Hey guys, so I managed to fight my way onto the family computer. It's been a while since my last post, so I thought I'd give you guys my thoughts on the draft, just like everyone else will. I just figured that it would be best to get mine in early.
My grading scale:
Round 1-Maurkice Pouncey:
I have to be honest; when we made this pick over Bulaga, my reaction of rage was the stuff of youtube fodder. Fortunately there were no cameras present, and you know, In Colbert we trust. Now, after listening to Colbert and Tomlin gush about him for a few days, I'm getting really excited. The guy brings a lot to the table in both run and pass blocking, and is one of the most talented centers to come through the draft in several years. The thing Tomlin and Colbert kept emphasizing was Pouncey's ability to diagnose defenses pre-snap, and how well he communicates with the rest of the line. He should be the starter at RG day one of training camp, but of course he'll have to earn it. We could see his move to center within a year or two, once Hartwig is declining.
Pros: Well-rounded in both aspects of blocking, prototypical size, played well at extremely high level of competition, held his own with the best NT's in college football, good character, work ethic and leadership, extremely young.
Cons: Comes from a non-pro style offense, technique needs work.
Pouncey flashes big time potential, and could be regarded as one of the best centers in the game within a couple years, and a quality offensive line coach in Kugler, those chances are pretty good. The only thing that keeps him from being an "A" is the fact that he will need to translate to a pro-style offense, and that his technique needs to be cleaned up.
Round 2-Jason Worilds:
Well, in grading this pick, I can't help but be a little biased. We passed on Golden Tate? Again in Colbert we trust, and they must love this guy, because I think they set a record with the how fast they made the selection. It was almost instantaneous. As far as need goes, getting OLB depth was certainly important, and I have to think that the front office believes Worilds could be Harrison's long term replacement. The big thing that sets him apart is his speed. According to the Steelers, he ran a 4.51 40 yard dash in a private workout for them. That will definitely help Worilds gain a spot on special teams, and it only helps that his former school, Virginia Tech, is known for it's special teams. In terms of being a pass rusher, Worilds led the country in QB hurries in '08 or '09. Tomlin and Colbert are excited about his potential in coverage. They used the word "fluid" to describe him.
Pros: Speed, pass rush, coverage instincts
Cons: Where was the '09 production? Struggled when doubled, will have to make the 4-3 DE to 3-4 OLB switch.
I like Worilds, and I think he has the potential to really be a good linebacker. The Steelers obviously feel he could be special, here's hoping they're right.
Round 3-Emmanuel Sanders:
I'll be honest, I didn't know much about Sanders leading up to the draft, but I knew the Steelers were interested. Mike Mayock, NFL draft guru, compares him to Torry Holt. I don't know if I'd go that far, but Sanders had outstanding production at SMU, catching 284 passes, 34 TD's, and wracking up 3,791 yards receiving. At the combine he wowed scouts, much as Mike Wallace did back in '09, maybe even more so as he ranked as a top performer in 5 different categories.
Pros: Fast, athletic, tough, good hands
Cons: Faced a lower level of competition at SMU, could be a better route runner
*Additional note: Was suspended in college (2 games I believe) for minor academic issues. Steelers rave about his character.
Sanders flashes the potential of being a really solid receiver, if not better. He's fast, tough, and reliable. He could be a very good player in the long run. His rookie role could be a number of things, and if the Steelers strike gold again, he could play a significant role in the 2010 campaign. Look for him as a #3 and slot option as well as fielding some punts.
Round 4: Thaddeus Gibson
Decent pick. I'm not sure if AOA was still on the board, but Gibson is a good value in round 4. We don't really have to worry about OLB depth anymore, and the team feels that either Gibson or Worilds could potentially be Harrison's long term replacement. I think at the very least Gibson is a situational pass rusher, who could make a splash on special teams.
Pros: Solid pass rusher, good size, strength
Cons: Not a lot of production, I want to see more of him against the run; only 82 career tackles over 3 seasons.
Again, Gibson fits a need, but him becoming a starter seems like a long shot to me. Hopefully he can prove me wrong. Could be a solid reserve/special teamer his rookie year.
Round 5a: Chris Scott
I know very little about Chris Scott, but what I've read from NFL.com, Scott is a guy Pittsburgh will use to add competition and possibly depth to the roster. According to Jim Wexell, Ramon Foster gave the Steelers a lot of input on his former teammate, and like Foster, Scott could ultimately end up playing guard.
Pros: Great size, Strong run blocker, Played against high level of competition
Cons: Not very athletic, lacks the ability to play left tackle as he did in college, probably won't be able to play tackle
The pick makes sense. With Pouncey added early, the Steelers didn't need to add an offensive lineman until the later rounds, so they'll try to get something out of Scott. Ultimately I see this guy on the practice squad, unless he can really surprise us, and dominate with his run blocking.
Pick 5b: Crezdon Butler
Love this pick. A couple months ago I commented on Butler and how I felt he could be a good fit for us in the 2nd round. Obviously I was off with part of that assumption, but the main thing is that we were able to bring this kid in. I'll be pulling big time for Butler to make the team. He may be raw, but he brings potential to the table.
Pros: Great size (6'0" 180 lbs), Great speed (Low 4.4's), good instincts (11 career interceptions).
Cons: Raw, needs to improve technique, especially in tackling.
Butler to me is a big time sleeper in this draft. I could be completely wrong and he could be gone in 2 years, but I get somewhat of a positive vibe from this guy. In the long run Pittsburgh will hope to make him into their nickel corner, but he has the potential to, dare I say it, be a number 2 corner.
Highlights (alotta INTS)
Round 5c: Stevenson Sylvester
Another pick, another guy I know very littler of. All I know of Sylvester is that he was a very productive 4-3 linebacker for Utah for the past 4 years. His 235 tackles and 8 sacks are very productive over a 4 year career, and if he makes this team it will be on special teams, with a limited chance of playing ILB.
Pros (from NFL.com): "Sylvester possesses adequate size. Best attribute may be his sound, consistent tackling. Has been highly productive. Is a tough, competitive ‘backer who displays impressive instincts when reading his keys. Has a big-time motor. Uses hands well to help compensate for lack of ideal size. Impressive range and speed when tracking running plays and dropping into coverage."
Cons (from NFL.com): "Only possesses average strength at the point of attack and doesn’t play well in a phone booth. Needs to expand his pass rush package. Won’t be able to get to the quarterback on quickness alone at the next level. Can struggle diagnosing play action at times and get caught out of position."
It will be a surprise if he makes the roster, and if he does it will be primarily for special teams.
A Big Sack (poor quality)
Round 6a: Jonathan Dwyer
Not long ago, Jonathan Dwyer was regarded as a late first, early second round pick. Now he sits with the Black and Gold, but for the mere price of a 6th rounder. In what could be the steal of the draft (as pointed out by SoCalSteelerfan in this excellent post), Dwyer could be more than just a compliment to Mendenhall in the long term. That being said, I think Walterfootball said it best when he graded our pick of Dwyer:
"188. Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Georgia Tech
I didn't like Jonathan Dwyer as a Round 2-3 prospect, but I LOVE him in Round 6. He's coming out of a goofy offense, but he's very physically talented and has the potential to be an every-down back in the NFL. (Pick Grade: A) "
Pros: Big, powerful back with good size, and above-average speed, seems to hold the ball well, can push the pile with authority, appears to have decent hands, willing blocker, very young; will be 21 in July.
Cons: Could be more physical, came from a ridiculous Geogia Tech offense, might run too high, possibly overweight, does not have breakaway speed.
*In an unrelated note, Dwyer failed a drug test at the Combine due to a pre-approved medicine he's taken since he was a kid. He says it's for ADD, and helped him with academics. Again, the NFL approved it.
Value, value, value, and more value. Dwyer could be an excellent compliment to Mendenhall, and a successful short yardage/goal line back. Anything else he can contribute would be icing on the cake.
Highlights #4 (HD)-Bound to be repeats from the 3 other vids
Round 6b: Antonio Brown
I know nothing about this guy, so I'll just turn it over to NFL.com again.
Pros: "Brown has a really nice combination of quickness and speed. Has been extremely productive during his college career. Shows very impressive initial quickness when exploding off the line. Displays good agility as a route-runner and with the ball after the catch."
Cons: "Lacks size. Not tall and does not possess enough bulk at this time. Needs to add strength to more effectively beat press coverage and battled for the ball in the air. Route running skills could use some refinement. Needs to become more consistent catching the ball in a crowd."
Hopefully he can be more than camp fodder but I don't see him making the 53 man roster.
Round 7: Doug Worthington
(Name wouldn't fit on the jersey)
Again, I know very little of this guy, but I see him as a sleeper. Has the size to make it as a 3-4 DE. NFL.com take it away.
Pros: "Worthington has prototypical size and very good strength. Tough player who jolts blockers back with a strong punch and displays a powerful bull rush. Takes proper angles and maintains good balance to eat up blockers in the running game. Plays hard to the whistle and shows a bit of a mean streak."
Cons: "Limited range and athleticism prevents him from consistently getting to the quarterback. Struggles to sink his hips and change direction in space, which limits his playmaking ability from the backside. Lacks technique off the edge and needs to upgrade his pass rush package."
I like the sound of this guy. Though he'll likely be a practice squad guy this first year, he could be a project player that works out.
Interviews Galore from Worthington. Haven't found too many highlights .
Final Grade: B
I think we did a real solid job in this draft, and I think Pouncey will be a blue chip center for years to come. I like that we added more depth to a thin outside linebacker position, and I think that skill position guys like Dwyer and Sanders have big potential. That being said, I'm torn on Gibson, not confident in Brown, a little worried about Sanders, worried just a bit on Worilds, but like his potential. That I guess is the word I'd use to describe this class, as I could with most draft classes, but this year's crop has a nice feel to it. Realistically speaking we could get 2 or 3 long term starters out of this group, maybe 4 if we're lucky.
Steelers ROY: Maurkice Pouncey-rare that the Steelers are so high on a rookie that they give him the opportunity to start day 1. Honorable mention to Jonathan Dwyer.
Biggest Disappointment: Thaddeus Gibson-I don't know if he's got it. I hope he proves me wrong.
Biggest Sleeper: Crezdon Butler-I think he'll turn some heads...hopefully.
Players that Won't Make the Team After Camp: Scott (practice squad), Worthington (practice squad), Sylvester (cut) Brown (cut). Hope I'm wrong.
All stats from ESPN
NFL.com for certain pros and cons
Walterfootball for solid draft input day in day out
Custom Jerseys from nflshop.com
Videos courtesy of youtube and steelers.com