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hawaiiansteel
02-14-2011, 05:03 PM
Bigger Need for the Steelers: Cornerback or O-Line?

Posted on February 14, 2011 by ryan


“Draft an offensive lineman!”

That has been the Steelers fans’ springtime rallying cry for the last decade or so. And after the 2010 season, it hasn’t changed. Unlike year’s past, though, Pittsburgh had the makings of an above-average unit for the first time since 2005. But injuries — starting in preseason and continuing through the Super Bowl — squashed those plans.

Willie Colon, Max Starks and Maurkice Pouncey gave way to Flozell Adams, Jonathan Scott and Doug Legursky. And while there were rough patches, the replacements were … adequate. Which, all things considered, is probably more than you could ask for.

Assuming Colon and Starks return in 2011 (and assuming there will be an NFL season), the Steelers will be in the market for a starting guard to join Pouncey and Chris Kemoeatu, right? For shiggles, let’s say the team re-signs Scott (the guy was a lightning rod for most of the season, but he held it together during the stretch run; that’s worth something, I’d think), and Flozell returns, too. Should the organization’s first priority
be to find a right guard? Put differently: would that have been the difference in the Steelers’ losses last season?

Historically, one of the knocks on the o-line was its inability to keep Big Ben upright. Turns out, Roethlisberger’s knack for extending plays — and taking a few hits while doing so — had a lot to do with the unit’s overall success. Ironical, yes.

But here’s the thing: the combination of a mediocre group of five fat guys in front of a scramblin’, tough franchise quarterback mitigates the need for a top-flight offensive lineman, right?

Maybe.

Glass half full: the Steelers’ o-line improved over the course of the season and had its best game in the Super Bowl. That’s pretty much how you draw it up heading into training camp: get better each week and play your best when it counts most.

Glass half empty: Despite Ben’s elusiveness, the hits add up. (See the rearranged nose, the frankenboot and various other ailments we don’t even know about.) Roethlisberger isn’t a rhythm quarterback, at least in the sense that the ball regularly comes out when he is at the top of his 3-, 5- or 7-step drop. But it’s hard to argue that having a more competent group in front of Ben won’t keep him safer.

*******

The Steelers selected Maurkice Pouncey with the 18th overall pick last spring, he immediately moved into the starting lineup and stayed there right up until he was injured in the AFC Championship game. Pouncey was named to the Pro Bowl and was Pittsburgh’s best o-lineman. He was a huge upgrade over Justin Hartwig and Sean Mahan, but the offensive line didn’t implode when Legursky replaced Pouncey in the Super Bowl. Just the opposite.

Football Outsiders’ Ben Muth after the game:

But this column isn’t about the Packers, it’s about the Steelers offensive line. I thought they played great football. They played against one of the best defenses in the NFL and gave up one coverage sack. They averaged 5.5 yards a carry on the ground. If someone would have released a photo journal of me watching the Super Bowl (which is a guaranteed best seller) it would be called Shock and Awe. I was shocked they played so well, and a little in awe of how a much maligned and hurting group pulled together for an incredible performance.

It’s difficult to dream up a scenario that includes the words, “[Pittsburgh's] worst unit, their offensive line, played [its] best game” only to find out that the Steelers lost. Considered separately, an average defensive effort, or an off-night from the franchise quarterback and you might still expect a Pittsburgh victory. But against the Packers, the NFL’s second-best defense, the Steelers offensive line, a punch line all season, had its best game. A lot of the credit should go to Sean Kugler, who has a strong case for team MVP.

Look, we’re talking about a rag-tag bunch; you can always make a case for why Pittsburgh should take an offensive lineman with first-round pick. But given how well Kugler coached these guys up, and that Starks and Colon will return in the summer (hey, consider them two high-round selections if that makes you feel better), maybe the Steelers, at the margins and with limited resources, would be better off using the 31st pick on a cornerback.

*******

The thought first crossed my mind after reading GlennW’s comment in last week’s discussion thread. It basically boils down to this:

I’m coming around to the notion that we need to draft a CB in the first round if that special player is available. When you look at where we’ve failed against the best of the best (Patriots, Packers, even the Jets to an extent) as opposed to versus our division rivals or the run-of-the-mills from the rest of the league, it’s the total inability to decently defend the pass even with some upfront pressure on the QB. I re-watched the Super Bowl, and McFadden was just awful lined up against the immortal Jordy Nelson, twisted and turned every which way. I think McFadden is hopeless, and that down the stretch our pass defense was actually better (but not by much) when McFadden was injured and totally out of the equation with Gay replacing him outside, even if we lost depth in the nickel/dime.

As much as it pains me, I can’t disagree about B-Mac. Most of his 2010 season went something like this: a) leave game after the first series because of the nagging hip pointer injury, b) return and get toasted for the rest of the afternoon.

When the Steelers traded for B-Mac last offseason, he admitted that his one-year stint in Arizona had been marred by injuries. And maybe that’s what happened in 2010, too. Whatever: injuries or incompetence, it doesn’t matter. When McFadden played, he wasn’t good. When he was out, William Gay moved to cornerback, which meant that Anthony Madison played nickel and (deep breath) Keenan Lewis played dime.

The lack of depth at cornerback is a much bigger problem than the o-line woes. Kugler found enough duct-tape to hold the offensive line together, and Big Ben did the rest. For D!ck LeBeau, subpar cornerbacks (outside of Ike, another priority re-signing) meant that he had to be more conservative with Troy Polamalu.

After the Super Bowl, one of the Dallas Morning News writers suggested that Polamalu’s Defensive Player of the Year Award was “tarnished” because Troy was a no-show for most of the playoffs. Maybe he was injured. Or perhaps, as Dale Lolley speculated last week, Troy wasn’t his usual effective self by necessity:

…It’s my feeling the Steelers were so concerned with their corners outside of Ike Taylor that they felt they had to keep Polamalu deep to protect from being beaten over the top.

We saw Ryan Clark down in the box at times, but he doesn’t have anywhere near Polamalu’s speed. I believe they felt with McFadden hobbled, that exposed them to the deep ball with McFadden, William Gay and Anthony Madison, particularly with Clark as the only deep safety. It drives home the fact that this team needs to upgrade its speed in the secondary.

And then there’s this, from NFL Network’s Albert Breer:

On the Steelers’ 55 defensive snaps in Super Bowl XLV, safety Troy Polamalu lined up within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage at the snap just three times, an enormously low number for a player who’s at his best when he’s all over the place.

Pittsburgh’s contention all week was that the Packers’ spread wouldn’t faze its defense, but the way the players were deployed indicates something else entirely. The Steelers went to more single-safety looks with three and four corners on the field to contend with Green Bay’s receivers, at times taking Ryan Clark off the field and having Polamalu take on some of his ‘center fielder’ responsibilities.

Breer’s comments go back to what GlennW wrote above (and something most fans have been lamenting all season): LeBeau’s defensive philosophy works against 90 percent of the offenses, but the ones that give the Steelers the most trouble — the Pats, Saints, Packers — routinely make the playoffs.

If history is any guide, who the Steelers select 31st overall will come down to three words: best player available. It’s a rough outline for how the organization builds its roster, and for the most part, it has been a successful strategy.

ProFootballFocus.com notes that Kemoeatu was dreadful in 2010, which means that the Steelers could realistically be in the market for two starting interior linemen. The counterargument is that the return of Colon and Starks should mean more stability across the unit, lessening Kemoeatu’s ineffectiveness.

But there is no help on the way for the secondary. Ike Taylor is a top-flight cornerback, but that’s it. B-Mac’s best days appear to be in the rearview, and we have seen what happens when Gay starts. Madison is on the roster for his special-teams prowess and I’m fine if the only time he sees the field are in special-teams situations. Lewis, in a word, has been disappointing. In a perfect world, Pittsburgh would have a legit NFL corner opposite Taylor, and have B-Mac and Gay (another free agent) play in the sub packages.

It comes down to this: can the Steelers compete with their current secondary setup? Yep. They managed it last season and the two seasons prior to that, too (the primary difference: Deshea Townsend was the nickel back until this year). Can the Steelers win consistently against the league’s most dangerous offenses, offenses that feature quick passing and defensive game plans that require bump-and-run man coverage? Nope.

Either way (and depending on how things play out in front of them), the Steelers can’t go far wrong by taking the best offensive lineman or cornerback available with the 31st selection. (If you’re interested, CBS’ Rob Rang has Pittsburgh taking guard Danny Watkins, and CBS’ Chad Reuter thinks it will be tackle Derek Sherrod.)

Then again, what do I know. Leading up to the 2004 draft, I thought that the Steelers should take a cornerback over a quarterback. (DeAngelo Hall … can you imagine how that train wreck would have played out?), And I wasn’t thrilled with the Lawrence Timmons selection in 2007. A year later, nobody thought Rashard Mendenhall would be around when Pittsburgh went on the clock. Ben, Juan and Humpy have all had big roles in the organization’s success, which only goes to reinforce what we already knew: there’s a reason nobody asks me for personnel advice. So don’t be surprised if the Steelers take another linebacker*.

* joke … I think

http://www.steelerslounge.com/2011/02/b ... ack-oline/ (http://www.steelerslounge.com/2011/02/bigger-steelers-cornerback-oline/)

Mister Pittsburgh
02-14-2011, 05:05 PM
Did we lose the Superbowl because our offensive line sucks or because our secondary sucks? There is your answer. But I think we should draft multiple players from both.

williar
02-14-2011, 05:38 PM
We've got too many O'Lineman now as it is. I don't think our OL is the problem either. These guys did good job holding together down the stretch once they got settled in. I believe with Kugler we've already seen much improvement with OL and I think it continues.

As much as I would love to see the double Pouncey connection, I'm afraid if we don't do something about our defensive backfield already, we may not sniff another playoff or super bowl anytime soon. And yes, I think our situation is that bad. Our DBs look helpless and pitiful anytime we face a good passing QB. This is a passing league now and it's only going to get worse. Signing Ike Taylor has to be a priority and signing someone or drafting someone (starter shutdown caliber) to play on the other side of Ike is a no brainer to me. If we don't do this, the FO surely knows something I don't.

SteelCrazy
02-14-2011, 05:44 PM
Answer me this!! Will Colbert and the Steelers draft according to need???? At least in the 1st 2 rounds.........

Ghost
02-14-2011, 05:46 PM
Did we lose the Superbowl because our offensive line sucks or because our secondary sucks? There is your answer. But I think we should draft multiple players from both.

My exact thought when I read the thread title. It's not even close.

Snatch98
02-14-2011, 06:09 PM
Did we lose the Superbowl because our offensive line sucks or because our secondary sucks? There is your answer. But I think we should draft multiple players from both.

I agree on this, we need both but if I had to peg one position I think a great corner would benefit us more than a great lineman. However with us picking at 31 the lineman is more likely unless we trade up. We need both. Period.

EDIT: I'd like to see a uncharacteristic move in FA considering all the FA corners but I doubt we go that route. We build through the draft and that has always been our MO and I'm thankful for it. Who knows maybe we'll take a stab at one of the cheaper/productive guys. It may be all we need.

Mister Pittsburgh
02-14-2011, 06:12 PM
Did we lose the Superbowl because our offensive line sucks or because our secondary sucks? There is your answer. But I think we should draft multiple players from both.

I agree on this, we need both but if I had to peg one position I think a great corner would benefit us more than a great lineman. However with us picking at 31 the lineman is more likely unless we trade up. We need both. Period.

EDIT: I'd like to see a uncharacteristic move in FA considering all the FA corners but I doubt we go that route. We build through the draft and that has always been our MO and I'm thankful for it. Who knows maybe we'll take a stab at one of the cheaper/productive guys. It may be all we need.

I hope we trade up, get a top notch type CB, and force Lebeau to start him.

Chadman
02-14-2011, 06:15 PM
Starks & Colon back next season. Adams returns. Ok- that's 3 starting OT's. Is Colon now a candidate to move inside?

Jon Scott should replace Essex as the back-up OT, Legursky & Foster the back-up OG/OC guys...

Starks/Kemo/Pouncey/Colon/Adams....doesn't sound too bad...

Snatch98
02-14-2011, 06:18 PM
Starks & Colon back next season. Adams returns. Ok- that's 3 starting OT's. Is Colon now a candidate to move inside?

Jon Scott should replace Essex as the back-up OT, Legursky & Foster the back-up OG/OC guys...

Starks/Kemo/Pouncey/Colon/Adams....doesn't sound too bad...

I agree if Colon moves inside. I actually don't think our o-line is bad at all but a top tier guard would be nice. During the season I was all about drafting a guard but after the Super Bowl and always dealing with the Patriots and their dink and dunk we really need another great corner. I'd love to grab that Watkins kid in round 2 and grab a corner in round 1 if we trade up. Who knows maybe they'll make a little splash in FA.

aggiebones
02-14-2011, 06:20 PM
We only lost the Super Bowl because we had 3 turnovers and GB had zero.
That said, I think they can find a starting guard in rounds 2-4 if they are not already happy with the group they have. Hell, maybe Legursky is the center and Pouncey moves to G. Probably not, but it could work.
Less likely to find a starting CB in the 2nd to 4th round. You can, but its more of a crapshoot. Guards linger in the draft...corners don't.

pittpete
02-14-2011, 06:42 PM
We only lost the Super Bowl because we had 3 turnovers and GB had zero.

Id say CB is our most pressing need.
I'm also tired of Kemo, cant we cut him?
Starks/Legursky/Pouncey/Foster/Adams might work

focosteeler
02-14-2011, 09:14 PM
i agree that CB is a bigger need but will there be someone available at 31 that is worth that pick? i dont want to over pick someone. i still think that taking mike pouncey if available would be the best decision simply because the brothers will be together again and keep them both for their entire careers

Sugar
02-14-2011, 09:55 PM
CB is a bigger need, but I hope we just stick to BPA with an eye on the needs but not restricted by them.

papillon
02-14-2011, 10:21 PM
I'm kind of hoping they bolster the secondary with a veteran FA of reasonable price and then try again to find secondary help in rounds 3 or 4, BPA in rounds 1 and 2. The Steelers typically don't look at the draft as needs based. I doubt they start this year.

Pappy

SteelCrazy
02-14-2011, 10:24 PM
Answer me this!! Will Colbert and the Steelers draft according to need???? At least in the 1st 2 rounds.........

According to need???? Will they????

Chadman
02-14-2011, 10:28 PM
This 'Drafting BPA over Need' thing isn't quite right. The Steelers will draft the 'BPA in a Position of Need'.

Therefore, the best player available that plays DB, OL or DL as an example.

Not QB or RB, for example.

Flasteel
02-14-2011, 10:43 PM
Did we lose the Superbowl because our offensive line sucks or because our secondary sucks? There is your answer. But I think we should draft multiple players from both.

You could make the argument that if Kemo doesn't get trucked on the pick-6, the game is completely different. If Mendenhall had a guard pulling out in front, then Matthews isn't even in the picture to force that critical fumble. I know the line overall played well in the Super Bowl, but the 2 biggest plays could have had a very different outcome with superior blocking.

I will be very happy if we get a CB in round 1, but I think the greatest area of need for this team is still at guard. Games are won and lost primarily in the trenches and when you have a franchise quarterback, then need to protect him has got to be a priority.

I'm not arguing against what many of you are stating...I mean our situation at CB is painfully obvious. I'm just making the case for going big and ugly.

sentinel33
02-15-2011, 03:00 AM
Even if Guard was a higher priority than CB(its not), Taling a Guard in round one is a waste of a #1 pick.

We have so many bodys on the O-line. cant say the same at CB.

If I had my way, I would re-sign Ike. He takes a nice deal but leaves room to sign a FA. maybe Eric Wright.

Then get a CB in round one. Jimmy Smith out of Colorado, Harris out of Miami or Williams out of Texas would do and there is a chance that one of these guys slides down to 31.

In this scenario we would have Ike at the #1 spot, and the rookie and E. Wright can battle for #2. Gay fills the dime, which will be a good spot for him. i think he will be successful there.

In round 2 we get that RG we need so badly. Cannon or Hudson. idk.

But yeah, CB is a BIG need. the biggest. and it is about time we spend a #1 pick on that position. Been a while.

The Sodfather
02-15-2011, 07:37 AM
Even if Guard was a higher priority than CB(its not), Taling a Guard in round one is a waste of a #1 pick.

Alot of people said the same thing about taking a C last year.


It's all about value. Stay true to your board.


And the biggest reason we lost the SB was the -3 turnover differential.

papillon
02-15-2011, 07:41 AM
This 'Drafting BPA over Need' thing isn't quite right. The Steelers will draft the 'BPA in a Position of Need'.

Therefore, the best player available that plays DB, OL or DL as an example.

Not QB or RB, for example.

This is true they will eliminate certain positions from rounds 1 and 2; then draft the BPA at a position of need. What they won't do is reach for a player that they feel plays a position that is of more urgent need over the BPA at another position of need, but not as urgent.

Pappy

Flasteel
02-15-2011, 08:02 AM
This 'Drafting BPA over Need' thing isn't quite right. The Steelers will draft the 'BPA in a Position of Need'.

Therefore, the best player available that plays DB, OL or DL as an example.

Not QB or RB, for example.

This is true they will eliminate certain positions from rounds 1 and 2; then draft the BPA at a position of need. What they won't do is reach for a player that they feel plays a position that is of more urgent need over the BPA at another position of need, but not as urgent.

Pappy

I think we all can agree this is the Steelers approach. So what positions do we eliminate?

QB
RB
WR
TE
DE
OLB
SS

Which leaves:
OG
OT
DT
ILB
CB
FS

I'm not aware of any NT's that would be valued in the first round (you draft experts can feel free to correct me on that).

It's very difficult to imagine us taking an ILB at 31, knowing he'd have no chance to start for a couple of years and that we still have Foote and Sylvester who could step in once Potsie retires.

That leaves our secondary and offensive line being the 2 areas which will almost certainly get a serious talent infusion. I'm good with that.

Oviedo
02-15-2011, 08:59 AM
This 'Drafting BPA over Need' thing isn't quite right. The Steelers will draft the 'BPA in a Position of Need'.

Therefore, the best player available that plays DB, OL or DL as an example.

Not QB or RB, for example.

This is true they will eliminate certain positions from rounds 1 and 2; then draft the BPA at a position of need. What they won't do is reach for a player that they feel plays a position that is of more urgent need over the BPA at another position of need, but not as urgent.

Pappy

I think we all can agree this is the Steelers approach. So what positions do we eliminate?

QB
RB
WR
TE
DE
OLB
SS

Which leaves:
OG
OT
DT
ILB
CB
FS

I'm not aware of any NT's that would be valued in the first round (you draft experts can feel free to correct me on that).

It's very difficult to imagine us taking an ILB at 31, knowing he'd have no chance to start for a couple of years and that we still have Foote and Sylvester who could step in once Potsie retires.

That leaves our secondary and offensive line being the 2 areas which will almost certainly get a serious talent infusion. I'm good with that.

I wouldn't rule out Strong Safety on your list. Do you think Troy will ever play 16 games healthy again? I'm not confident and Ryan Mundy isn't the answer.

If we take an OL or DB in Round 1 it is a no lose sitiuation because both units needs improved. I think DB needs to improve more but that is for Colbert/Tomlin to decide. The good thing is that this is a deep draft at CB with less top end talent as in the past. Not such a good draft for the Safety position.

Ghost
02-15-2011, 09:39 AM
The o-line had nothign to do with Rodgers throwing for over 300 yards and 3 TDs, and that doesn't include a ton of drops, 1 or 2 that could have gone for additional TD's. Could have easily gotten out of hand. He tourched the secondary.

The o-line has proven it can handle the best Ds (Ravens, Jets) but when facing an elite QB, they are screwed. The packers didn't even pretend to run and Rodgers picked them apart.

Some guys come back for the line and they are really not bad, if not pretty decent. After Ike, who's good, not great, it's a disaster at corner.

Chadman
02-15-2011, 09:42 AM
I think we all can agree this is the Steelers approach. So what positions do we eliminate?

QB
RB
WR
TE
DE
OLB
SS

Which leaves:
OG
OT
DT
ILB
CB
FS

Hmm, wouldn't eliminate DE or even WR if there's a REALLY good one at #31. Chadman would doubt ILB gets a run in the 1st round though.

Chadman's 'órder of priority'

CB
OT
DE
FS
OG
NT

Ghost
02-15-2011, 09:48 AM
Chadman - do you really think they'd take a WR in round 1? I just don't. Not with Wallace, Sanders and Brown plus Ward coming back and even possibly Sweed (if they haven't given up on him). It's not a need and by 31 the top tier guys will be gone and they've proven they can get real talent in later rounds.

Oviedo
02-15-2011, 09:59 AM
Chadman - do you really think they'd take a WR in round 1? I just don't. Not with Wallace, Sanders and Brown plus Ward coming back and even possibly Sweed (if they haven't given up on him). It's not a need and by 31 the top tier guys will be gone and they've proven they can get real talent in later rounds.

If a top WR falls I could see them taking him as the best player. Keep in mind we have no idea what Sweed can come back with, Hines will be 35 or 36 and Sanders just had foot surgery so we have no idea whether he will be limited.

I think it is highly unlikely we take a WR but I would rule it out if a guy like Jon Baldwin is sitting there.

Chadman
02-15-2011, 11:39 AM
Chadman - do you really think they'd take a WR in round 1? I just don't. Not with Wallace, Sanders and Brown plus Ward coming back and even possibly Sweed (if they haven't given up on him). It's not a need and by 31 the top tier guys will be gone and they've proven they can get real talent in later rounds.

It's not likely they take a WR, but Sanders & Brown are not sure things to ever become #1 WR's in the NFL. Ward is old. Sweed is a 25% at this point of hanging around. Wallace showed in the SB he's still some way from being elite.

If a top tier talent is there- why not. It could be that a WR makes the most immediate impact on this team also. With an expected rush on OL & DL in the 1st round, it's possible a WR drops..Baldwin as Oviedo said, or even possibly Titus Young if he drops..WR is a hot/cold position for 1st round picks. Of the last five drafts, 3 years saw 3 or less WR's taken in the 1st round. If that holds true this year- the Steelers could be looking at a good talent.

aggiebones
02-15-2011, 12:21 PM
Which leaves:
OG - expensive for a middle OL. Typically 1 (max2) interior OL taken in the first round. I doubt this for us, likely round 2 we can still find a starter. (cheap FA candidate position)

OT - real possibility. Starks, Adams and Colon don't yell future. But T is a picked through group, so I doubt much will be left at 31. That's why I wanted Bulaga last year since we were higher in the draft that year. I bet we pass on T this year in the early rounds.

DT - this is a very important position and we have 2 geezers manning the spot now. This is VERY likely, but again are there any good ones that will fall? This is also a picked through group. Could we trade up and grab someone?

ILB - Very doubtful in round 1 unless he's way and above the BPA. (FA candidate position)

CB - Another picked through position, so who would be around at 31? Would we move up? I don't love this CB draft class, but this is a real concern area for us.

WR - This might surprise some. I agree that Brown and Sanders are no guarantees, nor is Wallace at this point. Ward has 1 left. So this position is more naked than you think.

DE - another possible surprise position. We have Hood, but this is supposed to be a fantastic DE class. Someone could real fall to us that we have graded high. Keisel and ASmith are old. Hood and Mr. X could be the starting DEs in 1 more year. Paying 2 DEs 1st round money might be tough when their second contracts come around. But this is a position where we really could have a BPA that is head and shoulders above other players available on the Steelers board.




These are likely out in the top 2 rounds.
QB - could possibly grab a faller with Ben taking a beating and no real products in development
RB - not needed
TE - maybe a flier after round 4
OLB - probably not an early pick, maybe another 3rd rounder
SS - it would have to be a fantastic safety that's fallen for no reason to go early
FS - same as above. Safety is also a FA candidate position

Oviedo
02-15-2011, 12:59 PM
The thing about Sanders and Brown, along with Ward, is that they are all probably best suited as slot recivers. The key is who do you have opposite Wallace to take the deep pressure off of him? Unless Sweed comes back and can perform to potential you really have no one beyond Wallace other than a logjam at the slot

That is why if there is a good WR sitting there when we pick in Round 1 or 2, I would not be shocked if we grabbed him. Plus they like giving Ben weapons.

birtikidis
02-15-2011, 06:51 PM
Did we lose the Superbowl because our offensive line sucks or because our secondary sucks? There is your answer. But I think we should draft multiple players from both.

You could make the argument that if Kemo doesn't get trucked on the pick-6, the game is completely different. If Mendenhall had a guard pulling out in front, then Matthews isn't even in the picture to force that critical fumble. I know the line overall played well in the Super Bowl, but the 2 biggest plays could have had a very different outcome with superior blocking.

I will be very happy if we get a CB in round 1, but I think the greatest area of need for this team is still at guard. Games are won and lost primarily in the trenches and when you have a franchise quarterback, then need to protect him has got to be a priority.

I'm not arguing against what many of you are stating...I mean our situation at CB is painfully obvious. I'm just making the case for going big and ugly.
better question then did we lose the superbowl because of...
did we make it to super bowl 43 and super bowl 45 inspite of our defense or because of our defense. did we make it there in spite of our offensive line or because of our offensive line. the answer to those questions tells you where the greater need is.

Shawn
02-15-2011, 07:11 PM
Did we lose the Superbowl because our offensive line sucks or because our secondary sucks? There is your answer. But I think we should draft multiple players from both.

Bingo. Secondary is clearly the greatest need at this point. I'm feeling pretty good about how the OL played down the stretch. Doesn't mean it's not a need but our secondary is sad. We need a solid DB opposite of Ike.

birtikidis
02-15-2011, 07:40 PM
Did we lose the Superbowl because our offensive line sucks or because our secondary sucks? There is your answer. But I think we should draft multiple players from both.

Bingo. Secondary is clearly the greatest need at this point. I'm feeling pretty good about how the OL played down the stretch. Doesn't mean it's not a need but our secondary is sad. We need a solid DB opposite of Ike.
Let me ask you this Shawn.. over the last 5 years what have you complained about more? Have we made it to multiple super bowls despite having an inferior line or was our line so good that it got us there. Now ask the same questions about our defenses.... I think that answer is more important than one game. Every unit can struggle in ONE game, but when that unit is the cause of discussion and blame for years...

Shawn
02-15-2011, 07:55 PM
Did we lose the Superbowl because our offensive line sucks or because our secondary sucks? There is your answer. But I think we should draft multiple players from both.

Bingo. Secondary is clearly the greatest need at this point. I'm feeling pretty good about how the OL played down the stretch. Doesn't mean it's not a need but our secondary is sad. We need a solid DB opposite of Ike.
Let me ask you this Shawn.. over the last 5 years what have you complained about more? Have we made it to multiple super bowls despite having an inferior line or was our line so good that it got us there. Now ask the same questions about our defenses.... I think that answer is more important than one game. Every unit can struggle in ONE game, but when that unit is the cause of discussion and blame for years...

Both the secondary and the OL have frustrated me. Right now, our OL is in better shape than our secondary.

papillon
02-15-2011, 08:17 PM
This 'Drafting BPA over Need' thing isn't quite right. The Steelers will draft the 'BPA in a Position of Need'.

Therefore, the best player available that plays DB, OL or DL as an example.

Not QB or RB, for example.

This is true they will eliminate certain positions from rounds 1 and 2; then draft the BPA at a position of need. What they won't do is reach for a player that they feel plays a position that is of more urgent need over the BPA at another position of need, but not as urgent.

Pappy

I think we all can agree this is the Steelers approach. So what positions do we eliminate?

QB
RB
WR
TE
DE
OLB
SS

Which leaves:
OG
OT
DT
ILB
CB
FS

I'm not aware of any NT's that would be valued in the first round (you draft experts can feel free to correct me on that).

It's very difficult to imagine us taking an ILB at 31, knowing he'd have no chance to start for a couple of years and that we still have Foote and Sylvester who could step in once Potsie retires.

That leaves our secondary and offensive line being the 2 areas which will almost certainly get a serious talent infusion. I'm good with that.

This is rounds 1 and 2 only; I believe after that all positions are in play.

The only positions I would eliminate would be QB/RB/TE

With WR/OLB/SS only if the pick has so much value that you can't pass him by

That leaves everything else in play and this is probably why the Steelers are so successful in the first round. They leave so many options open that it is impossible for another team to hinder what they want to do in the draft.

When does free agency begin? before the draft or after?

Pappy

birtikidis
02-15-2011, 08:29 PM
Did we lose the Superbowl because our offensive line sucks or because our secondary sucks? There is your answer. But I think we should draft multiple players from both.

Bingo. Secondary is clearly the greatest need at this point. I'm feeling pretty good about how the OL played down the stretch. Doesn't mean it's not a need but our secondary is sad. We need a solid DB opposite of Ike.
Let me ask you this Shawn.. over the last 5 years what have you complained about more? Have we made it to multiple super bowls despite having an inferior line or was our line so good that it got us there. Now ask the same questions about our defenses.... I think that answer is more important than one game. Every unit can struggle in ONE game, but when that unit is the cause of discussion and blame for years...

Both the secondary and the OL have frustrated me. Right now, our OL is in better shape than our secondary.
I don't know.. our line is in a tenuous position right now.. I don't know how healthy Max and Willie will be.. Flo is gonna be 36... they could be fine, but they could be in trouble too. on the other hand, we have youth at both defensive back and on the o-line.. not knowing the status of those two though makes a big difference in how I approach the draft.

Flasteel
02-15-2011, 08:50 PM
This 'Drafting BPA over Need' thing isn't quite right. The Steelers will draft the 'BPA in a Position of Need'.

Therefore, the best player available that plays DB, OL or DL as an example.

Not QB or RB, for example.

This is true they will eliminate certain positions from rounds 1 and 2; then draft the BPA at a position of need. What they won't do is reach for a player that they feel plays a position that is of more urgent need over the BPA at another position of need, but not as urgent.

Pappy

I think we all can agree this is the Steelers approach. So what positions do we eliminate?

QB
RB
WR
TE
DE
OLB
SS

Which leaves:
OG
OT
DT
ILB
CB
FS

I'm not aware of any NT's that would be valued in the first round (you draft experts can feel free to correct me on that).

It's very difficult to imagine us taking an ILB at 31, knowing he'd have no chance to start for a couple of years and that we still have Foote and Sylvester who could step in once Potsie retires.

That leaves our secondary and offensive line being the 2 areas which will almost certainly get a serious talent infusion. I'm good with that.

This is rounds 1 and 2 only; I believe after that all positions are in play.

The only positions I would eliminate would be QB/RB/TE

With WR/OLB/SS only if the pick has so much value that you can't pass him by

That leaves everything else in play and this is probably why the Steelers are so successful in the first round. They leave so many options open that it is impossible for another team to hinder what they want to do in the draft.

When does free agency begin? before the draft or after?

Pappy

Agreed. I think player value - regardless of position - becomes more important, the lower you get in the draft.

hawaiiansteel
02-16-2011, 08:37 PM
Draft thoughts from Todd McShay

February, 16, 2011
By James Walker


ESPN's draft expert Todd McShay held a conference call Wednesday to discuss college prospects before this month's NFL combine.

Here are his thoughts on several draft topics pertaining to the AFC North:

McShay on the Pittsburgh Steelers' draft needs:

http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2011/0216/nfl_a_mpouncey_jh_200.jpg

AP Photo/Chris O'Meara


Will former Florida center Mike Pouncey be joining his brother Maurkice in Pittsburgh?

"Obviously, the depth on their offensive line is an issue that needs to be addressed. Where they wind up doing it, we'll find out. But they need to continue to bring in players and try to figure out what they're trying to do long-term. I think Flozell Adams played better after he moved to the right side, but he's nearing the end of his career with one more year left on his contract. Willie Colon is probably a better guard than a right tackle. He spent the whole season on [injured reserve] with his Achilles. Jonathan Scott did okay when he was plugged in there, but he's a journeyman-type offensive lineman.

So I think that's probably the biggest need area is figuring out what they want to do and what holes they want to address at tackle and guard. Cornerback is another. I think McFadden and [William] Gay are two of the weaker links in that group and need to get better there."

[b]McShay on Florida center/guard Mike Pouncey:

"The problem with Mike Pouncey is he's compared to his brother, Maurkice, and his brother is just at a different level. Mike is a good player, he really is. I know he had some struggles at the center position with the snaps early in the season, and they pretty much got that figured out. But he moves well. I like his feet and I like his potential to play guard and/or center in the NFL. I think when it's all said and done, maybe he comes off the board late first [round]. But I think it's more likely early second round. He has a chance in the right system. With his versatility and his quickness, it really gives him a good chance to become one of the upper-echelon starting interior linemen in the NFL three or four years down the road."

Can the Steelers land Mike Pouncey to join his twin brother in Pittsburgh?

These are just some of the questions to look into between now and April's NFL draft.

http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/post/_ ... odd-mcshay (http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/post/_/id/24750/draft-thoughts-from-todd-mcshay)

Stewie
02-17-2011, 08:17 AM
Did we lose the Superbowl because our offensive line sucks or because our secondary sucks? There is your answer. But I think we should draft multiple players from both.

Neither. We lost the SB because we turned the ball over 3X. Yes, the DBs could use an upgrade. I like the OL; with Legs, Scott and Foster improved and Colon and Starks returning, I have confidence that Kugs will have 'em playing. But IMHO our first pick s/b a NT.

Oviedo
02-17-2011, 09:01 AM
Did we lose the Superbowl because our offensive line sucks or because our secondary sucks? There is your answer. But I think we should draft multiple players from both.

Neither. We lost the SB because we turned the ball over 3X. Yes, the DBs could use an upgrade. I like the OL; with Legs, Scott and Foster improved and Colon and Starks returning, I have confidence that Kugs will have 'em playing. But IMHO our first pick s/b a NT.

And after two of those turnovers (Pick 6 excluded) our vaunted #1 defense could not get a knockout punch and couldn't stop the Packers from converting a critical third downs. The Packers did it through the air, not on the ground, because our DBs were not in the position to make plays because they lack man cover skills.

feltdizz
02-17-2011, 09:35 AM
Did we lose the Superbowl because our offensive line sucks or because our secondary sucks? There is your answer. But I think we should draft multiple players from both.

Bingo. Secondary is clearly the greatest need at this point. I'm feeling pretty good about how the OL played down the stretch. Doesn't mean it's not a need but our secondary is sad. We need a solid DB opposite of Ike.
Let me ask you this Shawn.. over the last 5 years what have you complained about more? Have we made it to multiple super bowls despite having an inferior line or was our line so good that it got us there. Now ask the same questions about our defenses.... I think that answer is more important than one game. Every unit can struggle in ONE game, but when that unit is the cause of discussion and blame for years...

We missed the playoffs last year because of our DB's....

We have bashed the OL for years but they have also made attempts to improve our OL by getting Pouncey and firing the OL coach. Center was the biggest problem we had on the OL and we fixed that.

Plenty of fans I know say our DB's are the weakest link on our team.

feltdizz
02-17-2011, 09:38 AM
Did we lose the Superbowl because our offensive line sucks or because our secondary sucks? There is your answer. But I think we should draft multiple players from both.

Neither. We lost the SB because we turned the ball over 3X. Yes, the DBs could use an upgrade. I like the OL; with Legs, Scott and Foster improved and Colon and Starks returning, I have confidence that Kugs will have 'em playing. But IMHO our first pick s/b a NT.

And after two of those turnovers (Pick 6 excluded) our vaunted #1 defense could not get a knockout punch and couldn't stop the Packers from converting a critical third downs. The Packers did it through the air, not on the ground, because our DBs were not in the position to make plays because they lack man cover skills.

bingo... and they dropped 2 more TD's and a few 1st downs as well. Our DB's are horrible and Troy isn't that hot either when he isn't freelancing.

JUST-PLAIN-NASTY
02-17-2011, 10:24 AM
We must be watching different teams. The Steelers gave up 21 points off of turnovers in the SB. A pick 6 that was caused by a defender hitting BB when he threw. A fumble by Mendy was caused because two defenders blew up the play in the backfield. Now the OL played well...Don't get me wrong. The secondary gave up plays too. Just remember that it was Rodgers and the high powered GB passing game. After three turnovers and no mistakes by Green Bay....The Steelers still got the ball back with a little less than 2 minutes & a timeout needing a TD to win. You give me that scenario and 99 out of 100 times I will take it.

Steelers need another starting CB...No doubt. Jury is still out on Lewis, Butler, and maybe even Warren. So can't put them in the equation because we don't know what the coaches are thinking. Gay may or may not be back but he is more comfortable in nuckel and dime. but the chances of a #3, #4, or #5 CB coming into DL defense and starting opening day is not good odds. Can't just say "force DL to start him". It doesn't work that way. So retain Ike and go get a Marshall, Wright, Houston, B Carr, or S Routt and draft one in the 2nd.

The RG juggling needs to stop. We saw what an elite OL can do. Getting another capable pulling G who could get to the 2nd level and dominate LB in a 3-4 is the next step. Get rid of the right hand running offense and keep defenses unbalanced. Get Mike Pouncey.

feltdizz
02-17-2011, 01:58 PM
We must be watching different teams. The Steelers gave up 21 points off of turnovers in the SB. A pick 6 that was caused by a defender hitting BB when he threw. A fumble by Mendy was caused because two defenders blew up the play in the backfield. Now the OL played well...Don't get me wrong. The secondary gave up plays too. Just remember that it was Rodgers and the high powered GB passing game. After three turnovers and no mistakes by Green Bay....The Steelers still got the ball back with a little less than 2 minutes & a timeout needing a TD to win. You give me that scenario and 99 out of 100 times I will take it.

Steelers need another starting CB...No doubt. Jury is still out on Lewis, Butler, and maybe even Warren. So can't put them in the equation because we don't know what the coaches are thinking. Gay may or may not be back but he is more comfortable in nuckel and dime. but the chances of a #3, #4, or #5 CB coming into DL defense and starting opening day is not good odds. Can't just say "force DL to start him". It doesn't work that way. So retain Ike and go get a Marshall, Wright, Houston, B Carr, or S Routt and draft one in the 2nd.

The RG juggling needs to stop. We saw what an elite OL can do. Getting another capable pulling G who could get to the 2nd level and dominate LB in a 3-4 is the next step. Get rid of the right hand running offense and keep defenses unbalanced. Get Mike Pouncey.

Everyone keeps saying we were still in it with 2 minutes left after 3 TO's...

does this mean we don't need to upgrade any positions? :wink:

If GB's high powered O gets credit then their D has to get credit too...

GB dropped 2 TD's on perfectly thrown balls by Rodgers and our DB's couldn't run with their WR's or knock down any passes by Rodgers.

I would love to have Pouncey but the reality is he will be gone by 31.

RuthlessBurgher
02-17-2011, 02:42 PM
When does free agency begin? before the draft or after?

Free agency has always started before the draft, but with the lockout coming in early March, there will not be free agency until there is a new CBA in place. However, there will be a draft no matter what. So this could be the first time that we have the draft occurring before free agency.

hawaiiansteel
02-19-2011, 04:02 AM
Scott the Only Free Agent That’s Been Contacted

February 17th, 2011
by Matt Loede


The Steelers have 15 players who could become unrestricted free agents under the old CBA which will expire on March 3rd. As of now, the biggest names on the list for the black and gold include linebacker LaMarr Woodley, cornerback Ike Taylor and offensive tackle Willie Colon.

One of the lesser free agents, but a guy that has actually started some “brief talks” for a new contract is offensive tackle Jonathan Scott. The Post-Gazette reports that Scott’s agent, Jordan Woy, has confirmed the two sides have spoken, but have not talked price for the tackle.

Scott played a big part in the Steelers success in the 2010 season, as he started the final 11 games, including all three in the postseason. Scott played at left tackle for injured Max Starks. He signed a one-year contract in 2010 as a free agent from Buffalo.

At the end of the day, Scott may not be a big name free agent, but he’s exactly the type of guy that the Steelers sign, and is successful in the teams system.

http://www.steelersgab.com/2011/02/17/s ... contacted/ (http://www.steelersgab.com/2011/02/17/scott-the-only-free-agent-thats-been-contacted/)

BURGH86STEEL
02-19-2011, 09:58 AM
CB is probably the bigger need. It's a good thing the Steelers are not limited in which position they can choose. They have needs or add quality depth at several positions. Steelers do a good job of drafting impact players in the first round. Ideally, the hope is they can draft an impact CB or Olineman. I think their chances of drafting an impact Olineman or another position is better then drafting an impact CB.

Oviedo
02-19-2011, 10:08 AM
I want to see them get a couple of DBs in the first 4 rounds, starting in Round 1. That is why I don't want to trade up in Round 1 and lose a pick.

Flasteel
02-19-2011, 10:59 AM
CB is probably the bigger need. It's a good thing the Steelers are not limited in which position they can choose. They have needs or add quality depth at several positions. Steelers do a good job of drafting impact players in the first round. Ideally, the hope is they can draft an impact CB or Olineman. I think their chances of drafting an impact Olineman or another position is better then drafting an impact CB.

I agree with that assessment of our first-round picks Burgh...we're going to get a good player there, no matter what our strategy is. I think they should be looking at getting the best player they can for the secondary AND the O-line with their first 2 picks. Whether they move up in the first round or the second round, they need to move up if there is a guy they really like, who falls into striking range.

hawaiiansteel
02-19-2011, 11:07 PM
Todd McShay's Assesment of the Steelers Draft Needs is Proof Positive of Why Hardcore NFL Fans Should Look Elsewhere for Substantial Analysis

by Michael Bean on Feb 17, 2011


Here's a relevant example written by a guy you're going to be hearing and seeing a whole lot of in the forthcoming months -- ESPN draft 'guru' Todd McShay. I don't question McShay's prowess at analyzing college talent and how it might translate to the NFL game. But how could a guy like him (or the countless other self-proclaimed draftniks) possibily immerse himself in all the college football viewing required to do his job and keep a close enough eye on the NFL to be able to tie it all together? It's a tough challenge. For all I know McShay understands these limitations and would prefer to be a bit more specialized. But his editors have him overextended and here's an example why.

What follows is McShay's assessment of the Steelers draft needs:

"Obviously, the depth on their offensive line is an issue that needs to be addressed. Where they wind up doing it, we'll find out. But they need to continue to bring in players and try to figure out what they're trying to do long-term. I think Flozell Adams played better after he moved to the right side, but he's nearing the end of his career with one more year left on his contract. Willie Colon is probably a better guard than a right tackle. He spent the whole season on [injured reserve] with his Achilles. Jonathan Scott did okay when he was plugged in there, but he's a journeyman-type offensive lineman. So I think that's probably the biggest need area is figuring out what they want to do and what holes they want to address at tackle and guard. Cornerback is another. I think [Bryant] McFadden and [William] Gay are two of the weaker links in that group and need to get better there."

Now, McShay is clearly giving an overview, not a comprehensive report about the Steelers draft needs. But even so, McShay doesn't do his job which is to educate diehard fans with his assessments of teams draft needs and the prospects that might help fill those holes. Anyway, McShay, who like I said will be seen repeatedly on TV alongside Mel Kiper Jr. in the next few months, isn't wrong when he says that offensive line and cornerback are probably the team's two biggest areas of need. Bravo, but even the most casual of fan knows that. What else you got McShay? Not much, at least not in this blurb. I take issue with the following:

"The depth on their offensive line is an issue that needs to be addressed." Really? So, a team loses its top two tackles to injury and then must mix and match at right guard....you'd think a team with shoddy depth along the line would have crumbled. Uh, not quite. The line improved as the season went on thanks to the solid depth the Steelers have along the offensive line. The problem is not depth. The problem is there's too many 'depth' guys and not enough top-shelf talent. The Steelers could stand to add a blue chip prospect no doubt, but it's just erroneous and lazy analysis to say that depth is the problem. Now, McShay isn't wrong in stating that the Steelers have some tough choices to make along the line. It just has nothing to do with depth and everything to do with which complimentary pieces might need to be let go in order to make room for the addition of another stud like Maurkice Pouncey.

"Willie Colon is probably a better guard than a right tackle." What in God's name does he base that off of? I mean, yes, we've speculated about Colon's potential at guard. But that's exactly what it is when trying to assess how Colon would fare at guard -- speculation. McShay doesn't write 'Colon might be better suited to play at guard...' Instead he says that Colon is a better guard than than tackle. I'm just not sure how he'd back that up considering Colon has never played guard at this level. I don't even think Colon played any guard at Hofstra. Again though, another ten minutes of thought and writing and he might make the argument that Colon should maybe be moved over to right guard for one year while Flozell Adams finishes his contract.

"Jonathan Scott did okay when he was plugged in there, but he's a journeyman-type offensive lineman." Again, nothing flagrantly wrong with this, but in my mind at least, it's another example of lazy, shallow analysis. Okay, so Jonathan Scott fills in for the injured Max Starks mid-season and definitely has his fair share of struggles early on. By season's end, Scott was playing his best football -- against the best competition, mind you. I'm not trying to argue that Scott is a 'long term' solution, but he's more than proven that he's worth retaining as a reserve. What do you know? The Steelers have already had some preliminary talks with Scott's agent about retaining the former Texas Longhorn. That's really not the point though. McShay begins by talking about a lack of depth, then proceeds to say that Scott did a pretty good job in a pinch. Isn't that what your reserves are supposed to do? No mention of Max Starks either, whose under contract through 2012 and shown no real signs of being injury prone in his career prior to this past season. McShay writes as if the Steelers are hanging their hat on Scott on the left side. Not so necessarily, but between Starks (28) and Scott (27), the Steelers have two left tackles in the prime of their careers that they have confidence in.

"I think [Bryant] McFadden and [William] Gay are two of the weaker links in that group and need to get better there." Wow, considering how only Anthony Madison started even a single game at corner outside the trio of Taylor, McFadden and Gay, that's a bold statement. No mention of guys like Keenan Lewis and Crezdon Butler, guys the Steelers used draft picks on in recent years. Instead, we get the enlightening analysis that between Taylor, B-Mac and Gay, B-Mac and Gay were the weaker links. Mind blowing.

http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/20 ... f-positive (http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2011/2/17/1998627/todd-mcshays-assesment-of-the-steelers-draft-needs-is-proof-positive)

NJ-STEELER
02-20-2011, 12:00 AM
i'm more confident we can find 2 good players going CB in the 1st and OG in the 2nd


then going OG in the 1st , cb in the 2nd... mcfadden, cohlough

hawaiiansteel
02-23-2011, 03:56 AM
Here’s an Idea: Let’s Move Willie Colon to Guard!

Posted on February 22, 2011 by ryan


Well, well, well. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review‘s Scott Brown writes what a lot of us have been thinking since the Steelers drafted Willie Colon in 2006.

In a piece looking at the organization’s draft needs, Brown notes:

The Steelers want Flozell Adams, who proved to be a revelation at right tackle last season, to return for 2011, and the 13th-year veteran has given every indication that he intends to do so. Max Starks and Willie Colon, the team’s starting tackles for most of ’08 and ’09, are expected to make full recoveries from their respective neck and foot injuries.

“If all three are with the Steelers next season it could give the team the flexibility to experiment with Colon at guard — or simply make it harder on the coaches to settle on the top five linemen.

I’d happily welcome Flozell back in 2011. He was the second-best o-lineman on the team after Maurkice Pouncey, and as JJ pointed out at various points last season, probably more important. The falloff from Flozell to Trai Essex is more pronounced than Pouncey to Dougie Legursky. While Essex played well in a reserve role, given the choice between having Pouncey or Flozell on the field, I’ll begrudgingly take Flozell.

Brown’s contention that this could be an opportunity for the Steelers to kick Colon inside to right guard is … well, also the same stuff fans have been screaming for years. A couple problems with that: every time the subject is mentioned, the Steelers say it ain’t happening. Maybe they have finally changed courses, or maybe Brown is spit-ballin’. Either way, I don’t think it’s the worst idea ever. In fact, I fully support it (just like you!).

I can’t even remember the reasons the Steelers would trot out whenever the “Hey, when are you moving Colon inside?” questions started but I think it had something to do with him being the team’s best option at right tackle. Well, that’s no longer true.

Another issue, and this is something JJ and talked about on a previous podcast: depending on how the labor deal plays out, Colon could be a free agent. Assuming the Steelers try to re-sign him, Willie will probably want tackle money over “Guess what? You’re moving to guard!” money. That could be a problem. And if Colon walks, the problem grows. A 2011 starting lineup of Starks, Kemoeatu, Pouncey, Colon and Flozell would be remarkable. And even if Colon signs elsewhere, Pittsburgh has plenty of options to play right guard. But God forbid Flozell gets hurt next season, not to mention what will happen to the line in 2012 when Flozell’s contract expires.

Brown, who seems to have solid Steelers sources, doesn’t attach the “Colon could play guard” sentiments to anyone in the organization, so for now we’re just speculating.

As for my post last week wondering about the Steelers’ biggest first-round draft need, Mike Mayock throws some baking soda on my “We need a cornerback!” grease fire.

“If you’re looking for a cornerback at the end of the first round, you might have a problem.” Duly noted.

http://www.steelerslounge.com/2011/02/i ... lon-guard/ (http://www.steelerslounge.com/2011/02/idea-move-willie-colon-guard/)

hawaiiansteel
02-24-2011, 03:32 AM
a great analysis of our OL by Steelers Depot: :Clap

http://www.steelersdepot.com/2011/02/st ... the-union/ (http://www.steelersdepot.com/2011/02/steelers-offensive-line-2011-state-of-the-union/)

SteelTorch
02-24-2011, 03:34 PM
Considering what has hurt our team longer in the long run - I'd say OL. Get a good LG or RG and THEN find a good starting CB to complement Ike Taylor.

hawaiiansteel
02-27-2011, 01:24 AM
Steelers target draft for cornerback needs

By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, February 27, 2011


Hot prospects

Mike Mayock of NFL Network listed, prior to the NFL Scouting Combine, his top five cornerbacks in the 2011 draft:

1. Patrick Peterson: Junior, LSU

2. Prince Amukamara: Senior, Nebraska

3. Aaron Williams: Junior, Texas

4. Jimmy Smith: Senior, Colorado

5. Brandon Harris: Junior, Miami (Fla.)


Position of need

The Steelers have not exactly done that lately; they have drafted just four cornerbacks since Mike Tomlin became head coach in 2007:

2007

William Gay (fifth round): Has had his ups and downs and is best suited as a nickel back.

2009

Keenan Lewis (third round): Steelers need him to make a big jump this season.

Joe Burnett (fifth round): Played extensively as a rookie but was one of the final cuts in 2010 preseason.

2010

Crezdon Butler (fifth round): Dressed for only four games last season, but he has promise.


INDIANAPOLIS — Kevin Colbert knows what to look for when scouting cornerback prospects.

"We always want size, we always want speed, we always want athleticism," the Steelers' director of football operations said. "We always want toughness, we always want ball skills and productivity."

The question the Steelers will try to answer over the next two months is how many cornerbacks in this year's NFL Draft come close to fitting the profile that sounds like a cross between Mel Blount and Rod Woodson.

To say cornerback is among the positions the Steelers need to address in the draft might qualify as an understatement along the lines of saying winter has been a touch harsh this year.

The Green Bay Packers beat the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV by spreading them out and letting quarterback Aaron Rodgers pick apart the secondary. The Packers pretty much followed the game plan New England used in November when it dealt the Steelers a humbling 39-26 loss at Heinz Field.

What makes drafting a cornerback — or multiple ones — even more of a priority is the fact that the Steelers only have three of them under contract for the 2011 season — and Ike Taylor isn't among them.

Taylor, who has long been the Steelers' top cornerback, is an unrestricted free agent. It looks likely that he will test the open market at some point.

Colbert said last week that the Steelers and Taylor have had "preliminary" talks on a new deal, but time is running short. If the Steelers and Taylor don't agree on a contract before next Friday, any progress likely will be interrupted.

It looks inevitable that the owners will lock out the players after March 3, as the two sides are still seemingly far apart on a new collective bargaining agreement.

A lockout would shut down all league business except for the draft. And it would place added importance on the three-day selection extravaganza for a simple reason: Teams won't be able to rely on free agency to plug holes on their roster, because no one know how long that signing period will be or when it will even take place.

OPTIONS APLENTY?

One positive for the Steelers? They like the cornerback crop in the 2011 draft.

"Corners, (offensive) tackles and wide receivers are particularly deep," Colbert said. "I think you can get quality at those positions in the first three rounds."

The Steelers have not taken a cornerback in the first round of the draft since Chad Scott in 1997. They have only selected three cornerbacks in the first round since stealing Woodson 10th overall in 1987 and have had mixed results with the players they have drafted at that position.

Patrick Peterson, the No. 1 consensus cornerback in this year's draft, shares some similarities with Woodson when the latter was coming out of Purdue. He has good size and ball skills, and he is an exceptional kick returner.

But Peterson will be gone — he could be a top-five selection — before the Steelers begin to start pondering who they will take with the penultimate pick of the first round.

The Steelers are not likely to reach for one with their first pick, but it will be a surprise if they don't draft a cornerback early.

When asked what he looks for while evaluating cornerbacks coming out of college, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said "God-given ability" and an abiding trust in that ability.

"Now how do you measure their belief in their ability?" Tomlin said. "Not by what they say, but by what you see on tape: how they play, how they respond to positive things, how they respond to negative things. All of that helps you build a profile."

The NFL's gradual shift from the run-first (and second) mentality that dominated the league for years has made it imperative for teams to build as many profiles as possible on college defensive backs.

Supply has generally kept pace with demand for defensive backs because of the changes that have taken place in college football.

"Now it's all spread out," Packers general manager Ted Thompson said of college offenses. "There are more people playing corner and in the secondary, and these guys have to understand space and ball flight and things like that."

OTHER MEANS

The Packers had arguably the best and deepest secondary in the NFL last season.

Green Bay, like the Steelers, has a history of building its teams the right way, which is another way of saying it relies heavily on the draft and eschews the quick fixes of free agency.

But the Packers didn't draft either of their Pro Bowl cornerbacks.

They signed Charles Woodson as a free agent to 2006, and struck gold later that year when they brought in Tramon Williams to work out with a group of cornerbacks.

Williams, who had been cut by the Houston Texas after going undrafted, impressed the Packers with his speed, and they signed him to their practice squad.

He made the team the following season and in 2010, Williams, a former walk-on at Louisiana Tech, led the Packers with six interceptions.

What is instructive about his story for the Steelers is they might have cornerbacks on their roster who can make the kind of jump Williams did early in his career.

Keenan Lewis and Crezdon Butler should be given plenty of opportunities in 2011, particularly if Taylor signs elsewhere.

And Tomlin said last week that he still has high hopes for both players.

Lewis has been an enigma since the Steelers took him in the third round of the 2009 draft. He had a strong training camp last season and looked like he would push Bryant McFadden for the starting job opposite Taylor.

But Lewis never seemed to recover after struggling badly in the Steelers' third preseason game at Denver.

"He didn't get a bunch of opportunities," Tomlin said of Lewis. "He did some down the stretch and the playoffs and did OK with it. By contrast, a guy like (defensive end) Ziggy Hood had a good opportunity and got better with snaps.

"I expect all of these guys to improve when given an opportunity. When and how they get that opportunity is sometimes out of their control. I have no issues with how those two young men (Lewis and Butler) work and how they prepare themselves."

Improvement by young cornerbacks such as Lewis and Butler and the draft aren't the only ways the Steelers can bolster their pass defense.

They led the NFL in sacks last season (48) but struggled to get consistent pressure on the quarterback in all five of their losses.

And coverage, as Tomlin often points out, is only one component of playing good pass defense.

"You need some talented guys in the secondary," St Louis Rams general manager Billy Devaney said, "but I still go back to if you have four Pro Bowl guys back there and you let any quarterback have enough time in the NFL, they've eventually going to find open people. It's still about getting after (the quarterback)."

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1F86vzOcw (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_724912.html#ixzz1F86vzOcw)

SteelStallion
02-27-2011, 02:55 PM
This is a great thread. For me, after watching the combine this morning and seeing the sheer number of WRs with 4.3-4.4 speed, and considering the increasing number of good qbs and wrs in the league, it's a no-brainer. Not only is it their number one priority but it's a desperation priority that they build a secondary or they'll keep missing championship opportunities.

And yes, IMO they lost the SB last offseason when they failed to address their secondary, with no day one DB in a draft year loaded with them, and then their "big move" bringing back bmac which was a joke.

ncsteeler43
02-27-2011, 06:21 PM
A question that the Steelers' braintrust has to answer is how good is CB picked at #31 vs one available at #63 vs. how good is the OL at #31 opposed to who is available at #63? For instance, if you get roughly the same quality of CB in the late 1st vs late 2nd but, there's a big drop off in OL then go OL. If the reverse is true go CB.

NJ-STEELER
02-27-2011, 06:36 PM
A question that the Steelers' braintrust has to answer is how good is CB picked at #31 vs one available at #63 vs. how good is the OL at #31 opposed to who is available at #63? For instance, if you get roughly the same quality of CB in the late 1st vs late 2nd but, there's a big drop off in OL then go OL. If the reverse is true go CB.


in lists of best players by position, there are plenty of guards on there that have been drafted out of the 1st or early 2nd round.

scanning over the CB list, you wont find too many.

that said, no idea on this particular draft class

hawaiiansteel
02-28-2011, 03:23 AM
Pittsburgh Steelers:Could They Turn the Offensive Line Weakness into a Strength?

By Nick Signorelli (Steelers Featured Columnist) on February 26, 2011

http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/images/photos/001/143/893/107650847_crop_340x234.jpg?1298733102

Larry French/Getty Images


In the comment fields on a few of the articles I have recently written about Ben Roethlisberger, some people have mentioned the fact that Roethlisberger had the worst statistics in Super Bowl history for a winning Quarter Back during Super Bowl XL.

It is not possible to look at that particular game and know Ben did not have the best game of his career that day. It is also not possible to look at that particular game and not notice the offensive line was considerably better than it has been since that day.

LT - Marvell Smith. Drafted second round in 2000 (38th).

LG - Alan Faneca. Drafted first round in 1998 (26th).

C - Jeff Hartings. Drafted first round in 1996 (23rd) by the Lions. Signed in 2001 to play G for Steelers. Moved to Center when Dermonti Dawson was no longer able to handle the position.

RG - Kendall Simmons. Drafted first round in first round (30th).

RT - Max Starks. Drafted third round in 2004 (75th).

The Steelers drafted two of these men in the first round, one in the second and one in the third. Only Jeff Hartings was not originally drafted by the Steelers, who was brought in as a free agent, and he was a former first round pick.

Broken down, the Steelers had all three of their interior offensive linemen taken in the first round and a second and third round pick at the tackle positions.

http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/article/media_slots/photos/000/137/471/55769445_crop_340x234.jpg?1298733161

Harry How/Getty Images


All respectable, and people wonder why the Steelers were having so much success running the ball.

Now, lets take a look at the starting offensive line for the Steelers in 2010. (The reason I am not mentioning the Super Bowl roster is because I don't want to discount that the Steelers have already addressed the position).

LT - Jonathan Scott. Drafted fifth round in 2006 (141st). First year with the Steelers.

LG - Chris Kemoeatu. Drafted sixth round in 2005 (204th).

C - Maurkice Pouncey. Drafted first round in 2010 (18th). Earned his first Pro Bowl in his rookie season.

RG - Ramon Foster. Signed with Steelers as undrafted free agent in 2009.

RT - Tony Hills. Drafted fourth round (130th).

With Willie Colon basically saying he was not going to be with the Steelers next year, and Flozell Adams still trying to decide if he is going to retire or not and the uncertainty of Max Starks being able to return from his neck injury, I put the best player the Steelers have left at tackle in.

Does anyone else see a major disparity here? People wonder why the Steelers have had such a hard time keeping Roethlisberger standing up straight? This MIGHT have something to do with it.

http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/article/media_slots/photos/000/137/472/103734884_crop_340x234.jpg?1298733224

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images


With the exception of Maurkice Pouncey, there is not a single player listed from the 2010 season who was drafted higher than any player from the 2005 team.

I am not saying players taken later in the draft cannot become some of the best in the league, only that the obvious investment the Steelers used in their prior offensive line is greater than what it is today.

Entering the 2011 NFL Offseason, people are quick to jump on the fact the Steelers need help in their secondary. That is another issue for another article (which I plan on writing).

The Steelers have amazing players at their skill positions. They have a TRUE franchise quarterback in Roethlisberger, a TRUE all purpose running back in Rashard Mendenhall, and Mike Wallace is becoming one of the top wide receivers in the NFL, finishing last season second in yards per attempt and seventh overall in receiving.

Heath Miller is the most unheralded tight end in the NFL, and Hines Ward still has the ability to beat any defense. Add to that, Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown, neither of whom will be rookies next year, and both possess similar explosive abilities as Wallace.

The only thing they are lacking is the offensive line to protect them, so the skill players can make the plays.

So, how should the Steelers fix this problem?

For starters, as I said, they have already taken the first step last year, drafting Maurkice Pouncey in the first round. Having already earned his first Pro Bowl nomination, Pouncey looks to continue the trend of Mike Webster, Dermonti Dawson and Jeff Hartings and be one of the best centers in the NFL for the next 10-13 years for the Steelers.

Look at what you have, and decide where the positions need to be addressed.

Both tackle positions need to be addressed. The Adams (age), Starks (injury) and Colon (FA) issues make those two positions the most important coming into this offseason. Count on none of them being available, and if they are, then they will be good back ups.

I believe the Steelers need to bring in someone with experience for at least one of the two tackle positions. I would suggest any of the following people for one of the slots:


Tyson Clabo (Atlanta Falcons). Though Clabo did not become one of the best at the position overnight, he did earn his way there. Clabo may be one of the most sought after players at his position but someone the Steelers might want to consider.

Jared Gaither (Baltimore Ravens). The upside is that he knows the AFC North and the Baltimore Ravens. The down side is he missed the 2010 season with a back injury, so do you really want to risk signing someone that may not be able to contribute?

Who should the Steelers take?

Jamaal Brown (13th pick in 2005 NFL Draft). Brown was traded to the Washington Redskins prior to the 2010 season for a fourth round pick by the Saints. He was in the last year of his contract, and the Saints already had his replacement, so they traded him.

With the Redskins, Brown was not as successful. That can be attributed to a decline in skill, or that he was in a system that did to work for him. If Brown was able to pass protect for Drew Brees in his best year as a professional, then he could do the same for Roethlisberger.

To me, Brown would be worth the risk.

Depending on availability, a tackle and guard should be the Steelers first two picks in the 2011 NFL Draft. To try and sit here and determine WHO the Steelers should take, is an exercise in futility. There is no way anyone could tell who is even going to be available to pick.

I will say, the Steelers SHOULD NOT trade up in the draft for ANYONE. With their first two picks being offensive linemen, this is how the Steelers starting offensive line will look in 2011.

LT - Jamaal Brown. Drafted first round (13th).

LG - Steelers first/second round Pick 2011.

C - Maurkice Pouncey. Drafted first round in 2010 (18th). Earned his first Pro Bowl in his rookie season.

RG - Chris Kemoeatu. Drafted sixth round in 2005 (204th).

RT - Steelers first/second round pick 2011.

I moved Kemoeatu to the right side because I think it would be a mistake to put two rookies side by side on the right side of the line. Kemoeatu was selected because he has been a starter and seems, at least in my opinion, to be the best option available.

The Steelers running game prior to the emergence of Roethlisberger was the Steelers bread and butter. If they would have the ability to be able to establish the running game and protect Roethlisberger, the Steelers could have one of the best offenses in the NFL for the next 10 years.

Sometimes, you have to make unpopular choices. Sometimes, in business, you have to do what you really don't want to do.

The Steelers need to take the two best offensive linemen they can in the Draft, and someone is going to have to be brought in as a free agent.

If the Steelers do this, there is a good chance they will have the best offense in the NFL, to go with the best defense.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/6207 ... a-strength (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/620750-pittsburgh-steelerscould-they-turn-the-offensive-line-weakness-into-a-strength)

NJ-STEELER
02-28-2011, 05:10 AM
that guy's a little homerish. he makes our skill players sound like we're the 2000 Rams.
you dont need the OL to be filled with 1st and 2nd rd draft choices to be successful.

taking a look at the better OLs in the league they usually have like 2 (3 max) and the rest filled up with later round guys.

we have a good center piece (no pun intended) with pouncey. if we look for an OL in the 1st, I'd look for an LT and lock up that position for the future. that would take care of the 2 most important positions on the OL for years unless they feel max can play for another 4-5 years. also, i wouldnt mind an RT in the first as long as he can project to the left side like max and marvel have done

hawaiiansteel
03-05-2011, 10:03 PM
NFL Draft 2011: Pittsburgh Steelers Affected By Copycat Spread Offenses

By steeler junky (Contributor) on March 5, 2011

http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/images/photos/001/148/653/108869157_crop_340x234.jpg?1299331806

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images


The Steelers have been so good for so long because they have not let need purely guide their drafts. Usually the Steelers select players in the first three rounds based on a combination of BPA at a position of need, even though that need could be two years in the future.

The problem the Steelers have now is that the evolution of the NFL spread offenses has left them a little behind in their style of defense. Yes, the Steelers have one of the best defenses in the NFL, thanks mainly to the Steelers' wise choices at picking and developing impact players at the core positions of their team.

But as we all know, in the salary cap era, teams can't keep all the top talent they need at every position. In the past, the Steelers have not needed above-average nickel and dime CBs because they always got enough pressure on quarterbacks to keep coverage time to a minimum.

To beat good quarterbacks who are in spread offenses in big games, the Steelers have to be able to do two of these three things:

1. Have CBs that can cover better and take the ball away in press man coverage and stop the other teams offense.

2. Run the ball more and play keep the ball away from the other offense. Plus, don't turn the ball over.

3. Improve their offense and outscore the other team. Mmm, maybe another good TE or tall big-bodied WR in the third round? Well, that is another fine mess I just brought up.

The Steelers' biggest need this year is at CB and safety. While some of you will argue against that, it is a fact, even if Ike Taylor and William Gay are re-signed. If they are not re-signed you will be looking at Bryant McFadden, Keenan Lewis and Crezdon Butler as the Steelers' back secondary.

In a recent interview, Mike Tomlin said he "still had confidence in Lewis' and Butler's future in the upcoming training camp. But that does not mean that they would not have competition in camp."

This comment leads me to wonder, what round or rounds will the Steelers use to draft a CB? At this time, it looks like the Steelers' best chance to get a better, talented CB is in Round 2. But let's face it, the 63rd pick at the end of Round 2 is unlikely to yield a better talent level at CB than they have picked in Round 3 other years.

The Steelers need to improve their talent level in the defensive backfield because of the evolution of the spread offense against them. The Steelers had to take safety Ryan Clark off the field in some passing situations during the Super Bowl and simply did not have enough interior CB talent to stop the spread offenses, which is hard to do against QBs like Aaron Rodgers.

Because the NFL is a copycat league, more teams will use some form of spread offense against them.

Though they have drafted three mid-round CBs in the last two drafts, they have not chosen well. They had to bring McFadden back last year because Gay had a bad year as McFadden's replacement. Will he be the Steelers' best choice to replace Taylor if Taylor is not resigned?

Lewis, in my opinion, was drafted to play one of the outside CB spots (probably Taylor's). But while there is still hope for him, Lewis continues to make too many mistakes on the field. Lewis in 2010 seemed to have problems staying focused and playing smart.

Second-year nickel CB Joe Burnett was beaten out by rookie CB Butler in training camp. The Steelers seem to have have a lot of hope for Butler in the future, possibly for one of the interior CB spots. But they had the same hopes for Lewis and Burnett just one year ago.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/6240 ... -nfl-draft (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/624040-copy-cat-spread-offenses-affect-on-the-pittsburgh-steelers-2011-nfl-draft)

Crash
03-06-2011, 01:08 AM
Colon will not play OG.

What I think will happen is this if the tender remains valid:

They ask Adams if he's playing. If he says yes, they will then remove the tender and let Colon walk. If he says no, Colon's the "backup plan".

hawaiiansteel
03-06-2011, 01:12 AM
Colon will not play OG.

What I think will happen is this if the tender remains valid:

They ask Adams if he's playing. If he says yes, they will then remove the tender and let Colon walk. If he says no, Colon's the "backup plan".


I think Flozell will also have to agree to some kind of a pay cut...

Oviedo
03-06-2011, 09:41 AM
Colon will not play OG.

What I think will happen is this if the tender remains valid:

They ask Adams if he's playing. If he says yes, they will then remove the tender and let Colon walk. If he says no, Colon's the "backup plan".


I think Flozell will also have to agree to some kind of a pay cut...

Agree. They are not going to play Flo $5M for the season.

I am not so sure that Colon cannot be convinced to play OG for a one year tender to prove that he is over his injury. It would make sense for him because he could increase his market value significantly if he has a successful season. The benefit to the Steelers is they get a player who knows the system who has proven to be a very good run blocker. He would immediately fix the RG issue.

SteelTorch
03-06-2011, 01:15 PM
Colon will not play OG.

What I think will happen is this if the tender remains valid:

They ask Adams if he's playing. If he says yes, they will then remove the tender and let Colon walk. If he says no, Colon's the "backup plan".
I'd be happier if he didn't play period. The guy is garbage. I don't think switching him to guard will help us out in any significant way. In fact, BOTH our guard positions are the weak links in the line. We're going to need to bring new bodies in if we want any shot of improving the position.

grotonsteel
03-06-2011, 01:53 PM
Colon will not play OG.

What I think will happen is this if the tender remains valid:

They ask Adams if he's playing. If he says yes, they will then remove the tender and let Colon walk. If he says no, Colon's the "backup plan".


I think Flozell will also have to agree to some kind of a pay cut...

Agree. They are not going to play Flo $5M for the season.

I am not so sure that Colon cannot be convinced to play OG for a one year tender to prove that he is over his injury. It would make sense for him because he could increase his market value significantly if he has a successful season. The benefit to the Steelers is they get a player who knows the system who has proven to be a very good run blocker. He would immediately fix the RG issue.


I doubt Willie Colon wants to move to RG. His agent has proclaimed Willie Colon is the best RT in the league.

I would prefer Adams back who has played RT position far better than Willie Colon and draft a RT in early rounds of the draft. Also i would be interested to see what Chris Scott from Tenn does in the Training Camp.

hawaiiansteel
03-08-2011, 02:48 AM
I really like this guy if he's still there at #31:


2011 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Derek Sherrod

by Greg Cox

http://www.walterfootball.com/images/fball/DSherrod.jpg

Derek Sherrod, 6-5/321

Offensive Tackle

Mississippi State


Strengths:
Coveted height and size
Able to play left tackle
Skilled pass blocker
Protects edge rushers well
Can mirror defenders in space
Gets to second level and blocks downfield
Intelligent and very high character
Tons of experience against top competition

Weaknesses:
Must get stronger and add bulk
Tends to lunge
Balance issues
Run blocking needs work
Mild demeanor; has to finish blocks

Summary: Derek Sherrod might need to get a pep talk similar to what Sandra Bullock (playing Leigh Anne Tuohy) gave Michael Oher in The Blind Side. He has the size and athletic ability to play left tackle in the NFL, but could be too timid to deal with some of the more aggressive pass rushers. Almost everything else checks out, and in a generally weak draft class, he is one of the top tackles expected to be able to man the left side.

http://www.walterfootball.com/scoutingr ... d_greg.php (http://www.walterfootball.com/scoutingreport2011dsherrod_greg.php)

Scalaid6
03-08-2011, 11:13 AM
CORNER