The likely combination of a shoulder injury and lack of fluidity at the Senior Bowl likely will make Ohio State defensive end/outside linebacker John Simon a pick somewhere in the middle rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft.
It's amazing what time can do to heal injuries and what Steelers coaching can do to mid-round defensive players
Simon, along with inside linebacker Vince Williams (Florida State) and running back Christine Michael (Texas A&M), visited with the Steelers Monday in preparation for April's draft. These visits are oftentimes a sign the Steelers will end up selecting the player.
Offensive linemen Kelvin Beachum visited with the Steelers last season, and was one of the team's seventh round picks.
Simon, the Big 10's Defensive Player of the Year in 2012, wasn't particularly impressive at outside linebacker at the Senior Bowl, and considering his size - 6-foot-2, 263 pounds - isn't likely to see the field as a defensive end any time soon. That would drop his stock but a similar knock was made on Michigan defensive end LaMarr Woodley in 2007.
The Steelers selected him in the second round, and essentially put a redshirt on him his rookie year. Woodley is still the only player in NFL history to notch four consecutive multi-sack games in the postseason.
Michael is a world of talent with a spotty past. Among his highlights include a suspension for a violation of team rules at the beginning of the year (followed by critical Tweets he posted during A&M's win over SMU in September), a punch thrown at a Sam Houston State player in a 47-28 victory over the FCS school and overslept two interviews with teams during the NFL Scouting Combine.
Michael broke his left leg and tore the ACL in his right leg during his college days. Flags don't fly much higher than the ones on Michael, but his physical ability and the likely perception of "value" in the middle to later rounds could be enough for a team to pull an early trigger on the 5-foot-11, 220-pound brick wall of a running back.
Williams is a marginally athletic late-round prospect who may have had a better 2012 season if not for a broken leg he suffered in spring practice.
It's an interesting cross section of players, based on range of positions, potential and character concerns. All showed at least some higher end ability at the collegiate level, and the fact the Steelers are bringing them in for a workout - three of the 30 players they are allowed to host before the draft - says something about their interest.