View Full Version : Steelers Draft Days 2 and 3 Recap

04-30-2011, 02:26 AM
Friday, April 29, 2011

Cool Hand Kevin Fills Steelers Needs – Day 2 Recap Of The 2011 NFL Draft

Before day two of the 2011 NFL Draft started I was feeling good about the Steelers drafting a cornerback in the 2nd round as I thought there would be a good chance that one to the Steelers liking would fall after only three cornerbacks were drafted in the 1st round. The first two picks of the 2nd were corners as Ras-I Dowling and Aaron Williams came right off the board one right after the other. I instantly was worried that a few players I had marked as possible targets for the Steelers would not fall as I expected and even started to fantasize about the Steelers trading up 10 or so spots to grab one.

Several more picks came of the board including a few safety types and even Brandon Harris was drafted by the Texans with the 28th overall pick in the 2nd round. The Steelers stood pat and drafted Florida tackle Marcus Gilbert who was surely 1 of their 20 special players they had identified in the prior to the draft. In my final mock I had them selecting Gilbert in the 3rd and it looks like I underrated him.

The Steelers are big on good character and big on position flexibility, Gilbert possesses both of those traits. His father is a retired secret service agent and he always is looking to get better at his craft according to reports. As far as his position flexibility goes, he has played at both tackle and guard spots over the years. He can pull in addition and is very close to center Maurkice Pouncey after playing with him at Florida. Another great trait about Gilbert is his size as he measures in a hair over 6 foot 6 and weighs 330 pounds. Offensive line coach Sean Kugler says he is an athletic player with high energy and will be worked at all four spots on the Steelers line until he finds his spot. It sounds like he could start off as the ultimate swing lineman heading into his rookie season.

Time will tell.

After Gilbert was selected you just knew the cornerback position had to be addressed and I was hoping Texas cornerback Curtis Brown would be the pick. I have been high on Brown for some time now as I think he is a great cover corner that could help instantly as a third or fourth defensive back. My hopes were fulfilled as Brown was selected 95th overall and 31st in the 3rd round. New defensive backs coach Carnell Lake described him pretty much as I saw him, a scrappy cover corner that is more quick than fast. Brown has good size to him, but does need to get stronger. I think he will make a great rookie student for the rookie coach Lake.

Even though I had Williams and Harris as possible targets for the Steelers in the 2nd round, it sounds like neither was on the Steelers radar as Lake said they saw Williams as more of a safety and I bet the size of Harris was the reason for his drop into the late part of the second round. The Williams position speculation has long been discussed and it seems the Steelers saw it the same way as well. We might never know their true thoughts on Harris. Looking back at the full attendance of the Steelers coaching staff at the Texas Pro Day, it is now clear they were there to mostly see Brown who ended up being limited in his workout due to the flu, but did what he could. That speaks volumes.

Now three rounds are in the books and the Steelers have addressed all three of their biggest needs heading into the draft with the selection of a defensive end, a tackle and a cornerback. Kevin Colbert and company stayed patient and followed their big board and never panicked or reached. I am glad I am not in charge as I would have done both.

Some may say that the Steelers reached with Gilbert, but I do not see it that way. Since the news about Marcus Cannon having a treatable form of cancer surfaced, you knew his stock would drop and that would be one less quality tackle type off the board. It is unlikely that Gilbert would have lasted to the end of round 3 being as he was projected as an early to mid 3rd round pick. He was likely the best player available on the board that fit a need and the Steelers took him.

Brown on the other hand is a steal late in the 3rd in my honest opinion and I am excited the Steelers drafted him. Now the Steelers can head into the 3rd round with their options wide open as I feel the primary needs heading into this draft have been fulfilled. I can't wait for the 4th round to start and get Cool Hand Kevin back in action. In Colbert We Trust!

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05-01-2011, 01:56 AM
Saturday, April 30, 2011

Steelers 2011 NFL Draft – Day 3 Selection Recap

The Steelers 2011 NFL Draft is now over and we have 7 new Steeler players to welcome to the fold and it consists of 7 seniors this time around. 5 of these 7 players made pre draft visits to Pittsburgh. Day 3 of the draft was as exciting as the first 2 days in my opinion and the draft seemed to move at a good speed. Steelers Director of Football Operations Kevin Colbert clearly did not reach per his usual style at let the draft come to him as expected. Rounds 1 through 3 draft picks, Cameron Heyward, Marcus Gilbert and Curtis Brown were all quality need fills and the players drafted in rounds 4-7 today all seem to be tremendous prospects. Below is recap of the day 3 draft picks.

Round 4: CB Cortez Allen (Citadel) - The Steelers certainly acknowledged their uncertainty at cornerback that they talked about during their pre draft press conference and pleased several in Steeler Nation by drafting yet another cornerback in the form of Cortez Allen out the Citadel. They drafted Texas cornerback Curtis Brown in the 3rd round Friday night and went back-to-back at the corner position by drafting Allen. Allen is a long, nice sized cornerback at around 6’ tall and 200 lbs. He is regarded as a quick, fast guy that plays physical according to new defensive backs coach Carnell Lake. He is raw in nature because the time he has to dedicate to the Citadel and not to his craft. Like most Steeler draft picks, he is a high character guy with a strong work ethic. Because of his inexperience, he does not have many bad habits to break. He plays off coverage and bump-and-run well much like free agent cornerback Ike Taylor does. He projects as an outside corner with the Steelers and on paper, looks like the future corner we have all longed for. In addition to his work at corner, Allen has been a part, in some way of all phases of special teams outside of field goals.

Round 5: LB Chris Carter (Fresno State) - The Steelers love linebackers, especially the tweener types. They showed that love by selecting Fresno State defensive Chris Carter in the fifth round. Carter is regarded as an edge speed rusher, but did stand up some and play some in a two-point stance while in college. He is deemed a motor guy that can get after the quarterback. He is regarded as speedy and the Steelers had his 40 time at 4.66 seconds. His transition could take a few years as he learns where to line up and how to recognize coverages in the Dick LeBeau 3-4 defense. He will also have to learn more counter moves so he is not regarded as a one trick pony. If he is to make the 53 man roster he will have to be a special teams demon and show that he can pick up the nuances of the complicated defense very quickly. The longer the lockout goes, the less chance he has as the OTA sessions are crucial for all rookies, and especially tough for defensive ends converting to outside linebacker in the Steelers defense, just ask 2010 draft pick Thaddeus Gibson. More than likely, Carter will be a perfect candidate for the practice squad if he catches on quick.

Round 6: G Keith Williams (Nebraska) - Offensive line coach Sean Kugler likes his linemen mean and nasty and 6th rounder Keith Williams seems to fit that mold. He is a left guard that is very aggressive and finishes well in the run game. He admits that his pass protection needs work though and Kugler thinks it is because he gets over aggressive at times. He comes from a pretty balanced offensive system where they ran the ball well because of the offensive line play. He did well on the big board with Kugler during his pre draft visit to Pittsburgh and is regarded as a smart kid. He has pulling skills and will taught both guard spots initially and could end up being the heir apparent to left guard Chris Kemoeatu in the near future.

Round 7: RB Baron Batch (Texas Tech) - By the time training camp rolls around, if it rolls around, I guarantee that Texas Tech running back Baron Batch will be the Latrobe favorite and this years Isaac Redman or Frank Summers so to speak. The Steelers drafted the Texas Tech product with their final pick of the draft in 7th round and he has a great back story of overcoming adversity. He grew up in a large family and was a middle child. The family was very poor and he ended up losing his mother to multiple sclerosis. While at Texas Tech he tore his Achilles and had to have multiple surgeries because of infection. When healthy, Batch is regarded as a natural pass catching running back and he projects as a third down back at the next level. He measures in at 5 foot 10 and 200 pounds and is polished in his blitz pickup already. He is very physical and a willing special teams contributor as well.

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05-01-2011, 02:44 AM
Fruit of their Labor

By SteelCityInsider.net
Posted Apr 30, 2011

At the end of a long weekend, the Steelers can sit back and reflect on the process. The team rounded it out Saturday with two offensive and two defensive players.

Pittsburgh — The draft is over and so is contact with football players for the Steelers and the NFL's other 31 teams.

The NFL owners' lockout of their players was reinstated over the weekend and the draft was the last contact any team could have with players or prospective players. The Steelers came out of the weekend with seven draft picks, but instead of scouring the country for free agent rookies to sign, Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert and his scouting staff went back to work, kind of.

“It's unusual because you don't know who, what, where or when,” Colbert said when asked about the annual task of signing undrafted players. “Actually, it should help us. We never really have the time to study these undrafted guys because we're too busy preparing for the draft. Now, we'll have time to devote to evaluating both veteran and rookie free agents.”

Coach Mike Tomlin noted that the Steelers are not alone in this black hole created by the lack of a collective bargaining agreement between NFL players and the owners.

“We have some uncertainty at various positions on our team, just like all other teams do,” Tomlin said. “I feel comfortable with it from that standpoint because every team is in the same situation.”

As for the draft, Colbert said what he says every year at this time and admitted as much.

“As usual, we feel good about the players we drafted,” Colbert said. “Hopefully, they are what we think they are.”

Tomlin applauded the effort put forth by his coaching staff and Colbert's personnel staff in preparing for the draft, which Colbert said went almost exactly as expected.

“Going through this draft, we never felt we missed out on somebody by picking who we picked,” Colbert said.

“This,” Tomlin said, referring to a list of the team's 2011 draft class, “is the fruit of our labor and we are pleased with it.”

You never have enough depth at outside linebacker when you play a 3-4 defense, so the Steelers used a fifth-round pick to add depth to a position that already includes James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley, perhaps the best starting tandem in the league.

The Steelers selected 6-1, 250-pound linebacker Chris Carter, who by linebackers coach Keith Butler's own admission is “a couple years” away from contributing as a pass rusher. That makes him the latest in a long line of special teams players who become outside linebackers.

“He's used to being in a three-point stance,” Butler said of Carter, who played defensive end at Fresno State. “The two-point stance is awkward for him right now. The techniques we ask him to use will be Chinese to him. It will take him a couple of years.”

It took Harrison time and it took Woodley time to learn all the Steelers want their outside linebackers to do. Butler said Jason Worilds, last year's No. 2 pick, is still learning.

“He has a good motor and a lot of speed off the edge,” Butler added when asked what made Carter attractive to the Steelers. Carter lasted into the fifth round, according to Butler, because “he's a hard fit. Most teams see him as a 4-3 end.”

In the sixth round, the Steelers added depth to the offensive line by picking Nebraska guard Keith Williams (6-4, 318). He has the size and mentality the Steelers love in interior linemen.

“He's very physical,” line coach Sean Kugler said. “He's got some nasty in him. He has some pulling skills that I think will help us. He's a smart kid and I think he'll be a quality guard for us.”

Williams needs work on pass protection technique, but that wasn't surprising to Kugler.

“Sometimes with guys who are overly aggressive, that happens,” Kugler said when asked about pass protection.”

“In the run game, I like to get after it,” Williams said. “In the pass game, I need some work.”

Speaking of the run game, the Steelers used their last pick on running back Baron Batch (5-10, 210) from Texas Tech. He was the 232nd pick of the draft.

Batch worked in Texas Tech's spread offense until last season and Batch learned how to be a pro in that offense.

“Byron was an excellent running back in an offense that is like a third-down offense in this league,” Colbert said.

“I think the Steelers were impressed with how I picked up the blitz,” Batch said. “Our offense really prepared me for the NFL because there was a lot of blitz pick-up involved. I consider myself a physical player.”

Batch was the player who caught fellow Steelers draft pick Curtis Brown from behind on Brown's interception return last season and noted that they watched the clip of the play when both visited the Steelers together prior to the draft.