Rookie Camp Obsevations (days 1 & 2)





Hot on the heels of a draft that many on BTSC are either very happy with or very angry with the picks, the Steelers are holding their Rookie minicamp , showcasing many of these players they drafted and some of the ones they signed as UDFA's . Many names have stood out so far, making the Steelers front office look very smart in their drafting . Some other players , well, let's start by saying this : Maybe some of the prognosticators are correct in their questioning of these picks .

One of the picks most questioned was the 2nd round selection of running back Le'Veon Bell . Nicknamed the BellDozer by some BTSC members , Bell has been described by some as a "slow , plodding , big back from the Big10," or as "someone who is exactly like current Steelers running backs Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman ." Well , Bell is starting to prove these critics wrong so far . As Pittsburgh Tribune writer Mark Kaboly writes:

*Kaboly on Day 1 Observation: Go ahead and keep calling Le’Veon Bell a big back. It just makes you look foolish because Bell isn’t anything near being a big back (when I think of big back I am thinking Jerome Bettis, Michael Turner, Isaac Redman, LaGarrett Blount, Brandon Jacobs, Steven Jackson). Bell is listed at 6-1, 244 but said he is more around 230 but you sure can’t tell that by the way he looks. Bell showed some of his nimble nature that he was known for in college during the first day, but please, please don’t call him a big back. To me, Bell looks like Matt Forte.

Oh , yeah , that doesn't convince me, what else ya got ?

DAY 2 OBSERVATION: *Le’Veon Bell wasn’t able to show his power-running style during a pad-less practice, but the rookie second-round pick out of Michigan State sure showed his skill set. During a scramble, Oklahoma rookie quarterback Landry Jones flung the ball awkwardly in the flat to Bell, who plucked the ball out of the air with one hand. Later on, Bell showed some nimble feet when broke through the line of scrimmage and made a move on safety Andrew Taglianetti that almost broke the ankles of the rookie safety out of Pitt, who is on a three-day tryout with the Steelers. Very impressive so far, but let’s be honest here. He’s not being judged against NFL-caliber competition yet.

If Bell can move like this against NFL talent, all I can say is "LOOK OUT"! The Steelers will have a 1,00 yd rushing back who may also be a great outlet for Ben on 3rd down or opponents blitzing packages. I feel that the "BellDozer" will surprise the naysayers and those that vehemently questioned the pick . If the Rookie camp is an indicator of what Bell will bring to the table, our running game and the Steelers season will be one that will be a very happy one for all of Steeler Nation.

Other players who are standing out are 4th round pick (the one we traded our 3rd next year for) Shamarko Thomas and 5th round pick Terry Hawthorne . Thomas is definitely positioning himself to become a definitive impact player this season (mostly on special teams and in nickel packages). Here is Kaboly's observations on Thomas:

Day 1:* Safety Shamarko Thomas is going to be a stud. He just passes the eye test. Now, if we can just get him to stop saying "man" about 37 times during a five-minute interview … man. Just kidding. I talked to him for a while and he’s a nice kid with even a better story

Day 2: * Standing out were Syracuse safety and fourth-round pick Shamarko Thomas during gunner drills

Hawthorne, too has really impressed. I do know some (maybe all) of us were like "Terry Hawthorne?? Who is Terry Hawthorne? " Right now , he could be the challenger to Curtis Brown, Josh Victorian , Willie Gay , DVD and Justin King for nickel package corner . Kaboly on his observations of Terry Hawthorne:

Day 1:* The one draft pick that looks like he has it all is fifth-rounder Terry Hawthorne, a cornerback out of Illinois. He appears to be an early candidate for sticking to the 53-man roster come September.

Others who have impressed as per Mark Kaboly's observations:

* Markus Wheaton is a fast version of Antonio Brown. *Curtis McNeal is small … wait, I already said that, but wow. He is small * I can see why John Mitchell was so excited about seventh-round pick Nick Williams. Sure, he is a little raw, but of all the people, he was the most physically mature guy out there. * Rookie right tackle Mike Golic Jr. is a little undersized but was pretty physical on Northern Illinois rookie linebacker Alan Baxter. Penn State and Shady Side Academy tackle Mike Farrell looks like he might have a shot as well. Speaking of Farrell, I had a chance to talk to him for a couple minutes and he told me that Bill O’Brien‘s pro-style offense last year at PSU has helped him out tremendously during rookie camp. Utah rookie receiver Reggie Dunn and his crazy speed; fifth-rounder Terry Hawthorne and his smoothness at right corner; and the power and potential of first-year linebacker Marshall McFadden.

Now to the Doom & Gloomers : Here you go! You thought I would forget about you didn't you ? When this selection of the 2013 draft was made, I believe all of BTSC let out a few choice words and probably looked at the TV, computer,or whatever device you watched the draft on , in total and utter disbelief. Well here are Mark Kaboly's observation of 4th round pick from the University of Oklahoma , quarterback Landry Jones:

Day 1:"You Throw Like A Girl" * Landry Jones doesn’t throw a good ball. Or at least he didn’t throw a good ball on this particular day, in my opinion. Caleb Turnbush, a rookie out of Purdue, threw a much better ball.

Day 2:You couldn't hit the side of a barn if it were in front of you"* It was yet another day of struggles for Jones. Now, his passes looked a little more crisp than Friday and he actually did complete a few during 7-on-7, but it also wasn’t pretty at times. Two passes in particular where awful by Jones. First, he tried to dump off a pass to diminutive USC running back Curtis McNeal after going through his progressions, but instead, he threw the ball right into the belly of WVU rookie linebacker Terrence Gavin for an easy score. Later on, Jones badly overthrew tight end Jamie McCoy across the middle that was intercepted by Pitt cornerback Jarred Holley. Like I said, it wasn’t all bad for Jones. He ran a couple designed waggles where he looked nimble, but again struggled with his accuracy. I know it hasn’t looked good for Jones in two days, but it has only been two days. He will get better, there is no doubt about that. Tomlin said just about as much following the morning session: "It’s a work in progress. I like his attitude. He’s a good communicator, he’s a sharp guy in the classroom, but like all the others, he’s at the very beginning of his journey."

Obviously , the "Moans" might be for this Jones not the first round pick . Landry Jones will definitely be a work in progress and one hopes (Clutching the terrible towel while kneeling in front of the church) he gets better as time goes by. One can hope for now that the end result is better than what has been shown so far!

Other Observations by Kaboly will be listed below. Some are good , some are indifferent . Take them as you wish .

Day 1: *First, Ben Roethlisberger was in the building. I just wanted to get that out of the way. * Forty-one players participated in the first day of rookie camp. * The Steelers had eight guys in for tryouts who took part in the camp — RB Ryan Clarke (WVU), LB Terrance Gavin (WVU), S DeShawn Grayson (UTEP), CB Isaiah Green (Fresno), CB Jarred Holley (Pitt), DT Antoine Hopkins (Virginia Tech), S Andrew Taglianetti (Pitt), QB Caleb Terbush (Purdue). Don’t look for any of them to be asked back. * My initial thoughts with the group players on the field was this: Boy they are small. Now, maybe that’s because I am used to seeing mammoths like LaMarr Woodley and Ziggy Hood, so that’s to be expected. But still, first-round pick Jarvis Jones looked tremendously undersized especially compared to Woodley and Jason Worilds. Now, his speed, that’s just fine. Jones showed that off a couple times in getting around tackle Mike Farrell, but my goodness he needs to put on some girth. That goes for them all — Landry Jones, Markus Wheaton, Curtis McNeal, Reggie Dunn, and so on and so forth.

Day 2: * First-year cornerback Isaiah Green out of Fresno State might be somebody to look out for. He intercepted a pass from Purdue QB Caleb Terbush intended for UConn first-year receiver Kashif Moore. Green followed that up a few plays later with by breaking up a pass down field.

I believe that the overall potential of the guys in this rookie class can definitely help out the Steelers for years to come. As long as the character and work ethic remain high , we are looking at a great future with the Steelers. Your comments and any insights are always welcome. HERE WE GO STEELERS! HERE WE GO!!
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