something that can always be addressed in free agency (whenever that happens) and the draft.

The other option, other than simply keeping him at his current salary or releasing him, is to see if Smith would be willing to come back at a reduced salary, but that’s something that needs to be a mutual decision. Both sides have to want it.

It’s a tough call, but one that’s going to have to be made at some point.

http://www.steelerslounge.com/2011/02/s ... #more-4216 (http://www.steelerslounge.com/2011/02/steelers-aaron-smith/#more-4216)

hawaiiansteel
02-11-2011, 01:44 AM
Mayock Updates His Top Fives

Thursday, February 10, 2011



NFL Network's Mike Mayock is widely considered the top draft analyst in the business, so we tend to take his opinions seriously. We often do Mayock-related blurbs on the Rotoworld news page.

Mayock released his initial top-fives by position on January 25. He updated them today. Here they are:

Quarterbacks
1. Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
2. Jake Locker, Washington
3. Cam Newton, Auburn
4. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
5. Andy Dalton, TCU

Comments: Mayock says he's not done with his quarterback evaluation, but he's made some changes since January. He's now got Dalton alone in the five spot after the Horned Frogs' four-year starter previously shared the position with Ricky Stanzi, Colin Kaepernick, and Pat Devlin. Devlin's stock appears to have plummeted since a poor showing at the East-West Shrine Game. Senior Bowl MVP Christian Ponder remains absent from the list.

Running Backs
1. Mark Ingram, Alabama
2. Mikel Leshoure, Illinois
3. Daniel Thomas, Kansas State
4. Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech
5. Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State

Comments: Mayock relentlessly talked up Kendall Hunter at the Senior Bowl, so it's surprising that the former Oklahoma State Cowboy is no longer even in a tie for the five spot. The biggest notable here, particularly from a fantasy perspective, is Leshoure's jump into the two-hole. Mayock said during Senior Bowl week that he wanted to watch more film on Leshoure. After doing so, Mayock has moved the Illinois product into conversation as a top-40 selection. Ingram remains the consensus top draft-eligible running back.

Wide Receivers
1. A.J. Green, Georgia
2. Julio Jones, Alabama
3. Titus Young, Boise State
4. Jonathan Baldwin, Pittsburgh
5. Torrey Smith, Maryland

Comments: Smith is the newcomer to the receiver top five, overtaking the old cast of Jerrel Jernigan, Randall Cobb, and Greg Little. Mayock's biggest switch was moving Young past Baldwin into the No. 3 position. Chris Wesseling, dominating the Rotoworld news page Thursday, did a post about Young's rise. Baldwin is a physical freak at 6'5/230 with alleged sub-4.4 speed, but there are concerns about his on-field concentration and off-field decision making.

Tight Ends
1. Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame
2. Lance Kendricks, Wisconsin
3. Luke Stocker, Tennessee
4. D.J. Williams, Arkansas
5. Virgil Green, Nevada

Comments: It's pretty much status quo here, as Mayock's evaluation of Kendricks through Williams did not change after seeing all three of those players on the Senior Bowl practice field. Stocker has drawn comparisons to Jason Witten and Oakland's Zach Miller as a complete tight end. The only change is the dropping out of Tulsa's Charles Clay in favor of Green.

Interior Offensive Line
1. Mike Pouncey, Florida
2. Danny Watkins, Baylor
3. Clint Boling, Georgia
4. John Moffitt, Wisconsin
5. Rodney Hudson, Florida State

Comments: The old list: 1) Pouncey, 2) Stefen Wisniewski, 3) Watkins, 4) Moffitt, 5) Hudson/Will Rackley. Pouncey is still the likeliest guard/center to be drafted in the first round, and Watkins is emerging as the clear-cut second best interior line prospect despite his age (27 next November). The Football Outsiders just kill it in this breakdown of Watkins and Rodney Hudson. Boling is the newcomer, essentially replacing Wisniewski, who's fallen off the list altogether.

Offensive Tackles
1. Anthony Castonzo, Boston College
2. Nate Solder, Colorado
3. Tyron Smith, USC
4. Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin
5 (tie). Ben Ijalana, Villanova; Derek Sherrod, Mississippi State

Comments: Mayock has bumped Castonzo into first place ahead of Solder. (Mayock and Castonzo share an alma mater, although we'll assume that's not the reason for the switch.) Castonzo was a four-year starter at B.C. and the Eagles' first offensive lineman in over a decade to start on the offensive line as a true freshman. Smith overtakes Carimi as the more athletic tackle prospect; Carimi is probably ticketed for right tackle in the NFL. Ijalana missed the Senior Bowl due to "double hernia" surgery, but teams must be confident in his health. Wes Bunting of the National Football Post loves Ijalana, FWIW.

Defensive Ends
1. Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson
2. J.J. Watt, Wisconsin
3. Adrian Clayborn, Iowa
4. Cameron Jordan, California
5. Robert Quinn, North Carolina

Comments: Watt leaped from No. 5 (tie) among defensive ends into the two-hole after Mayock watched film of Wisconsin's Rose Bowl loss to TCU. Watt did not put up big statistics in that game, so it's a good sign that Mayock was impressed even without the pass rusher racking up sacks and tackles for loss. It's also a good sign for Clayborn that he's still considered a top-three defensive end in this year's draft. He only had 3.5 sacks in 2010. Most observers are holding off on Quinn until he performs at the Combine.

Defensive Tackle
1. Marcell Dareus, Alabama
2. Nick Fairley, Auburn
3. Corey Liuget, Illinois
4. Stephen Paea, Oregon State
5. Jurrell Casey, USC

Comments: In terms of the top of the draft, the most intriguing development is Dareus passing Fairley as the top defensive tackle prospect. Fairley is considered the likely No. 1 pick in many circles. Critics can point to Mayock's ranking of Gerald McCoy over Ndamukong Suh ahead of last year's draft as reason to disagree. Liuget is really picking up steam, as noted in this item on yesterday's news page.

Outside Linebacker
1. Von Miller, Texas A&M
2. Akeem Ayers, UCLA
3. Justin Houston, Georgia
4. Bruce Carter, North Carolina
5. Chris Carter, Fresno State

Comments: Carter was the 2010 WAC Defensive Player of the Year, but is a 'tweener. He'll appeal to 3-4 teams as an outside rush linebacker. Ayers' best comparison is Karlos Dansby. Houston is sensationally explosive off the edge, though CBS' Rob Rang has questioned his ability to play outside of a 4-3 scheme, calling Houston "one of the more overrated prospects in the draft to this point."

Inside Linebackers
1. Martez Wilson, Illinois
2. Colin McCarthy, Miami (FL)
3. Quan Sturdivant, North Carolina
4. Casey Matthews, Oregon
5. Kelvin Sheppard, LSU

Comments: Hopefully, your team doesn't need an inside linebacker. Because behind Wilson this is a thoroughly unimpressive group.

Cornerbacks
1. Patrick Peterson, LSU
2. Prince Amukamara, Nebraska
3. Aaron Williams, Texas
4. Jimmy Smith, Colorado
5. Brandon Harris, Miami (FL)

Comments: Ranked third in Mayock's previous rankings, Harris is slipping after getting torched by Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd in the Sun Bowl. It's probably deserved, especially considering Floyd only got a third-round grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Committee. Smith, as expected, is rising. Latest word from SI's Tony Pauline has Smith looking "sensational" in pre-Combine workouts.

Safeties
1. Rahim Moore, UCLA
2. Ahmad Black, Florida
3. Marcus Gilchrist, Clemson
4. Quinton Carter, Oklahoma
5. Deunta Williams, North Carolina

Comments: Williams, previously third in Mayock's safety ranks, was recently spotted walking around Chapel Hill with a boot on the foot he fractured in the Tar Heels' bowl game. He seems unlikely to participate in the Combine. Robert Sands and Will Hill have vanished from the list, replaced by Gilchrist and Carter.

http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/nfl/37350/60/mayock-updates-his-top-fives