A View from the SteelCage - Why I dislike Brandon Harris...and My Mock (which I do like)


It has been a long year, and I haven’t had time to write, but I am feeling rather sage.  Last year in this article (,  I said Carnell needed to be our DB Coach. (I am also proud to admit I called Worilds, Dixon, Dwyer and Worthington, although I only got Worilds and Dixon in the right round).  So here is to hoping I am right again a few times here this year.  Before my mock I am going to talk about why I am not a fan of Harris in round 1 (or 2 or 3 for that matter).  I am a DB Coach and have been for a decade.  Harris is a nickel cornerback with the potential if the stars align correctly to develop into a serviceable #2.  I know this is blunt and harsh, and if we pick him I hope I am very wrong.  Let me compare a past draftee’s college numbers to Harris’ numbers and then I will talk technically about what needs to change if we do pick him.


Previous Draftee’s Numbers    5’10 1/8", 187 lbs, 4.48 40, 38 ½ vert, played in 33 games, making 23 starts, 7 int, 134 tackles, 28 PBU, 3 FF, 3 sacks


Brandon Harris’ Numbers        5’10", 191 lbs, 4.53 40, 35.5 vert, 39 games and started 32, 4 int, 129 tackles, 3 FF, 28 PBU, 2 sacks


Who is the previous Draftee?  Doesn’t he look better than Harris on production, and measurables?  Answers after the break.


Although he is crazy athletic, Harris has slow, tight hips in transition.  At the pro level, the routes are crisper because you can’t rely on out "athleting" other NFL players.  Tight hips means you will allow a lot of catches because WRs will create separation.  Also, while his PBU were high, he is not a "pick" corner.  The problem with this is he also allows too many catches by not playing the upfield shoulder on WRs, and ends up behind them dragging them down.  I also was not impressed by his run support.  The big tackle numbers are from allowing catches.  He doesn’t attack RBs the way Steelers CB must, and doesn’t really bother much at all if the play goes the other way.  I was desire and fanatical effort on every play, and I don’t see it. If we pick him, I will trust in Colbert and Tomlin, and hope Carnell can make him elite. So still wondering who the previous draftee was…


Willie Gay anyone?






And now for my mock draft.






Round 1 - Ras I Dowling, CB, Virginia




6’1", 198 lbs

4.46 40, 19 bench,

139 tackles, 8 int, 3 FF, 27 PBU


OK, hear me out on this one before you go crazy.  I am assuming here that Muhammed Wilkerson, Pouncey, Phil Taylor and the top tackles will be gone.  Ras I Dowling is being call injury prone because of a few leg injuries this season.  Before the season started he was considered the top CB prospect in the nation and a top 10 lock.  Folks, his play didn’t drop, and for anyone that has ever had an ankle injury, continuing to play often results in other leg injuries from your body compensating to protect the injured part.  He is a shutdown corner with a great size/speed combination.  As a DB Coach I can tell you, he has great hips, great ball skills (as indicated by his interceptions and PBU) and more importantly is the most physical corner in the draft and an eventual successor to Ike as our #1 CB.  With his Pro Day workout he won’t last past 34 and is a steal at 31, much like Heath Miller was.  One hiccup to this is if Tomlin and company decide to draft young like Timmons, Holmes, etc.  Then a possible young Athletic Freak would be ILB Martez Wilson.  But I feel Dowling is BPA here.


Round 2 - James Brewer, OT, Indiana


Cameron Jordan vs James Brewer



6’6", 320 lbs

5.28 40, 25 Bench, Arm length 35 1/2"


Gil Brandt likened his pro day to Roger Saffold’s last year.  Saffold, picked 33 overall, started all season at LT for the Rams and played lights out.  I think Brewer has the same talent level.  He also has the power to play inside for a year if necessary at RG, although, I see him starting at RT before eventually moving to LT, like Marvel Smith did.  If a later pick I through in pans out, he could play RG until Kemo leaves and then move to LG if LT doesn’t work out.  If Marcus Cannon (G, TCU) or Martez Wilson (ILB, Illinois) falls this far, they will take one of them instead.


Round 3 - Kenrick Ellis, NT/DE, Hampton


6’5" 346 lbs

5.28 40, 26 bench, Arm Length 35 1/8"


This is a wishful thinking pick for me, as I don’t see him making past the Jets pick right before us if he makes it that far, but here is to hoping. 


Round 4 - Keanemana "Mana" Silva, FS, Hawaii


6’1", 206 lbs

4.44 40, 40 vert, 23 bench

14 int (6 in 2009, 8 in 2010), 155 tackles, 1 sack, 26 PBU


Who is Samoan, where’s number 43, plays safety, and had 8 picks this season.  Not Polamalu (only 7 picks).  This is my steal of the draft, although prior to a very strong pro day, he would have been a sixth rounder.  Here is a kid who had 6 and 8 picks his last two years (only years starting).  Some of you might remember my rule of 7 and 15 from last year which I believe determines if a DB will be a ball hawk at the pro level (link  Silva had only two years of production due to his transfer from Oregon State to Hawaii and losing a year of eligibility, otherwise, who knows what his total would have been.  Teaming him with Polamalu would give us, and I am claiming naming rights here, the "Samoan Super Safety Set".  I could see him pairing with Polamalu for 12-15 picks a year.  That, my friends, would be money.


Round 5 - Jarriel King. OT, South Carolina



6’5", 317 lbs

5.09 40, 23 bench, 30 vert, 36 3/8" arms


OK, so the picture isn't of him playing OL, but any LT that can chase down a safety and make this tackle deserves kudos for athleticism.  3 year starting LT at South Carolina for the Ole Ball Coach.  Can pass block with the best of them.  Needs to work some on his upper and lower body strength, but this kid can flat out play.  If not for a heart issue, he wouldn’t make it out of the 3rd round.  His heart has been fine since he was in high school, and they brought him in for a visit, so there is obvious interest.


Round 6 - Stephen Burton, WR, West Texas A&M


6’1", 224 lbs

4.38 40, 35 vert, 19 bench

132 rec, 1909 rec yards, 13 TD (2 year production)


This kid reminds me a lot of Miles Austin.  He is a big, strong kid, with great power to break tackles after the catch.  He is a good "hand catcher" not allowing the ball to get into his pads.  West Texas A&M is a very legitimate football program and he carried them the last two years.  Look at his production compared to Miles Austin in college, who had Austin caught 150 passes for 2,867 yards and 33 TD in 3 years.  Aside from the TD total, Burton is has production on par, if not higher than Austin’s, and against better competition.  I really like this kid


Frank Kearse, NT, Alabama A&M



6’4" 315 lbs

5.30 40, 22 Bench, 30 vert


First off, has the nickname Big Spoon, which coincidentally you can use to eat a Big Snack.  Needs to work on his hand usage and play diagnosis, but Coach Mitchell can teach that.  Once he does, Big Spoon could be an outstanding replacement for Big Snack.  My favorite thing about him is his length.  Tall Dlinemen cut off passing lanes just by raising their arms.  That will help our pass defense as much as new DBs will.  Steelers worked him out, but Patriots and Ravens are supposedly interested as well.


My Favorite Free Agent


Brian Lainhart, S, Kent State

6’0", 211 lbs

4.65 40, 37.5 vert, 23 bench

349 tackles, 17 int, 9 FF, 17 PBU


For more on him see my article I linked in the Ras Dowling paragraph.

For more Views from the SteelCage


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