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Thread: 2013 NFL Draft: Steelers Draft Prospects by Position - Safety

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    Legend hawaiiansteel's Avatar
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    2013 NFL Draft: Steelers Draft Prospects by Position - Safety

    2013 NFL Draft: Steelers Draft Prospects by Position - Safety

    By seton hall and steelers on Jan 15



    The Steelers have been blessed by some of the best safety play in the league over the past five or so years, with two pro bowl caliber starting safeties in Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu. However, both Clark and Polamalu are aging and while backup safety Will Allen played incredibly well in replacement of Polamalu, the Steelers could use a new, young safety to become the next star of the defense.

    First Round Options:

    Kenny Vaccaro, free safety, Texas - Vaccaro, at 6-foot-1, 218 pounds, has great size for an NFL free safety. He has shown over the course of his career to have the ability to come up and cover slot receivers with great ease. He was a three year starter at Texas and got better each year. This year, he totaled 96 tackles, two interceptions, 3.5 tackles for a loss, five pass breakups, and two forced fumbles. He is not an elite ballhawk but he is a great safety prospect who could start immediately if needed but would likely play on special teams and in nickel packages as a rookie. He is projected as a top 20 pick.

    Matt Elam, strong safety, Florida - Elam, at just 5-foot-10, 202 pounds, is much smaller than Vaccaro but he is a great athlete. He is a two year starter for Florida. This year, he had 76 tackles and four interceptions but he was best playing around the line of scrimmage, getting 11 tackles for a loss and two sacks. He has unbelievable instincts, great closing speed, and is ruthless in the run game. He reminds me a lot of Polamalu in his prime and could be available at pick 17. He is projected currently as a top 25 pick.

    Tony Jefferson, free safety, Oklahoma - Jefferson, at 5-foot-11, 198 pounds, was a highly rated recruit coming out of high school and he has started in all three of his years at Oklahoma. This year, he had 119 tackles, two interceptions, 3.5 tackles for a loss, and half a sack. He is a player who relies on his instincts to make the right read in the running game and plays very much like current Steelers safety Ryan Clark.

    Second Round Options:

    Eric Reid, free safety, LSU - Reid, at 6-foot-2, 212 pounds, is a big-bodied safety but he does not play to his size. He played mostly center field in his two years as an LSU starter and is rarely around the line of scrimmage. He has great athleticism and makes good reads on passing plays. This year, he had 91 tackles, two interceptions, and one tackle for a loss. He could rise to the late first round but his lack of splash plays will likely keep him in round two.

    Phillip Thomas, free safety, Fresno State - Thomas, a 6-foot-1, 215 pound safety is an absolute ball hawk. This year, he amassed eight interceptions, three of which he returned for a touchdown, 84 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, and four sacks. However, he did all of this playing against lower competition. He is a good athlete with huge upside and he could rise to a top 40 pick by draft time.

    Mid Round Options:

    Robert Lester, strong safety, Alabama - Lester is a rare player in that he started for three years at Alabama. He also is one of a few players ever to win three national championships. His best year ever was his sophomore season, when he intercepted eight passes. This year, he played all right at times and awful at others, totaling 48 tackles, four interceptions, 3.5 tackles for a loss, and 1.5 sacks. He seems to lack elite speed but plays the game smart and is usually in the right spot. However, he does not appear to be great in run support. He is projected as a third or fourth round pick.

    Shawn Williams, strong safety, Georgia - Williams, at 6-foot-1, 217 pounds, is a third to fourth round prospect with some upside. He is a good athlete that totaled 98 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss, and one sack this year. He plays around the line of scrimmage a lot and is good in the run game but he struggles at times with reading play action. He has given up a few too many big plays this year. However, a lot of his problems seem to be in technique and that could be coached by Steelers star coach Carnell Lake.

    Duke Williams, strong safety, Nevada - Williams, at 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, is a great athlete who thrives when using his instincts. He is a little small and does not do much form tackling and therefore, he misses a few too many tackles. However, this year, he did total 105 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss, one interception, and three forced fumbles. When he hits you, he is going to hurt you. He is projected as a third to fourth round pick and with proper coaching, he could become a star.

    Bacarri Rambo, free safety, Georgia - Rambo, at 6-foot-0, 210 pounds, is an athletic safety who still has to learn the position. This year, he had 73 tackles, three interceptions, one tackle for a loss, and one sack. He has pretty poor technique and that causes him to miss a couple tackles and give up some big plays, but again, if anyone can coach him up, it is Carnell Lake. However, he has had problems with the law in the past and that might take him off the Steelers radar. He is projected as a third to fourth round pick.

    T.J. McDonald, free safety, USC - McDonald is a big safety at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds, and he is a good athlete. He had an incredible junior season and would have been a first round pick last year had he declared but he struggled a lot this year. He was exposed as someone who mis-reads a lot of routes and bites on double moves often. However, despite having an "awful" year, he totaled 119 tackles, 6.5 tackles for a loss, two interceptions, and a sack. He needs a lot of work on his technique, but you could do a lot worse with a third or fourth round pick.

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com...n-depth-safety

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    Hall of Famer Dee Dub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel View Post

    Bacarri Rambo, free safety, Georgia - Rambo, at 6-foot-0, 210 pounds, is an athletic safety who still has to learn the position. This year, he had 73 tackles, three interceptions, one tackle for a loss, and one sack. He has pretty poor technique and that causes him to miss a couple tackles and give up some big plays, but again, if anyone can coach him up, it is Carnell Lake. However, he has had problems with the law in the past and that might take him off the Steelers radar. He is projected as a third to fourth round pick.

    The best free safety in this draft. He is big hitter and goes for the knock out a lot so on occasion yes he can miss a tackle here or there, however....

    16 INT's, 34 PD's, and 6 FF's over his college career tells you about his cover skills as well as where he is in regards to where the ball is.

    But as mention his mistake may take him off the Steelers board.
    Steelers 2014 Draft

    1-Darqueze Dennard CB Michigan State
    2-Jordan Matthews WR Vanderbilt
    3-Jordan Tripp ILB/OLB Montana
    4-Christian Jones ILB Florida State
    5-Brent Urban DE Virginia
    5-Michael Schofield OG/OT Michigan
    6-Kadeem Edwards OG Tennessee State
    6-Ben Gardner DE Stanford
    7-Aaron Colvin CB Oklahoma

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    Pro Bowler supersteeler's Avatar
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    I like Vaccaro the most out of all of them, with rainey and his recent issues I think if a prospect has any off field issue they won't consider that player. Rainey had them and they won't get burnt again.

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    Pro Bowler BigRob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel View Post
    2013 NFL Draft: Steelers Draft Prospects by Position - Safety

    By seton hall and steelers on Jan 15


    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com...n-depth-safety
    Screw these guys. They have little to no knowledge. How do you leave D.J. Swearinger off of this list? He has experience at corner and safety.

    The guy is ferocious and will be taken in the second round depending on how he runs.
    Here comes the BOOM!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigRob View Post
    Screw these guys. They have little to no knowledge. How do you leave D.J. Swearinger off of this list? He has experience at corner and safety.

    The guy is ferocious and will be taken in the second round depending on how he runs.
    First thing I thought of when I saw the list. I think D.J. is in the running for best safety in the draft

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    Administrator steelz09's Avatar
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    In any particular order, I wouldn't mind a FS, ILB, OLB in the 1st 3 rounds.

    Robert Golden and Sean Spence have potential and I won't close the door on either but these 3 are huge needs in my opinion. As far as the o-line goes, I would draft for depth because I think the Steelers know their ideal starters already whether I agree with it or not. I would think about a developmental TE as another option in the mid rounds. I would add a WR as a wild card depending on the Wallace situation. If Wallace leaves (likely), I think a WR could be drafted anywhere depending on BPA and how the draft progresses.
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    Steelers 2013 salary cap options - Safeties

    By SteelCityRoller on Jan 19

    Pittsburgh has several key players whose contracts will demand special attention this off-season. Possible releases could consume one of the Steelers starting safeties - maybe both.

    Suspicious minds are examining veteran contracts after general manager Kevin Colbert declared the Pittsburgh Steelers were "married" to no one. Key figures from championship rosters of the past are finding their careers exist on a bubble inflated with nostalgia.

    As we continue our positional exploration of the 2013 roster and its compliance with the NFL salary cap, we have already recognized two highly paid players on the bubble list - Willie Colon and James Harrison. Opening the safety group reveals two more players whose tenures are in question, both starters - Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark.

    Polamalu, Pittsburgh's long-haired legend, missed nine games in his tenth NFL season. Despite healthily starting every game in 2011 and the final five contests of 2012, some have come to label him as injury-prone. Polamalu has played in 130 of 160 regular season games since being drafted in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft. He has appeared in every possible game for five of his ten seasons.

    At 31 years of age, one would assume he should be able to fulfill his contract, which has two years remaining; but people are questioning whether the Steelers should honor his contract, which accounts for the fourth-highest cap hit in 2013, based on a perceived uncertainty surrounding his ability to play an entire season, as time continues to erode the abilities which make him unique and dominant.

    Polamalu is scheduled for cap hits of $10,387,500 (2013) and $11,137,500 (2014), but only $2,887,500 of each year is considered dead money - residual cap designations from signing bonuses which cannot be reassigned or restructured. With dead money being considerably low in ratio to base salaries, his contract has a wide range of options toward clearing cap space. We will focus on three.

    First, Pittsburgh could release Polamalu - fear of injury or not - to clear some cap space in 2013, and all of his hit against 2014. His dead money would accelerate to a penalty of $5.775 million against 2013, but the Steelers would save $4,612,500 from his originally scheduled cap hit, while completely erasing his hit in 2014. The biggest problem with parting ways with Polamalu is the fact Pittsburgh doesn't have a definite replacement on the roster yet, leaving many to believe the Steelers will draft a safety early in the upcoming draft.

    Should Pittsburgh decide to keep him for one more season, allowing a possible draft pick to understudy a future hall-of-famer, they could restructure his contract. Normally, team's don't restructure two year deals, but it would save some cap dollars without losing him in 2013. Should the team restructure $6.4 million of his $7.5 million base salary into a signing bonus, they could charge half ($3.2 million) to 2014, saving an equal amount in 2013. If Polamalu wants to play in 2014, the Steelers could offer him an extension without its own signing bonus, giving them extra years to spread restructured money across. An extension would allow the team to deal with a reduced dead money penalty in 2015, covering only money restructured out of 2013 and 2014.

    The third option is to do nothing, allow him to play out 2013 and make the same tough decision prior to 2014, only with half of the penalty when considering release or retirement. The Steelers will most likely wish to retain him somehow, because all of the remaining safeties on their roster fit the mold of Clark, more than they do Polamalu.

    The group of reserves behind the starters has only one member who was on the 53-man roster to open the 2012 season - Robert Golden. Golden saw most of his action on special teams and spot slot duty in defensive packages late in the season after Ike Taylor, Curtis Brown and Keenan Lewis began dealing with injuries. His flexibility between safety and corner make him a valuable player, but he will need to show more improvement before being considered as a possible starter.

    Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith has spent the past several seasons bouncing between the Steelers active roster and its practice squad. He will need to have a tremendous training camp as he will not only be expected to outshine any incoming draft picks to earn the spot behind Polamalu on the depth chart, but also make Pittsburgh forget about their two top reserve safeties from 2012 - Ryan Mundy and Will Allen.

    Allen re-endeared himself to the Steelers when he took over for a struggling and unproductive Mundy as the team patiently awaited Polamalu's recovery. Both Allen and Mundy are about to become unrestricted free agents. Unfortunately Mundy's performance has not warranted another contract, and Allen's years of experience will demand too high of a contract even at CBA-mandated minimum, because of the team's position in regards to the salary cap.

    Even Clark could become a cap casualty in 2013 - the final year on his contract. He is the least likely to be released of our bubble list players, but after dealing with a couple of concussions in 2012, his physical style of play is taking a toll on his longevity. The only real option outside of doing nothing at all, would be to release him. Subtracting his dead money from his originally scheduled cap hit saves $3.5 million dollars against the cap. Clark was one of the biggest reasons for pass-defensive success as players were repeatedly subbed in for injured men this past season. However, as Colbert said, the Steelers aren't married to anybody anymore.

    Little has changed, outside of adding both Polamalu and Clark to our bubble list. After positional breakdowns have been explored, the bubble list will be revisited to determine which players are preventing the club from being cap compliant. Our cut list remains the same as well, however it won't remain this way for long.

    Even if Pittsburgh does not sign any free agents other than their own players whose contracts have expired, there are at least seven more players which have to be accounted for in our cap math - our upcoming draft picks. The following numbers are merely estimates - budgets to accommodate for eventual insertions. The Steelers are slated to select 17th. These figures were calculated by using the contracts of the 16th selections from each round of the 2012 draft, with an additional $15,000 per season of base salary to compensate for the league-wide increase in salary cap, rookie and veteran minimum scale, and tags and tenders. These estimates will be updated once actual contracts have been signed.

    The biggest question now, is where to assign these numbers to our 53-man ledger. We will include these numbers to insure we maintain our relativity to the cap in reality. I will let the readers decide where to assign these designations. The poll below asks which position the Steelers will draft with their first round pick. Whichever position the majority selects is where we'll insert the draft selection and make any necessary cuts to make room for the new player.

    In our next installment, we will insert our first draft pick and explore another group of multi-taskers. Safeties are required to support run defense and cover pass receivers. On offense, tight ends are expected to block defenders and catch passes. In Pittsburgh, a tight end is arguably the most important player of his team's offensive unit; but his injured knee will make his contract one of the most glaring issues for the Steelers front office.

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com...lu-clark-allen

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    Hall of Famer Dee Dub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel View Post
    Phillip Thomas, free safety, Fresno State - Thomas, a 6-foot-1, 215 pound safety is an absolute ball hawk. This year, he amassed eight interceptions, three of which he returned for a touchdown, 84 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, and four sacks. However, he did all of this playing against lower competition. He is a good athlete with huge upside and he could rise to a top 40 pick by draft time.
    He didn't look so good in the one on one coverage today at the Senior Bowl practice. Struggled.
    Steelers 2014 Draft

    1-Darqueze Dennard CB Michigan State
    2-Jordan Matthews WR Vanderbilt
    3-Jordan Tripp ILB/OLB Montana
    4-Christian Jones ILB Florida State
    5-Brent Urban DE Virginia
    5-Michael Schofield OG/OT Michigan
    6-Kadeem Edwards OG Tennessee State
    6-Ben Gardner DE Stanford
    7-Aaron Colvin CB Oklahoma

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    Legend hawaiiansteel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dee Dub View Post
    He didn't look so good in the one on one coverage today at the Senior Bowl practice. Struggled.
    Phillip Thomas, S, Fresno State:

    The emphasis on the passing game has NFL scouts searching for athletic deep-middle defenders with cover skills and big-hit ability. Thomas had a knack for making big plays as a senior at Fresno State (eight interceptions and three pick-sixes), but scouts still have reservations about his overall speed and athleticism.

    http://www.nfl.com/seniorbowl/story/...bowl-prospects

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    Hall of Famer Dee Dub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigRob View Post
    Screw these guys. They have little to no knowledge. How do you leave D.J. Swearinger off of this list? He has experience at corner and safety.

    The guy is ferocious and will be taken in the second round depending on how he runs.
    D.J. Swearinger may have just taken himself off some lists himself. He no-showed the Senior Bowl but worse than that he canceled within 72 hours. They do not like that. Not good.
    Steelers 2014 Draft

    1-Darqueze Dennard CB Michigan State
    2-Jordan Matthews WR Vanderbilt
    3-Jordan Tripp ILB/OLB Montana
    4-Christian Jones ILB Florida State
    5-Brent Urban DE Virginia
    5-Michael Schofield OG/OT Michigan
    6-Kadeem Edwards OG Tennessee State
    6-Ben Gardner DE Stanford
    7-Aaron Colvin CB Oklahoma

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