OK, after reading several posts on BTSC and looking them over, I decided to take the 4 guys most mentioned as going or desired to be the Steelers # 17 first round pick. Several articles here and also on mock drafts around the internet have these 4 players going to the Steelers and wearing Black and Yellow . I will list the players below and using NFL.com draft ratings list the players strength , weakness and NFL player they compare to .
Kenny Vaccaro -SS University of Texas:
Vaccaro has been mocked to us in a few mock drafts and there are some comparisons to each of our current safeties, Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu. Nfl.com grades Vaccaro at 87.7 . Vaccaro's strengths are his combo of physical strength and his athleticism. Vaccaro can lock on to the slot recieverat the line and has the speed , agility and stregth to stay with them on out routes and downfield . He displays very loose hips and a good change of direction ability. Vaccaro also has the strength to rip off any wide receiver who attempts to block him and is a great open field tackler using his upper body strength to take down the ball carrier . He is great on the blitz and can play the half field in the cover 2 . He can also attack the run game very well and isn't afraid to play in the box .
Vaccaro's weaknesses are as follows. Vaccaro is a one speed player who often lacks the burst and agility to stick with the better NFL receivers . His back pedal is high and stiff which can cause him to lose a step running down the seam. He often gets caught staring into the backfield too long causing him to bite on play action and be out of position on run plays when he is the "force " defender . Vaccaro has the nasty habit of not always taking good angles and is prone to running himself too far upfield causing him to miss tackles and take himself out of the play altogether .
NFL Comparison: Morgan Burnett
Vaccaro should be one of the first safeties taken in the NFL draft in April. His aggressive nature and man coverage skills will be coveted and if he can improve his instincts , he could be a potentially great combo safety in the NFL anchoring a team's secondary for years to come.
Matt Elam - FS University of Florida:
Elam has been the "hot" commodity . A lot of people are talking about him as a potential late first round draft pick due to his powerful hits . A strong comparison to a Ryan Clark type . Even the hair style looks a bit like Clark's . Elam was graded as an 80 .0 on NFL.com. Elam's strengths are playing in the box and blitzing . Plays close to the line of scrimmage and also can make a play. Flashes tremendous disruption when plays develop in front of him. Has great catch up speed to chase down if he wants to. Gets hand up to disrupt the catch even if not looking for the football. Has great down field speed as a gunner in punt coverage.
Elam's weaknesses seem to stem from his gut . He has shown very little urgency in being involved in the play and is often seen drifting around waiting on others to make the play . Elam tends to drift laterally , rather than plant his outside foot , free his outside arm and make the play to force the run upfield immediately . He tends to try to make the big hit too often and leaves his feet , lunging and leading with his shoulder, rather than wrapping up. Elam also waits on the screen rather than trying to disrupt it . His lack of aggressiveness also is a weakness.
NFL Comparison: Quintin Mikell
Elam is by far one of the high profile draftees in this draft. The high profile could be due to his onfield emotion and energy along with the splash plays he has made in his collegiate career. Aside from the splash plays , Elam's lack of emotion and aggressiveness could shy away potential suitors. If Elam can harness that energy and aggressiveness , he could become a first round pick and a very good safety in the NFL.
Jarvis Jones- OLB - University of Georgia:
Jones, just a few weeks ago was a predicted top 5 draftee . Injury concerns have appeared as in his history , he has suffered a spinal stenosis injury during his true freshman year at USC. He has been cleared to play by doctors since. Called a "complete package" by most draft scouts and mocks, Jones has a very high ceiling . Jones was graded at an 88.8 by NFL.com. Jones strengths are many . He is a versatile linebacker who can play both the inside and the outside. He has the rare combination of a quick good first step , which will pressure tackles upfield ,great closing speed to finish off the play and short area quickness to keep containment on the outside. Jones gets under the pads of tackles , keeps his feet churning to gain leverage on the tackles, can get to the quarterback . He has heavy hands and can rip off to get around the edge or cut inside to get to the quarterback or cause disruption in the backfield. Can cover TE's off the edge and gets his hands up to disrupt the pass. Solid, strong tackler.
Jones weaknesses aside from the medical concerns over his spinal stenosis are few. One of them is the fact that he is a one year starter. The other is that he is inconsistent with his hands when trying to disengage from running back blocks and cut blocks. He also needs to develop another move to keep tackles guessing as he doesn't have a great bend around the corner. Also there is concern about him not being able to increase his mass on his frame.The spinal stenosis is a big concern as it will bring up the issue of Jones' durability, as some previous players who had this condition had to call it quits such as Michael Irvin, Chris Samuels and Marcus McNeil.
NFL Comparison : Bruce Irvin
Jones production speaks for itself. If the injury concerns are valid , that would be the only deterrent to stopping Jones from becoming a great OLB in the NFL . He has all the tools and by far is a complete and versatile linebacker who fits very well in a 3-4 defensive scheme . He has the versatility to play both the run and pass very well and while he has some struggles , with a good coach , Jones should become a top producer for whatever team takes him. The medical concerns will be the ultimate decision maker as to where Jones will be drafted.
Barkevious Mingo -DE/OLB LSU:
Mingo has recently been linked to the Steelers through a few posters on BTSC. Mingo is the newly coveted defensive player most of the Steeler faithful really like to see in Black & Yellow. Mingo is graded at 92.8 by NFL.com, easily the highest grade amongst the four players detailed here.Mingo could become the heir to another former great OLB -yes , James Harrison!! Mingo's strengths are many . Mingo's size and pass rushing ferocity are just what defensive coordinators salivate over. He has an incredible first step off the snap , can turn the corner on the outside and shimmy inside on leaning tackles. Strong setting the edge against the run , willing to take on tackles man up , can cover running backs and wrap up receivers in space, Mingo also uses his size and arm reach to disrupt passes . Not afraid of contact , Mingo likes lining up on the strong side and will line up between TE's in a tight formation. He has great straight line speed and can chase down plays . He also knows how to work through blocks.
Mingo's weaknesses are mostly attributed to his size and lean frame. With this concern about Mingo having the frame more of an OLB versus that of a DE it could shy some teams away from him. Needs to focus more on not trying to scrap with the OL but try to shed the OL better so plays don't get that far outside of him. Has to learn how to change direction quickly and not get his long legs in the way when doing so.
NFL Comparison: DeMarcus Ware
Mingo is considered a boom or bust prospect. While he played DE at LSU , he will definitely have much more success as an OLB in a 3-4 scheme of defense. His length , athleticism and pass rush ferocity and skills make him a definitive top 20 draftee in April's Draft.
I believe the Steelers should look at these four players but in the followiing ranks :
Now , If Mingo falls to us , I'm sure that most Steeler fans will be very satisfied. I would be happy with any of the top three , but do have concerns over Jones' spinal stenosis condition . I believe the Steelers front office will do their due dilligence and select who they feel is the perfect fit for the team in 2013.
thanks for ready this and please feel free to leave your comments .