Thursday, April 27, 2006

And the pick was

I just finished up doing a draft on the radio with Adam Caplan of the NFL Network on Sirius Radio.

Interestingly enough, running back LenDale White of USC was still available, as was DeAngelo Williams of Memphis. If that's the case, the Steelers could get some interest from teams wanting to trade up.

But the Steelers like White and would consider trading up to get him or Donte Whitner.

If White fell to 32, they would be ecstatic.

You could then expect the team to trade up in Round 2 to grab a safety, either Daniel Bullocks or Darnell Bing. That would be an awesome first day for the defending Super Bowl champions.

Monday, April 24, 2006

No defensive end early

A number of mock drafts recently have had the Steelers selecting a defensive end in the first round of the draft, namely Rodrique Wright of Texas. It's not going to happen.

Follow the money folks.

The Steelers just re-signed Casey Hampton to a new deal before last season began and signed end Brett Keisel to a nice deal this offseason. Add to that Aaron Smith's hefty contract and you have three defensive linemen making a big buck.

Backups Chris Hoke and Travis Kirschke are also pulling down nice salaries.

If the Steelers add a defensive lineman, it won't be in the first half of the draft.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Safety first

The more I've looked at things, the more I think the Steelers will go with a safety in the first round of this year's draft.

Why? It's the safest thing to do and another safety will help out immediately in the team's nickel defense.

Even with the signing of Ryan Clark, the Steelers have just Troy Polamalu, Clark and Tyrone Carter on the roster to play that important position.

Adding a first-round talent at the position to pair with Polamalu for years to come would be the smart thing to do. And Kevin Colbert is nothing if not smart.

So who will the pick be?

I think if the Steelers had their druthers, it would be Donte Whitner of Ohio State.

If he's gone before they pick in the first round, Darnell Bing, Daniell Bullocks or Jason Allen will get a look.

I'm still not sold on Allen's health, but I would have no problem with Bing or Bullocks, two big, physical safeties to pair with Polamalu.

A late riser in the team's plans has been Ko Simpson of South Carolina, who was originally thought to be one of the top safeties available before his stock fell for some reason. Simpson is back on the Steelers' radar, though probably not as a first-round possibility.

The sleeper pick? Stanford linebacker John Alston, a 6-0, 227-pounder who runs a 4.4-second 40. Hmm. A Pac 10 linebacker turned safety in the second round. Carnell Lake anyone?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Broncos wheeling, dealing

The Denver Broncos as at it again trading first-round draft picks, this time dealing their extra choice in the first round to San Francisco, the third deal they've made with first-round picks in this draft.

The Niners acquired the 22nd overall selection in the draft from the Denver Broncos on Wednesday for picks in the second round and third round.

The Broncos will receive the 37th and 68th overall picks in the deal.

The Niners own the sixth overall pick in the draft as well as No. 22 in the first round.

Denver acquired the 22nd pick in a draft-day deal with Washington last year in which the Broncos gave up their first round pick for the Redskins' top pick this season.

Denver also made a trade earlier this spring with Atlanta and the Jets in which Atlanta received defensive end John Abraham and the Broncos moved up from the 29th pick to 15.

Denver, which lost to the Steelers in the AFC Championship, now owns seven picks in the first four rounds of the draft.

Monday, April 17, 2006

I'm back

Sorry to let the blog slip a little in the past week, but I had to take some time off for a birth in the family. But I'm back now and ready to rock and roll on this draft.

What have we learned in recent weeks?

A day after I wrote on this site that the Steelers would not be interested in safety Jason Allen from Tennessee, my good friend Rick Gosselein from the Dallas Morning News did his first mock of the year with the Steelers taking Allen in the first round.

I respect the heck out of Goose and his final mock, which will come out late next week, is one of the most accurate available. It also changes considerably.

I don't think Allen will be the pick and Gosselein will likely agree next week.

LenDale White was in Pittsburgh Monday taking a physical and meeting with the Steelers brass. Hopefully word will filter out about that meeting soon.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Allen wrenched

You can scratch safety Jason Allen off your list of potential Steelers draft picks.

Rumor has it the speedy Tennessee safety has been flunking phyicals around the league because of a degenerative condition in his hip. It's the same hip injury that forced him out of action last season.

Allen was a possibility for the Steelers in the first round before the physical problems.

We'll keep weeding through the information until the draft. Keep checking back.

Monday, April 10, 2006

LenDale White slipping

As we near the NFL draft, a number of mocks now have the Steelers getting USC running back LenDale White with the 32nd pick.

Don't believe it.

White was reportedly a huge disappointment at the USC pro day last month, acting standoffish with scouts and really not working out all that well. He was also overweight.

But a fall to the 32nd pick?

I'm not buying that. White won't last past the mid-teens. On-field production does mean something, after all.

Besides, if he was that big of an idiot, the Steelers wouldn't take him anyway,

Saturday, April 08, 2006

What about later rounds?

OK, let's assume the first round of the draft goes as I've predicted.

Who will the Steelers then target in the second round?

If the Steelers go for a linebacker in the first round, the second round pick will almost certainly be a safety or wide receiver, with a trade up to get the player they like the most a possibility.

Darnell Bing, Daniel Bullocks or Jason Allen would be safety targets in the second round, though the Steelers would likely need to move up to get them.

If they stay where they're at, then things get a little more interesting. Ko Simpson seems to be falling, but whether he would fall to the end of the second round is unlikely.

Pat Watkins from Florida State is an interesting prospect at 6-4, 200 pounds. He had 10 interceptions playing free safety for the Seminoles over the past three seasons and also returned six kickoffs for touchdowns.

At wide receiver, the Steelers may take Brandon Williams of Wisconsin at the end of the round, rather than wait another round to take a receiver.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

No 5-8 receivers

Mock draft after mock draft has the Steelers taking Miami of Florida wide receiver Sinorice Moss with their No. 1 pick in this month's draft.

Their reasoning? The Steelers need a slot receiver and punt returner to replace Antwaan Randle El, a void they believe Moss would fill.

But there's no way the Steelers will spend a No. 1 pick on a 5-8 receiver, having learned their lesson a few years back when they took Troy Edwards in the first round.

Now if Florida's Chad Jackson or Ohio State's Santonio Holmes fell to No. 32, that would be a different stoty. The Steelers would take either of those receivers in a heartbeat.

But unless the 5-8 guy happens to be Barry Sanders, he won't be taken by the Steelers in the first round. And Moss is certainly no Barry Sanders.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

And finally

And here are the last 11.

Mind you, all of this will likely change within a week. Have to keep up with Mel Kiper Jr. after all.

22. Denver (from Washington), Gabe Watson, DT, Michigan. Can’t count on those former Browns forever.

23. Tampa Bay, Max Jean-Giles, G, Georgia. Have to open some holes for the Cadillac.

24. Cincinnati Bengals, Donte Whitner, S, Ohio State. The Bengals’ safeties were awful last season and signing Dexter Jackson doesn’t change that.

25. N.Y. Giants, DeMeco Ryans, LB, Alabama. Ryans is a little undersized, but plays non-stop.

26. Chicago, Sinorice Moss, WR, Miami. Spurned by Antwaan Randle El, the Bears grab Moss.

27. Carolina, DeAngelo Williams, RB, Memphis. DeShaun Foster is too brittle to count on every game.

28. Jacksonville, Manny Lawson, LB, N.C. State. The Jaguars hope Lawson is this year’s DeMarcus Ware.

29. N.Y. Jets (from Denver), Nick Mangold, C, Ohio State. After letting Kevin Mawae go, the Jets get a replacement.

30. Indianapolis, Laurence Maroney, RB, Minnesota. The Edge is gone.

31. Seattle Seahawks, Mathias Kiwanuka, DE, Boston College. Has talent, just needs consistency.

31. Steelers, Bobby Carpenter, LB, Ohio State. Joey Porter and James Farrior are getting up in age. Carpenter could play inside or outside.