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Thread: Colbert: NT still critical in Steelers' defense

  1. #1
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    Colbert: NT still critical in Steelers' defense

    PITTSBURGH -- Louis Nix III, the top nose tackle prospect in the draft, has been linked to the Steelers as much as any player in the mock drafts that have already proliferated.

    ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay have done two mock drafts apiece and each time they have had the Steelers taking Nix with the 15th overall pick.

    Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert rarely talks about individual players before the draft. And true to form he didn't tip his hand when discussing how the role of nose tackles has changed as the NFL has become more of a passing league.

    Colbert acknowledged that the Steelers only played their base defense about 40 percent of the time last season, and the nose tackle is the first player to come off the field when the Steelers use one of their sub-packages.

    But he dismissed the notion that such math devalues nose tackles, especially on a Steelers' defense that is predicated on stopping the run.

    "In a 3-4 defense you're still going to start with a nose tackle," Colbert told Pittsburgh reporters at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. "You have to get into third-down situations, and those second-and-longs, too. If you don't have that player help you get to those extended downs then you're going to have problems.

    The Steelers had their share of problems stopping the run last season.

    They yielded 125 rushing yards per game, an increase of 30 yards from 2012, and that spike coincided with Steve McLendon taking over at nose tackle for five-time Pro Bowler Casey Hampton.

    It would be unfair and inaccurate to pin the Steelers' struggles in stopping the run solely on McLendon.

    It certainly didn't help that the Steelers had a rookie inside linebacker Vince Williams learning on the job in 2013. Or that the Steelers were not nearly as sound from an assignment standpoint as they have been in past seasons.

    Whether they think they need an upgrade at nose tackle is another question.

    When asked last week to assess McLendon's performance in 2013, Colbert said, "He did OK. He fought through some injuries and gave us some good work. But to say anybody was good enough, including myself, when you're 8-8 that's a disservice to the organization."

    That qualifies as neither an endorsement nor an indictment of McLendon, which is why the Steelers are presumably open to taking a player who will be on the field less than half the time with their first-round pick.

    If they use their first selection on a nose tackle, Nix appears to be the only one worthy of such a high pick.

    The former Notre Dame standout fits the prototype for a space-eating nose tackle, one who can anchor the middle of the defensive line and free the inside linebackers to flow to the ball.

    Nix has to check out medically at the combine after undergoing surgery last November to repair torn meniscus in his knee. It will also be interesting to see what he weighs -- the 6-2 Nix is generally listed at 345 pounds -- and what kind of shape he is in three months after his surgery.

    If Nix is in good shape that would shine a positive light on his work ethic and answer questions the Steelers may have about his knee.

    2017 Mock

    1. T.J Watt, OLB/DE, Wisconsin - will be a huge mistake if available and we pass

    2. Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson

    3. Josh Jones, S, N.C. State

    3. Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland

    4. Trey Hendrickson, DE, Florida Atlantic

    5. Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M

    6. Barry Sanders, RB, Oklahoma State (How can you go wrong with that name, however the sample size is so small that his dad may be better even in his 50's)

    7. Alec Torgersen, QB, Pennsylvania

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    I'm willing to bet the Steelers don't take him in the first. CB, S and WR and probably IL will be before that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steelhere10 View Post
    I'm willing to bet the Steelers don't take him in the first. CB, S and WR and probably IL will be before that.
    The Steelers won't draft for need in the first, they will go BPA. There is a good chance that there will not be a player who plays any of those positions who ranks higher than Nix on their board.

    There certainly won't be a higher safety.
    At WR, after Watkins (who should be long gone) there is a mixed bag and the position is deep enough to wait until later.
    Only two CBs might be rated as high.
    Only one ILB might be rated as high.

    There is a strong chance that whoever is rated highest - and still available - between Nix, Mosely, Dennard, and Gilbert will be the pick. This is barring a strange slide of a guy like Robinson, Watkins, Barr, Mack etc.

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    If we were drafting where we normally draft (in the 20's), I'd be THRILLED with Nix. But where we are, I have to think there will be 1-2 guys who will slide down (i.e. value). Not to mention guys like Dennard, who fill a bigger need.

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    We must improve to dominate at the LOS, or at least stalemate the LOS, on D. We looked like a sieve last year far too often.

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    I was scared the STEELERS would have ended up with POE last year. Now I wish they did.
    After seeing what he did for KCs Def., I have no problem with a similar NT in the 1st
    Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go...
    Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go...
    Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go...!!!

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    Steelers free agency: If Seahawks cut Red Bryant, he'd make a nice addition to the Steelers defensive line

    By Neal Coolong on Feb 25 2014

    Seattle is allegedly considering cutting Bryant in an effort to free up money to keep some of their younger players. The 29-year-old Bryant would make an excellent fit in Pittsburgh if his price tag was manageable.

    If the Steelers do find ways to move their salary cap number down, and keep the free agents they want to keep, Seattle's Red Bryant would be a nice addition.

    As the team weighs a variety of different positions as priorities in the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft, defensive line has to be considered in the running. Bryant, though, would make an immediate impact, particularly against the run, as a defensive end. For a team that was gashed on the ground as much as the Steelers were in 2013, it makes a lot of sense.

    Seattle is allegedly considering terminating the contract of the 29-year-old Bryant, largely because he's owed $8.5 million for 2014, and with big contracts coming both this year and the next few years, keeping their core group of players intact means they'll have to lose out on talented players like Bryant.

    How much he'd be willing to take is a different story. However, he would have a chance to play more often in Pittsburgh than he did in Seattle (less than 30 snaps a game) in a scheme that will fit him very well. If he is released, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Steelers chat him up a bit and see what it might take to bring him to Pittsburgh.



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