Tag Archives: Potential
Fri, 25 May 2012 17:23:22
by MARK KABOLY
The Steelers’ plan is to have rookie second-round pick Mike Adams take over...
Source: TribLIVE RSS Feeds
PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Former Ohio State Linebacker Andrew Sweat joined Seibel, Starkey and Miller on Sportsradio 93-7 The FAN to talk about the offer he received from the Cleveland Browns to tryout for the team, and the reasons why he decided to pass.
Sweat chose to pass on the opportunity to play for the Browns and rather instead pursue a career in law or medicine since he has suffered 3 concussions throughout his career. Despite fearing for his future health, Andrew said it was still a tough decision to make since he had always grown up dreaming about playing in the NFL.
Andrew also told us about his time at Ohio St. where he spent two years living with former QB Terrell Pryor, and what his best memories are as a Buckeye.
Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers
When I posted Part I of this series, I don’t think it was quite what many people were expecting it to be when they clicked on the link. OR60faithfull commented "When I first read the title of the article I had pondered that you might be offering insight on how best to integrate our new influx of talent," and others may have well been thinking the same. That isn’t really my metier, though—many on this site are far more qualified to do that than I am. I was more interested in the psychological aspects, for the draftees but even more for the coaches.
One of the comments I found particularly interesting was, not surprisingly, from Ivan Cole. He said the following:
What I find missing from this Is the player’s own self concept. There is some complicated psychological territory that needs to be plowed here. I’m speaking of whether or not a player believes he can or should improve. Often players fail precisely because they believe that they are already good enough and think improvement is unnecessary (after all it got them this far) Or, because they have always been dominant to this point in their lives the possibility of improvement is beyond their ability to conceive.
When I walked on to my college football team one advantage I had relative to the scholarship players was that I knew that I had to function at a much higher level if I would have any chance at all. I was able to move past a number of my teammates who came to believe, perhaps with good reason, that they were good enough based upon past performance. In addition, once they found this was no longer true, many had a difficult time adapting to the new reality. This is not confined to athletics. Many students at schools like Tomlin’s alma mater William and Mary develop mental health issues, including suicidal impulses once they are placed in a competitive academic environment where they realize that they are no longer dominant.
Ivan is quite correct—this phenomena is by no means confined to sports. In my own field, music, the "success rate" for college grads from a music program is extremely low. Probably lower (depending on how you define "success" for a music student) than the rate of high school football players who make it into the NFL. This is partly because, unlike the NFL, a symphony musician who wins a job at age 25 may possibly continue to fill that same job, and fill it well, for the next 30 or 40 years.
Particularly in the top music schools, the kids who are accepted were the best at their high school. They made it into the All-State orchestra or band or chorus. They won local and even regional competitions. But all of a sudden they aren't the best anymore. Now they are just one among many, looking for a way to distinguish themselves from the crowd.
My elder daughter is an oboist. She is definitely talented, and for years had slid by on her innate abilities. The man who taught her in undergraduate school is a wonderful person and a great teacher. He sat her down one day and leveled with her. Scott went to undergraduate school at the Cleveland Conservatory, and the oboe studio was taught at that time by a famous player and teacher. Scott said he was clearly the least talented player in his class. He is also the only one who is working as a professional oboist. The reason? "I got to the end of my talent very early on, and I discovered I would have to substitute hard work for the lack of it." In other words, he learned from a relatively early age to apply himself and to be the first one in and the last one out of the practice room.
How far did hard work take him? He is a member of the Pittsburgh Symphony oboe section. Which contains three people. For those of you not into classical music, the Pittsburgh Symphony is as well-respected among musicians as the Pittsburgh Steelers are among football fans. The PSO is possibly more respected in Europe than it is in the US. Her teacher has obtained something only an extremely select group of oboists achieve, and he did it not by being the most gifted but with old-fashioned elbow grease.
Everyone gets to the "end of his talent" sooner or later. I think perhaps Ben Roethlisberger is realizing this. Things as natural to him as breathing are becoming less possible as age and injuries take their toll, and if he wants to cement his status as a top quarterback in the NFL and make it to Canton he is going to have to substitute harder work, more film study, and a more "cerebral" approach for some of the native ability he has relied on thus far. (I believe he would have gone even farther and been less injured at this point had he come to this understanding a bit earlier, but better late than never.)
But whatever natural gifts a player brings to the table, there is also the matter of how the coaching staff is going to view him. My speculations in Part I of this series about the Pygmalion Effect received a confirmation from this comment:
As a son of an alcoholic father and an abusive mother, I really didn’t give a crap in school and my grades proved it. All of my teachers said I had potential but nothing was done about it past the point that they expected me to do poorly. Out of the blue, I began studying and changed my grades from barely passing to top of the class. This caused more problems because now I must be cheating. After a test I was sent to the principals office and my mother was called in to explain how I cheated to get an A on this test. My desk and locker were constantly searched to find the cheat sheets I must have been using. I was moved to the desk in the front of the class so that I couldn’t copy from the desk next to me. No thought or credit was given to the fact that maybe I was studying. I definitely agree with your analogy on how the staff looks as lower draft picks. They will have a harder time proving they are the guy.
But, like this poster, one needn't accept other people's expectations as defining one's destiny. In Part II of the series I discussed some traits common to the few players who beat the odds and excelled as low-round draft picks. Those traits can probably be summed up, as PaVaSteeler did, by "strength of character."
I’ve written before, at my usual great length, about the balance between talent and effort, and won't attempt to reproduce the discussion now. The point is, for a late-round pick, this is where the rubber meets the road. So with that lengthy preamble, I would like to give Momma's charge to the 2012 class.
I welcome all of you fine gentlemen to Steeler Nation. You had the great good fortune to be chosen by the best organization, top to bottom, in the league. If you want to continue to be a Steeler for any appreciable length of time, the ball is in your court. Now is not the time to kick back and enjoy the feeling of being signed to a team. In fact, the time to do that is after you retire. Right now, this very moment, you are making the decision as to whether you want to be an NFL player or whether you will just be a statistic in my next series of posts about low-round draft failures.
You may have been blessed with every every advantage growing up, or you may have had an incredibly difficult life. You may have been the star of your high school football team, or you may have been a benchwarmer most of the time. You may be angry because you weren’t drafted higher, or you may be grateful you were drafted (or signed) at all. None of this matters now.
You can’t control where and when you were drafted, or who drafted you, or whether the coaching staff is high on you or just thought you would be a slightly-better-than-average camp body. This still leaves several critical things in your control. How hard are you going to work? What sort of attitude are you going to take? And how good a teammate are you going to be? It's up to you. Here are a few things to ponder:
Be humble and accept help. The Steelers are one of the few organizations in which the veterans will mentor the newbies, even possibly to their own detriment. There is no one who can help you more than the guy who's been doing it already. And if you succeed, remember to give back when the time comes and you are a vet welcoming a new class of youngsters.
Come to camp in the best shape of your life, work your tail off, and catch the coaches’ eye. Special Teams is where young guys get their chance. Take it. Brett Keisel started on Special Teams, and here’s what his coach had to say:
"He was a demon," remembered Mitchell. "Here's a guy who's 6-foot-6, close to 300 pounds, flying down the field and taking the heads off people. That's where he got his chance. Then when some guys left, Brett stepped in, and he never looked back."
Remember, one way or another you are catching the coaches' eyes. They aren’t only looking for stars, they are looking for the easy guys to put at the top of the list when it is time for the Turk to make his rounds.
And finally, find a way to finish your education if you didn't graduate. It's difficult for young adults paying off tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans to understand why so many athletes take their education for granted, or even fail to profit from it.
Your college scholarship was a huge blessing, whether you realize it or not, and it's worth the time and annoyance to get the benefit of it. Just this year your new QB, Ben Roethlisberger, finished his degree; possibly the best safety currently playing in the NFL, Troy Polamalu, finished his as well. And a 2010 rookie, Curtis Brown, returned to classes as soon as the season ended, although, as he tweeted, he "really didn't want to come back to school." These men are taking the long view. If Roethlisberger and Polamalu were to retire today, they will already have made more money than the vast majority of Americans could ever dream of. If they feel their education is valuable, what does that mean for you? As Curtis Brown said, "Never start something and not finish."
And now back to our regularly scheduled subject—football. Here is an example to encourage you as you set to work. One of the sixth round picks in 2010 was Antonio Brown. You may have heard of him. Not a lot of people had, in 2010. He was playing for Central Michigan University. The Steelers sent their scouts to look at another player on the team, and something about Brown caught their eye. When the draft came around, they had a hole at wide receiver and an extra pick, thanks to Santonio Holmes, so they took a flier on Brown.
The Steelers had drafted another receiver in the third round—Emmanuel Sanders. There were, as Mike Tomlin said, two dogs and one bone, and Tomlin continually played the two against each other. But by season’s end Brown had cemented his status as the returner and wowed the world with a few big catches in the postseason.
He chose not to rest on those laurels. Instead he came to training camp determined to outwork everyone. A nagging foot injury to Sanders gave Brown his chance to earn a roster spot. Last year, as a second-year receiver from a small school who was picked in the sixth round, he made NFL history as the only wide receiver to attain 1000 yards each as a receiver and a returner. He also made the Pro Bowl. Brown could, as a result, be a diva, but he's a great colleague. He and the other receivers help and support one another, something you will find throughout the team.
Even at the Pro Bowl Brown's relentless work ethic was noticable. While many of the players were phoning it in at best he was on the field for nearly every offensive snap, and then managed to persuade the defensive coaches to put him in as a DB late in the game. Okay, so Larry Fitzgerald completely toasted him, but at least he was trying.
But perhaps, you may say, this is because Antonio Brown had a loving, supportive family and good upbringing. It's a great theory, but it isn't the case. He grew up in Liberty City, one of the less salubrious neighborhoods of Miami, and as Teresa Varley, author of this article about Brown on Steelers.com said, "To get out of there in a way that involves neither a ride in the back of a police car nor a hearse is an accomplishment." He had a rather difficult early life, including a time on the streets at age 16 after his mother remarried and his stepfather didn’t want him around.
Brown had a choice. He could feel sorry for himself, he could decide the world owed him something, he could fall prey to the temptations of a young man without a home surrounded by a culture defined by drugs and gangs, or he could work his way out of Liberty City. He chose to work. He's still working.
You've made it this far, and congratulations for that. But this is not the pinnacle of your career, it's the first step. Do take the opportunity the Steelers have offered you and give it your very best shot, because it's entirely likely it's your only shot. Your odds of making it elsewhere if the Steelers cut you are even smaller. And if, despite your best efforts, you don't make it with the Steelers or anyone else, you've learned lessons which will serve you well in your life after football.
I look forward to seeing you all at training camp. I’m hoping to be able to give a glowing report about our new group of rookies. You have the luxury of a low ceiling of expectation. Steeler Nation loves rooting for an underdog. Come out and blow us all away!
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
As the site regulars have probably noticed, I’ve been rather busy lately assessing the Steelers’ drafts from the past decade. During the course of this I discovered something curious. In the upper rounds the Steelers were quite successful in comparison to most of the league. But in the fifth round they were next to worst, only exceeded in incompetence, if incompetence is the problem, by Cincinnati. The Steelers were in the bottom quarter of the league in the sixth round and the bottom half of the league in the seventh.(The actual rankings were: Round One No. 3, Round Two No. 7, Round Three No. 14, Round Four No. 7, Round Five No. 31, Round Six No. 25, Round Seven No. 17.)
It’s possible the Steelers are at least partially a victim of their own success. After all, they can only carry so many players on the roster, and if the majority of their high-round picks work out it gives less opportunity to the low-round picks. But most of these players aren’t panning out elsewhere after the Steelers cut them either, or the Steelers would be getting the benefit of their success in terms of the CarAV rankings, at any rate.
So it is possible the coaching staff isn’t as effective with lower picks, and that is of course what I was speculating about in Part I. But I wonder whether there is an identifiable type of player who, against the odds, is successful as a low-round pick. After all, as my chart in the previous post demonstrated, league-wide the chances of succeeding as a low-round pick are minimal at best.
I looked at the fifth, sixth, and seventh round players drafted by the Steelers between 2000 and 2009. (I’m assuming it is too early to make a judgment about most of the players drafted in the lower rounds during the past two seasons.) I divided them up into four categories—Busts (didn’t last beyond being drafted, essentially,) Disappointments (shuffled around the league but never really stuck anywhere, or didn’t provide a lot of benefit to the Steelers,) Value Picks (generally not a starter, but a good special teams player and backup,) and the Overacheivers (against the odds they became starters and provided considerable value to the Steelers.) Here they are:
The Value Picks:
And finally, The Overachievers:
Out of the 38 players drafted in rounds five through seven 13 of them were Busts, or 34%. 13 more were Disappointments, or another 34%. So we have gone through over two-thirds of the players drafted before we get to the players who gave the Steelers significant value. Only four players became multi-year starters, or 11%, and the remaining eight players (21%) provided reasonable value to the Steelers without quite making it into the starting lineup, except for David Johnson who made it last year. (I was conflicted about where to put David Johnson, but because he has only been a starter for a year and his CarAV is below 10, I thought the assessment could wait another year. If he hadn’t dropped that pass in the Ravens game it might be another story...)
Let’s look at it by round for a moment. The Steelers drafted 14 fifth round players during this time, and the total Career Approximate Value as per Pro-Football-Reference is 79. The entire value comes from seven players, and just under half of it comes from Clark Haggans.
Thirteen players were drafted by the Steelers in the sixth round, and they garnered a total CarAV of 41. The entire value comes from seven players, and over half comes from Chris Kemoeatu.
Finally, the Steelers took 11 players in the seventh round. Their total CarAV is 58. The entire value comes from three players, and 48 of the 58 points comes from Brett Keisel.
But perhaps CarAV is too broad a brush to use for this assessment. I’ve obviously found it very useful for my recent stats posts, but I did notice it doesn’t tell the whole story, because of Sean Morey.
Sean Morey was a name I didn’t know at all, since I’ve only been a fan since 2009, until I did the wide receiver assessment post about a month ago. As I looked through the stats I noticed him and tucked his name away in the back of my mind with the idea of writing a sort of "doing the most with the least" post. Because although Morey played for nine years with three different teams, including the Steelers, his total CarAV is 1.
In 2008, while playing for Pittsburgh West, sorry, the Cardinals, he went to the Pro Bowl. 2008 wasn’t even the year he had enough stats to garner his sole Approximate Value point—it was in the previous year, also playing for Arizona. He never made a touchdown with any of his teams, and Antonio Brown accumulated twice as many yards as a returner last season as Morey was credited with during his entire career. And yet, as an essentially valueless player according to the PFR rankings he managed to persuade not one but three teams to keep him on their payroll for nine years. When I discovered he had been the Steelers’ special teams captain, I decided perhaps the CarAV isn’t the whole story on a player.
Still, the most successful players are going to show up well in the AV ranking. So let’s take a look at the four most successful players from the lower three rounds drafted between 2000 and 2009—Brett Keisel, Clark Haggans, Chris Kemoeatu, and William Gay.
Is there a particular set of attributes common to the four men? I believe there is, and here they are. We will see how well they fit, and if consequently it is possible to use them to predict success (or lack thereof) for some of our new players.
- None of them were by any measure the most "talented" or prototypically constituted players for their position in their draft class.
- They learned to work hard and substitute personal effort for any inadequacies.
- They had enough persistance and character to see them through early disappointments.
- They had enough early adversity, and learned to deal with it well enough, to carry them through the shake-up of coming into the league and suddenly competing with players who were more highly regarded and more "gifted" than they were.
Let’s start with Brett Keisel, the most successful of the lot, and the one who has been a Steeler the longest. He is also the only player from rounds five through seven in the 2000 - 2009 drafts to make the Pro Bowl, so far.
Although Keisel was (and still is) an excellent athlete, of the 24 defensive ends drafted in 2002 Keisel was #24. (The first was Julius Peppers, drafted #2 overall. Four were taken in the first round alone.) He has outlasted seventeen of them, as only seven, including Keisel, were still playing at the end of 2011.
Keisel was raised on a ranch in Wyoming. As he said in a 2011 interview for the Steelers Digest,
"My dad taught us how to work. Growing up on a farm, you need your family's help. It was great work-ethic training." He credits part of his persistence to having an older brother who was initially better than he was at everything. "It was something that drove me. He and I would compete all the time growing up, in everything."
Keisel played basketball, football and ran track in high school, and excelled. But attending BYU was a shock. The student body was more than 10 times bigger than his hometown, and he had to work hard to compete. His college career was solid but undistinguished, and that’s how the Steelers managed to pick him up at #242, their second (and final) seventh-round pick.
Still, he had a crisis of confidence. The Steelers Digest article continues
Even though he was in the middle of his first NFL training camp, [Keisel] was questioning what he wanted to do with his life. He didn't know if he should continue his pursuit of an NFL career or return to Wyoming to herd cattle.
"That was the time where I really had to sit and focus," said Keisel. "I prayed a lot during that time. I just got a calming sensation that everything was going to be all right. I just had to go out and play. That was a great moment."
Last season Keisel was named the Steelers' Walter Payton Man of the Year. This is an award given annually to a player for his success on the field and in the community.
Next up, in success and length of career (although not entirely with the Steelers) is Clark Haggans. When looking for information about Haggans I found this quote, and now I love him: "I'm just glad that I'm healthy right now with my hand. I can play the piano again, so I'm alright." The source of the quote was an August 2005 article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. It seems Haggans had fractured his hand while lifting weights during the 2004 pre-season. That was the season he was scheduled to debut as the starter at left OLB, replacing Jason Gildon. He returned for part of 2004, and was a starter for the 2005 Super Bowl-winning team. He sacked Matt Hasselbeck.
Haggans had a great deal of success during high school in track and basketball as well as football. (He sounds a bit like Brett Keisel.) He earned all-division honors in 1994. And yet, as Haggans explained in this video "Because I was too skinny, I couldn’t get a scholarship, nobody wanted me." Haggans was a walk-on at Colorado State. And then he went to work.
Michael Bean, founder of this august site, put Haggans at No. 4 in "Top Ten Draft Successes of the Kevin Colbert Era" series last year. As Michael said,
His primary contributions came on special teams before seeing regular snaps on defense beginning in '02, which ironically was the year that the Steelers seemingly had drafted their outside linebacker of the future in Alonzo Jackson. It's hard to break your way into the rotation on defense when you have Joey Porter and Jason Gildon ahead of you on the depth chart, but Haggans, notorious for his relentless work ethic, did play his way into the rotation in his third season.
His "relentless work ethic" never stopped. In 2010 this quote appeared in an article in the Arizona Republic:
It's early July, hotter than the self-cleaning setting on an oven, and the only people on the Cardinals' practice field are strength and conditioning coach John Lott and his "puppies" - rookie free agents trying to make the team.
Oh, and outside linebacker Clark Haggans. Who is 33. Who is a starter. Who is entering his 11th NFL season. Who could be sitting in cooler climes, drinking beverages with umbrellas in them, not slurping water from coolers.
"Clark is a breath of fresh air in today's world," Lott says "He's somebody who has an old-school approach to a new-school way of playing."
Haggans is currently a free agent, and may well stay a free agent. But hard work and persistance in the face of adversity got him a spot as a starter on two Super Bowl teams.
The last two guys are ones many in Steeler Nation love to hate. Nonetheless, they had significant success as low-round draft picks.
Chris Kemoeatu played to the whistle. In fact, he often played beyond it, which was sort of a problem. But Kemo grew up in a family that valued hard work, and he has two brothers in the NFL, so apparently this early training was effective. (There is more about this in an October 2008 Tribune-Review article, "Kemoeatu’s Work Ethic Rooted in Family." Unfortunately the Trib is reconstructing their website and archival articles weren’t pulling up when I was researching for this post, so I can't link it.) Injuries slowed him down during the past year, and he was benched later in the season. But the various annoyances surrounding Kemo shouldn’t blind us to the facts.
He came into the league as a sixth round pick. The top guard taken in his class was Logan Mankins, taken in the first round. Kemoeatu was the 13th guard taken, and this doesn’t take into consideration others who might have been drafted as a tackle and converted to guard. Only two other guards were picked after him. Of the guards taken before him, only Nos. one, two, four, seven, and twelve were still in the league as of the end of the 2011 season. (None of the others made it past 2009; nor did the guys taken 14th and 15th.) Kemoeatu replaced seven-time pro bowl guard Alan Faneca, a first round pick. Kemoeatu may not have been as good as Faneca, as successful as Haggans, or as well-loved as Keisel, but he provided great value for what the Steelers had invested in him.
Finally, Big Play William Gay. I was never part of the "Gay’s a bum" contingent; it seemed clear he had been thrust into position as a starter after McFadden left in 2009 and he wasn’t ready. He had excelled at the nickel spot, but being the No. 2 corner is a different ball of wax. But he kept plugging away, and last season when an injury to McFadden gave him another shot at the spot, this time he kept it and excelled.
Why? What was different this time? As Carnell Lake tells it, Gay approached Lake and asked for extra time and coaching. It certainly paid off, and as a result Gay was the only Steelers free agent to be picked up prior to the draft. But Gay didn’t just fight through a lack of size and "talent," he fought through a great deal of early adversity. As Craig Wolfley tells it:
William is a survivor, a man who has risen above the catastrophic loss of his murdered mother at a very young age. Raised by his grandmother, William is a testament to hard work, dedication to his education and profession, and the love of a grandmother who would not let William become a statistic.
Wolfley went on to tell of speaking to him at the beginning of the 2010 training camp:
I was intrigued after all the negative press in the off-season about Will and had been wondering how he would handle the demotion with B-Mac brought back from Arizona to take the starting job. Sportswriters were writing him off as if he was already gone. Fans had made their voice apparent throughout the draft and OTA’s and i was more than a little curious to see if he folded up like a tent, or would he stand his ground and battle back?
After saying hi to William, i went straight to the heart of the matter.
"Are you ready to fight for a spot, or are you just playing it out?" i asked as i shook his hand and looked him close in the eye.
He didn’t blink, didn’t act offended nor did he offer excuse. William didn’t bluster in bravado, or over-reach in his assessment of where he was in his career. William didn’t respond as so many do in his situation by denying the obvious either. He simply re-affirmed his commitment to contend for a role in the secondary with a determined look in his eye that let me know i was getting the true spirit of the man.
Because of the murder of his mother, a victim of domestic abuse, he has spoken out about the issue and mentored other young men who suffered from it. I for one wish him much success in Arizona, and hope the Steelers don’t live to regret letting him go.
I think these men fit my criteria well. Can we use these criteria to predict success (or lack thereof) for some of our new players? I think it would be possible, assuming one can get the necessary information about the players. But I’ve gone on much longer than I intended, and consequently there will be a Part III. In it I will address Ivan Cole’s comment to my first post and put out my "charge," if you will, to our new class of late round picks and UDFAs.
As usual, feel free to disagree, particularly with my assessment of the picks. I'm basically going strictly from the numbers, as I know little about most of them, and I'd love to hear about more Sean Morey types whose numbers don't describe their value.
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
Name: Cordy Glenn
Position: Offensive Lineman
Weight: 346 pounds
The offensive line has been a headache for several years now and as such the Steelers will be looking at all of the offensive line prospects in the draft.
The Steelers seem to have an affinity for offensive linemen that can play multiple positions. It's probably because over the last few years the Steelers line has been bitten hard by the injury bug time and time again so having someone who can play both guard and tackle, and on both sides of the line has proven to be an invaluable commodity.
One such player in this draft who has experience bouncing around the offensive line is Georgia left tackle Cordy Glenn. He played his freshman season starting at right guard, his sophomore year starting at both right and left guard, his junior he started at left guard, and played his entire senior year at left tackle. Some people look at him as a guard-only prospect while other think he can also play right tackle. I feel, with a little refinement, he can play left tackle.
Pros: Like most men of his size Glenn is the definition of a road-grader. When he gets his arms locked onto a defender it's pretty much over for him. He's not just big but has a massive frame that easily supports his weight. He also has quick feet and is good at getting to the second level. Glenn was a 4-year starter at UGA in the always tough SEC and has played right guard, left guard, and spent his final year playing left tackle. It's that sort of versatility that will make him an attractive option to the Steelers.
His 5.15 time in the 40-yard dash at the Combine on Saturday is among the top quarter of all offensive linemen, and his 31 reps of 225 pounds shows he's got the strength to play the position.
Cons: Glenn relies on his physical abilities far too much and because of it he plays with sloppy technique far too often. He's a waist bender which makes him susceptible to speed rushers which is why he'll have to start out playing guard. He is also slow off of the snap. These are things that can be correctable but it means he is far from a finished product.
Draft Stock: Right now Glenn will probably go somewhere in the latter half of the first round. He could go as early as the 17th pick to Cincy who needs an upgrade at guard over Nate Livings and may need to replace Bobbie Williams if he leaves in free agency. Also it seems like Cincinnati has an affinity for UGA players taking several of them in the early rounds during Marvin Lewis' tenure. San Diego, Chicago, Tennessee, and even Detroit could all take Glenn ahead of the Steelers. Most teams are going to look at Cordy Glenn as a guard-only prospect with the potential to maybe play right tackle.
Final Word: I really like Glenn's durability and starting experience, and you can't teach size. Because of his massive frame he can play at 350lbs., but if he did loose the extra 20lbs. of weight he is carrying I think it would really help him compete for the left tackle spot. Most of his faults are fixable with the right coaching. There's a chance he will be available with the Steelers pick at 24 but if they really like him the may have to trade up 4 or 5 spots to get him. Because offensive line help is such a priority I would be all for that as long as they don't have to give up a second round pick to do so. Glenn could immediately come in and secure one guard spot and could play tackle as well if needed or be groomed for it in the future.
Previously highlighted on BTSC
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
Name: Dont'a Hightower
Weight: 260 pounds
Due to James Farrior's declining play, the inside linebacker position has needed to be addressed for a couple of years now. Because of the cap issues the Steelers have this offseason, and the fact that Farrior is 37 years old, it's likely that the Steelers will cut him if he doesn't retire. Behind him, Larry Foote is pretty much in the same boat. That would leave the unproven 2010 5th round pick Stevenson Sylvester to inherit a pretty important position on the Steelers defense.
It's a priority to look at the available inside linebackers in this draft class, with the best of the bunch being Alabama's Dont'a Hightower.
Pros: What could make Dont'a Hightower a valuable commodity to the Pittsburgh Steelers is that he was the signal caller in a complex 3-4 defensive scheme in college at Alabama which should make for a smoother than normal transition to the Steelers defense. He has traditional size for a 3-4 linebacker at a very chiseled 6'4", 260lbs. and is a tough, physical, in-the-box type of defender.
Cons: What makes Hightower a good fit for a 3-4 defense also makes him a potential liability in coverage. While he may be fast for his size that doesn't necessarily make him fast. He wasn't exposed for it much in college but in the NFL teams may look to exploit it when he is matched up against quicker running backs in coverage.
It's not against the rules to move him outside in a rush position on passing downs in an effort to keep him out of coverage. He shows great burst off the edge, and he has the size (OLB LaMarr Woodley is 6-foot-2, 265 pounds) to play outside.
The only other issue with him is an ACL injury that kept him out a majority of the 2009 season but his production in 2011 is evidence of his recovery.
Draft Stock: Hightower's stock really couldn't get much higher at this point as he's currently slated to go in the first round, and be the first inside linebacker for a 3-4 defense to come off of the board. He could go as early at 18 to the Chargers who do need a lot of upgrades on defense and have a lot of linebackers that are currently free agents, but should be available at 24 when the Steelers pick. If the Steelers bypass him it's unlikely he would make it past the Ravens at 29 who have been looking for Ray Lewis's heir apparent.
Final Word: I see Hightower as the likely choice for the Steelers should he still be there at pick 24. With all of the issues surrounding Farrior and Foote, including the possibility one of them may be released, the Steelers must invest a pick on an ILB at some point in the draft. Sylvester hasn't shown me enough to become a starter at a very important position in the Steelers defense.
The only reservation I have about Hightower is coverage ability. As the NFL turns more into a passing league with each season linebackers as big as Hightower may be extinct as some point. While he may only be a 2-down player Hightower is worth the pick and would be a valuable addition to the team.
Previously highlighted on BTSC:
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
Name: Peter Konz
Position: Offensive Guard
Weight: 315 pounds
Summary: The Steelers like offensive linemen with position flexibility. Konz, despite having played center at the University of Wisconsin, has the skill set to play guard in the NFL. Guard is a position of need for the Steelers in the 2012 NFL Draft, and Konz's resume of three starting years along one of the best offensive lines in college football make him an appealing option in Pittsburgh.
Pros: Wisconsin has been a factory for NFL offensive linemen who are big, strong, and absolutely dominant road-graders and Konz is just another in a long line. He's a lot bigger than most NFL centers and he size should make for a smooth transition to guard. As a center he has learned to be quick off of the snap which is an advantage he would hold over Georgia's Cordy Glenn. His technique is sound, can get to the second level, and he pulls extremely well.
Cons: At this point Konz biggest/only issue is a dislocated ankle he suffered and caused him to miss some games this season, although, to his credit, he can back to play very well against Oregon in the Rose Bowl.
Draft stock: Peter Konz draft stock is high. He's the highest rated center in this draft and I rate him as the second best guard prospect behind Stanford's David DeCastro. It's likely that he'll go somewhere between picks 19-26 with a chance he could potentially go as early as 14th to Dallas. Teams like Chicago (19), Tennessee (20), and Detroit (23) all have big needs for a center. Houston (26) may not be able to retain free agent Chris Myers, putting them in play for Konz as well.
Final Word: Konz is an elite center prospect whose skill set should transition well and make him an elite guard in the NFL. The Steelers prize versatility among their linemen, and Konz is not only a guy who can come in and play guard right away, but with the recent rash of injuries to C Maurkice Pouncey, he provides depth at two other positions while potentially starting at one of the guard spots. Trading up for DeCastro may simply cost too much, but Konz would be a quality second option, one the Steelers may trade up a few spots to get.
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Post-Gazette Steelers’ beat writer, and 93.7 The Fan Steelers’ Insider, Ed Bouchette, joined the Fan Morning Show on Tuesday to talk about the reports that former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley has been offered the Steelers’ Offensive Coordinator job.
Ed says that himself, and fellow PG beat writer, Gerry Dulac cannot confirm that Haley has been offered the job. However, he thinks it would be a good hire, and that Haley would be a good fit for the Steelers saying he has “no problem with that hire.”
As for who made or will make the decision on Haley, Ed says that it will be up to Coach Tomlin as it has been in the past. Ed thinks that Tomlin’s track record for hiring assistant coaches has been very good.
We also get Ed’s thoughts on the Hall of Fame inductees for 2012. And he tells us whether or not he thinks Jerome Bettis is next.
For the interview, click below:
Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers
PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Jim Wexell of Steel City Insider joined the Seibel, Starkey and Miller show Friday.
With Bruce Arians retiring, Jim breaks down the potential replacements for Offensive Coordinator. Jim thinks that former Colts coach Jim Caldwell would make sense from a lot of different angles, but point to problems with the running game at previous stops.
Jim also gives thoughts on other names being mentioned, such as former Chiefs coach Todd Haley and former Raiders coach Hue Jackson. Jim also gives his thoughts on the timetable for the Steelers to find Arians’ replacement.
Source: CBS Pittsburgh » Steelers