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Reaching Seventh Heaven - A Guide To The Pittsburgh Steelers 2009 Offseason

The following was sent to me via email by DaTruth4Life. There's no better 'meat and potatoes' roster analyst than datruth. Period. Sometimes I wonder if the offseason is more enjoyable to him and a few others than is the actual season! Way beyond the call of duty here from him and a fantastic master guide to reference moving forward. Talk it up BTSC with your feedback! -Blitz-


So, who out there wants Seven? Read closely as the DaTruth takes your through free agency and this year’s draft and will show you why this team will be hosting a seventh “sticky-icky” Lombardi trophy this time next year. And Blitz, I got a few goodies for you up in here, too. And by the way, Can we continue to party like it’s 2009 and put all comers to sleep like S Ryan Clark? Yes We Can! Yes We Can! Yes We Can! Let’s get to it.

Those who regularly peruse this board knows DaTruth and what He brings to the table. DaTruth can only give it to you one way — straight with no chaser! Bottoms Up!

A lot of people have praised the Rooneys and Mike Tomlin for the job that they have done in winning this sixth championship. And both parites deserve their kudos and props. But while we’re at it, can we also give a little love to the best scouting department in the NFL? This team’s scouts have made a habit of finding rookie free agents and other team’s discarded players that fit with this team and go on to success. Willie Parker and James Harrison are always at the top of the lists of the success stories that everyone mentions.

But what about the Nate Washingtons, the Darnell Stapletons, the Patrick Baileys, the Gary Russells and others?

Here are the future names that will play a big part in the Steelers success beginning next year that will once again show you why teams should pour more money into their scouting departments instead of coaches and over-rated want-to-be ballers: Jason Capizzi, Donovan Woods, Stefan Logan, Ryan Mundy (I know the team drafted him and he was cut while injured, but they did bring him back), and Roy Lewis.

Now, on to Free Agency. The Steelers did a smart thing by immediately opening up talks with Deebo. That sends good vibes to Deebo, the rest of the team and also the whole organization. The message is if you have produced and still can produce at a high-level in the future, you’ll be taken care of.

So, with Deebo out of the way, let’s turn to players that the Steelers have to keep this offseason — Bryant McFadden and Max Starks. Are either of them Pro Bowl players? No, not yet (BMac can be). Can you win Super Bowls with either of them? The answer is two “Sticky-Icky” Lombardi trophies at the team’s headquarters right now. It’s not so much if a team can win without a player. That’s not the point. The point is can you win “WITH THEM.” By resigning Starks and B. McFadden, you have no more questions for the next 4 to 5 years about RCB and LOT. They can do the job and still have upside. Sign them and you don’t have to worry about blowing a lot of loot in free agency trying to fill those positions with players who might not be as good or might not buy into the Steelers way of doing things, which is very important to team success. In other words, a key in Pro Football is not making a strength a weakness. Both are good young players at their positions who have performed and have a lot of room for growth. Pay them and let’s not make a strength a weakness.

Keyaron Fox is also one of the signings that the Steelers usually make under the radar for 3 to 4 years who end up showing the ownership’s foresight. Fox could someday be paired with Timmons in the middle for this defense and the Steelers know this. Add on the fact that he is great on special teams and the Steelers will get it done. On the other hand, Nate Washington is the type of deal where the team usually doesn’t get sucked into. Nate is a free agent player that they discovered who does one thing well — get deep. He does not make tough catches in traffic, he’s not going to block, he’s not someone that you can depend on to step up to be either your no. 1 or no. 2 WR. So, in those cases, you offer him a contract for what you think he is worth to this team. That contract is as a third WR. Don’t forget, you have to pay Santonio and Heath in the next 2 years, so why overpay for a third WR? The answer is you don’t.

Trai Essex would be a good lineman to have in a pinch, but if you don’t think he is a starter, he doesn’t get starter money. However, I do think Essex is a better guard than Chris K., who will land a pretty decent deal elsewhere. See ya Chris K. and thanks for the 4th rcound compensatory pick that you’ll bring in 2010.

And DaTruth believes Colbert will bring back Marvel Smith as soon as his back checks out late this summer. It will probably be a two-year deal tied to how many games Marvel actually plays. In other words, low base salary with a lot of incentives based on playing time. Believe me, no one is beating down the door for a 30-year-old LT with back problems who has ended the past 2 years on IR. However, this could be one of those bargain signings that could help the team next year if everything checks out. Blitz, I haven’t forgot about you. Let’s talk draft big uglies.

Here are the top 10 tackles on the board for the 2009 draft:

1. Eugene Monroe, Virginia (6-5, 315)
2. Andre Smith, Alabama (6-4, 340)
3. Jason Smith, Baylor (6-5, 300)
4. Michael Oher, Mississippi (6-5, 320)
5. Eben Britton, Arizona (6-6, 310)
6. William Beatty, Connecticut (6-6, 310)
7. Jamon Meredith, South Carolina (6-5, 289)
8. Fenuki Tupou, Oregon (6-5, 332)
9. Phil Loadholt, Oklahoma (6-6, 316)
10. Augustus Parrish, Kent State (6-5, 300)

 The first 4 will likely be gone by the time the Steelers draft, but there are 4 that I believe the Steelers will be looking very closely at and another that people will mention as a possible Steeler but I don’ t think they’ll go that way:

- Eben Britton, Arizona – DaTruth hasn’t watched any tape on this guy. Don’t know much about him except for what I have read. The fact that he can play both sides and is only 21 years old kind of falls into the pattern of the Steeler’s drafts the past few years — get a talented junior who fits the Steelers mold and sign him to a 5-year contract. Even if you have to give him a redshirt year the 1st year, ala Timmons, Mendenhall, Holmes, Palomula, he can be ready to start the 2nd year.

- Phil Loadholt, Oklahoma – Yeah, yea, the Datruth saw him give up the corner a few times in the Senior Bowl that resulted in sacks. But Datruth also saw him play a pretty mean game at LT in the championship game against Florida. He played much better than the more hyped teammate G Duke Robinson. The guy is 6’8, 345, and could come in and start at RT for this team from day one. That way, you can move Willie Colon to left guard or right guard, his more natural position. This guy could help the team’s run game right away and continue to work on his pass protection. Another good thing for the Steelers and Loadholt is that he’d never face a better pass rusher throughout the season than what he would see in practice every day going up against Woodley and Deebo. Think they might show this kid some tough love to get him ready? Loadholt could be a 2nd-round pick, but I don’t know if he would be around when the Steelers pick again at the end of the 2nd round. If the Steelers want him, they should take him, even at no. 32.

- Fenuki Tupou, Oregon (6-5, 332) – Do you know who was playing left tackle when Dennis Dixon and that offense was breaking all of those records? This guy. In fact, the coaching staff moved Max Unger to center from LT when he came aboard and he played well on the blindside for a team that put up a lot of points the past few years. He has the size and toughness to play on the right side right away. In case you didn’t know, Datruth like players that played LT at a high-level in college. A good LT in college can usually translate to a pretty good RT in the pros with some work. Again, this team needs to get its running game going again, so he has the size to help with that right off the bat.

- Jamon Meredith, South Carolina – He’s actually a little over 300 pounds, but he fits the mold as someone that the Steelers would take in the 3rd or 4th round and give a few years to get stronger and polish his technique before sticking him on the edge. Anyone who can play LT in the SEC at a high level has a chance to do some things at the next level in the NFL, whether at RT or Guard.

- William Beatty, Connecticut – Mike Mayock really likes the guy and believes he could be a starting LT in 2 years and about another 20 pounds. DaTruth doesn’t know that much about him, but he did notice that he had trouble anchoring against bullrushes in the Senior Bowl. Putting him out there next year to go against Deebo would be the equivalent of child abuse. He also could be someone that the Steelers would draft in the second or third round, and give them a couple of years, but I think Loadholt and Tupuo would be more ready from Day One.

Gerald Cadogan of Penn State and Jason Watkins of Florida are two other names to keep in mind.


1. Duke Robinson, Oklahoma (6-5, 335)
2. Herman Johnson, LSU (6-7, 335)
3. Tyronne Green, Auburn (6-2, 309)
4. Andy Levitre, Oregon State (6-2, 318)
5. Trevor Canfield, Cincinnati (6-5, 305)
6. Seth Olsen, Iowa (6-5, 304)
7. T.J. Lang, Eastern Michigan (6-4, 312)
8. Kraig Urbik, Wisconsin (6-6, 323)
9. Cornelius Lewis, Tennessee State (6-4, 324)
10. Jaimie Thomas, Maryland (6-4, 331)

 - Robinson and Urbik are two players that fit the Steelers mold for guards, but not in the first two rounds. Robinson would be a good pick-up in the third round while Urbik could be had on the 2nd day.


1. Alex Mack, California (6-4, 314)
2. Max Unger, Oregon (6-5, 305)
3. Eric Wood, Louisville (6-5, 308)
4. Antoine Caldwell, Alabama (6-5, 305)
5. Jonathan Luigs, Arkansas (6-5, 314)
6. Cecil Newton, Tennessee State (6-2, 295)
7. A.Q. Shipley, Penn State (6-1, 297)
8. Alex Fletcher, Stanford (6-3, 302)
9. Brett Helms, LSU (6-2, 282)
10. Jon Cooper, Oklahoma (6-2, 292)

- Alex Mack, California (6-4, 314) – DaTruth does kinda agree with Jim Wexell in that this guy looks like the Steelers pick at no. 32. He could play some guard for them next year and take over for Justin Hartwig when his contract expires after this year. Mack has the ability to sink his hips and anchor, which will be critical going up against the Sean Rogers and Haoliti Ngatas of the world that he’ll see twice a year in the AFC North. Also, for a first round pick, you want someone who can come in and fill a very important role without a lot of bust potential with All-Pro capability down the road. He probably does that for this team better than any of the above mentioned thus far.

- Max Unger – Looked more like a finesse OL to me in the senior bowl than what this team would want inside. He played LT earlier in his career, but it didn’t look like he could play that at the next level. Then again, DaTruth isn’t a scout. I just know important people like Blitz.

- Eric Wood – If Mack isn’t a Steeler, then this guy probably will be. He will not win any beauty contests and won’t set the world on fire as far as one-o- one drills. But put him in a game, and he’ll punch someone in the mouth. Mike Mayock loves him. DaTruth does too. He can probably play some guard as well. In case you guys didn’t notice, Tomlin is a lot bigger on “position flexibility” than his predecessor. And that played an important part in the Steelers getting that sixth trophy this year.


1. Jarron Gilbert, San Jose State (6-5, 287)
2. Tyson Jackson, LSU (6-4, 295)
3. Everette Pedescleaux, Northern Iowa (6-6, 305)
4. Ra’Shon Harris, Oregon (6-4, 300)
5. Kyle Moore, USC (6-5, 273)
6. Zach Potter, Nebraska (6-7, 277)
7. Pannel Egboh, Stanford (6-6, 272)
8. Khalif Mitchell, East Carolina (6-5, 317)
9. Jeremy Navarre, Maryland (6-3, 285)
10. Bobby Greenwood, Alabama (6-5, 280)
- DaTruth believes the Steelers will pick 2 DL (2nd RD pick, 3rd RD pick) on the first day of the draft. Of this group, Jarron Gilbert (who will be around in the 2nd round when the Steelers pick) and Zach Potter are names to keep an eye on. Again, DaTruth hasn’t seen a lot of them play, but they fit the body types and have characteristics that the team wants in their 3-4 DL. In fact, DaTruth would bank on the Steelers grabbing nothing but lineman with its first four picks on draft day — 2 OL & 2 DT/DE.


1. Brian Orakpo, Texas (6-4, 260)
2. Robert Ayers, Tennessee (6-3, 273)
3. Michael Johnson, Georgia Tech (6-7, 260)
4. Paul Kruger, Utah (6-5, 265)
5. Connor Barwin, Cincinnati (6-4, 255)
6. David Veikune, Hawaii (6-2, 255)
7. Phillip Hunt, Houston (6-1, 261)
8. Michael Bennett, Texas A&M (6-4, 271)
9. Brandon Williams, Texas Tech (6-5, 252)
10. Lawrence Sidbury Jr., Richmond (6-3, 267)

- This was just given to list some of the players that the team could be considering for an OLB. In the Steelers D, it’s rush linebackers are converted DE’s, so this is just to give you an idea on some names the Steelers will be looking at. And by the way, don’t forget about LB Bruce Davis that the Steelers took this past year in the 3rd round. Do you think an offseason working out with Deebo and Woodley will help his game next year? Patrick Bailey, Donovan Woods, and possibly Mike Humpall (if he is still with the team) all should be strong possibilities for spots next year.


1. B.J. Raji, Boston College (6-1, 325)
2. Ron Brace, Boston College (6-3, 326)
3. Fili Moala, USC (6-5, 305)
4. Dorell Scott, Clemson (6-3, 310)
5. Terrance Taylor, Michigan (6-1, 314)
6. Sammie Lee Hill, Stillman (6-4, 331)
7. Terrance Knighton, Temple (6-3, 324)
8. Myron Pryor, Kentucky (6-0 310)
9. Marlon Favorite, LSU (6-1, 308)
10. Louis Ellis, Shaw (6-2, 315)

 - Hate to say it, but time to pick Big Snack’s successor and get him in the fold. Let John Mitchell beat up on him a bit, teach him how to 2-gap Steelers style and get him ready to play in two years. Don’t know a lot about these players, but there is definitely more size to consider in this group than in the previous year. Maybe that was the reason why K. Colbert went with skill players on the first day because there wasn’t as much size in this past draft at NT and DT as there is this year. Anyone seen any of these hogs play?

Blitz & Sixburgh, you got a taste. DaTruth can’t give you the whole pkg. Think of this TRUTH from DaTruth like a laxative. You only need a little bit to get everything else flowing. Let the comments flow! Hit me up, B! To Sixburgh, Be Blessed.