Happy Friday Steeler Nation! Round one of the 2011 NFL Draft was a fast-paced, action packed, and entertaining affair on Thursday night. Rounds two and three promise to be even more interesting from the hardcore football fan's perspective. Time to see who the Pittsburgh Steelers add to the mix after selecting Ohio State defensive end Cameron Heyward with the No. 31 pick. Cornerback? Offensive line? Both? What order? Lots of questions to be answered from Radio City Music Hall this evening.
In the meantime, let's hear what a number of folks had to say about the opening round, as well as what they're expecting/hoping materializes in the second and third. I sent several questions off to several BTSC writers, community members who've gone above and beyond with their fanpost contributions this offseason, as well as to one of the lead writers at the outstanding site, Steelers Lounge. I'd be interested in hearing your take on them as well, so if you're so inclined, jump on in and share your responses as well.
Many thanks to those of you who responded. In fact, so many of you did that this post got quite long. Worth the read though.
- Michael B.-
1) When the first 18 picks had been announced and Prince Amukamara was still on the board, did you think and/or hope that the Steelers would try to pull off a trade to land the Nebraska corner?
Tim Gleason (maryrose): It was one of those happy-either-way things for me. On one hand it is insane to move up in the first round. Atlanta had to give up Peachtree Street to get Julio Jones. According to the Draft Chart, Pittsburgh would have given up its second-round pick in order to move up to get the Prince. That's a lot. When you think in the back of your mind that maybe we could get Dowling in the second round, would you rather have Heyward and Dowling or Prince? On the other hand, if the Steelers would have thought that highly of Prince to make that trade, then I would have been happy that we bolstered the weakest part of the team, so it was a happy-either-way thing for me.
Neal Coolong: No, definitely not. What I've read on him is he doesn't tackle particularly well, and, unlike future world-beaters Patrick Peterson and Jimmy Smith, plays worse against better competition.One of Jon Gruden's knocks against him is he needs to learn how to play within the rules of the NFL. That doesn't inspire me to give up picks for the guy. I did find it amusing, though, that the highlight they used to illustrate that (he was grabbing his receiver worse than Revis grabbed Wallace) was the same one they used to show his ability as well (he made an interception on the play).
John Stephens :First of all, let me preface this by saying I am probably the worst type of fan on draft day. I am that person who forgets that Colbert's football IQ towers over mine and I forget that he knows what he is doing. When Prince was available at 20, I wanted him bad. I still have nightmares of Rodgers, Brees, and the Bearded Lady shredding our secondary. I struggle to understand how this team will compete with those teams if we do not improve our secondary somehow. However, I was forgetting how expensive it had been to trade up yesterday and I forgot that there were a few reaches that pushed a few players down the board who we thought we would never have a chance at. I really wanted Prince, but I can completely see that it was a smart move not to jump up to get him.
Big Jay: I've never been a big fan of drafting cornerbacks in the first round unless they come with absolutely no question marks. In my opinion the only cornerback in the 2011 draft class without any questions is Patrick Peterson.
The person I watched drop in the first round that I really wanted the Steelers to draft is Cal DE Cameron Jordan. I think he would've been the perfect fit for the Steelers defense. When he managed to slip past Tampa Bay at 20 I was sure the Steelers would trade up for him.
Rebecca 'Momma' Rollett: No. It seemed like the trade value book had just been thrown out the window, and one thing I'm sure the Steelers won't do is overpay. In other words, I didn't think that they would be able to get reasonable value for a trade, so either they didn't try or didn't take what they were offered.
Ivan Cole: I wasn't hoping for a trade, I would have rather seen a trade that would have landed us Pouncey, but felt pretty confident that with Prince falling that we would get our pick of the remaining DBs. Even entertained the outlandish concept that he might fall all the way to 31.
Adam Gretz (Steelers Lounge): I wasn't in favor of giving up the second round pick to trade up for anybody, even Prince, so at that point I wasn't quite on board with trying to move up. The price would have simply been too steep for my liking. I was willing to roll the dice and hope he would last until the mid-20's and maybe explore trade-up options there. Didn't work out, obviously, but I'm OK with that because of how things played out.
Frank Mineo: I was literally shaking and nervous hoping the Steelers were looking to trade up twelve spots to grab a sure-fire need and what was widely considered the second best cornerback prospect in the draft. After looking at what it would have cost to trade up to get Amukamara, I still think the trade would have been amazing, but I really don't think the Giants had any intentions of letting him slip by after he fell in their laps.
Homer J.: Oh, hell yes! But the price was obviously too high. Teams were literally mortgaging away the future. I was terribly disappointed the Steelers were unable to pull the trigger at 16 thru 18 for the Prince, but sometimes the best trade is the one you don't make.
Tim M. (HSS): From the moment Amukamara fell out of the top 10, I joked with 2 Jets fans I was with that I would tear down their house if Amukamara ended up in Black and Gold, and following every pick any time the NFL Network analysts said trade my ears would perk up and I would start chanting "Pittsburgh." I didn't really believe there was any real chance until I saw him in the middle teens. I couldn't believe he got past Detroit especially since they had publicly stated they would take him if he were there at 13. I guess having the most promising defensive line in the league weighed higher on Lion's list of priorities than adding a potential lockdown corner. I can't blame them for that and I think they may be a legitimate Super Bowl Contender in 2 years. Anyway, it was to my intense dismay that Giants took him at 19, but they're a respectable team and it's a good fit for them.
seton hall and steelers: When Prince Amukamara was still available at 19 I figured that if he fell one more spot we would trade up to 20 and go get him. I did not think the Giants would take him so I figured once he got past 18, he would definitely get past 19. However, the Giants choice to go Best Available Player and they took Prince at 19 and will have to figure out where he will play. I truly believe that if he had fallen one more spot we would have traded up for him.
2) Initial reaction to the Cameron Heyward pick? Had a chance to watch him much? Early opinions on what role he might assume with the team in '11?
Tim Gleason (maryrose): Rock solid really, and typical Steeler style. Heyward is a classic 3-4 defensive end and two-thirds of what we have there is geriatric. They stayed true to their board. Heyward is really a low-risk guy with little downside. If the brain trust has a confident plan to improve the corner position, then we might really like the Heyward pick as we go down the road.
Neal Coolong: He's a big dude, that's for sure. I'm struggling to write anything we all haven't read by this point; more productive than flashy, he's not going to lead the league in sacks, but he plays the 5-technique (outside shoulder of offensive tackle) with strength. He's smart and is a local product of sorts.Steelers fans are often the most underwhelmed fans after the first round, but this investment kind of mentality always pays off huge after the first year. Plain and simple, they haven't busted on a first round lineman in the last several years, and Heyward fits the mold of all of them; a future starter for several years who plays very well within our system.
It's not sexy, but championships certainly are. Picks like this one are how you maintain your team's repeat trips to the Super Bowl.
John Stephens: I like it a lot. There is no denying that Aaron Smith is not an every down guy anymore and that outside of Ziggy Hood and Steve McLendon are the only two DL on the right side of 30. Heyward is a stud and he has a good amount of experience playing 5-technique with excellent two gap control. While I think Ziggy has developed into a great player, I believe that Heyward has the potential to be much better.
Big Jay: I was immediately happy with the Heyward pick. It wasn't sexy but it filled a need. I would rather have him than reach for any of the available cornerbacks that were still on the board. I still felt like the Steelers could've traded up for Cameron Jordan or Gabe Carimi without sacrificing too much.
In the upcoming season I expect Heyward to step in right away in a rotational role at first. Given the wear and tear of Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel he'll be called upon to start at some point. I feel that he's more ready to start than Ziggy Hood was in his first year so the learning curve won't be a steep.
Rebecca 'Momma' Rollett: Since I don't watch college football, this opinion is based entirely on two things - what Mike Tomlin said this morning, and how quickly they picked. Mike used the magic Steelers word "versatile" - he said that he sees Heyward as a three down player, both a run blocker and a pass rusher. The other thing is how quickly they picked. They clearly wanted this kid - it was just like last year with Maurkice Pouncey - they didn't consider trades, or anyone else, obviously - Heyward was there, they took him.This is a really early opinion, based upon nothing but my own hunch and Mike Tomlin's statement that they will allow him to compete for a spot just like they did with Maurkice - I think that either Aaron Smith isn't coming back, or they are going to use him as little as possible. (I see them keeping Aaron on to basically train his successors, but maybe they can't afford to do that.) I gather that Heyward played in a similar scheme to Pittsburgh at Ohio State, and therefore he is expected to be able to learn the system pretty quickly. So I see him and Ziggy competing for the primary starting spot, with the other as backup for Keisel.As to the rest of my reaction, thought #1 is that they must be pretty certain that they are going to re-sign Colon and put him at RG, and that they must be pretty certain that they are going to be able to re-sign Taylor, or else that they're going to get more than we're seeing out of McFadden/Butler/Gay/Lewis. Or else that even though they aren't certain about either of those things, they have a contingency plan in place, particularly on CB. Everything I've read says that everyone except for Peterson and Akumura are projects to one extent or another, and so they obviously weren't determined to get someone who could take the #2 slot from day 1. The final possibility (way down the list) is that LeBeau has come up with a brand-new scheme that doesn't require corners to be particularly good, and we'll find that out if they take several LBs over the next few days, I suppose....
Ivan Cole: To be brutally honest, I haven't seen much college ball over the past couple of years so my opinion of individual players hasn't been too strong given the lack of knowledge. But since the choice was made, the more I like it. I remember and was very impressed with his father. I also remember that LeBeau and Tomlin were both at the Ohio State pro day, so I am sure that they have strong feelings about this player's potential. I was mildly surprised that they picked D-Line, but it fits with Steelers draft phillosophy. (Excellent article in Steelers.com yesterday. I refer anyone who is confused or upset about the choice to check that out). Hope he is as quick a learner as Ziggy has turned out to be.
Adam Gretz (Steelers Lounge): I love this pick, and even predicted it on Thursday in our Steelers Lounge Podcast previewing the draft. If nothing else, I'm just happy I finally made an accurate prediction. Is it an immediate need? Of course not. The Steelers have a number of capable defensive linemen for 2011, but the only ones under the age of 30 are Ziggy Hood and Steve McClendon. It never hurts to get younger or draft big people that can play football. I'm sure Heyward is going to work his way into the rotation at some point, and as we saw last year, there's going to be injuries along the line. I like the potential of he and Hood serving as book ends on the d-line into the future.
Frank Mineo: I wonder how much the recent injuries to Aaron Smith contributed to having a defensive end as such a big need last night. Smith has suffered serious injuries three of the past four seasons. Looking at the current roster Heyward doesn't have much time to be red-shirted, because his roster spot likely bumps journeyman Nick Eason off the Steelers radar. This would mean that Heyward would need to be ready to compete at a high level as soon as this season.
Homer J.: Have been watching Ironhead's kid for a couple of years. It's a great pick, and much like Miller or Pouncey. A seemingly unspectacular choice late in the first round that will develop into a key building block. Everyone seems to think you can just plug this kid in and watch him go. I'm not so sure. I see him in the rotation, but not starting. At least not till game 8 or so. But that's assuming the Diesel and Smitty stay healthy. LeBeau knows more games are lost by mistakes than won, and he doesn't rush rookies before they're ready. We'll see more of Hayward than we saw of Worilds last year....but that's about it.
Tim M. (HSS): I'll admit I was a tiny bit disappointed when we got Heyward because I thought it was going to be Sherrod, but then I took a step back and thought about it again, and I really felt it was the better pick. Time will reveal if I'm right in thinking that but when I did the profile on Heyward I remember thinking "This pick makes sense in a lot of way: The positional need and value, the Ohio State and Pitt Background, the Character, etc. etc. etc." I've seen the youtube highlights of him and have been a fan of his over the past two years, but nothing more than that. As far as 2011 goes Heyward could see more of the field than Ziggy Hood did in his rookie year, mainly because Heyward has past experience as a 5-technique, and in the 3-4 scheme. He won't start unless both Smith and Keisel both go down which did happen last year for a couple games, but he'll see some rotational work, IMO.
seton hall and steelers: My initial reaction to the Cameron Heyward pick is that it is a safe pick and was probably our best option at that point. When we decided not to trade up for Gabe Carimi or Muhammed Wilkerson, Heyward was our best option at 31. The other players were all early 2nd round grades on my board besides Derek Sherrod but I like Heyward over Sherrod. Heyward was the last remaining 5-tech DE and will not need to make a positional adjustment to play in our system. In 2011, I expect him to spell Brett Keisel to keep Brett fresher and make him less likely to get injured. I think Heyward will play on about 30% to 40% of our defensive snaps, mostly on 2nd and 3rd down.
3) If you didn't love the pick, is there somebody else that you would have preferred to see drafted instead?
Tim Gleason (maryrose): Aaron Williams was the guy I would have preferred over Heyward. Williams is a very good nickel corner and you need that defense 60 percent of the time. Williams can also play safety and would eventually end up there. LeBeau would love Williams' versatility. I could see Williams playing safety and Ryan Clark actually being the nickel back, coming into the game at safety while Williams moves into the nickel. Down the road, of course. Clark is still effective and it will take Williams time to learn all this. But Williams is versatile to the point where your nickel back could actually be a safety replacement.
I don't care who we have on our front seven - we're not going to sack the elite quarterbacks who know how to get rid of the ball quickly to receivers and backs we can't currently cover. Williams and Heyward have been graded equally by everyone who does that sort of thing. Why not fill the bigger need? You've got $200 in your pocket. The brakes on your car are shot to the point of not working and your front tires are wearing. How do you spend that $200? Yeah, the new tires are nice and certainly an upgrade, but if you don't fix those brakes, neither you nor the car is going to be around very long to enjoy the tires.
Neal Coolong: I am a big fan of Jimmy Smith, and in the pre-draft world, the Ravens always take the guy I'm watching. It's really starting to piss me off. Ray Rice is an excellent back. Haloti Ngata is one of the three best defensive players in the league.But then again, Michael Oher's second year was awful (not that he was kicking tail in his first year), and I'm still laughing over Joe Flacco demanding an extension after failing to beat his rival in the playoffs in his second chance to do so. Maybe the trend is reversing.
John Stephens: To play the devil's advocate, why not Derek Sherrod who went 32nd to Green Bay? He is nicely polished with some potential left to be tapped. Or we could have given up a tiny bit and traded up to get Gabe Carimi who had no business still being there that late in the draft.
Big Jay: I loved the pick with what was available to us at the 31st pick, but I would have preferred that the Steelers trade up for one of the players that slipped. i.e. Cameron Jordan, Gabe Carimi, Phil Taylor.
Rebecca 'Momma' Rollett: I would have been happy to see them trade down at that point. There wasn't anyone left on the board that I loved at 31.
Frank Mineo: I'm not in love with the pick, but looking at the best available players left I really don't see that many players that I would've loved more. I was surprised the Steelers didn't at least spend a few minutes listening to a trade offer, but it seems to me that they must have been enamored with the kid and extremely happy with him being available at that spot. In Colbert we trust I guess. Also, to clarify I was disappointed in Pouncey on draft day last year, as I was sold on Bryan Bulaga. After one year it certainly looks like Colbert might have been a better evaluator of talent than I was.
Homer J.: Yeah. Peterson, Amukamara, and Carimi. But they weren't available.
Tim M. (HSS): I am a fan of this pick but I wouldn't have minded Sherrod.
seton hall and steelers: See above
4) Thoughts on Cleveland's huge trade with the Atlanta Falcons? To refresh your memory, Cleveland gave up the No. 6 pick to Atlanta (27th) in exchange for their second and fourth round pick in this year's draft + a 1st and 4th rounder in 2012. Cleveland then proceeded to move up to 21 in order to draft Phil Taylor, the behemoth DT out of Baylor.
Tim Gleason (maryrose): Probably good for both teams. Atlanta is thinking they are Julio Jones away from winning the Super Bowl, so they struck while the iron was hot, not caring about the price. Atlanta was like the rich guy buying a Porsche and overpaying badly. The Porsche was more important than the money. Cleveland made a great deal cost-benefit-wise. They were more interested in getting a Chevy Cruze and still having money left over for a new washer, dryer and getting the house painted, all badly needed for them. As a Pittsburgh fan, I hated that trade. I felt better when Cleveland gave up their number 3 to get Phil Taylor. They could have had him at 27 without giving back the washer and dryer. In addition, all Taylor does is replace a wasted Shaun Rogers. Now they've got two true nose tackles (Rubin the other) and they are supposed to be switching to the 4-3 defense, so I don't know what is going on there. I do know that Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert are a lot smarter than I. Taylor was their guy so they, like Atlanta on a smaller scale, overpaid for him.
Neal Coolong: The Browns are the ultimate winners in the first round. Yes, the Cleveland Browns.Taylor is another guy I really like, and while he's more of a 0-technique (Casey Hampton) than a 3-technique (Kevin Williams), he'll have a lot of success in Cleveland's new 4-3 defense. And to get a player of that quality AND an additional second and fourth in this year's draft, and a first and fourth next year...excellent move on their part. I'm still waiting to see a team make The Leap from contender to champs in one year simply by adding one wide receiver. Atlanta probably picks in the mid-20s next year, and Cleveland will suck again, so they've got a bevy of picks coming into a general management group that knows how to pick them.
Big Jay: I think the trade was a massive failure on the part of the Falcons. While it's true that they needed another quality wide receiver to compliment Roddy White, giving up what they did is far too costly. I would be hesitant to trade that much even for a quarterback, let alone a secondary wide receiver.
I didn't understand Cleveland's trade up for Phil Taylor. Yes they need defensive lineman but Taylor doesn't offer much from a pass-rushing stand point. A much better option would've been Muhammad Wilkerson.
Rebecca 'Momma' Rollett: I think that Cleveland made out like a bandit with the trade. I'm not convinced they used it wisely, but only time will tell. I personally think Atlanta was crazy - what if Jones gets injured? I just don't see betting the shop on one player, especially at a skill position. But maybe they'll be in the Super Bowl next February, and that will show that I don't know squat. But I feel the same way that I would have had Pittsburgh traded way up to take Akumura - too much risk for the potential reward. That's even true, though I hate to say it, about trading up to snag Mike Pouncey.
Ivan Cole: I think Taylor will be an excellent pick up for the Browns. I'm guessing that they see him as the cornerstone of their defense long term. You can't compete seriously in the AFC North without a defense that sooner or later is on par with the Steelers and the Ravens.
Adam Gretz (Steelers Lounge): Outside of Tennessee taking Jake Locker, replacing one inaccurate quarterback with another one, and the Minnesota Vikings making a panic move to take Christian Ponder, I thought the absolute worst move of the first round was Atlanta giving up that many picks to take Julio Jones. Look, Jones may turn out to be fine player, but I just can't get behind putting so many assets and resources into ONE player, especially when there's usually a number of quality second-and-third round wide receivers that can make just as big of an impact as a top guy. Good move by Cleveland. I don't know how good Phil Taylor will turn out to be, but they picked up a ton of picks, and if there's a team that needs a lot of players, it's the Browns.
Frank Mineo: I liked the trade for both teams. Atlanta has to be talked about as one of the top offenses in the league now and they look poised to make a deep run in the NFC this year and in the future. Cleveland on the other hand has a ton of needs on both sides of the ball and it made sense for them to collect some extra picks to fill their needs. But then in typical Cleveland fashion they abandon that plan halfway through the first round and trade up to take a fat guy with a bad leg.
Homer J.: Totally Cleveland. They made a great trade up front, and then pissed away a big chunk of it by overpaying for Taylor. But they need quantity, and that's what they'll get this year and next. Of course, the assumption here has to be that Atlanta will go deep into the playoffs this year and that first round pick next year will be somewhere after 27. Just as an observation, teams are looking at what the Patriots did last year with their 500 2nd round picks, and saying, "I want to be just like them." The price of trading up has gotten higher.
Tim M. (HSS): The Atlanta-Browns trade caught me way off guard, and I think it worked for both teams. The Falcons now have two really good options at receiver, and Cleveland got a lot of picks. Once the Browns moved to 21 I knew they'd take Taylor. Proud to have called that one.
5) Biggest surprise of the first round?
Tim Gleason (maryrose): James Carpenter, by far.
Neal Coolong: Everyone's gonna say Christian Ponder to Minnesota at 12. I'm also going to say Christian Ponder to Minnesota at 12.I was watching the draft with two of my friends, both huge Vikings fans. None of us could possibly have expected Der Komissar to say Ponder's name after "...the Vikings select..." but there was a stunned silence for at least 10 seconds after it. At that point, I couldn't contain myself and broke out laughing.Chuck fumed and angrily updated his Facebook profile. Joe let out his high-pitched "I-Can't-Believe-That-Just-
Happened" laugh. As Mel Kiper nearly lost all control searching for his notes on Ponder - someone who undoubtedly would have been taken today as opposed to Round 1 - he listed off a few of his short-comings. Weak arm, injury concerns, sometimes has trouble reading the field.As for his positives, he graduated college in 2.5 years, got his Master's degree (cuz a Finance degree gives you the ability to throw into a Cover 2 defense, especially when that degree is from Florida State) and played for three years in a pro system. Kiper noted he has "all the intangibles a good QB would have." And then proceeded to compare him to Chad Pennington.
"Great, so we just drafted Chad Pennington with the 12th overall pick." Yep. Complete with nagging shoulder issues going into his rookie year. I had said there's no way the Vikings pass on Nick Fairley, and then to see Detroit grab them, immediately making them the best 4-3 defensive line in the game...seems like the Vikings botched a chance to trade with Dallas at 9 (no way they weren't shopping that pick) and panicked when Locker and Gabbert were off the board and no downward trading partners available.
John Stephens: There were so many good ones, but I think Atlanta trading away everything they could to move up from 27th to 6th to grab Julio Jones takes the cake. They gave up this year's and next year's first round picks as well as their 2nd and 4th this year. Do not get me wrong, I think Julio has a lot of potential, but doesn't Atlanta already have one of the best young WRs in the game? Also, didn't Atlanta give up 48 points to Green Bay to get bounced out of the playoffs? If I were them, I would have been looking for defensive help and not trading up for more offensive power. It really makes no sense to me and it just gives the Browns more power to get better.
Big Jay: There were several surprises that caught me off guard. The first being Denver taking Von Miller, I knew there were rumors that they would consider him but I didn't give it much thought because he doesn't fit their defense now that they're switching to a 4-3 defense.
But to me the biggest surprise to me was the Seahawks taking James Carpenter. He's been considered a late second round prospect at best, and taking him ahead of Gabe Carimi and Derek Sherrod was a little absurd.
Rebecca 'Momma' Rollett: Blaine Gabbert sitting there as long as he did, and Locker getting drafted ahead of him. Or maybe just drafting so many quarterbacks. But it seems like everybody reaches for QBs, so I suppose it shouldn't have been surprising.
Ivan Cole: Amukamara' s fall, as well as Mark Ingram's. That's awfully late for the first running back to be picked up.
Adam Gretz (Steelers Lounge): Jake Locker going before Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder going before ... well, everybody else that was taken in the first round.
Frank Mineo: One thing that surprised me was hearing that the Bengals turned down a trade offer from the Falcons. Even without Chad Ocho Cinco I don't see wide receiver as that big of a need for Cincinnati. They will be paying A.J. Green a monster contract, and frankly if they can't convince Carson Palmer to come back they are in a full rebuilding mold.
Another surprise to me was Nick Fairley falling down the draft board and getting picked up by Detroit; that is one monster defensive line. If Matthew Stafford can stay healthy I expect a nice season from Detroit.
Homer J.: The huge haul the Browns got to trade down their number 6. That raised the value of every other pick and seemed to shut the door on Pittsburgh's hopes for Amukamara. Not since the Ricky Williams trade have I been so gobsmacked by what one team was willing to pay for a draft choice.
Tim M. (HSS): Ponder. I didn't think he'd go that high. James Carpenter is a close second, but I like Ponder, and I think he may be the best QB in this class. I don't know what it is, but it's just a feeling I have.
seton hall and steelers: I think to me, the two biggest surprises of the first round are pretty clear. The 2nd biggest surprise to me was Jake Locker going at #8. The reason this is not bigger is that there has been rumors for a couple weeks that the Titans liked Jake Locker more than Blaine Gabbert. In fact, I also like Jake Locker more than Blaine Gabbert. To me, the biggest surprise by far was the Seahawks pick of James Carpenter at 25. I had targeted Carpenter at 63 for the Steelers. I had seen him mocked anywhere from the mid 40's to the mid 70's within the past couple days. I have never seen him mocked in the 1st round. If they were looking for a guard/tackle at 25 I think Sherrod and Carimi both would have been much, much better picks.
6) Thoughts on the Ravens selection of Colorado CB Jimmy Smith?
Tim Gleason (maryrose): That's the guy I wanted, obviously obsessed with getting cornerbacks. Mike Tomlin is an alarming 1-6 when playing against quarterbacks named Manning, Brady, Brees and Rodgers. His only win was a miracle last-second touchdown pass. Those quarterbacks shred us unmercifully. They are Dick LeBeau's kryptonite. Cornerbacks are the most important position on the team after the quarterback, and in today's NFL, you need three of them. That package of three is not far behind the quarterback position in my mind as the most crucial part of a football team. That's why Baltimore took Smith. Their enthusiasm might be tempered by his off-field issues, but if Smith can mature in that area, the Ravens had the best draft of any AFC North Team after day one, considering how late they picked.
Neal Coolong: Gonna be a great player. Like many of us, I should have had at least a few underage drinking citations, and if that was the biggest mark against his character, then I assume the Ravens planted that rumor so he'd fall all the way down to them.
John Stephens: Some people are really high on Jimmy Smith. I am not one of those people. I think he is bad in run support and just a good cover corner, not great, but good. That does not even begin to dive into the character concerns that he has surrounding him. The potential is there for him to be great, but the potential is also there for him to be a Sergio Kindle bust.
Big Jay: I was really hoping that Jimmy Smith would be off the board by the time the Ravens picked. He's a lock down cornerback whose only drawback is his character concerns. Of course if they hadn't been able to select Jimmy Smith then I think they would've taken Cameron Heyward, leaving the Steelers to select someone else.
Rebecca 'Momma' Rollett: Damn. Just what we need - another thug in Baltimore. (j/k, sort of.) But hey, they were going to take somebody, and were undoubtedly looking to take somebody that would make us uncomfortable.
Ivan Cole: Gamble. Raven's DB problems are maybe more severe than Pittsburgh's, but picking up Smith has a smell of Bengal's team culture about it. Ray Lewis won't be around a whole lot longer I am guessing, and if Smith turns out to be a knucklehead he could pull that team down a bit in the long term. On the other hand, the Ravens remain a step or two behind the Steelers and desperate times demand desperate measures sometimes.
Adam Gretz (Steelers Lounge): I can't think of a more perfect fit between player and team.
Frank Mineo: I'm always perplexed by the media's consistent message of how strong the Raven's locker-room is thanks to Ray Lewis. If you read the write up for Jimmy Smith today in the Baltimore Sun it likely would read similar to last year's write up on troubled second round pick Sergio Kindle. Kindle's first season was a disaster with an arrest for DUI and a serious off the field injury that has kept him from suiting up in one of those ugly purple uniforms. It seems like Ray Lewis can't fix everyone. If past behavior means anything Smith is going to be a handful. If Smith somehow does mature and works hard on and off the field he could be a very scary threat that the Steelers will not look forward to matching up against for the next ten or so years.
Homer J.: Same as everyone else's. He's a terrific talent. Only question is when he'll have his first twelve game (or will it be 14 game) season. Pass it slightly, lightly and po-litely. The over/under on his first four game suspension/arrest is season two.
Tim M. (HSS): If they can keep him in line than he could play out as a really solid pick. You can run at him, but he should develop into a more than adequate cover corner.
seton hall and steelers: I think the Ravens selection of Jimmy Smith is a solid pick. I think he needs to be in a good locker room to succeed and I think the Ravens locker room is pretty good. However, people saying that Smith is a better pure corner than Prince or Peterson are just plain wrong. While Jimmy had a solid career at Colorado there are some big flaws in his game. He is not a good tackler, he has huge mental lapses which can lead to big plays for the other team, and he took advantage of the college rule that you can jam outside of 5 yards (not really a rule just that refs in college never call it a penalty). In the NFL he will have to adjust to this or he will be flagged heavily. However, Smith was clearly the 3rd best corner in the draft so it was a good pick and good value.
7) After what unfolded in Round 1, what are you expecting to see happen in Rounds 2 and 3 on Friday night? Or, if you'd rather think of if this way -- what do you hope happens on Friday.
Tim Gleason (maryrose): I'll come full circle here and answer your last question similar to your first question. If Ras-I Dowling is sitting there at 19 the way Prince was in the first round, or somewhere thereabouts, then I emphatically want the Steelers to trade up to snag him. Going from 31 to 19 in round one costs you the king's ransom. Going from 31 to 19 in round two is much more palatable. Then I get my cornerback that I keep talking about in all these questions. Now you pair Dowling with Heyward and I go into the merry month of May a very merry man. What I don't want to happen, and what I fear will happen, is that Dowling will get snatched up a few picks before Pittsburgh is on the clock, just like Jimmy Smith in the first round, and I will be really bummed. He's worth a trade-up if he gets to the middle of the second. I don't want déjà vu all over again and feel the cornerback blues by a handful of picks two rounds in a row.
Neal Coolong: I really hope the Steelers are able to grab a defensive back who can cover the slot, whether that's an Aaron Williams, or a Brandon Harris, or someone with quickness and the ability to change direction quickly. While I'm in support of the Heyward pick, unless he's able to cover a sack of a 3rd WR like Jordy Nelson, he's not going to help our most glaring weakness.Hope No. 2 is the Steelers just don't blow this pick. They are so hot and cold with second round picks (LaMarr Woodley vs. Limas Sweed in back-to-back years) If the guy isn't worth a late second round pick, though, they shouldn't draft him. If they're drafting on potential, please PLEASE be right. You can always use help in the secondary, and our guard situation still isn't desireable, so hopefully they can find a few guys who can help bolster a championship-caliber team now and in the near future.
John Stephens: I think the Steelers are going to go CB in the 2nd round. Either they trade up a bit for Dowling or Williams or they stay put for Brandon Harris. Any of those would be a great pick.I was immediately happy with the Heyward pick. It wasn't sexy but it filled a need. I would rather have him than reach for any of the available cornerbacks that were still on the board. I still felt like the Steelers could've traded up for Cameron Jordan or Gabe Carimi without sacrificing too much.
Big Jay: I expect a lot of trades at the top of the second round. The few teams that didn't select a quarterback will be jockeying for position to take what's left. And with Da'Quan Bowers still on the board he'll be a hot commodity as well.
As far as the Steelers go, they still need to address their biggest needs. They'll need to come away with a cornerback and an offensive lineman, either a guard or a tackle. Brandon Harris, Aaron Williams, and Ras-I Dowling are going to be the targets but they'll all be gone by pick 63, and the drop off to the next tier of cornerbacks is a steep one. If the Steelers are going to trade up in any of the next rounds it needs to be in the second. They will still be able to find a quality offensive lineman in rounds three, four, and maybe even in round five.
Rebecca 'Momma' Rollett: Trade up in round 2 to get Dowling. But I don't think they will. I'm guessing they're happy enough with the O line to only take someone way down the line, unless a complete stud falls unexpectedly to them (Cannon?) (After all, Starks will be back and J. Scott played respectably by the end of the season.) If they don't address CB in rounds 2 or 3 (or 2 and 3) I think that some people's heads are going to explode. I also wouldn't be surprised to see them take a RB if someone good is available. I don't see K, QB, P, WR, or LB in these 2 rounds. So just watch - they'll take a LB in 2 and a WR in 3, just to spite me... : ) But if it were me, I would take whatever combination of Dowling, Burton, Marsh, and House that were around in 2 and 3.
Ivan Cole: Hope we don't trade any picks and get DB and perhaps an O-lineman tonight. However, (though we don't need them short term) there may be some real bargains on quality running backs through the remainder of the draft. Stay the course with BPA.
Adam Gretz (Steelers Lounge): I would say I hope the Steelers come away with a cornerback at some point, but if I've learned anything watching the Steelers it's that they simply don't care about what other people think and will pick who they want, when they want. I'm expecting anything except a quarterback.
Frank Mineo:I know everyone is sold on us taking a corner and we certainly need one, but unless they are going to get a player who is worth a hill of beans, they need to stop collecting mediocre talent at the position and find a baller. Keenan Lewis, Crezdon Butler, Joe Burnett, and William Gay have all been mid to late round stabs at finding a corner in recent years that apparently aren't ever going to work. I also wouldn't be completely shocked to see a tight end taken earlier than most would think. I know Jim Wexell is high on the Steelers taking Lance Kendricks from Wisconsin. I also wouldn't be surprised to see the Steelers pick up a small scat back to compliment Mendenhall.
Homer J.:The needs are still there: DB and OL. It's still a deep draft. I expect to see them try to trade up to fill those needs, so long as quality players are available Friday night. This team needs quality more than quantity. People are clamoring for Dowling....the same way they were clamoring for Shipley and Frank the Tank. We were thrilled when Colbert drafted those two guys, but we also know how they worked out. So my hopes at this point are to fill the two obvious needs - moving up to get the players they want - but In Colbert I Trust. Let him pick the players. He's the guy flying the plane. I'm sitting in the back. Let him work the controls. Homer will sit back and ask the flight attendant for a cold, sweet, delicious beer. Mmmm. Beer.
Tim M. (HSS): I'm pumped for day 2. I really hope we get a DB in round 2. Dowling is of course the dream pick, but I wouldn't mind adding Curtis Brown. In the the third Oline would be nice, and I'm expecting it. As far as who, I'd love to get Jah Reid. We'll see how it all plays out, but for now I'm happy with what could pan out.
seton hall and steelers: On Day 2, I could see the Steelers going one of many options. If Ijalana, Harris, or Aaron Williams fall to around 40 to 45, I could see them trading up. If not, I believe they will stay put at 63 and hope that Dowling, House, or Curtis Brown fall into their lap. I truly believe that one of those 3 corners will definitely be available at 63 because of the way CB's are being taken so far. Just look at the first round. Prince Amukamara was mocked anywhere from 7 to 13 and he went 19. Jimmy Smith was mocked anywhere from 13 to 23 and he went 25. Clearly, teams are just not valuing their corners as much in this draft. I think our best option would be to just stay put at 63 and take the best available corner. In the 3rd round is where I think we should trade up and target Offensive guard John Moffit, or guard/tackle Orlando Franklin. If we trade say our 3rd and 5th rounder to move up 10 spots and get either of these two players, we would have filled our 3 biggest needs in the 1st 3 rounds with players that could make impacts in year 1.