FLORIDA ST (ACC)
The Steelers were out in force at the FSU Pro Day, including OC Todd Haley. Mike Tomlin has often said that the Steelers could look to replace Mike Wallace with 'another fast guy, or a bigger guy, a different type of animal'. Here's your different type of animal. The Steelers have tried & failed to supply Ben a decent "Big Target" & this guy might just be that guy.
Strengths: Good combination of size and athleticism for the position. Does a good job of location and adjusting his lanky but fluid frame to make a play on the ball. Long arms and catching radius. Long-strider and eats up yards in a hurry. Very good effort as a blocker. Catch in 30 straight games with natural body control to adjust to off-target throws.
Weaknesses: Struggles to play up to his size and needs to do a better job finishing downfield. Very lean frame and needs to add bulk and looks like a twig. Too often doesn't complete catches or allows the defensive back to out-muscle him. Inconsistent focus at times catching the ball and needs to improve his routes, working back to the ball.
TCU (BIG 12)
The Steelers will want some depth added at OLB this season with James Harrison moving on. The Steelers went to TCU's Pro Day & put Maponga through his drills. Kind of an under rated pass rusher that seems very strong for his size.
STRENGTHS: Natural edge rusher who displayed natural pass rush skills. He is quick off the snap, shows good flexibility to react to cut blocks and is more stout at the point of attack than his size might indicate due to his natural leverage advantage and good upper strength. Maponga also shows strong, active hands, which he uses well to defeat blocks and knock the ball free. He has forced seven fumbles over the past two seasons.
WEAKNESSES: Too short to remain at defensive end for some NFL schemes. The lack of success former TCU edge rushers (Jerry Hughes, Bo Schobel) have enjoyed in the NFL could give decision-makers pause on draft day.
IOWA (BIG 10)
The Steelers will probably want to look for some kind of insurance at CB now that Lewis has moved on. Because there are a number of young CB's on the roster, Chadman suspects a late round pick is more the direction the Steelers will go- looking for an athlete that can be developed with little real investment in the player in case it doesn't work out. Hyde is the perfect size for a LeBeau CB, and plays a very nice style of football, with a nice mix of big plays & physicality to be a shot at making the team.
Moved from cornerback to free safety during 2011 spring practice and played both positions in 2011 . . . holds eighth and 10th longest interception returns in school history . . . tied for first in the Big Ten in passes defended (11) and tied for eighth in interceptions (three) in 2011 . . . had 72-yard touchdown return vs. Missouri and 66-yard touchdown return vs. Michigan State, both in 2010 . . . one of five juniors named to 2011 Leadership Group . . . one of three true freshmen to see action in 2009.
NEBRASKA (BIG 10)
Carnell Lake was on hand at Nebraska's Pro Day to watch Stafford. He's a big, physical type of player that would fit the Ryan Clark role very well as a backfield enforcer type, with just enough 'big play' in him to be dangerous.
Stafford is a smooth athlete with the flexibility and foot speed to accelerate in a flash and blow up plays with his aggressive attitude. He uses his eyes well with the football awareness to break down the action and waste little time making accurate reads in both run and pass coverage. Former Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David was another JUCO transfer and became a second round pick after two seasons in Lincoln. Stafford isn't at the same level as David, but will try and follow that same path.
The whole Manny Sanders to New England thing might impact not only the Draft, but also what the Steelers do pre-draft.
Pretty sure that the Steelers had focussed on drafting a LB, Safety, WR or RB in the 1st 3 rounds, knowing that while all 3 could contribute, they wouldn't necessarily HAVE to contribute. With Sanders potentially moving on, this is not entirely the case. A WR will most likely HAVE to contribute in some way. That means, potentially, a top 2 round selection on a WR.
Chadman thinks this might strengthen the case to sign Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw would be required to start, or at least split carries, from Day 1. This takes the pressure off any rookie RB, as well as the Steelers FO needing to find an RB that has to contribute early. In other words- they could then drop RB down a Round or 2.
I just hope they don't panic and draft a wide receiver for the sake of drafting one in the first.
My suspicion is the WR they take won't be a project like Patterson, but, someone who is polished and can contribute right away...
Ok, so Sanders stays, Bradshaw is out of the Steelers price range, and Draft Boards a re re-written all over again. :)
As we rapidly close in, the 1st round option is STILL murky. The next thing Chadman will look at is 1st round possible targets, and why we might need to scrap some of the more favoured ones from this board...
We are now roughly 4 days from Day 1 of the Draft.
Chadman is busily putting together his final mock, using a bunch of stuff from in here, as well as some serious guess-work. Pretty sure Chadman has his 1st round targets down to 3-4 guys.
Feel free to post your mocks, or just general thoughts about the draft in here....
Ok, it's time to give "CHADMAN'S FINAL MOCK OF 2013"...
After the 'success' of last season's mock, it'll be difficult to get even close to that. Like every other year, Chadman will not predict trades either up or down as it's nearly impossible to do so with any accuracy. That said, there is every chance the Steelers will look to move down in at least 1 round, perhaps more, in order to accumulate picks.
Alright....here we go, for one last shot at it..
FLORIDA STATE (ACC)
Why Rhodes? Because he meets so many criteria. He played in the right Conference (ACC), he played for a big school, he passed so many measurable markers at the Combine, he's the big, physical type of CB that the Steelers like, and... he's the right age (22).
Watching him it's obvious he doesn't mind being physical, which should suit the Steelers run defense heavy style of play, and he has some impressive ball skills.
The Steelers have moved Cortez Allen into 1 starting CB role, but with Ike moving into the twilight years, now is a good time to find his replacement.
Chadman is betting that the Steelers will not stray too far from their usual draft plan- get young players that have performed against the best. Be athletic. Find someone to fit the 'Steelers way'. Rhodes does this on many levels.
If Rhodes is off the board, Desmond Trufant certainly gets consideration, as do the 2 OG's Cooper & Warmack. Sneaky option might be Arthur Brown.
Rutgers (Big East)
There's a lot to like about Greene- his aggressive style of play, the way he flies about the field, the tackles in the backfield, the way he wins one-on-one battles.
No character concerns, and along with Steve Beauharnais, was a team leader at Rutgers. Made plays all the time it would seem.
Didn't blow up the Combine as far as measurables go, but he was solid.
On the field, he's fast & effective. He's a player that can dictate a play. After having last year's ILB option Sean Spence struck down with that knee injury, ILB is back on the draft board again. Foote can't play forever, so his eventual replacement must be found soon.
WISCONSIN (Big 10)
Ball has so much production behind him that it would seem obvious as to his value here. That said, there are always questions regarding the RB's coming out of Wisconsin on if they are just a product of the system. Not sure if that applies to Ball. His speed to the LOS is quite good, he seems capable of finding the right hole to run to.
Steelers showed some early interest in Ball at the Combine, having one of their interviews with him.
The running game in Pittsburgh is far from settled, with the 2 plodders Dwyer & Redman rotating carries. Having a faster, more agile type of RB to help carry the load will keep them fresh.
OKLAHOMA (Big 12)
Jefferson is a hard nosed, tough hitting style of FS- quite similar to our own Ryan Clark, which is a good thing, because Clark is 34 & doesn't have long left in the NFL.
Watching him you notice his closing speed on the ball carrier is good, and that he seems to read the play very well, resulting in numerous plays in the backfield.
Steelers had a good sized contingent at Oklahoma's Pro Day, so they are well aware of his abilities. His style of play will allow him to flip-flop his role from FS to SS in Pittsburgh, as LeBeau has often said that the positions are interchangable in his defense.
Chadman was tempted to select Tony Jefferson's mate Kenny Stills here, but Stills has some maturity concerns, while King is a solid citizen. He's also a good route runner, smooth catcher of the ball & sneaky quick.
If Brown & Sanders are #1 & #2, the Steelers will need their savvy slot guy, and King can provide that- perhaps more in time.
Looked very good at the Senior Bowl.
MICHIGAN (Big 10)
Now, bare with Chadman here. Back-to-back WR's might seem like overkill, particularly to the pro-TE crowd. But Robinson is a bit more valuable than just another WR.
There are comparisons between Robinson & Antwaan Randle El, which are fair, to a degree, but a cheap & easy comparison (QB to WR). Robinson is actually more of a RB than a true WR. His official role might say WR, but in reality- he's a bit more like Darren Sproles, or Dexter McCluster- a RB than can split out to play the slot, or play the 3rd down role, or do some KR/PR.
Essentially, Robinson can contribute right away on ST's, as well as become the 3rd down RB (Steelers lack one) while giving some depth at WR.
He passed many of the historical Steelers measurable requirements, and is a solid character guy.
FLORIDA STATE (ACC)
Jenkins foot injury robbed him of his final year in college, but before his injury he was one of Florida St's best defensive players.
Fast off the snap, good use of hands, good closing speed.
The Steelers will give Jason Worilds every chance to succeed, but they'll still need a bit of quality depth.
NORTH CAROLINA ST (ACC)
Wolff is a very solid player with good technique. Not overly fast, but not slow. Seems to know where the ball is going & finds a way to be there or close to there.
Trying to replace Troy Polamalu with a player like Troy Polamalu is insane. Can't be done, or at least, very unlikely to be done. Wolff is a far safer prospect with a lower ceiling.
Watching his highlights, it's easy to notice that he's around the ball alot- a sign perhaps of a player that knows where he's meant to be, and why.