View Full Version : Wexell's Draft Odds on Steelers' Rd 1 Selection

04-23-2013, 02:52 PM
Draft Odds: Sucker Born Every Minute

By Jim Wexell
Publisher SteelCityInsider.net
Posted Apr 20, 2013


Jarvis Jones

Last year, David DeCastro paid off to the tune of 8-1 when he was selected first by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Check out Jim Wexell's tote board for this year's contenders.

Really, there’s no such thing in Las Vegas as a “sucker bet.” That’s just something a gambler calls a sure thing that has misfired.

The linesmaker doesn’t know the outcome of an event. He’s only trying to divide the money evenly. In theory, that’s how he makes his money, by being the ultimate “grinder” and subsisting off of the “juice,” or vigorish.

So a “sucker bet,” you see, lives only in a confused mind, as yours will be after I post the odds on the candidates to be drafted in the first round by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Those numbers follow:

* D.J. Fluker (15-1) – This is the kind of pick that would restore faith in the Steelers’ front office. The unquestioned inspirational leader of the ultra-physical Alabama offense, Fluker is a massive man who sets the tone the minute he steps off the bus. The problem, I fear, is that the Steelers think they have their tackles in place. But, really, they don’t have Fluker’s type of disposition at right tackle. If both current tackles do prove competent, Fluker could kick inside to guard because the Steelers have serious depth issues all along their offensive line. But I doubt they’ll address that in the first round – even if the “depth” in this case is better than what they have starting.

* Tyler Eifert (12-1) – Since I don’t work out of one of those luxurious Las Vegas hotels, I have to throw at least one “sucker bet” out there in the hope of raking in some cash. This is the one. For whatever reason the Pittsburgh public is enamored with the Notre Dame tight end, just because Heath Miller is temporarily injured and because Eifert’s a solid and safe prospect. However, I see no chance of the Steelers filling a non-hole with a first-round draft pick just because he’s safe and solid.

* Xavier Rhodes (10-1) – Now, if you’re going to draft at a position of non-need, cornerback makes more sense than tight end. Rhodes is the classic Steelers cornerback in their physical tradition. And since there are three or four other cornerbacks who could cause a team to fall in love in the first 16 picks, Rhodes very well could be available and the Steelers could begin grooming Ike Taylor’s successor right away on special teams and sub-packages.

* Arthur Brown (9-1) – This, in my mind, is a nifty wiseguy-type of longshot. The Steelers need depth at ILB and they need someone to groom as a future captain behind Larry Foote. Brown may not be the traditional run-stuffer, but his “quick-twitch,” suddenness and inside blitzing ability would no doubt suit Mike Tomlin and his idea of modern defense.

* Kenny Vaccaro (8-1) – This one will probably be bet down by the public because Vaccaro would fill the wide-open depth-chart hole at safety, would play right away on special teams and sub-packages, and is ranked in the 17th-pick area on most media draft boards. But I would be surprised if he’s available when the Steelers pick, and there are too many good safeties in this draft for them to trade up.

* DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen, Robert Woods (7-1) – Here’s an exotic for you: all three players with one bet. This not only covers you if the Steelers take my advice and trade down for a wide receiver and an extra third-round pick, it covers you in case the Steelers shock the world and take my favorite WR, Hopkins, at pick 17.

* Jonathan Cooper, Chance Warmack (6-1) – Since we’re in a giving mood, here’s another multiple-prospect ticket. These are both guards, and, yes, the Steelers drafted a guard first last year. But the Steelers love Pro Bowl talent that falls to them, and these guards represent the best possibility of that happening. And remember, the Steelers don’t have a backup guard on the roster with any NFL experience at the position, and their intended starter at left guard, Ramon Foster, was beaten out by a rookie last year before the rookie got hurt.

* Cordarrelle Patterson (3-1) – The only reason I can see the Steelers drafting this receiver – whose Wonderlic score of 11 was surprisingly high to me – is because he’s a dynamic kick returner. With the signing of Emmanuel Sanders, the Steelers can also give Patterson a year to learn a rudimentary offensive package. Otherwise, this is not a Kevin Colbert type. Listen to an interview of Robert Woods and then listen to Patterson and you’ll understand what I’m trying to say. But, Patterson gets the short odds because the Pittsburgh public is in love with him.

* Jarvis Jones (5-2) – In making Jones the favorite, by no means am I predicting the Steelers will draft him. He’ll be a 24-year-old rookie, is a medical risk, ran a 4.9+ 40, and played 3-4 OLB in college where his defensive coordinator maxed out his talents in making him the centerpiece of the Georgia defense. Little wonder he was so productive. But for this position, the Steelers like to draft defensive ends who’ve butted heads with tackles, not tight ends, throughout college. And even though Art Rooney II has put out the call for an improved pass rush, the Steelers really don’t have a great need at OLB. But the public, fueled by the media, insists that James Harrison can be replaced by a rookie, and when they watch Jones at Georgia they see a fit. I don’t, but at these odds I’m covered just in case the suckers, er, I mean, the customers are right.


04-23-2013, 02:59 PM
* Xavier Rhodes (10-1) – Now, if you’re going to draft at a position of non-need, cornerback makes more sense than tight end. Rhodes is the classic Steelers cornerback in their physical tradition. And since there are three or four other cornerbacks who could cause a team to fall in love in the first 16 picks, Rhodes very well could be available and the Steelers could begin grooming Ike Taylor’s successor right away on special teams and sub-packages.

This is the guy i'm calling as the Steelers' pick. CB is still a premium position and next to Milliner, he's the best and most physical.

04-23-2013, 03:20 PM
Jarvis Jones: I will be taken by No. 17 pick in NFL draft

By Gregg Rosenthal
Around The League Editor
Published: April 23, 2013

Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones has drawn a lot of varying opinions throughout the draft process. His game film is outstanding. His pre-draft workouts were less so.

As the draft approaches, Jones' forecast is coming in to focus. At least he thinks so.

"If I even get to 17, I don't think I get past the (Pittsburgh) Steelers," Jones told NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. "I mean, from what I've been told, I don't think I get past the Steelers."

Jones' thinking is consistent with draft buzz we've heard. NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah has been projecting Jones to the Steelers for weeks. The New Orleans Saints at No. 15 are another strong candidate. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News believes Jones is a player who New York Jets fans should get to know better. The Jets hold the No. 9 and No. 13 overall pick.

Jones has seen some mock drafts that aren't as kind, but he's not listening to them.

"Then you got the people that do the mock drafts, they say I'm way down here, I talk to the coaches, all the coaches don't think I'm gonna get past a certain point, so, coaches - for me personally - the coaches are on something different than all the analysts on TV at home. So, for me, I'm listening to the coaches because they're the ones that have the draft picks."

The medical questions surrounding Jones have quieted over time. He was cleared at the NFL Scouting Combine and didn't need to go back for the re-check. In a draft full of questions, it would be a big surprise if Jones fell too far in the first round.


04-23-2013, 03:44 PM
Not a bad list. I think he hits all the major players pretty well.

I like how he hedges his bets by saying that Patterson won't be the pick (as he isn't a Colbert type pick) but giving him 3:1 odds. That is weak.

But, the rest is pretty good. Not bad for a Steelers writer. Not bad at all.

Eddie Spaghetti
04-23-2013, 05:53 PM
of all those listed, I might just take cooper.

really hoping for a trade back.

04-23-2013, 08:34 PM
The Steelers 2013 Draft Big Board

By big_jay71 on Apr 22 2013

The Steelers big board should mirror a general top 32 big board in some aspects but will change based on their needs both present and future as well as with that some prospects will fit their offensive and defensive schemes better than others.

Here's my attempt at projecting the Steelers top 20 prospects for the 2013 draft class. I've tried my best using the Steelers draft history, current team issues, and using all of the rumors floating around as to what prospects they seem interested in by interviewing them privately, at the combine, and at their pro days.

Steelers Draft Prospects

1. Eric fisher LT, Central Michigan

2. Luke Joeckel LT, Texas A&M

3. Lane Johnson LT, Oklahoma

The top three are all tackle prospects and with good reason. Not only are they three of the top players in this draft class but the Steelers will be going into the 2013 season with uncertainty at the left tackle position. Barring injury longtime stalwart Max Starks will not be on the roster, with the left tackle duties going to Marcus Gilbert. Option number two is Mike Adams but he should only be playing left tackle in emergency situations. While Gilbert has shown some promise he would be best left at right tackle, while the Steelers would be better of with Mike Adams as a reserve.

So why is Eric Fisher rated above Luke Joeckel? It's simply because of the Steelers change to a zone blocking scheme. While Joeckel is a better run blocker at this point, something that Fisher would get better at if he bulked up a bit, Fisher has the superior athletic ability combined with the added experience of playing guard.

4. Ezekiel Ansah DE/OLB, BYU

There have been conflicting reports that while the Steelers fear taking a defensive end in the first round because of the difficulty converting to outside linebacker they are also reportedly "drooling" over the potential of Ezekiel Ansah. Many have compared him to the Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali, and not just because they are both from Africa. It's because they are both explosive athletes and not just for their similar size.

5. Dion Jordan DE/OLB, Oregon

While the Steelers have yet to be linked to Dion Jordan they have got to be interested in his potential as an OLB in their 3-4 system. Unlike Ansah or perhaps Barkevious Mingo, Dion Jordan has experience dropping into coverage so his conversion shouldn't be an issue. He may be the most athletically gifted prospect in this draft class.

6. Star Lotulelei NT, Utah

The recent signing of Steve McLendon to a 3-year contract might drop most nose tackles down this list but not Lotulelei. As Ezekiel Ansah might be compared to Tamba Hali, Star is getting comparisons to the Steelers hated nemesis Haloti Ngata. He's got the size to play nose tackle and the speed and pass-rush ability to play end. Another huge positive for the Steelers organization is that Lotulelei is a devoted family man and not considered a character risk in any sense.

Current defensive end Ziggy Hood is entering the final year of his contract and his sub par play may show him the door in 2014. As such there has been rampant speculation among the Steelers fan community of Steve McLendon possibly sliding over to end, opening a hole at nose tackle that Lotulelei would be perfect to fill.

7. Jarvis Jones OLB, Georgia

Jarvis Jones has been a lightening rod within the Steelers fan community but given that the Steelers entire front office, including Mike Tomlin, was on hand at his pro day when Jones ran that awful 4.92 forty and they still invited him for a private interview that shows that there's definite interest. And unlike many of the OLB prospects the Steelers would consider there's no projections needed about Jones' conversion because he played OLB in Georgia's 3-4 defense.

8. Kenny Vaccaro S, Texas

With Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu both on the wrong side of 30, plus Troys injury issues, it's not surprising that Kenny Vaccaro is high on the list. The Steelers have brought him in for a private interview so the interest is there.

9. Cordarrelle Patterson WR, Tennessee

If not for the Steelers matching the Patriots offer for Emmanuel Sanders it's likely that Patterson would be a couple spots higher on this list. The Steelers interest in him is well known at this point and he offers the big-bodied, red zone threat the Steelers have lacked from their wide receivers corp since Plaxico Burress' first stint in Pittsburgh.

10. DeMarcus Millner CB, Alabama

How is a prospect that's considered to be in the top ten overall not higher on this list? It's because while Millner is an excellent prospect, he has the size, speed, and requisite top competition faced in college, he's not well versed in zone coverage. While Alabama does employ a version of the 3-4 defense their cornerbacks play bump-and-run man coverage so Millner has absolutely no experience playing zone. For anyone worried about a defensive end's conversion to OLB they should be equally or more concerned about a CB who hasn't had to develop the instincts needed to play zone.

11. Jonathan Cooper OG, North Carolina

12. Chance Warmack OG, Alabama

The Steelers resigned Ramon Foster but that shouldn't preclude them from taking either Cooper or Warmack if their higher rated targets are off the board by 17. Warmack is the better run blocker but Cooper is far superior athletically and with as often as the Steelers pull their guards Cooper is just a better fit, especially now that they are going to a zone blocking scheme. Cooper also has the added ability to play center as well so his versatility is something that would appeal to the Steelers front office.

13. Tavon Austin WR, West Virginia

The Steelers will definitely have some interest in Tavon Austin, even though it's diminished by the resigning of Emmanuel Sanders, but they have had a lot of recent luck finding similar players in the middle rounds.

14. Desmond Trufant CB, Washington

Trufant would actually be a better fit of the Steelers defense than DeMarcus Millner. While tough and physical in man coverage, Trufant also had a healthy mix of zone while at Washington. He checks in a couple inches shorter than Millner but is just as athletic, but had he played for a more nationally prominent program like Alabama it's possible that he would be the highest rated cornerback in this draft class.

15. John Jenkins NT, Georgia

Jenkins is the classic zero technique nose tackle. He offers glimmers of a pass-rush but his game is all about the bull-rush, knocking opposing linemen down or into the backfield to disrupt the play. He's certainly not a sexy pick but a necessary one if the Steelers plan on dumping Hood next offseason and moving McLendon to end.

16. Sharrif Floyd DT/DE, Florida

17. Sheldon Richardson DT/DE, Missouri

It's highly unlikely that the Steelers would use their first round pick on a defensive end but Floyd and Richardson would definitely have to be in the conversation should the Steelers top targets be off the board.

18. Alex Okafor DE/OLB, Texas

The Steelers have shown some interest in Okafor, having interviewed him at his pro day, and he projects to play OLB in a 3-4 defense. He has the size and skill set need to play the position. At Texas they moved him around a lot to put him the optimum pass-rushing situations but he was never asked to drop back into coverage so there are conversion questions with him.

19. Justin Hunter WR, Tennessee

Justin Hunter is that other wide receiver from Tennessee. If not for an ACL tear during the 2011 season it's likely that he would be considered the top wide receiver in the 2013 draft class. Unlike Patterson who only has one year of starting experience, Hunter has been a relative mainstay in the Volunteers vertical passing attack. He was slow to start the 2012 season while shaking off the rust from his ACL injury but really started to heat up towards the end of the year and looks to be completely over the injury.

20. Barkevious Mingo DE/OLB, LSU

Mingo has the speed and quick twitch athletic ability you look for in a pass-rusher but he wasn't quite that effective in his final season at LSU and is just the sort of player that the Steelers organization will have conversion questions about. It seems unlikely that the Steelers would take him at 17 but if they traded back and he was available Mingo would be worth the gamble.