Tuesday, June 30, 2009

One to go

With third-round pick Kraig Urbik now signed, the Steelers now have just one draft pick remaining unsigned - first rounder Ziggy Hood.

It's continued a strong run by Omar Khan of getting everybody in camp on time.

In fact, since Khan joined the team, the Steelers have not had a prolonged rookie holdout, something that has helped contribute to their success on the field.

Even though all the first rounders have contributed greatly in their first year, having them there for the full training camp helps the maturation process and every one of their first rounders has been a big contributor by his second season since Khan has taken care of negotiations.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dale,

Do you think if Starks had signed his current deal sooner Mcfadden would still be a Steeler?

Anonymous said...

the No. 1 pick is the last draft pick to sign. boy, that's shocking news. stop the press.

datruth4life said...

Dale,

Can you think of a better offseason in recent memory for this team than what the Steelers have done this year?

To resign Ward, J. Harrison, M. Starks, and other younger free agents who are an injury away from playing critical roles like T. Essex & K. Fox, add veteran free agents like L. Ratliffe and S. McDonald for depth, and then have the draft that we had (which I think is Kevin Colbert's best draft overall to date) and still can possibly get done with R. Clark, Heath Miller and Jeff Reed before training camp, this has been one heck of an offseason.

This team has a lot of budding young talent and this is primed to be the fastest and most athletic Steelers team in Pittsburgh in about a decade.

Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

i think it's a little too early to call this Kevin Colbert's best overall draft to date.

You might want to hold your judgement untill you actually see them play

Anonymous said...

I don't think you have to withhold judgment that long, it looks like all but 2 of the guys we drafted will stick with the team for this season. That's pretty amazing itself. Final cuts are going to be very tough.

Ben said...

Dale, do they have the room to extend both Clark and Miller?

We haven't really discussed it, but the FO could choose to cut someone to make more room. Any inkling on who that could potentially be?

That they're going after Clark now, to me, indicates that they may be banking on Miller being a RFA next year. That, or they believe he'll take a Steeler-friendly deal and aren't too worried.

Clark and Miller both seem like guys who would take hometown discounts.

Anonymous said...

Ben, RFA aside, Clark is cheaper and thus probably easier to get done. I don't think him being in the mix says anything about their plans for Miller.

other_patrick said...

I don't think you have to withhold judgment that long, it looks like all but 2 of the guys we drafted will stick with the team for this season. That's pretty amazing itself. Final cuts are going to be very tough.

I'd say the draft is easily the most pragmatic in the last 4 years. To me that makes it the best.

I don't know how you think all those rookies are going to make the team. THAT seems outlanding to me. If that does actually happen then it means that the draft is ridiculously good.

Patrick said...

I'm curious about Joe Burnett's spot honestly. Ike, Gay, Townsend, Lewis, Ratliff ?, Burnett? how many CB's can you keep. Last year we had the top 3 I mentioned + BMac and Fernado Bryant sparingly, doesn't add up.

So either Townsend goes to safety, Ratliff gets cut, or Burnett blows people away returning things. I don't see it, and if they PS Burnett, I bet he's gone to Cleveland or the Pats before the ink dries.

The most logical thing is Ratliff gets cut, but I actually like him as a signing. Of course an injury changes all of this too.

And the following statement will break people's hearts, but I don't think Summers or Shipley are locks to make this team. Shipley we've talked about enough and Summers will have to blow people on ST and be a monster of a goalline back. Think about it, we have 2 FB's on our roster, one is our 3rd TE (McHugh) and the other is very good on ST, knows the offense, and could play halfback (albeit not very well) in a severe pinch - which happened last year. Summers needs to be all of those things and then better to replace that. I'm not sure it will happen.

Hood, Wallace, Lewis, Urbik, obviously make it. Who else is a lock? Maybe Burnett, but I'm not sure.

Patrick said...

blow people "up" on ST.....

oops

Ben said...

Hood, Urbik, Wallace, Lewis, and Summers all make the team, hands down. Burnett and Shipley have a shot. Harris and Johnson are practice squad guys. All in all, that's pretty damn good to pick that many players who are good enough to demand a spot on a Super Bowl winning roster.

Patrick said...

I disagree with you about Summers, respectfully. He's just not a lock in my opinion.

And the fact they have roster spots on this team means nothing. Everyone but Summers you listed were in Rds 1-3, theres no way they're getting cut unless they lose a limb during camp or are just completely awful. I think the last time that happened was the LBer in Oakland who was a 3rd RD, and he ended up being a bust anyway if my memory serves correctly.

Ben said...

You've got some points there, Patrick. I think the difference to me is that all of those players not only have a good shot to make the team, but to make an impact.

Hood could spell our DEs and rush from the middle on third down. Urbik could very well take the RG spot. Wallace is a burner who can stretch the field. Lewis is a big, strong corner who could jump into the rotation at #3 and make an impact on special teams. Summers is a bruiser who could become our short-yardage back and standout on special teams. Those are all best-case-scenarios, of course, but they aren't so far fetched.

I think I'm so excited about it because we so rarely see draft picks making an impact in their first year - partly because the guys ahead of them are such quality players, and partly because the coaches like to break them in and get them used to the system. I also like that we've got some pretty polished guys with a good chance to make it at the pro level -- all the way up to rd 5.

Maybe I'm too excited too soon, I don't deny that, but I think we've got a good group of rookies this year.

Anonymous said...

I think Patrick's original suggestion for Summers would work also.

emac2 said...

Clark is easier to resign then Miller because Clark will probably sign a new deal that is very close to the old one and his cap number will not change much.

Miller is another story. instead of a few hundred thousand added to the cap for Clark, Millers new deal will add several million to the cap.

Viz-Burgh said...

FWIW, I think this draft class would have to pan out REALLY well to be Colbert's best. IMO the Cow-bert draft of 2002 was the best Steeler draft class in a long time:

Rd. 1 Kendall Simmons
Rd. 2 Antwaan Randle El
Rd. 3 Chris Hope
Rd. 4 Larry Foote
Rd. 5 Verron Haynes
Rd. 6 Lee Mays
Rd. 7a Lavar Glover
Rd. 7b Brett Keisel

Only one player never made the Steeler roster. 5 starters out of that draft class.

Anonymous said...

You're probably right Viz, that's a heck of a draft. Interesting that only Keisel is still with the team -- that could be where a later draft ends up beating it.

Ben said...

That is a mighty impressive draft class, Viz -- 5 starters in one draft is fantastic.

I think Colbert's true gift is his ability to hit on his first rounders. We haven't had a first round bust in quite some time.

In 2003 and 2004, he drafted two future Hall of Famers. Troy may well have been the best pick in the entire 2003 draft. Ben has led the team to two Super Bowls. Those two drafts, despite the fact that they produced few other impact players, rank highly with me. We simply wouldn't have 6 rings without those two guys.

Dale Lolley said...

I think they can get both Miller and Clark signed along with Hood.
Remember, those guys are making a pretty good buck this year. An extension would likely lower their base salary a little this year while making up for it with bonus money. The result would be a cap hit this year that is equal to or a little lower than what they are currently in the books for.

As for the Starks-McFadden question, we'll never know. They made getting something done with Harrison a priority.

The thing to remember about the DBs is that they already have a net loss at the position - McFadden, Anthony Smith and Fernando Bryant are now gone.

Ratliff did a lot of safety work in the camps, as did Townsend.
That's why I think Tyrone Carter could be gone.

Patrick said...

thats about true Dale but I don't see a net loss. Mundy (who didn't play last year and negates the A. Smith loss) + 2 the draft picks (negates Bryant and McFadden) + Ratliff+ guys like Roy Lewis. Thats equal but more like a plus 1 net gain. There's too many DB's Someone or someones is going to be cut and I agree Tyrone Carter is the one but I also think Ratliff or Townsend need to move to safety or possibly be cut and Burnett needs to really impress on ST.

There's also Anthony Madison who is an asset on ST.

In the end I think we'll see: Ike, Gay, Lewis, Ratliff, Townsend (in a dual role as backup Safety too), Polamalu, Clark, Mundy, Madison and Burnett on the PS. That's 9 DB's and one on the PS - who will be taken by another team eventually or replace an injured player on ours.

Viz-Burgh said...

Dale,

While you're right that Clark's salary could arguably offset part of a signing bonus given to him (since he's set to make a $1.7 mill. salary this year), that is not the case with Heath Miller. Heath, still playing under his rookie deal, is only making $800,000 in salary this season. If you reduce that to the minimum for a player with his tenure ($620K) that's only $180K in space - nowhere near enough to offset a new deal even if you prorate the signing bonus over 5 years.

They'll probably have to do a smaller SB & roster bonuses starting next season, something like that.

Dale Lolley said...

Burnett will make this team as a return man. He could make it this year strictly as a return man. They'd make room to do that if he's special.

As for guys doubling as safeties, Ratliff has that ability as well.

Patrick said...

Ok lets put it this way: if Ratliff AND Townsend make the team then either A.Madison OR J. Burnett are on the PS, assuming Madison is elgible for the PS. If so, then Burnett has to impress as a gunner and returner. There's just not enough room for two strictly St=T players.

I actually think Townsend's job could be in jepodary, if he doesn't show enough during camp. Lockerroom intelligence/leadership aside, he's possibly expendable.

Ben said...

I agree with you, Patrick. Townsend and Madison are the odd men out here. However, Townsend is a proven veteran who can still play. He's a team leader, and while that alone doesn't guarantee a roster spot, it definitely increases his value to the team.

Madison is solely a special teamer, albeit an excellent one. His skills are valued and appreciated, but easier to replace. Summers, Lewis, Wallace and Burnett could all be special teams aces. I'm betting that at least one of them will be. That makes Madison more expendable, at least in my opinion.

We'll have to wait and see how training camp goes, but I think one of them won't make it.

Dale Lolley said...

My guess is that Madison would get cut if it comes down to Madison and Townsend. The young guys should be able to play special teams. Townsend can play corner or safety.
Madison is strictly a special teams guy. Can't play in the base.

Cajunyankee said...

No Way is townsend cut this year. He is a "Coach" among players whether it be on the field,sideline or during practice/film study. That cannot be replaced now when we have alot of young guys like Gay, Mundy,Ratliff ( 1st yr in THIS system ) and Burnett & Lewis. I know we have coaches and asst coaches but the perpective Townsend brings is different and guess what...he can still play effectively...though a bit slower which is why he may move to safety for the final two yrs of his great career.