Release Woodley after June 1, re-sign Worillds
Re-sign Velasco 3 year/$7.5M, release Pouncey
Trade Ben for two mid firsts after June 1
Move up in the first to grab a top LT
Move up in the first to grab a top WR
1.30) Zach Cunningham, OLB, Vandy
2.62) Josh Jones, SS, NC State
3.94) Sidney Jones, CB, Wash
3.105) Anthony Walker, ILB, Northwestern
4.124) James Connor, RB, Pitt
5.156) Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE, Villanova
6.187) Jordan Evans, OLB, Okla
7.219) Stevie Tu'ikolovatu, DT, USC
The referee said that you hit Brian Sipe too hard. Did you hit him too hard?
I hit him as hard as I could - Jack Lambert
I voted to release Ike. I know he just restructured, but its time to move on. If we have to roll with Gay and Allen next year to start so be it. Maybe a high pick next year will be able to contribute. I mean anyone can play 10 yds off the L.O.S. right lol.
The Woodley / Woirlds issue is another story. Tough to get rid of Woodley and his money unless its thru a trade. The Oakland Raiders have huge cap room next year, so they might take the bait for a trade. The Steelers FO could make a trade that favors the Raiders to help get it done.
I think Woirlds will be the next Victor Butler of the offseason. Very desirable OLB that was not a full time starter but has a lot of potential. His play of late has caused his stock to rise that is for sure. Resigning him would be less of a burden if we could trade Woodley.
Consider how Levi Brown came to the burgh. Levi Brown has a $6.5M salary for next season, but if he is released then there is zero cap hit - because the Cards have it on their books.
Im not sure we need as many drastic changes as most think.
On the O side of the ball, I think we need 2 things. Another Heath Miller and a big physical WR. The OLine isn't as bad as we think. As much as Beachum doesn't look like a LT, I think his hustle and work ethic are good enough to man the position. I think the rest of the OLine is out of position and we should re-align guys to make it easier to run to the right. We've got 2 guys on our roster that can move defenders - Adams and Foster. And imho, those 2 should be playing RT and RG respectively. The athletic DD should be moved to LG where he can pull right and open up huge holes behind Adams/Foster. I'd extend Pouncey and try to keep Velasco as a backup. I'd also keep Gilby as a swing backup tackle and would continue trying to get him some work at LT where I think he could still have potential.
On D, we're aging. And we're struggling to get a consistent pass rush. And our Ss always seem to be out of position. I know everyone wants to blame Ike, but I don't think he's the problem and he's playing nearly at the same level he always has. I think we're in good shape with Ike, Gay, and Tez. I'd try to draft another CB in the mid rounds for the future. I do think it's time for Clark and Keisel to go. Will Allen has played well and I think he can bridge the gap at FS until Golden is ready to step in. I'd even be ok with Golden stepping in and having Allen as a backup to both S positions. I'd try to restructure/extend Troy for another couple seasons to give Shark time to develop. I still think Troy is a freak of nature and he's just getting out of position because we've been asking him to do too much. We need a real MLB so Troy doesn't have to compensate.
The front 7 is where it gets tricky. 3 positions are locked down in my mind - Heyward, Worilds, and Timmons. Woodley's contract means we have to keep him for another year, so we're gonna have to figure out if he can play ROLB. Im also not convinced JJ is a real ROLB and I'd have him competing inside with Spence and Williams. Worilds, Timmons, JJ, and Woodley might not be a bad group of starting LBs if 2 can change positions. I'd probably try and get an OLB and ILB in the draft for the long haul.
The DLine might just have to roll with Hood, McClendon, and Heyward for now. I don't know what the coaches think of the guys behind them, but I really liked the limited stuff we've seen from Arnfelt and Fangupo. They looked built to play like Smitty and Hampton to me. I also think McClendon can get better and he has improved over the season. I'd also be open to McClendon/Woods at either NT or DE and letting Hood leave. But we might be able to keep Hood for a decent price and I think he's actually looked better on Keisel's side of the field.
Ultimately I'd just try to keep moving forward through the draft and target a TE, WR, NT, ILB, CB, OLB, T, and RB in the draft. I'd take BPA when we pick because there's a lot of areas we need to improve and an improvement anywhere will benefit this team. I'd also be on the lookout for a P and K and to see which cheap guys we can pick up via FA. The last thought would be we need an explosive RB that can get outside the tackles and be a threat to score from anywhere.
Last three games with a healthy line playing together...1 Sack. OLs need to grow together. Back to square 1 with all the injuries...Hope they gel fast.They made 2 1st & 2 2nd round investments as of late. Eventually you have to start investing in high round skill players or your talent level drops especially when they depart via FA. You won't find a AB every year & by '14 the other 3rd round starter at WR will be gone. Get a proven FA who could play LT...Answer that question & develop Adams or Beachum. Invest early picks in a big WR & TE...Maybe even a 1 & 2. The Steelers kind of filled their quota in the OL investment & have to see it out. If the are picking in the Top 12-15 & a franchise guy is there...I think you make that pick. If a playoff team or in the 17-20 range...I think you go a different direction.
The point about young guys on the roster...You also make the argument against going after a LT in the first. There is no way to tell if a 1st round LT will be able to start day 1. I think Matthews should be ready day 1. Being an OL guy I do have a little concern. When you have a LT coming out of college that has the QB in shotgun most of the time...You can't get a full evaluation especially one being run from the pistol. That would be a whole other topic for explanation but as a "Steeler" fan I would like to see more snaps with the QB under C. They other Top 3 may or may not be ready based on history. Most of the time you feel really confident if you get the #1 or #2 LT in the draft is a day 1 starter at LT. I don't see the Steelers drafting in the Top 10 so I don't think they will get that guy. They really don't have any positions left to stick an OL until he is "ready". If they miss the playoffs for the 2nd year in a row...Do they have the luxury of letting another 1st rounder sit on the bench?
3 of the Top 4 picks in the '13 draft were LTs. All of them ended up starting at RT. Some had a good LT in front of them but all had signs of struggle. Who know what they would have looked like being forced into LT. I think the only one who logged snaps at LT was Joekel got 12 snaps at LT before he went down in the 5th game. I think all 5 1st round OTs started on the right side with Fluker being forced to the left with Dunlaps injury. For the "PFF" people in here, their grades at RT Fluker -7.0, Fisher -19.8, Joekel -6.1, & Johnson -3.1. Remember...Adams looked good his rookie year when he had to start at RT. We saw what he looked like on the left before he was ready. Two most difficult positions to play in NFL...QB #1...LT#2. You just can't pencil guys in at those spots...They have to see live bullets.
The Steelers have addressed the OL early. They used alot of resources. They have to get a return on that investment. If they aren't sure or think they need a little more time...Have to go to FA. A 2nd tier guy whos has LT starts capable of being a bridge. I think that was what Levi Brown was. I don't think the Steelers are ready to give up on the roster but they will make sure they have some answer at LT regardless. Unless they pick very early...They won't "risk" that answer coming in the form of a rookie. With Wallace departing & Sanders on his way out...WR will be a huge need. Wheaton looks good on paper but he hasn't got it yet. There is no proof as of yet to believe he will be anything better than Sanders and arguments are galore that Sanders isn't a #2. Miller appears to be getting back to form but he is in the back stretch. Spaeth has a role on this team & will be a solid #3. The Steelers have a garbage bag full of legos at TE behind him. They need the compliment & future at TE. I wasn't fan of Bell coming out but I like what I see so far. They invested in him at RB & he is the future. He isn't there yet but I have seen enough to say he is that. I have little doubt that a TE & WR in rounds 1 & 2 will make the biggest difference. Combine that with BB, Bell, Miller, Brown, Wheaton, & a retained Cotchery...That is what they called "Armed". A healthy Pouncey...Foster, Decastro, Gilbert, Adams, Beachum...A retained Velasco...And the Wild Card FA LT (Or Levi Brown with a paycut)...They will make huge strides.
Last edited by JUST-PLAIN-NASTY; 12-06-2013 at 12:35 PM.
1st Njoku TE
2nd Willis/Rivers OLB
3a McMillan ILB
3b Griffin CB
4th Dobbs QB
5th Conner RB
6th Nicholson S
7th Ebukam OLB
1st Davis ILB
2nd Willis/Rivers OLB
3a Hodges TE
3b Griffin CB
4th Dobbs QB
5th Conner RB
6th Nicholson S
7th Ebukam OLB
Fixing the front 7 on D is going to be the much bigger task this offseason imho. We need a pass rush and to be able to stop the run. I wouldn't be against a ILB/NT being in consideration for our top draft picks. I'd also consider a ROLB if the right guy was there, but that's dicey because we probably feel like the JJ pick needs time to play out and we likely won't consider moving him inside.
I agree everything helps and its a team effort. Just saying the TE is the one position on offense that impacts everything you are trying to do in a significant way. And great TE play can make everything click.