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Thread: Re-Shining The Steel Curtain: Steelers 2014 Draft Scores Big

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    Re-Shining The Steel Curtain: Steelers 2014 Draft Scores Big

    Re-Shining The Steel Curtain: Steelers 2014 Draft Scores Big

    By Maurice Moton May 13, 2014



    The Steelers opened their solid draft by selecting athletic Ohio State LB Ryan Shazier in the first round.

    The NFL and its fans have witnessed the transition to a “pass-happy”, fast-paced and high-scoring style of play across the league. However, the Super Bowl-winning Seattle Seahawks have proven there is still a place for a hard-nosed, grind-it-out type of approach to the game. The Pittsburgh Steelers have set the tone for decades for predicating champions like the Seahawks that feature a prominent defense. In this year’s draft, the Steelers made a commitment to stick to their DNA, drafting players who add bulk, versatility and a hardy attitude to a proud franchise.

    Throughout the draft, Pittsburgh was able to draft talented players outside of its needs, fill in roster gaps and add dimension to all three phases of the game.

    First-round pick LB Ryan Shazier of Ohio State initially seemed to be a risky pick with the defensive front in shambles. Following the second-round pick of Notre Dame DE Stephon Tuitt, the brilliance of the Steelers’ draft strategy was recognized. Shazier’s versatility will pay immediate dividends in Pittsburgh. His run-stopping ability will bolster a porous front-line that allowed 115.6 rushing yards per game in 2013. As an every-down linebacker, he can slip into man coverage or become part of a powerful blitz package. Playing alongside Lawrence Timmons as an inside linebacker will only make him more effective as he learns his position and takes co-command of the middle of the field.

    What made Shazier an even smarter pick was the decision to draft Tuitt as a potential immediate impact player to a decimated defensive line. In a 3-4 defense, Tuitt will seal off the edge as a 5-technique defensive lineman opposite side of Cameron Heyward, providing much-needed run support. The 19.5 sacks in his final two years at Notre Dame indicate he can be a viable threat to the quarterback if necessary. At 6-6 and 322 pounds, he’ll consume blocks and provide opportunities for Shazier to wreak havoc on offenses. Drafting this one-two punch of Shazier and Tuitt could be the push the Steelers needed to solidify and evolve their defensive front.

    Pittsburgh made sure to keep up with the times of the NFL, preventing its offense from being left behind in an era of offensive upheaval. Exceptional size and speed were the focus points between Rounds 3 and 4. Many supporters expected a defensive back to be drafted in these rounds, but the Steelers decided to improve their offense, particularly beneficial for QB Ben Roethlisberger.

    Kent State RB Dri Archer posted the fastest 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine (4.26) and has good pass-catching ability. Running backs too small to handle the workload as an every-down back but have the potential to move the ball on short pass plays have found their niche in the league. Darren Sproles was electrifying during his time in New Orleans before being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles. Danny Woodhead accumulated more than 1,000 yards in 2013 with the San Diego Chargers as a running back and receiver.

    The Steelers may also utilize Archer as their X-factor capable of burning a defense in space with his speed as a kick/punt returner to shorten the field. The combination of his versatility and exceptional speed will add a wrinkle to the Steelers' offense that has never been seen before in Steeler Nation. Fans need to look no further than former WR Mike Wallace as a reminder of what speed on offense can do for a football team.

    On the other side of the spectrum, size and manpower has been added to Roethlisberger’s arsenal. Clemson WR Martavis Bryant, as a 6-4 athletic marvel, will command attention in the red zone if his pass-catching technique remains intact. He has a long way to go before eliciting flashbacks of Plaxico Burress in his heyday, but he certainly has the potential with his stature and skill set. Bryant will enter camp as a tallest of the wide receivers on the roster and will likely challenge Markus Wheaton as the receiver starting opposite of Antonio Brown. Bryant’s progress as a red-zone threat could push him to the forefront of the offense despite Wheaton’s expanded role at the position.

    Pittsburgh added depth to positions thin of talent during Rounds 5-7. Most notable of these reserve players, Arizona CB Shaquille Richardson won’t crack the starting lineup in his rookie year but could develop into a physical press-coverage defender one day. Ike Taylor’s time as a productive player in the NFL is dwindling and the Steelers will need physicality in their backfield. Richardson could possibly take the traditional route of being a proud development of the coaching staff before earning an opportunity on the field. He has the athleticism and long arms to make plays if he accepts coaching.

    Another late round notable, NT Dan McCullers from Tennessee is a prototypical gap-filling lineman. As one of the bigger defensive line prospects in the draft, he carries much intrigue to Pittsburgh. He’s not likely to see the field in his rookie year but his size cannot be matched. At 6-7 and 352 pounds, the coaching staff will work on developing his techniques to become a better run stopper. If the process goes smoothly and McCullers plays with effort, he too can become a solid starter within a few years and an immovable object in the middle of the defensive line.

    Draft Grade: A

    http://www.football.com/en-us/re-shi...ft-scores-big/

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    Another great draft grade. Never know for sure until a couple of years, but I'm more optimistic about this draft that I have been the past couple of years.
    Playing Fantasy Football does not qualify you to be the in the front office or on the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are professionals and you are not!

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    And at one time, most graded the Steelers' 2008 at an "A" too. It turns out it was garbage, across the board. Just because the suits are grading us well for 2014, it means zero to me.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/pos...ers-2008-draft

  4. #4
    my biggest problem with it is it seemed too focused on "speed"... i hope that was a coincidence and not a fascination....

    Give me the guy who runs 4.6 but, is a football player instead of the guy who runs 4.3 and is a track star...
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteelerOfDeVille View Post
    my biggest problem with it is it seemed too focused on "speed"... i hope that was a coincidence and not a fascination....

    Give me the guy who runs 4.6 but, is a football player instead of the guy who runs 4.3 and is a track star...
    Yea, Ray Lewis ran a 4.7, and he ended up being an OK player. If Shazier runs into Adrian Peterson coming through the hole and AP lowers his shoulders, what will happen? Does he get trucked?

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by sick beats View Post
    Yea, Ray Lewis ran a 4.7, and he ended up being an OK player. If Shazier runs into Adrian Peterson coming through the hole and AP lowers his shoulders, what will happen? Does he get trucked?
    Yeah he does! AP then plows forward for 5 yards after contact but since RS hit him 6 yds deep in the backfield it's 2nd and 11. We can all live with that.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by SteelerOfDeVille View Post
    my biggest problem with it is it seemed too focused on "speed"... i hope that was a coincidence and not a fascination....

    Give me the guy who runs 4.6 but, is a football player instead of the guy who runs 4.3 and is a track star...
    This is a legit concern...

    Thankfully, all of the players taken with the Steelers' premium picks were productive on the field as well as fast...

    Shazier: The only player in D1 to have at least 100 tackles and 20 for loss...

    Tuitt: 19.5 sacks in two years plus 22 tackles for loss...he even got an INT...

    Archer: Over the last two years averaged over 8 yards per carry (over 7 per carry in four) with 22 rushing TDs and 8 receiving TDs (Along with 60+ catches over the last two years, 99 in four) not to mention the 4 return TDs...

    Hell, even Martavis Bryant has a college career YpC average of 22+...

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    Steelers draft brings team up to speed

    May 15, 2014
    By Ray Fittipaldo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    Old and slow became a popular way to describe the Steelers the past few years as an aging core of veterans remained in prominent roles in the hope the team would compete for another Super Bowl. But after consecutive 8-8 seasons, general manager Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin are reshaping the roster this offseason with an emphasis on accumulating fast players.

    From free-agent acquisitions to the players drafted, the Steelers became faster at nearly every position since the 2013 season ended.

    Linebackers coach Keith Butler noted how the defense has three players who run the 40-yard dash in less than 4.4 seconds. The newest member of the defense is linebacker Ryan Shazier, the No. 15 overall pick who was timed in the 40 at the NFL combine at 4.38.

    The other two speedsters play in the secondary. Free-agent safety Mike Mitchell once ran 4.36, and safety Shamarko Thomas, a fourth-round pick in 2013, runs 4.37.

    None would win a race against third-round pick Dri Archer, a running back and kick returner, who ran the 40 in 4.26 seconds at the combine, the fastest time this year.

    Add in fourth-round receiver Martavis Bryant (4.42), one of the 15 fastest players at the combine, and the Steelers could field a competitive Olympic relay team.

    "I think you cover speed obviously, but it's football not a track meet," Tomlin said. "If you get a capable football player who happens to be fast, it's an asset. Speed players that we were able to acquire in this draft fit the bill in that regard. They are football players first who happen to be extremely fast."

    Shazier was by far the fastest linebacker available in the draft. The Steelers will use him on the inside of their defense and have him run sideline to sideline to track down running backs and receivers.

    "Sub 4.4 for a linebacker is moving," Butler said. "I like him a lot. You try to fit a need, and we thought with him we couldn't pass him up when he was there. He had that type of speed that you can't pass up. He's going to make us immediately faster on defense, which is going to help."

    Archer will be an instrumental player on special teams, and the Steelers plan to use his versatility on offense. He played running back in college but also has skills that can translate to receiver.

    "He's fast, yes, he's kick-return capable, all those things are obvious," Tomlin said. "This is a guy that is going to create some unique opportunities for us, from a package standpoint, in terms of getting him identified. Is he a running back? Is he a wideout? He's a splash playmaker. Regardless of position, he's a playmaker. He's a guy that gets yards in chunks and rings up the scoreboard."

    Bryant is the deep threat the Steelers were without in 2013 after Mike Wallace departed in free agency. Bryant can stretch the field for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and is capable of making big plays. He set an NCAA record by averaging 22.2 yards per reception at Clemson.

    "We feel like we got a guy to put opposite of Antonio Brown," receivers coach Richard Mann said. "He has excellent speed for a big guy."

    If Bryant isn't ready to play right away, the Steelers have a backup plan in Darrius Heyward-Bey, a six-year veteran who was signed as a free agent earlier this year. He was clocked at 4.30 in the 40-yard dash when he came out of Maryland.

    Heyward-Bey and Mitchell originally were drafted by the Oakland Raiders under late owner Al Davis, who valued speed above all else.

    Only time will tell if faster is better for the Steelers, but it's hard not to notice the emphasis being placed on speed throughout the roster.

    ■ What: Steelers rookie minicamp/orientation.

    ■ When: Friday-Sunday.

    ■ Where: Steelers South Side practice facility.

    ■ Note: The camp is not open to the public.

    http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/s...#ixzz31keDuNLL

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sick beats View Post
    Yea, Ray Lewis ran a 4.7, and he ended up being an OK player. If Shazier runs into Adrian Peterson coming through the hole and AP lowers his shoulders, what will happen? Does he get trucked?
    Most NFL linebackers get trucked in that situation. Especially Rookies. BUT Shazier slows AP down in that situation, and our other fast as crap linebacker wraps him up and then our mountain of a NT falls on the pile instantly killing everyone and causing an earthquake in China.
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  10. #10
    He lost me at Bryant being an athletic marvel. Talk about hyperbole.

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