Thursday, August 07, 2008

Youngsters to watch

As promised, here are some young guys who have looked pretty good thus far during the offseason and training camp who I'll be keeping a close eye on in the Steelers' preseason opener:

© Dallas Baker, WR, No. 81 - Baker looks much more confident this season than last. The 2007 seventh-round pick has good size and has shown an ability to get open – when nobody is hiting him (Anthony Smith aside). Now will come the true test.

© Roy Lewis, CB, No. 30 – Lewis has stepped up and made some plays in training camp and has also played some safety as well as corner. His versatility could give him a roster spot if he can beat out Anthony Madison, but special teams will be key.

© Travis Williams, CB, No. 31 – Like Lewis, Williams is an interesting kid. He doesn't double as a safety, but he's a return man as well as being a corner. He won't get a shot to return against the Eagles, but likely will against the Bills next week. If he shows something as a gunner against Philadelphia, it's a plus.

© Martavius Prince, NT, No. 96 – Prince has a lightning quick first step. He probably can't win a roster spot this year at nose tackle, but this is a guy who could be the next Chris Hoke, somebody who continues to hang around and turns into a player.

© Mike Humpal, LB, No. 55 – Humpal missed some time because of a hamstring injury, but it will be interesting to see if he's the special teams demon the Steelers expected him to be when they took him in the sixth round of the draft. He looks like a pretty good coverage linebacker.

© Micah Rucker, WR, No. 87 – Rucker will look like a tight end out there. But the 6-6, 221-pounder is a receiver with great big hands. This kid could be the next Walter Young, a guy who hangs around for a few years but never amounts to much. Or he could wind up being a great find down the road. He's way more athletic than Young, though.

© Scott Paxson, DT. No. 71 – With Casey Hampton out, Paxson will play with the second team defensive unit. Can he hold up against another team's quality backups?

12 comments:

Patrick said...

Dale,

What about Kyle Clement. I know you were big on him before training camp? Has he not shown much?

Jamie said...

Thanks for the insight Dale - I think we are all ready to get this season underway...

Anonymous said...

dale...

As always, great job of sharing your pigskin wisdom. I am really excited to watch Dennis Dixon run the offense. I wonder if he will be the next "Ice" Tee Martin or the "Outstanding" Omar Jacobs....Hmmmmmmmmm.

Can't Wait!
-Sasquatch

Dale Lolley said...

I figure I've given Kyle enough pub. And Prince has looked more explosive. Love his first step.

Try to remember with Dixon that it will be his first live contact since the knee injury.

costanza2k1 said...

Hi Dale,

Haven't heard much about Dallas Baker. How has he been doing this camp? Is there a chance he makes the final roster?

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing Reid or Baker make the team and Baker may have an advantage now that I hear Drummond will make the final 53.

Patrick said...

if they take Drummond over Reid on the final roster spot, something must be seriously wrong with Reid and his return abilities. Any inside scoop on this Dale?

Dale Lolley said...

Baker has looked good.
Reid fumbled away any chance of the return job last year. He'll get another shot this year, but it looks like the broken foot he suffered two years ago has robbed him of his elusiveness.
He's on the outside looking in. Remember, this coaching staff didn't draft him. Cowher liked him so much, he wanted to take him in the first round and had to be talked down off that ledge.

adamg said...

Wasn't the foot injury Reid suffered the same one Duce Staley had when he played for the Eagles? I remember reading in the papers there and hearing on the sports talk shows that that specific foot injury is very difficult to recover from and Staley was one of the very few to do it successfully.

Dale Lolley said...

It was a Lis Franc like Staley's. Players are starting to come back from them, but as we're seeing, they don't come back like they were before.

Brian said...

Dale,

With reports that McBean is being roundly outplayed by Nick Eason, my Steeler threat level has gone up to orange. With the age & depth issues at DE, are Clement or Prince getting any snaps at all out on the ends or only at the nose?

Dale Lolley said...

Clement is at end. Prince is on the nose.