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Thread: Wexell: OL Thoughts at Combine on Colon and Trent Williams

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    Wexell: OL Thoughts at Combine on Colon and Trent Williams

    March Madness Lands Early in Steeler Nation



    By Jim Wexell
    Publisher SteelCityInsider.com
    Posted Mar 1, 2010

    Past, present and future: Jim Wexell says the Steelers' gambled on the labor talks; wonders why the team's looking at another Lawrence Timmons; and re-thinks a draft-day O-line evaluation.

    The Steelers have said throughout the past year that they’d be taking a business-as-usual approach to the March 5 meltdown of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. But in reality, they’re breathing a sigh of relief as their gamble on Willie Colon appears on the verge of paying off.
    Colon is the Steelers’ best offensive lineman, perhaps one of the best young tackles in the league, and he’s just now moving into his prime athletic years. Colon will turn 27 on April 9.

    So, should the league and the players reach a labor agreement and prolong the CBA this week, the Steelers could be turning loose a young and talented player into free agency at a position where they lack depth. And Colon would go into that free agency feeling a bit jilted. After all, the Steelers extended Heath Miller last summer, and Miller was headed for the same type of contract status as Colon under the approaching new rules.

    It was business as usual for Miller, but not for Colon.

    Of course, it doesn’t appear that a labor agreement will be reached and Colon will be locked into an RFA tender this year, and again the following year.

    With that kind of time, the Steelers should be able to have someone ready to replace Colon, who might be feeling a bit disrespected by 2012 if he’s not extended to his first big contract.

    Every NFL player should have the opportunity to hit it big at one point in his career. Colon has to be feeling that his chance is being taken from him. But, for now, it looks like a good business move, or gamble, by the Steelers.

    + + + + +
    Considering the aforementioned Steelers’ lack of depth, let’s talk about college tackles. Two whom I felt were among the second tier, or perhaps more aptly the 1-B tier, were among the stars of the first day of combine workouts Saturday.

    I expected Bruce Campbell to post great track numbers, and he did, but I realize he’s still a project as a player. No, the track numbers that surprise me belong to Trent Williams.

    Here’s my take on Williams: He played poorly at left tackle for Oklahoma this season, and, when moved to center for his bowl game, he was underwhelming. However, I could just imagine Kevin Colbert at the head table on draft day explaining that “versatility” and “having left tackle capability” were the reasons they drafted Williams in the first round.

    I shuddered, because if you want a true interior lineman, you draft Maurkice Pouncey. And if you want true left tackle capability, you trade up and draft a true left tackle. Williams, I felt, was nothing more than a right tackle.

    But on Saturday, he moved around the combine like he was – to steal Mike Mayock’s latest – “a trained killer” as a potential interior lineman. So I went back and looked at the tape of Williams’ performance at center against Stanford in the Sun Bowl.

    On the first snap, Williams shot to the second level and knocked the middle linebacker on his can. The drive ended two plays later, and on the second series, Stanford intercepted and returned the ball 55 yards. Williams, I noticed, never gave up on the return and showed great hustle and speed in nearly catching the defender before the defender was pushed out of bounds near the goal line. Williams fell over the sideline pile and the announcers said he had trouble getting up and required some medical assistance.

    Did I miss these early plays on my first viewing? Did I forget them? I can’t remember, but I do remember Williams’ sluggish play throughout the remainder of the game.

    Was he hurt? The announcer never said. Was Williams gassed from OU’s high-tempo attack the rest of the game? I don’t know that answer, either.

    But now that I’ve seen his athleticism at the combine, I am allowing that perhaps I was w-w-r-r-o ... w-w-r-r-o-n ... oh, maybe I was mistaken just a bit.

    So I’ll give Williams the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he is a 5-position player who could step in anywhere as an injury replacement as a rookie. Or maybe he could even start somewhere inside on opening day.

    Then again, a 4.88 40 from a 6-foot-5, 315-pounder may have just taken the decision out of the Steelers’ draft-day hands.


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    Re: Wexell: OL Thoughts at Combine on Colon and Trent Williams

    He was oklahoma's best olinemen in 2008. I think he had some nagging injuries this season and some concentration lapses. Williams is a more athletic version of what the STeelers supposedly like in Iupati. While Iupati may be a little more nasty, Williams is still a great run blocker and has vast potential physically. I've always thought he'd be a decent choice at 18. Now, it looks like he might not even be there. We'll see.
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    7c DeAnthony Thomas RB Oregon

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    Re: Wexell: OL Thoughts at Combine on Colon and Trent Williams

    Wexell is off in lala land. Colon the best OL? Right now, he may be the weak link on the OL. The left side of the OL have the 2 best OL on the team.

    Colon still has potential, but with Stapleton coming back as well, they can move Essex to RT and plug in Foster, Urbik- if he gets any better than he was last year, a Rookie, or for that matter Stapleton at RG.

    If a blue chip OL is there at 18, they have to consider that, but if theres a CB or a Safety there worthy of the 18th pick, that IMO is more important of a pick..

    I'm still leaning on the defensive side for that 18th pick.
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    Hall of Famer Mister Pittsburgh's Avatar
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    Re: Wexell: OL Thoughts at Combine on Colon and Trent Williams

    I am not going to count out Ramon Foster for RT in the future.
    @_Hellgrammite

  5. #5

    Re: Wexell: OL Thoughts at Combine on Colon and Trent Williams

    Yeah I'm with pfelix on this one. Wexell is hittin' the rock. Colon is not our best OLman...that would belong to Starks.

    Also, Wexell obviously hasn't been watching the Steelers draft for the last 10 seasons. We don't take projects in the first round. The closest thing we have done to that is Timmons...and as much as I like the guy he still isn't playing up to a first round level. Williams is one giant question mark...and those question marks need to be drafted much later than 18. When you have a shot at guys like Thomas, Odrick, Weatherspoon who are no miss players...why grab a project? Especially when our D needs so much help? Come on Jim you are better than this.

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    Re: Wexell: OL Thoughts at Combine on Colon and Trent Williams

    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn
    Yeah I'm with pfelix on this one. Wexell is hittin' the rock. Colon is not our best OLman...that would belong to Starks.

    Also, Wexell obviously hasn't been watching the Steelers draft for the last 10 seasons. We don't take projects in the first round. The closest thing we have done to that is Timmons...and as much as I like the guy he still isn't playing up to a first round level. Williams is one giant question mark...and those question marks need to be drafted much later than 18. When you have a shot at guys like Thomas, Odrick, Weatherspoon who are no miss players...why grab a project? Especially when our D needs so much help? Come on Jim you are better than this.
    We keep hearing about how good Colon is and he alwsys seems to grade out high at season's end. Likely fans are missing something but unlikely the coaches are.

    I just don't think we will be able to resign Colon and tie up that much money in the OL with the other needs we have.

    I also agree that Foster may be able to play RT and that I have high hopes Coach Kugler can make all the OL better.
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  7. #7

    Re: Wexell: OL Thoughts at Combine on Colon and Trent Williams

    I'm glad to see that you smart guys have a similar impression of Colon that I do. If I had to do a 1-second impression of Colon, it would be: a quick jump "offsides" - which is what he seemed to do at least once every single friggin' game this year. I'm not that good at evaluating Oline play much beyond that (except seeing unblocked rushers come in and take Ben's head off), but in my mind: Colon = Offside Drive killer.

    Am I being too mean/blind/dumb?


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    Re: Wexell: OL Thoughts at Combine on Colon and Trent Williams

    I just hope they don't get enamoured with the numbers some of these guys put up. In my opinion the numbers should be the last criteria used in rating these players. There are far too many times we see guys put up impressive numbers at the combine causing them to shoot up the draft board but never living up to that exalted status in the NFL.

    Studying film and getting references to determine his football intelligence are the way to go. Otherwise you end up with the Heyward-Bey's of the world on your team.
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  9. #9

    Re: Wexell: OL Thoughts at Combine on Colon and Trent Williams

    Quote Originally Posted by SanAntonioSteelerFan
    I'm glad to see that you smart guys have a similar impression of Colon that I do. If I had to do a 1-second impression of Colon, it would be: a quick jump "offsides" - which is what he seemed to do at least once every single friggin' game this year. I'm not that good at evaluating Oline play much beyond that (except seeing unblocked rushers come in and take Ben's head off), but in my mind: Colon = Offside Drive killer.

    Am I being too mean/blind/dumb?
    No you are not. I mean what else is there? I have no knowledge about technique of OLmen but I sure know when guys beat em...and I know when they kill a drive with a mindless penalty. Colon is not worth the big $$$.

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    Re: Wexell: OL Thoughts at Combine on Colon and Trent Williams

    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn
    Quote Originally Posted by SanAntonioSteelerFan
    I'm glad to see that you smart guys have a similar impression of Colon that I do. If I had to do a 1-second impression of Colon, it would be: a quick jump "offsides" - which is what he seemed to do at least once every single friggin' game this year. I'm not that good at evaluating Oline play much beyond that (except seeing unblocked rushers come in and take Ben's head off), but in my mind: Colon = Offside Drive killer.

    Am I being too mean/blind/dumb?
    No you are not. I mean what else is there? I have no knowledge about technique of OLmen but I sure know when guys beat em...and I know when they kill a drive with a mindless penalty. Colon is not worth the big $$$.

    Colon will receive the RFA tender the next two years, meaning we won't have to pay the big bucks to retain him anytime soon.

    I also disagree with Wexell that Colon is our best OL, just exactly how many false start penalties does Colon average per season?

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