With the dust starting to settle on the Ohio State University player scandal, many people are focusing on what is next for Jim Tressel and some wonder (as I do) if he wouldn't be a perfect fit for the sleeveless, cheating environment that is the New England Patriots. But I digress, the real intrigue in this story is what the future holds for the 5 players implicated in this scandal. It will be easy to write some players off immediately (or at least we think), and we all know the Steelers don't tend to draft players with huge character concerns. However, I don't blame these kids as much as many of you might. It has become apparent that this was part of the culture at Ohio State, and singling these 5 kids out when Cam Heyward just as easily could have followed them seems silly to me. I blame Tressel for allowing this to become the norm for players at his school, I don't blame the fourth or fifth generation of players following in the long-line of rule-breakers who came before them. So, let us take a look at each player, their potential draft-worth, and if they could be a fit for the Steelers.
Note: The Supplemental Draft was covered under the old CBA, thus making it the only football related activity that could still happen without a new deal. ESPN reports that te draft would likely be held in July.
Mike Adams, OT (6'8", 300 lb)
Adams has a wide range in where he is placed should he have a solid senior year. I have seen him ranked as high as the second senior OT in this draft, and I have also seen him rated as a late-round pick. No one can deny though that he is a physical monster and exactly the type of guy who could hold down one of the bookends for years to come. He is said to be very raw, but was named First Team All-Big Ten and has the potential to stick at LT (though I think he might be better suited for the right side). Adams, like the rest of these players, will see a decline in their draft stock whether or not they enter the supplemental draft, so I anticipate a 3-4 round grade on him in the supplemental, and probably a second (outside shot at first) if he plays the whole season. Obviously the OL is still an area of need for the Steelers, and while they appear to have drafted one of their future lineman, most of us expect Tackle to be addressed again in the 2012 draft. I think Mike Adams would be the player we are most likely to target should he enter the supplemental draft. He would still have time to develop, and since he would be coming in the middle of the season, could easily spend the whole year learning from Flozell and Max.
DeVier Posey, WR (6'2", 210, 4.5 40-yard)
Posey is very interesting to me. He is rated as a top 5-6 WR in this class, has great size and an ability to jump and grab the ball. He could be a huge threat in the red-zone for years to come, and would help us move on if we don't see much from Limas Sweed once football resumes. The tough part with Posey is that he projects to be a 2nd round selection in 2012, and his draft stock probably won't fall too far. The 2011 draft was pretty deep with WRs, so it is possible that most of the teams that might have taken him feel pretty good about that position, so he could slip to us in the 3rd round, however that is still a high pick to give up for someone who might burn us with character issues. He averaged 16.0 yards per catch last year, has had 7 & 8 TDs in 2010 and 2009 respectively, and uses his body pretty well to gain an advantage over the DB. I don't see the Steelers taking him, but if he stumbled to the lower half of the draft, he could be a legitimate target.
Terrelle Pryor, QB/WR (6'6", 235, sub-4.4 40-yard)
Pryor is not likely to stick at QB, so I have him being drafted as a WR in the NFL. He has projectable size and speed, with good hands and he would know routes. The Steelers will need to address a long-term backup for Ben, especially if Dennis Dixon leaves via Free Agency. Pryor would serve as a solid threat in the red-zone, and would have the ability to sit and learn the ropes under the tutelage of Hines Ward. Pryor is a Pittsburgh-area native, and I'm sure would love a chance to play for his hometown team. While the Steelers may be the best fit for Pryor, I do not believe he is the best fit for the Steelers. Unless he falls to the 6th or 7th round (he is projected as a 3rd-4th rounder at the WR position) he is not worth what the Steelers would be giving up for him. Because of his name recognition, don't expect him to fall, and I also think he will likely head back to OSU and try to regain some value going through the combine as a WR and QB.
Dan Herron, RB (5'10" 205)
Herron plays bigger than he is, and loves to find someone to hit. He might be better suited for a FB at the next level if he can gain 20-30 pounds. He has great hands and is a pretty decent blocker. I expect him to be a threat coming out of the backfield and receiving. However, the only way the Steelers make this move is if he is sitting there in the 7th round and Batch, MeMo and Dwyer have all proven they can't handle the 3rd RB position. I don't see this happening, so some other team will get the bruiser that is Dan Herron.
Solomon Thomas, DE (6'5", 248)
Thomas is not being projected as a sure-fire drafted player. Because of this, and the fact that he either needs to gain 30+ pounds or move to OLB, he is likely to return to college. I don't see him as a legitimate prospect to be drafted by the Steelers, even with the prospect of reuniting him with former teammate Cam Heyward.