Tag Archives: Forum

Fan Forum with Kevin Colbert

About a month ago, a telephone call from General Manager Kevin Colbert meant you were in a very select group of people, one of those about to be drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. On Tuesday, May ......

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Fan Forum to be part of meetings

Instant replay, in terms of the number of challenges coaches currently have, will be discussed. There will be a proposal to prohibit running backs from using the crown of the helmet whenever they e......

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Forum focuses on youth player safety

The Steelers and USA Football teamed up on Saturday to host the 2013 Western Pennsylvania Leadership Forum at North Hills Junior High School. The forum, attended by youth football league commissi......

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Youth Football Leadership Forum

The Pittsburgh Steelers and USA Football hosted the Western Pennsylvania State Youth Football Leadership Forum at North Hills High School. Representatives from local leagues met to discuss the Heads Up Football initiative from USA Football. This health and safety program engages players, coaches, and parents through education, safer tackling skills...

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BTSC Draft Forum: Evaluating Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill

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BTSC's Draft Forum has discussed the avenues the Steelers may take with the running back position as well as comparing the value of an offensive lineman with a nose tackle in the 2012 NFL Draft and free agency.

As the NFL Scouting Combine draws near, our esteemed panel has been discussing individual prospects and the level of interest teams may have in them.

We start off with Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill. The Steelers are highly unlikely to draft a quarterback in the first round (read: not happening), but Tannehill is being talked about as a potential mid-to-late first round prospect, and could be the target of a team trading up or down with Pittsburgh. We turn to our forum to answer some questions.

Background: We have highlighted the possible benefits of the Steelers trading down from the 24th overall pick. We know that teams have traded up or back into the first round to select a quarterback 14 times in the past 10 drafts, and five of those 14 picks came within three slots of where the Steelers are drafting this year. Obviously, each draft is unique; but it's tough to dismiss those occurrences as anomalies.

Question: Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill has been largely overshadowed by the hype of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. I see him as a talented project, but one who will likely draw a first-round pick nonetheless. What is your opinion on Tannehill as a passer, and do you feel he'd be available at 24? If he's there, what do you think the odds are of the Steelers trading down with someone who wants him?

Quarterbacks generally go higher than expected. Tannehill will probably benefit from a desperate team buying into the inflation of his position. Can you tell I don't love him as a prospect? His arm strength and accuracy are subpar, he lacks extensive experience at QB, and his decision making is not superb either. That being said, he is an athletic kid who has a pass first mentality. That is all the rage in the NFL right now and I think a team will gamble on him before the 24th pick. If he is still alive at 24 and someone wants to trade with us, I think we should take it unless someone high on our board fell a lot deeper than they should have.

- John Stephens

While many outlets disagree in terms of his arm strength and accuracy, Tannehill's main issue at this point is the broken foot that kept him out of the Senior Bowl and will keep him from working out at the combine this coming week.

The hype exists, whether or not it is actually founded on anything yet (his purportedly rising stock could largely be due to the typical politicking for certain players done through the media this time of year). The reality though is that teams are likely to only see Tannehill throw once - at Texas A&M's Pro Day on March 7 - and they would really have to love him to take him higher than 24.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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BTSC Draft Forum: Evaluating Georgia OG Cordy Glenn

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After discussing Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill as a possible target by another team (trading into the Steelers spot at 24th overall), the BTSC Draft Forum is now moving onto players the Steelers may draft themselves.

First up is Cordy Glenn, the mammoth G/T prospect out of Georgia.

The 6-foot-5, 346-pound Glenn fits the Steelers' desire to bring in offensive linemen who can play more than one position. His height and length make some see him more as a tackle, while his bulk and explosiveness seem to fit the profile of a guard.

For better or worse, the Forum's impression of him is mixed.

I just don't think he is a 1st rounder at the moment. I've only seen one game of him at G and he looked kind of awkward moving around in that role. He was shaky in pass protection and he couldn't stay on his man when he was run-blocking. I actually think he may make a better RT than G, being that he looks a lot better run-blocking when playing OT. Maybe after the combine I will think he is a 1st rounder, but he is a high 2nd to me now. Would rather have a pure G like Kevin Zeitler in the 2nd.

- Parris Brantley (a.k.a. StoneColdSteel)

It's worth mentioning that Glenn started 50 games along the offensive line at Georgia, tied for the most in school history with Clint Boling (4th round pick by Cincinnati in 2010). Of those 50 starts - 28 came at left guard, 18 at left tackle and four at right guard. Some feel he's best suited to the the interior of the offensive line.

Cordy Glenn to me is going to be an NFL guard. His absolute ceiling would be RT, but he'd need a lot of work on his mechanics. I think he lacks the natural elite athleticism to be a LT. He has the strength to keep rushers out of the pocket face to face, but he can struggle when blocking in space. He does great work with his hands, but lacks quick footwork in pass protection. In run blocking, Glenn has great lower body work that allows him to get a great push. If you compare him to Decastro he is probably a bit stronger, but DeCastro's technique and mechanics are far superior. Anyway, I think he would automatically be the best guard on the Steelers and with coaching could be one of the better OGs in the league. Definitely worth the pick at 24.

- John Stephens

Others feel he is more of a tackle prospect.

I know everyone is projecting Glenn at Guard, but I can see him playing OT in the NFL. Glenn played LT this past season at Georgia, and played well enough to be selected All SEC first team, making him one of the top offensive lineman, in the best conference in college football. Glenn moves better than Marcus Gilbert, has longer arms, and is a couple of pounds heavier than Gilbert was when he entered the draft. I watched Glenn play against LSU this past season, and he had no problem holding off the pass rush, against the best defense in college football.

Glenn has great feet, is able to stay low in his stance, and has good balance when engaging defenders. The same skill set he was able to display playing at LT, would also apply to LG. Add to that, that Glenn was able to play at a high level, against some of the best defenses college football has to offer, and I don't see how a team can go wrong drafting him in the first round.

- Greig Clawson

It's hard to see a player as big and versatile as Glenn falling out of the first round, and it seems likely he'll land somewhere in the 20s if he tests well at the 2012 NFL Combine (Feb. 22-28).

His footwork will likely keep him away from the highly-coveted left tackle position, but that isn't to suggest he could not play there. Branden Albert had really only played guard at the University of Virginia, since left tackle was locked down during his collegiate career by D'Brickashaw Ferguson (4th pick overall in 2006) and Eugene Monroe (8th overall in 2009). Albert was very highly rated at guard, but wanted to prove his position flexibility and ended up being selected 15th overall by Kansas City in the 2008 NFL Draft. He has since played every snap of his professional career at left tackle.

Glenn's versatility is key. If he could not only develop into a starting guard but also a quality back-up tackle, the Steelers would have more flexibility should heavy casualties again ravage the offensive line.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain

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BTSC Draft Forum: Running Back Seen as a Mid-Round Option in the 2012 NFL Draft

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In the second part of our Draft Forum series, we dig into the running back position in the draft as well as free agency. The days of the Workhorse Back are behind us, and with guys like Fred Jackson, Matt Forte and DeMarco Murray rushing and catching passes to a high degree of success, value in both player addition markets seems abundant.

The Steelers face an interesting dilemma at that position. In what looked to be a pretty stable group going into 2012 in January turned into perhaps the most anticipated training camp competition when RB Rashard Mendenhall tore his ACL in Week 17. His availability for the start of training camp is all but gone, and he could even miss the start of the regular season. Also, veteran RB Mewelde Moore is a free agent, and 2011 7th round pick Baron Batch (a guy our panel loves) is returning from an ACL tear of his own. How will all of these things factor into the running back position this offseason?

RB Rashard Mendenhall tore an ACL on the final game of the season. Recently, General Manager Kevin Colbert said he "never feels good" about the health of a player for a year after the injury. While it's possible Mendenhall plays this season, free agency and the draft will occur well before any definitive word on Mendenhall's availability will come.

Considering the current depth of running backs (Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, John Clay and Baron Batch), do you feel his injury makes that position a priority in the draft and/or free agency? Will any effort be made to re-sign veteran Mewelde Moore?

RB is always a position that front offices around the NFL are looking to fill with cheap talent, and that doesn't change with us. Although our need isn't as pertinent as other teams, I believe it would be beneficial to add a faster, change-of-pace RB on day 3 of the draft. IMO unless Batch's knee can't hold up and we cut both Clay and Dwyer, Mewelde Moore's days as a Steeler are numbered. Some prospects I would target are: Cyrus Gray (Texas A&M), Ronnie Hillman (San Diego State), Tauren Poole (Tennessee), and Adonis Thomas (Toledo).

- Parris Brantley

The Steelers have sworn by their ability to find running back talent both inside and outside the draft since Willie Parker, an undrafted back from North Carolina, exploded through the league. While it may not be a need, the amount of talented backs Pittsburgh has produced over the last eight years, and the frequency in which they've brought them in, suggests strongly they'll be looking late in the draft for a diamond in the rough.

Is it really worth it, though?

The Steelers should be OK at the running back position in 2012. They have enough horses in the stable to give the team production in the running game.

While it's nice to have a back with big play ability, the Steelers offense doesn't need big plays from their backs to stay on schedule. In the same interview, where Colbert discussed Mendenhall's prognosis for the 2012 season, he also stated that Redman has "established himself as an NFL running back". That's all the endorsement I need, regarding Redman's ability to top the depth chart at RB.

Although I would of liked to have seen more, I was encouraged by what I saw from Jonathan Dwyer and John Clay, and that was with no work in the off season. That won't be the case heading into 2012, and I'm sure both will get much more attention during the off season. The real wild card is Baron Batch. Worst case scenario, he can become a solid replacement for Mewelde Moore. Best case scenario, he turns out to be a poor man's Ray Rice, and becomes the Steelers primary back this season.

- Greig Clawson

Batch was lauded for his willingness to block before tearing his ACL in training camp, and showed a strong ability to step up and stone pass rushers. Pass blocking is a major factor in a young running back's ability to get on the field. If he can't do it, opponents will see that and be able to key on the offense's intention when he's out there.

Batch is still a wait-and-see prospect, let's not forget he was a 7th round draft pick. He'll compete basically as a rookie in this camp against a positional group that all saw carries this season.

And that's before the draft, which could see the Steelers add a dynamic athlete who may not have first-round size or speed, but an underrated trait; pass catching ability. RB Dexter McCluster had 41 catches in Todd Haley's offense last year. Jamaal Charles had 45 in 2010.

I really do not feel like running back should be a priority in the draft. Personally, I think Redman can be just as productive as Mendenhall. He does not have burner speed, but I think he fights for extra yards on "tough" carries better than Rashard. He has more of that "fall forward" style that I used to love in Bettis (no he is not "The Next Bettis").

Additionally, I still have pretty lofty hopes for Batch (see Moore not resigned). The kids was making waves in camp and I hope that carries over to this year. Furthermore, I read somewhere that Haley does a great job with pass catching backs. So, as far as the draft goes, I don't see them investing a 1-4 round pick on a RB, but I wouldn't be surprised if they took a late speedster to add another dynamic.

- John Stephens

Because of his presence (and low price tag), the Steelers will give Batch the opportunity to compete for Moore's spot in training camp. Moore won't be re-signed immediately, but could return if Batch or anyone else underwhelms.

Speed kills, though. You can never have enough of it. If that kind of running back is available on Day 3, I think they'll pull the trigger. Considering Redman and Clay both were products of the Steelers' practice squad, and Dwyer spent his rookie season inactive for nearly every game, bringing in another back through the system seems to work well.



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain


BTSC Draft Forum: Members Sound Off On Nose Tackle, Offensive Line Concerns in Draft, Free Agency

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Nothing in the offseason is more enjoyable than draft speculation. It turns out, some BTSC readers and moderators work in draft knowledge the way some artists work in oils or clay.

There's been some great dialogue going in the comments of our Steelers Draft series (most recently, Rebecca Rollett highlighted the possibility of the Steelers drafting an inside linebacker with the 24th overall pick). Along with those posts (which will continue through the week), we wanted to dig a bit deeper into some overlying issues facing the Steelers this offseason, and how the draft may be used to address them.

I put together a string of questions and posed them to each of the participants.

Question: It's rare the Steelers go into a draft with one really thin position, let alone two (OG and NT). Salary cap restrictions and retirement forced a difficult position for the Steelers this off-season. Which, if either, position will the Steelers look to free agency for help (beginning March 13), and which will be their top draft priority (April 26)?

NTs in FA can be very expensive, so I'd be really surprised with our financial situation if we even consider looking at FA NTs. Also, ideally we'd like to remove some of our financial dependency on that position (see Hampton's due $ 8 million this season). Guard, on the other hand, might be interesting. Carl Nicks, Evan Mathis, and Ben Grubbs will all be far too expensive. But, what about Jake Scott from the Titans? Maybe we could steal him for a few million a year and cut Kemoeatu. Therefore, I think we'd be looking at a NT with our 1st or 2nd pick. I think Alameda Ta'amu in the 2nd would be a nice steal.

- John Stephens

He's not lying. The kinds of nose tackles that excel in Pittsburgh's defensive alignment cost quite a bit. However, the Steelers won games this past year while utilizing either Chris Hoke or Steve McLendon, neither of whom cost much. Perhaps decent value can be found in free agency without a hefty price tag. Probably unwise to bank on that, though.

Ta'amu will be a hot commodity for sure by the second round. He'd be the Steelers' version of Terrence Cody - a massively big run-stuffing tackle taken in the second round. He's probably not a three-down player, but neither is Hampton, whether he is 100 percent healthy or not.

The Steelers should go after a Guard in free agency, over a NT. The Steelers have enough talent on the D-line, and enough short term options, to allow time to groom a rookie NT over the course of the season. McLendon is good enough to hold down the fort, which would allow the rookie to play in rotation, as he learns the job. Also, the rest of the front seven is talented enough, to cover up for any weak links in the chain. The same can't be said for the O-line, because they need someone who can play at a high level immediately.

As far as the draft is concerned, I feel that NT is a bigger priority, because the positional value is higher. The heart and soul of the Steelers, is their defensive front seven. When they have three extremely talented players on the D-line, every other position on the defense plays at a higher level. The pass rush becomes more effective, which makes the DB's job much, much easier, and increases the opportunities for turn overs.

- Greig Clawson

Clawson agrees with Stephens, and provides some good insight behind the importance of the defensive line. Let's keep in mind, the BTSC-sprouted phrase "One Thousand Pounds in the First Three Rounds" could include defensive linemen as well.

I believe it is much easier to find a quality OT in free agency than a quality NT. We've had Jonathan Scott the past two years play as a serviceable backup (although he hasn't been very serviceable at times) and the front office managed to scoop up Max Starks after it was confirmed that he could resume his playing career. The only quality free agent NTs I can think of that were available last year played on the same team: Aubrayo Franklin and Shaun Rogers. If worst comes to worst, we'll have to cut Hampton, sign one of those guys as a backup, and draft a future replacement at that position. OTs are always available in the draft and free agency, while quality NTs are often scarce. With Marcus Gilbert possibly going to LT next season, NT is one of the top priorities for us in the 2012 draft.

- Parris Brantley (aka StoneColdSteel)

If we're comparing a 0-technique (straight-up over the center) to a 3-technique (off the shoulder of the guard), I would tend to agree it's a bit harder to find in free agency. That's mostly because it's hard to find bulky quick-footed men, period. The rub comes in the word "quality." Starks benefits because he's familiar with the team and the offense (last year, anyway). Scott played with OL coach Sean Kugler in Buffalo, so they were comfortable with who they were getting. Flozell Adams was just a great veteran football player, and did a pretty decent job in his stint in Pittsburgh.

Can the Steelers find guys like that again?

Conclusion: The group generally feels a nose tackle would be a better position to fill as a priority through the draft instead of free agency.

It's hard to disagree with that categorically. While Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster may not be setting the world on fire, they will both still be on the team come training camp. Hampton, if not outright released, is a sure-lock to start the year on the PUP list.

Next Edition: Running backs



Source: Behind the Steel Curtain


Report: Steelers – Redskins had trade planned

According to reports, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins had a 1st round trade planned.  The Steelers were interested in trading to the #16 pick fr0m pick #31.  It is not yet known who the Steelers were targeting but the trade fell through when their targeted player was no longer available.

Per Jim Wexell of Steel City Insider, Dan Snyder, appearing on Sirius Radio this past week, said that Washington and Pittsburgh had a deal in place for the No. 16 overall pick, but "the player was gone."

Earlier in the first round Dan Snyder and the Redskins traded from the #10 pick to the #16 pick to allow for the Jacksonville Jaguars to draft Blain Gabbert.  With that being said, it's likely the Steelers targeted player was drafted between picks #11 and #15.  The most likely pick was the #15 pick when the Miami Dolphins drafted Mike Pouncey from the Florida Gators.  However, it could have been JJ Watt.

It was well documented before the draft that the Steelers were interested in drafting Maurkice Pouncey's twin brother Mike.  What were the trade details?  And would the Steelers draft up that high for a guard?  Those questions are still unknown.  There is more details to follow on this story...

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