Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rookie class impressing, with one exception

As noted, at least in part, in my last post, the Steelers rookie class is looking like one of its best in quite some time.

It's early, of course, but defensive ends Ziggy Hood and Sonny Harris, wide receiver Mike Wallace, cornerbacks Keenan Lewis and Joe Burnett, tight end David Johnson and center A.Q. Shipley look like players who from this draft class who can contribute if not immediately, then down the road.

Add in impressive rookie free agent signings Ramon Foster and Isaac Redman, and you have what could be a very strong group.

The one disappointment? Guard Kraig Urbik, a third-round pick.

In the moments following the draft, when the Steelers brass spoke about this draft class, Urbik was the one guy who was pointed to that they felt had a chance to push for a starting job.

Right now, he's barely pushing for a roster spot.

The former Wisconsin star has looked tentative in one-on-one blocking drills. And he didn't seem to get a lot of push in the first preseason game against Arizona.

If Urbik fails to materialize as a player – and I'm not writing him off yet – the Steelers will almost be forced to spend a high draft pick on an offensive lineman in 2010.

Of course that was said the past two offseasons as well and the team hasn't made that move yet.

29 comments:

Vaflyer said...

I don't think I agree that we would have to get a guard with the pick. A lot of this has to do with the other guys you have on the list. Kemo and Essex are signed for this year and next. Hartwig may not be brought back, but that doesn't mean we don't have any depth at the interior line positions.

Leaving the tackles off, I could see the following 2 deep depth chart for the team.

Kemo/Foster
Legursky/Shipley
Essex/Stapleton

Now I'm not saying this group is stellar above by any means, but it could be a solid if unspectacular group. Ideally you would like Urbik to pan out, but even if he doesn't the interior line doesn't need to be addressed early in next year's draft IMO.

HACK said...

If he were not a 3rd round pick...no way does he make the roster....and to be honest...I am not sure he makes it as is...but more than likely he does.

If its me...I send him to the PS...if someone takes him..they take him....does not matter to me...as from what I have seen so far...I am not planning on him playing anytime soon anyway.

SteelRose said...

Heres the 10 Offensive Lineman for 09 from left to right... Starks, Kemo, Hartwig, Essex, Colon with backups Hills, Stapleton, Shipley, Urbik, and Foster. If you watched the end of the 2nd quarter and all of the 3rd and most of the 4th you would have seen AQ Shipley taking on 2 defenders at once and giving Dixon all the time in the world in the pocket; but you would have also see Urbik having a strong performance, and working very well side by side with AQ. Shipley could/should start as soon as this year, Urbik will be a starter maybe sometime this year, most likely next.

Anonymous said...

can they just pretend Urbik has an injury and put him on IR so he doesnt waste a roster spot?

Patrick said...

we had a whole draft class last year who didn't see the field, or at least might as well not have.

If Urbik is a healthy scratch all year, how different is it than what Sweed or Mendenall did last year? (or what Duce Staley used to do). Granted Sweed was buried on the chart and couldn't catch and Mendenhall was hurt, but I just don't see why Urbik sitting on the roster, and probbaly not dressing, as a back up is such an ordeal.

Bruener said...

Not sure why Urbik is still getting a bad rap after the Cards game. He played the majority of the game and was impressive in run and pass. Shipley seems to be getting favorable reviews because of the PS connection. He was good in pass pro but got pushed around a bit in the run game. The Tank is the draft pick in trouble, unless he is kept as a FB.

datruth4life said...

Because of the Troy P. rule, I'm willing to give Urbik a pass on his first training camp and first season. He and Foster should be given the opportunity to sit and learn this year, but play if injuries hit the team.

Remember how lost Troy and L. Timmons looked their first year? I'm willing to give a rookie a little time to grow and learn before sending him packing, especially if he's a third-round pick.

Robert said...

Is Urbik looking bad a surprise? We can't scout oline talent to save our lives.

Tim said...

He'll be fine. I'm not worried about it. However, the team needs to spend their first two picks on the O-line next year whether Urbik pans out or not. We've got other issues, besides RG.

Ben said...

Two picks - even if Urbik pans out? Starks and Kemoeatu are locked down long-term, Urbik is as well. Stapleton, Legursky and Shipley are viable options as centers of the future, and Ramon Foster is turning heads at T/G. As of right now, there are far more pressing needs than O-line in my opinion - namely at nose tackle and free safety. Unless they find an absolute stud early in next year's draft, I think those two positions need filling first.

But let's wait until the season starts before we start preparing our draft boards.

Vaflyer said...

I think next year we may be looking at a defensively minded draft. Nose Tackle, safety, and LB all need addressed. Clark is a UFA. Hampton is a UFA. Farrior can't play forever, we need some depth there. We need to draft his replacement soon.

adamg said...

Last year, Wisconsin's vaunted running game wasn't all that much against quality opponents. If Urbik was supposedly the best of their OL, that doesn't bode well for his future NFL success.

Anonymous said...

"we had a whole draft class last year who didn't see the field, or at least might as well not have.

If Urbik is a healthy scratch all year, how different is it than what Sweed or Mendenall did last year? (or what Duce Staley used to do). Granted Sweed was buried on the chart and couldn't catch and Mendenhall was hurt, but I just don't see why Urbik sitting on the roster, and probbaly not dressing, as a back up is such an ordeal."

It's different because this is one of the deepest teams the Steelers have had and it will cost a good player to be cut and picked up by another team

Wake up and get with the program

marc said...

there is no doubt urbik will make the roster this year. tomlin often speaks of the improvement he wants to see from year 1 to year 2. they will give urbik a chance to do that.

regarding next year's draft, it is just way to early to speculate. DL, S, LB, and OL are all areas we could address.

we are in a position that other teams would envy. a talented, deep roster with a strong group of rookies. who to keep? it's a good problem to have.

Vaflyer said...

IMO, the front office is going to do its best to get Ryan Clark resigned....either now or after the season. He will be a cheaper cost to us than say Hampton, but he doesn't mean as much to the D.

The team will draft NT with the #1 pick and ILB with the #2 pick. After that we will do what we always do...pick the best option available, with expiring contracts in mind.

Anonymous said...

"The team will draft NT with the #1 pick and ILB with the #2 pick. After that we will do what we always do...pick the best option available, with expiring contracts in mind."

dumb prediction. they usually draft B.P.A. You simply cannot predict them drafting a NT in rd 1 yet. Besides, they should just franchise Hampton next year to get 1 more year out of him. Hampton is a key to the success of our D, anyone who thinks otherwise is sadly mistaken. He is far more important than Keisel and Clark

Anonymous said...

Hood = N.T.

Anonymous said...

Hood = DE

Anonymous said...

I don't usually agree with tagging people and while on one hand I consider it with Hampton because he didn't stay in shape I think I probably pass because he has played out his deal without complaint or holdout.

Stay or go we would be fine because of the cap number.

drinkyourmilkshake said...

Duece Staley stood on the sidelines with his hands in his pants a lot better than people give him credit for.

Patrick said...

get with the program?

make sense yourself dude. Were we not deep last year? (I'm going to go ahead and say yes we were, considering that SB win, multiple injuries, and the hardest schedule in the league).

Assuming you agree with me that we were deep last year, then we kept Sweed, Davis, Hills (HILLS!) all on the roster with absolutely no contribution from that whatsoever.

We are talking about one back up G with hope for the future taking up a roster spot. We've done this with a lot of rookies. Apparently you'd rather him be cut. Maybe we should do that with all our 3rd round picks who don't show up right away.

so, yeh, get with the program.

Vaflyer said...

Think my prediction is wrong. That is fine, but I see it this way. This team likes to draft guys to sit one year...contribute 2nd year. If we tag Hampton, we still need to draft his replacement in the upcoming draft. Hampton while overweight gets paid to do 1 think, take up as many guys as possible from the interior line, so the guys behind him can make plays. If he goes...or no one comes to replace him. This D will be in trouble. If you can't stop the run, it makes a secondary look ordinary...especially in our system.

Zac said...

He doesn't pick guys up at the second level. He played the D-line before. He's too short for Center, but tall enough for NT. He could be a long term project with position flexibility. He is AQ.

Awesive said...

Hey Dale,
How many rookies do you see making the 53 man roster?

Anonymous said...

calm down Patricia

steelerark said...

Wow, an anonymous on here name-calling. How original.

Dale Lolley said...

Actually, Sonny Harris is seen as a guy who could move inside to the nose and they also have Hokie, so NT may not be a priority.

I said lineman because both Hartwig and Colon will be unrestricted if there's a new CBA. The front office apparently doesn't have the faith the coaching staff does in Colon.

If Colon leaves, they can shift Essex to RT, but that opens a guard spot.
I'm also not as sold on AQ Shipley as some here seem to be.

That's not to say Urbik won't get better. I'm just saying that compared to how the rest of the draft class is looking, he's lagging.

Anonymous said...

Our offensive line is awful. put in Jason Capizzi why not at 6-9 355 pounds what can it hurt?

Duane said...

Anonymous said, "Hampton is a key to the success of our D, anyone who thinks otherwise is sadly mistaken. He is far more important than Keisel and Clark"

... Yes, Hampton is one of the keys to our defense. Not as important as Aaron Smith, but important nonetheless. However, he is not any more important than Ryan Clark. Remember what happened when Anthony Smith filled in for an injured RC? Suddenly we were getting beat deep with regularity. How many times did we get beat deep last year with Clark back there? Very few. By contrast, whenever Hoke has filled in for Hampton, our run defense has fallen off very little, if any, unlike when Aaron Smith was out.