The Pittsburgh Steelers are hot on the recruiting trail again, this time at Wake Forest. The organization’s brass, Kevin Colbert, Mike Tomlin and company, were in attendance for the individual workouts at Wake, but according to Tony Pauline the team has been showing tremendous interest in safety Jessie Bates.
The Wake Forest pro day does not take place until tomorrow, but sources tell me that fast-rising safety Jessie Bates III, who’s moved into the second day of the draft, was seen having dinner this evening with Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin.
Most consider Bates to be a Day 2 prospect, but the Steelers have shown heavy interest in the safety. They met with him at length at the NFL Scouting Combine, and again are doing their homework on what he might bring to the team at a position of need.
For those who don’t know much about Bates, as a player, here are his strengths and weaknesss, per his NFL Draft Profile:
Impressive fluidity for a safety with smooth hips and sudden feet. Quick in coverage transitions. Can line up over top of slots. Has pattern recognition to shade the breaks. Instinctive. Processes quarterback at same speed quarterback is processing field. Instant trigger to the throw. No stall at the top on his plant-and-drive. Sprints to potential pass target after recognizing play-action. Excellent route balance from zone. High school outfielder and hooper with plus ball tracking and ball skills. Can take it away and take it to the house. Volume tackler who is drawn to the football. Runs the alley and finishes with force. Has versatility to be utilized in a variety of coverages and alignments.
Has just two years of game experience. Needs more meat on his bones. Plays bigger than his frame raising durability concerns. Needs to play with better discipline in deep coverage responsibilities. Sniffs around on misdirection and will allow routes to get beyond him. Doesn’t have a big second gear in his closing burst. Angles to the ball in coverage and as a tackler need work. Inconsistent tackler due to leverage issues. Overpursues and allows runners to cut back across his face.
For those visual learners out there, here is a highlight video of Bates while at Wake Forest:
Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest on who the team is meeting with prior to the draft, as well as rumors of possible free agent signings.