Sunday, May 01, 2011

Steelers draft winners, losers

The smoke has cleared and the dust has settled on the 2011 NFL draft. Here's a look at some of the Steelers' winners and losers coming out of the draft:

Winners
Ike Taylor - Cha-ching. A first-round cornerback would have at least tempered Pittsburgh's need to bring back their top corner at all costs. As it stands - with just third- and fourth-round prospects added – the Steelers must assure that Taylor comes back at all costs.

Limas Sweed - With no young receiver added, Sweed will be given every chance to prove that he's finally got his act together after missing last season with an Achilles' tendon injury. The talent is there for the former second-round pick.

Matt Spaeth - The Steelers would have liked to have added another tight end in the draft, but the opportunity never presented itself. Spaeth likely gets at least one more year.

Shaun Suisham - The Steelers could have selected a young placekicker to challenge Suisham, but did not.

Losers
Chris Kemoeatu, Ramon Foster, Tony Hills - Two young offensive linemen, Marcus Gilbert and Keith Williams, will push for starting jobs and roster spots.

William Gay, Keenan Lewis – The addition of two young corners means Gay, a free agent, likely won't be back. Lewis has really fallen out of favor and might be on his last legs.

Jonathan Dwyer - The one thing seveth-round running back Baron Batch does really, really well is catch the ball out of the backfield. Dwyer does not. With Isaac Redman establishing himself as Rashard Mendenhall's top backup, the Steelers will be looking to keep a back who does something the other two do not.

Nick Eason - Eason has been a solid, steady reserve for some time now, but with two first-round defensive ends added in the past three years, finding a roster spot for Eason might be difficult. Not impossible, but difficult.

38 comments:

Ben said...

Nick Eason, I think he should be safe. With Brown and Sanders proving themselves last year we won't need to carry any more than 5 WRs this year so there's an extra roster spot for somewhere else. I figure with the age on the DL, either Aaron Smith is gone (more likely I think he takes a pay cut) or they could opt to keep an extra man on the DL.

Adam said...

Dale,

Wondering if there is any word on the kicker situation? How come the Steelers chose not to draft one? Do you think they will look to Forbath or Jasper as a UDFA? At least for some competition to challenge Suisham...

Anonymous said...

They're definitely opening the wallet for a FA corner, either Ike Taylor or someone else.

Batch might take Moore's spot, so Dwyer's spot could be safe.

I can only dream about someone taking Kemoeatu's roster spot, though I know that's not the "Steeler Way."

Anonymous said...

THere will be 6 receivers on the roster, do doubt. Battle won't play receiver even if he is one, but his special teams value is way too important. I do agree that sweed has an outside shot now. I would love nothing more than for him to take El off the roster (nothing against him, hell of a guy but big salary and older), but if he doesn't I'd take the insurance in El

Grisham has been here for two years already, maybe he even plays better than sweed who knows....

Guess matt spaeth gets lucky again, lol

adamg said...

The Steelers won't do it, but I'd move Tony Hills to the blocking TE spot. IIRC, Hills was a top-rated TE coming out of high school. Hills is more athletic than physical at tackle and probably could convert back to TE pretty smoothly. Then we could say goodbye to Spaeth.

I think Nick Eason is fairly safe in his roster spot.

I don't see Kemo or Foster going anywhere, but Trai Essex could be the odd man out.

Dale Lolley said...

I can assure you that Aaron Smith isn't going anywhere. In fact, he'll be the starter over Ziggy Hood.

I think they'll still want to keep six WRs because Battle is basically a special teamer who plays teams.
Grisham has an outside shot, but he's so similar to what Sanders and Brown do.

They'll definitely bring in some competition for Suisham. They thought a third-down back was more valuable in the seventh round than a kicker.

John Kang said...

I really hope Sweed can get his head in the game, because he obviously has all the physical tools to be great. Wallace, Ward, Sanders, Brown and Sweed would be an unbelievable receiving corps-- maybe even better than Thipgpen, Johnson and the rest of that early 90s crew I don't remember.

I wonder if the acquisition of Curtis Brown makes Battle expendable because of his special teams value.

As for not drafting a CB early-- I don't think a rookie CB could be a starter on a LeBeau 3-4 zone blitzing team... they need to be able to absorb the system, which requires both intelligence AND experience; and also be able to support the Run D. Though I guess if you gave LeBeau a nearly perfect shutdown corner like Revis, he'd have all kinds of fun devising a D around it.

Vaflyer said...

I will go through with some comments point by point from your original post.

Winners

Ike Taylor - Big winner, but I think Ike is a Steeler through and through. I don't see him pulling a Revis, but he will get properly compensated.

Limas Sweed - Will get his shot. My guess is that we still carry 6 WRs. In today's game you almost have to. How do you go 4 wide if you don't?

Matt Spaeth - I am completely indifferent to Spaeth. He just doesn't excite me as a player. Maybe it is the teams inability to use the 2nd tight end, or maybe he just doesn't have it in him. I could see us looking in the UDFA market.

Shaun Suisham - I was ticked when I saw the Eagles took Henery(sp?). He would have made sense here, but I guess Suisham and Sepulveda will get competition other ways.

Losers
Chris Kemoeatu, Ramon Foster, Tony Hills - I think C. Scott must have something to show us as well. I mean we did keep a roster spot for him when we could have used it elsewhere. The Oline has a BUNCH of options including whether Colon resigns, Starks is healthy, Adams plays another year, and where Colon plays.

William Gay, Keenan Lewis – Lewis had his issues, but it appears he never recovered from the preseason problem where he lost his temper. Gay I think is only resigned if Ike isn't, which he will be. I would guess that the other guy out is Madison. His value on special may be diminished with the new kickoff rules and Brown's ability to play them as well.

Jonathan Dwyer - I was impressed with Batch's highlights on Youtube. He looks like he can play the "role" of Moore, but his style is much more powerful. I would guess that Dwyer makes the roster, but has to beat Redman in order to dress.

Nick Eason - I don't see how he can make the roster. That is just me being honest. Keisel, A. Smith, Hood, and Heyward are all givens. Hampton is a given with Hoke most likely making it, but McLendon would have the track on that as Eason is not a NT.

ONE WINNER YOU FORGOT:

Ryan Mundy - Here is a depth S who we drafted no one to push. He only has to beat the same guys he did last year in order to make the roster.

Dale Lolley said...

Special teams guys are on the bubble every year. Battle was pretty good last year, though. Same with Madison. Those guys are constants.

As for Spaeth being pushed by a UFA, that's going to be difficult if the lockout drags on. It's tough to impress in just a couple of weeks.

marc said...

sweed just can't catch a break. offseason workouts and OTA's would have been a golden opportunity for him to get back into the swing of things and ready for training camp.

i'm really pulling for the kid. he has all the tools, just needs to put it together upstairs. if he does, the receiving core is lights out and battle does not make the team, imo.

datruth4life said...

Dale,

Any chance Wes Lyons sticks as a TE on this squad? He's 6'8'', up to 245 lbs. now, runs a 4.6 and has a 42-inch vertical. Any chance the Steelers will try to make him into a downfield threat receiving TE threat, ala Jamarcus Finley of the Packers?

We know Ike Taylor is a must to resign, but how about signing CB Chris Carr in free agency in place of William Gay? Carr started several games for the Ravens this past year when D. Foxworth got hurt and played pretty well for them. He had 61 tackles, 3 FF's, and 2 INTs. He can return punts and kickoffs and is a great special teams player on top of that. The Steelers wanted him two years ago, but he signed a 2-year, $5M deal then with the Ravens. This time, the Steelers could offer him a chance to come in and compete for that starting CB spot opposite Ike along with BMac and C. Butler. The 6 CB's on the roster then would be Ike, C. Carr, BMac, C. Butler, C. Brown and C. Allen. A big improvement from this past year.

- With the two rookies and with 5th round draft pick OG/T Chris Scott from this past year, do all three of these young OL stick next year? Also, if the Steelers had to choose between W. Colon or Flozell for one more year, who do you think they choose? Also, do you think the Big Legursky is good enough to be a starter on this line? He sure did look good enough to me going up against Raji and Cullen Jenkins in the Super Bowl.

Who do you think wins that 7th spot on the DL this year -- N. Eason, S. McClendon or Sunny Harris?

Also, S Ryan Mundy played well this past year while filling in for Palomula. CB Donovan Warren is viewed as a former college CB that might stick at FS and be someone who can come down and cover the slot some as well. Any way that you think he could stick over Will Allen?

Anonymous said...

Dale,

True or False: The Steelers will not be able to compete for a SB next season unless they resign Ike Taylor?

I say true.

Anonymous said...

IMO, this team HAD to get younger, especially on the DL. The team was showing its age in the fourth quarter of several games last season. Even with Aaron Smith coming back he can not be counted on to finish the season. He's missed most of three out of the last four seasons. Let's keep in mind that if it wasn't for sheer luck, this team came within a whisker of losing to a pretty poor Bills team.

Re-signing Ike is a must.

There's another potential loser that you failed to mention, Mewelde Moore. With the drafting of Baron Batch Moore's job is on the line.

Chris Kemoeatu didn't endear himself to the team and the fans with his bush league pile jumping incidents during the S.B. game. He's a penalty waiting to happen. Ramon Foster is marginally better than Essex. Tony Hills. Trai Essex and Jonathan Scott are what they are, speed bumps, a waste of money and valuable bench space. None of them deserve a spot on the team as far as I'm concerned. the RG position was the weakest link on an already weakened line. I've watched Essex get his worthless butt driven off of the line too many times to know that he's got to go. LT back up, Jonathan Scott was getting beaten like a drum more often than not. He has slower feet than Max Starks does and I didn't think that was possible. If and that's a big if, Willie Colon gets re-signed that'll strengthen the right side of the line. I like Legursky as Pouncey's back up. Then we have the new rookie offensive lineman that'll be pushing some of these underachieving vets for starting roles. That's a good thing.

It doesn't require much brain matter to know that Sweed is the odd man out if he doesn't show he wants to be part of the team.

Matt Spaeth wasn't worth the ink used to sign his contract. He doesn't do any one thing real well accept to collect a pay check every week.

I think Randell El is expendable. With Antonio Brown coming into his second season, there's no need to keep Randell El and his salary.

I agree that William Gay and Keenan Lewis are soon to be looking for employment. Bringing back McFadden wasn't the answer either.

I don't see Dwyer going anywhere even with the addition of Batch. There should be enough open roster spots for him to breath easy for one more season.

Vaflyer said...

Well, I find it interesting that both sides of the ball will really have some intrigue when we get back. The skill positions on offense will barely be touched. Moore out/Batch in, maybe. WR...Do we go with the 6 we have or does Sweed make a play. Who are the LBs on the team. Yeah, there are interesting questions probably at every position, but the 2 to watch....Offensive Line and Defensive Back.

Dale Lolley said...

Too much unknown right now to even comment on free agency. This much I know, Chris Carr would not be a competent replacement for Ike. Gay, yes. Ike, no.

It's impossible to comment on any undrafted guys right now. Again, don't know what the future will bring. If the lockout ended today and they had a bunch of minicamps and OTAs, URFAs would have a shot. Without any of that, it's going to be difficult to unseat veterans who know the system.

datruth4life said...

Dale,

If you reread my post, I mentioned CB Chris Carr as a replacement for "Lack of a Play" Willie Gay and not Ike. Carr would be brought into to compete with BMac and C. Butler for the starting spot opposite of Ike. He signed for 2 years, $5M before with the Ravens so maybe something similar to that (maybe 3 years, $7M) might get it done this time along with the opportunity to compete for the starting spot.

Anonymous said...

Dale,

Good read though I disagree with you on Sweed. He's already starting off behind Ward, Wallace, Sanders and Brown when he goes into TC next season; he's going to have to really impress to earn enough playing time to even get himself another NFL contract.

Regarding the DBs, have you heard anything about the team trying Butler out at safety? It seems a lock that Willie Gay is the guy on the outs but safety depth has been just as pressing an issue over the last few seasons.

Wedgebuster said...

Have you seen Mendenhall's twitter lately? Some pretty questionable stuff is being posted on there...

Wedgebuster said...

link: http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/05/02/rashard-mendenhall-raises-eyebrows-with-bin-laden-tweets/

Anonymous said...

Ever heard Mark Twain's quip that a lie travels around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes?

There are two different R_Mendenhall twitter accounts and it's quite possible the one being cited is someone else.

marc said...

if the tweets are actually mendenhall's, you can expect little chance the steelers will resign him after his contract expires.

Wedgebuster said...

It did say it was from his "verified twitter account"? But I don't really understand twitter

Anonymous said...

Mendenhall is a dumb kid trying really hard to sound smart...and failing miserably.

Anonymous said...

Twitter began it's verified program because of a lawsuit brought by Tony LaRussa for allowing someone to impersonate him on Twitter. From what I can find the program has been and is currently suspended. There is nothing that indicates what criteria, data or sources Twitter uses/used to verify accounts. Therefore I remain skeptical about this particular twitter account.

marc said...

it is clearly mendenhall. otherwise, he would have already denied making the comments.

Anonymous said...

Considering Art commented no Mendenhall's tweets I'm pretty sure it's him.

http://post-gazette.com/pg/11123/1143779-100.stm

Anonymous said...

No, marc, a person not denying something doesn't mean a thing.

marc said...

very true, in some cases.

is there a chance he didn't say it? technically, yes.

but not here. no one would sit around and let the whole country think you said something in a sympathetic manner towards bin laden if they didn't really say it.

Patrick said...

its obviously him, and hes obviously an idiot.

Not because I care what he thinks about bin laden, but because hes a public figure and picked a topic most people would know would spark outrage, he sat on top of a virtual soapbox and screamed it the country.

Thats why the whole thing is stupid. When are these guys going to realize they aren't just young kids anymore? Its bigger than them and what you say is going to be heard by everyone, especially when its on Twitter.

He is stupid and if he ends up not resigned because of his personal idiocy, I have no problem with it.

Steve-O said...

i say run his ass until the wheels fall off and then release his sorry butt. I'm not generally that way when a player offers an opinion but if this is true then he's lost me as a fan. Not that I've ever been enamored with they guy but this one takes the cake.

Anonymous said...

Yep, in the past I've thought they should ease the load on him to make him last longer, but at this point get everything you can from him and do not even consider the second contract

brian said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
marc said...

did dale fall of a cliff?

Anonymous said...

The entire NFL did...

marc said...

there was a good question on another site:

if you could only re-sign one, which would it be

1. timmons
2. woodley

Viktor said...

Dale where are you?
Timmons or Woodley? Woodley would be the immediate choice, but it would have to come down to money and position depth for me. Woodley would command more money but Woodley plays on the outside so a harder position to fill than the inside. Harrison probably has about 2 years left of high caliber play so we are going to need another olb to step in. I would choose Woodley if it does not break the bank. What about Woodley or Troy?

Anonymous said...

Timmons no doubt

Olbs in our system are easily replaceable and woodley, while good, is not THAT good. Timmons is only getting better and farrior will retire soon

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