Ok, some of you might be reading this and thinking "dream scenario" or wishful thinking. I am just going to go through some scenarios where the Steelers can definitely use the combine to their advantage in filling certain positions of need on their team for the upcoming 2013 NFL season.
While the NFL combine is mostly about the players trying to impress upon teams their abilities to become that great pick , there are teams who come out as winners and some who come out as losers . To explain this, we'll look at the player who performs great at certain drills that showcase their measurables and features. These drills are displayed as bench press, 40 yd dash , agility etc; . Teams that draft solely on this basis historically, usually come out on the short end of the stick. A good example of this could be seen as teams like the Oakland Raiders. On the other side are the teams who not only invest in the measurable and features but use the interview process and game film to target their selections ,much like the Pittsburgh Steelers have historically done . By combining these aspects , these teams are generally competitive or near the top echelon of the NFL.
First Scenario : Project Pass Rushers Work Out Better Than Expected
Now , here is a scenario that can really benefit the Steelers. If Barkevious Mingo, Ezekiel Ansah , and Dion Jordan can impress in positional drills and show 40 speed in the 4.5 to 4.7 range, they will cement themselves as top 15 picks . Another effect in this scenario is that there are teams that want an OLB for their 3-4 defense that will pick ahead of the Steelers and will not be pressured to pick OLB Jarvis Jones from Georgia. Jones is talented , but also considered a medical risk , which could shy the other teams away from him. He definitely fits a need for the Steelers and possibly is the highest rated player on the Steelers draft board . If these two scenarios happen, the Steelers could be the beneficiaries of selecting the most talented linebacker in this draft at 17.
Second Scenario: Manti Te'o Nails Interview But Runs Poorly at Combine
Ok , the Lennay Kekua jokes aside, Te'o could be had in this scenario. Let's say he goes through the interview process and impresses the Steelers front office , convincing them that his off the field circus is behind him and his focus is on football. Also let's say that other MLB's like Alec Ogketree, Kevin Minter, Arthur Brown and Kevin Riddick run very well and better than Te'o at the combine , this will definitively up their draft stock and lower Te'o's . If Te'o slides due to this , he could be available in the second round where the Steelers could think long and hard about selecting him. He fits in their "buck" linebacker position in the Steeler defense and should thrive on improving his overall game under the tutelage of Coach LeBeau and Coach Butler.
Third Scenario: Great Workouts by Quarterbacks
Many on both the BTSC forums and some others have clamored for the Steelers to draft Ben Roethlisberger's replacement in this draft. Truthfully, the Steelers can wait until next year's draft to select Ben's successor as next year's draft will have more talent and will be stronger at the QB position. For every pick that is spent on a Ryan Nassib, Matt Barkley, Zack Dysert, Geno Smith and Landry Jones , it will send quality prospects at other positions that can help the Steelers fill their needs . Just to put it in perspective , any one of these DT's could fall to the Steelers in rounds 3 to 6 if a run on QB's happens,John Jenkins (UGA) or any of the Williams -Jesse (Alabama) , Sylvester (UNC) or Brandon ( Missouri Southern)which could definitely strengthen the competition for being Big Snack's replacement.
Fourth Scenario: Prospects Who Don't Work Out at Combine Forgotten by Other Teams
The NFL seems to have become a "recent events will shape our judgement on the player " type league . In this we look at two top prospects who will not work out at the combine due to injuries -Eddie Lacy and Keenan Allen, two prospects whose positions will be a need for the Steelers (RB & WR). Now, I am not forseeing the Steelers acquiring both of these guys but I could see one possibly being on the team. Landing Allen in the third round would be a major , major coup . This could happen depending on the performances of other receivers such as Terrance Williams , Tavon Austin and DeAndre Hopkins and how they perform and impress at the combine. If they perform very well , teams could select them ahead of Allen just on the "buzz" these receivers created during the combine .Even if Allen isn't there for the Steelers , the wide receiver group in this draft is very deep and full of impact players that the Steelers could use to help out their offense.
Fifth Scenario : LeVeon Bell Shows Up at Combine in Shape
Now if the Steelers aren't able to select Eddie Lacy, Giovanni Bernard, or Joe Randle , Leveon Bell could be the direction they go . Bell was last seen on the field at 6 ft 2 inches and 245 lbs. He was plodding through to be considered a top NFL running back. . Bell showing up at 230 or lower without losing running power could definitely be the answer to the Steelers running game. At the combine how well Bell performs at the agility drills could determine his draft future and his future in the NFL.
Sixth (Last) Scenario: Safeties Distinguish Themselves
The aging of the Steelers secondary is really being felt at both safety positions . troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark are both over 30 and the wear and tear is starting to show. Drafting a safety who could be an impact player should be an important focus for the Steelers. This year's safety class is very deep and is a great year to fill that need . The Steelers can use the combine to determine what could be the next tandem of safeties in Pittsburgh with some stud prospects available . guys like Kenny Vaccaro, Matt Elam, Eric Reid , Phillip Thomas and Johnathan Cyprien lead this truly deep class . A combination of any of these guys bodes well for the Steelers future defense . Depending on interviews and whether or not other teams snatch up these guys will determine the players chosen. I could see one , possibly two of these guys drafted .
Yes, some of these scenarios might be very , very positive . Some of these scenarios could happen while others might not happen. It's just a bunch of scenarios thrown out there with some possible outcomes . Try to put yourself into the minds of Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin and try to imagine what you would hope for as a result of the combine that could help you with your selections in the draft. I thank you for reading this and welcome your comments . Here We Go STEELERS!!!!!!