A View from the SteelCage...Draft Day two...Analysis of potential targets and who I like


So, rounds two and three are tonight.  We all have our own opinions as to who the Steelers will or should pick.  There have been a few posts about it already, but I hope to make mine a little different by giving a little more selection and analysis.  Also, as the second and third round grades are fluid from team to team, I will rate guys who are considered 2-4 fourth rounders.  To avoid getting too into the weeds (I don’t plan on evaluating 100 guys) I will only analyze guys commonly linked to the Steelers, that I think they will target, or who I think they SHOULD target (basically my wish list).

Common Links:


Taylor Mays (fan-related push) – S/USC, 6’3”/231 lbs, 4.31 40 yard dash


Taylor Mays is an absolute freak of nature.  Physically, if Lawrence Taylor and Carl Lewis had a baby, Mays would be it.  I don’t care what the “official” 40 time was, that boy ran a 4.31 at 230 lbs.  Some people are great hitters, Mays absolutely destroys people.  However, his blessing is his curse.  As athletic as he is, he has tight hips, misses tackles going for the bit hit instead of wrapping up and is “weak” in coverage.  He has been lambasted by the media and scouts as a workout warrior who needs to more to WLB in a 4-3 to cover his lack of coverage ability.  But guess what, I don’t buy that.  The kid needs the right system.  Is it ours, that I don’t know and I doubt we will find out.  Tomlin supposedly said he does not like Mays as a draft prospect.  Does that mean in the first or at all?  Will he fall to us…not likely, intriguing but about a 1 percent chance of happening IMO.


Donald Butler ( – ILB/Washinton, 6’1”/245 lbs, 4.72 40 yard dash


Played lights out at the Senior Bowl being lauded immediately by many as the best LB at the Senior Bowl.  Sportingnews had him ranked as the number 1 ILB (above McClain et al).  I like him, but I don’t love him.  He might be awesome, he might be decent, I would love it in the 3rd or 4th, in the second I think I would be really confused. 


Arrelious Benn (Post Gazette) – WR/Illinois, 6’1”/219 lbs, 4.56 40 yard dash


Post Gazette said the Steelers are REALLY high on this kid.  For the record, if you watch the pre-draft On the Clock Sportscenter, both Cris Carter and Keyshawn Johnson have him as one of the future #1 WR in the draft.  Carter said Bryant, Thomas, Benn and Tate in that order were the only 4 future #1 WR, Keyshawn said Tate wasn’t included and there were only the other 3.  Take that for what it is worth, but the kid is a very good player.  Horrible QB play really hurt him.  Can return punts and kicks pretty well (1 KR TD in career) but I think he will also be gone unless we trade up.  The question is, is Limas Sweed really still in the picture as Colbert said, an/or are they that convinced Hines will retire sooner rather than later.  If he is picked who goes.  (brought in for visit)


Alex Carrington ( – DE/Arkansas State, 6’5”/285 lbs, 4.93 40 yard dash

The prototypical 5 technique, good motor, strong at the point of attack, powerful, many people believe he is a target.  I personally do not see the next Aaron Smith, I see a guy with slow run/pass recognition who gets sucked inside on counters and creamed by the quick-trap.  I am not saying he won’t be good, he just needs a lot of work and with Hood and Harris in the wings and Keisel just signed to an extension, I see us shooting for a late round project (Clifton Geathers or John Fletcher) over a second/third round project.  Too many other needs, no thank you.


Akwasi Owusu-Ansah ( round 2 mock) – CB/S/KR/PR, IU(P) 6’0 ¼”/207 lbs. 4.47 40 yard dash


Pronounced Ak-wa-see O-woo-sue An-sa, or AOA or Scrabble, this kid was a DII highlight machine.  8 picks in 2008 led to teams avoiding him like the plague this season.  Compares to DRC in his draft rise from obscurity and is one I mocked to us in my December and February Mock.  In my opinion, he is what Ike Taylor could be if he knew how to catch.  He had 8 picks and 10 PD as a junior so they stopped throwing his way this season and ended with 2 and 6 this season.  In the last two years he has 3 KR TD, 3 PR TD, 1 INT TD, 1 FR TD.  Might be a little reach this high but his potential and measurable will have him gone by the early third, so he would likely have to be our second if he is actually a target.


Steelers Targets in 2nd and 3rd round


Here are the consensus round 2/3 guys that were either brought for one of the 30 visits or were confirmed as one of the 60 combine interviews.


Vladimir Ducasse, G or T/UMASS, 6’4 3/8”/332 lbs, 5.28 40 yard dash


I don’t completely have an understanding of how the Steelers evaluate Olinemen.  A top five guard to most who looked outclassed in post-season play at tackle.  The Steelers talked to him, but I don’t know if they view him as a guard or a right tackle.  If they did choose him, how they view him would be the key to next off season’s contract dealings with Willie Colon as well as their true hope for Urbik.  He had one of the faster 10 yard dashes of all the OL which is important to pulling, but his 3 cone and 20 yard SS where still slow.  With Pouncey as number one, I would wait on this one.


Chris Degeare, T/Wake Forest, 6’3 5/8”, 325 lbs, 5.16 40 yard dash


A solid third round prospect the Steelers are obviously interested in.  34 inch arms and nimble feet have many convinced he can play LT.  His brute strength and agility (1.72 10 yard was fastest of OL at combine, tied with Bruce Campbell) have me convinced he can play inside or outside, anywhere but center, where for the first time since Hartings left, I can say we don’t need any more.  Tomlin loves versatility.  A third round LT to develop behind our third round LT.  Moneyball style pick who I could really see happening.


Kam Chancellor, S/VT, 6’3 ¼”/231 lbs, 4.69 40 yard dash


Another supposed Tomlin favorite.  He is graded out as a 3 or 4 by most teams and is basically the poor man’s Taylor Mays.  Played Nickelback early in college, SS as a junior and FS this season where he was a feast or famine player.  However, he is a hard worker, and again shows some versatility.  I could see this happening if Tomlin is really big on this guy, although I feel there are too many other safeties that are better for our system. 


Jason Worilds OLB/VT 6’1 ¼”/254 lbs 4.67 40 yard dash


Koa Misi OLB/Utah 6’2 5/8”/251 lbs 4.76 40 yard dash


Two of the best speed rushers in the draft could be added in rounds 2 or 3 to bolster depths and give us some future prospects once Harrison retires or if god forbid we can’t extend Woodley.  I like them both at two and love them at three, but don’t think either will be ours.


Linval Joseph – NT/DE/East Carolina, 6’4 ½”/328 lbs 39 reps on the bench and 5.10 40 yard dash


Brian Price – NT, 6’1 1/8”/303 lbs 34 reps on the bench and 5.16 yard dash


I didn’t need to bother really with the numbers, let’s just say these are the big uglies.  The Trench Workers on the DL.  I am not sure I see either as our pick, they were more due diligence type visits.  However, of the two, Linval Joseph is bigger, stronger, faster, and more versatile.  However, with Big Snack getting resigned, I would prefer to wait and pick up Travis Ivey of Maryland in the fifth (6’3 ¼” 341 lbs) as a developmental project.


Legarrette Blount, RB/Oregon, 6’0 ½”/241 lbs, 4.86 40 yard dash


Toby Gerhart, RB/Stanford 6’0”/231 lbs, 4.60 40 yard dash


Both are possibilities, as I feel a running back will be drafted somewhere in the draft.  Blount was one of the pre-season Heisman watch candidates, and Gerhart was the Heisman runner up after rushing for over 1800 yards this season.  Blount has dropped for character concerns and one can assume the visit and interviews revolved around the sucker punch that got him suspended.  He can run, no doubt, but with this off season do the Steelers risk it.  Gerhart was an animal who has many Steelers fans dreaming (the next Bettis), one Steelers fan beaming (momma rollett is in love), and the media screaming (white running back=Mike Alstott).  I think of the two Gerhart’s character is more favorable, but the question marks will allow both RB’s to watch the Steelers picks come and go without their names being called.  Another 5th round option I love (we do have 4 picks there) is Joique Bell – RB, Wayne State (MI), 5’11 1/4"/220 lbs, 4.72 40 yard dash.  Bell was impressive during Senior Bowl practices and the game, showing good vision, patience, and the ability to block.  He will not beat you around the corner, but has the potential to be a good #2 back mainly as an inside runner and third down back with huge upside.  To me, he is a poor man’s Clinton Portis (from 2004-2005).  He finished his career with 6,728 rushing yards and 89 touchdowns, in addition to 79 receptions for 918 yards and eight more scores. His total all-purpose yardage (8,055, which includes 409 return yards) and scoring total put him ninth and fifth in NCAA history in any division.


SteelCage’s watch list:


Jamar Chaney – ILB, Mississippi State, 6’0 3/4"/241 lbs, 4.54 40 yard dash

Tony Washington – OT, Abilene Christian, 6’6 1/8"/311 lbs, 5.25 40 yard dash


You all know I love these guys.  Here is a link from my last article with my analysis of both verses other ILB/OT


Andre Roberts – WR, Citadel, 5’10 7/8"/195 lbs, 4.46 40 yard dash


Roberts was also in my last article as the 4th rounder, but he is mocked everywhere between 2 and 4.  I am reposting what I wrote about the kid because he is a great player and citizen and was also interviewed by the Steelers at the combine so there must be some interest.


Roberts put on a clinic at the Senior Bowl, displaying exceptional routes, solids hands, and run after the catch ability against better competition, something that scouts worried about with him playing at Citadel.  Look at his career numbers:




PR Yards




KR Yards







Career Stats














         60.70% of his catches (173) were good for first downs.  16.14% of his grabs converted third-down plays (46) and he dropped just six of 383 pass targeted to him (1.56%) in four seasons.  He had 17 100-yard receiving games in his four year career.  Roberts is also one of the top punt returners in the draft.  He led the nation with a 19.2-yard return average in 2008, the 17th-best season average in NCAA history.  His career average of 13.98 yards per punt return is the 18th-best in NCAA FCS history.  This kid is a producer and would be a great addition.


Jeromy Miles – S, UMASS, 6’2"/215 lbs, 4.49 40 yard dash


I love who I have seen as high as 2 and as low at 6.  I see him as a 2-4 personally.  I have had him in all my mocks so just look back to see my analysis.  He is last year’s Ladarius Webb, a guy who quietly rises into round 3.  He is my favorite for round three.


I would love AOA or Chaney in the second and Washington, Miles, or Roberts in the third.   However, realistically I see Koa Misi or Jason Worilds in the second and Chris Degeare or a guy like Kam Chancellor in the third.  Trading back in the second with a team with 2 thirds alla last year and bringing in three of my favorites (or two of mine and one that the Steelers actually like) would be ok with me.


For more Views from the SteelCage




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