Visit NFL from the sidelines on the new Observer-Reporter site:

Sunday, February 26, 2012

News, notes from the combine thus far

Memphis nose tackle Dontari Poe showed off his strength this weekend in the bench press, putting 225 pounds up 44 times, the best at this year's combine.

Poe is a sculpted 6-4, 346 pounds, though his arms were a bit short at 32 inches.

@ Alameda Ta'amu of Washington, the other top nose tackle prospect, weighed in at 348 pounds on his 6-3 frame.

Ta'amu, who is more of a second-round prospect, did 35 reps and had 32-inch arms.

@ Georgia guard/tackle Cordy Glenn ran the 40 in 5.15 seconds, not bad for a man who is 6-5, 345 pounds.

He also had the second-longest longest arms of any of the offensive linemen at 35 3/4 inches.

Despite the long arms, Glenn still pressed 225 pounds 31 times, a very respectible number

Glenn is viewed as a mid-to-late first-round pick, which puts him in the Steelers' range.

@ California University of Pennsylvania guard Rishaw Johnson showed off his wheels by clocking in right behind Glenn at 5.24 seconds in the 40.

Johnson, 6-3, 313 pounds, is a sleeper in this draft who's likely to be selected in round four or five. The former Ole Miss star transferred to Cal last season.

He showed at the Senior Bowl that he's not really capable of playing center, but his mobility and strength are excellent.

Johnson did, however, struggle in some of the drills, failing to perform them properly and drawing the wrath of position coaches.

He's raw, but with his athleticism, you never know.

@ Winconsin guard Kevin Zeitler and Iowa State's Kelechi Osemele, a pair of late-first, early-second round prospects, clocked in at 5.39 seconds and 5.36 seconds, respectively.

Zeitler's arm length - 32 3/4 - is a bit short, but he used that to his advantage, doing 32 reps on the bench.

Osemele had the longest arms of any lineman - he should at 6-6, 333 pounds - at 35 7/8 and also managed 32 bench reps.

@ We'll see how the linebackers run later this week.

At this point, it clearly appears the Steelers will target two of those three positions in the first two rounds of the draft.


Jersey Mike said...

Just from what I saw in the drills from Johnson. He looked bad. I would hope the Steelers have no part in drafting him.

Anonymous said...

I know nothing about college football but if Poe is some ridiculous physical specimen who is "potentially" the next Ngata or whatever, how could he possibly last until #24 no matter how "raw" he might be?

--Anonymous Brian

Anonymous said...

32.75" is not short for an interior lineman. It's actually slightly better than average for an NFL starter.

marc said...

the steelers will need to trade up for poe if they want him.

Patrick said...

Poe seems like the kind of guy who's going to have a Tyson Jackson like rise. Maybe not to the top 5, but he's out of the steelers reach imo. Don't think they will trade to the low teens for him.

Anonymous said...

I'm very interested in seeing Hightower run today, the more I read about him the more I like him as Farrior's replacement. Also I agree that Poe may have his pushed himself into the teens of the first round, which is unfortunate because I'd like to see him replace Casey. I really have no clue which direction we are going in the first round.

Henigin said...

Kind of like Brandon Albert's rise when everyone in Steelers Country wanted him?

Dale Lolley said...

But, the arm length is on the short side when compared to the top guys at this combine.

Nate said...

Poe has a ton of buzz after his combine performance. He ran a sub 5.00 40 with a sub 1.70 10-yard split. That is ridiculous for a 350 pounder.

Hightower is very interesting. He was a lot faster than many expected and looked good in drills.

If Poe climbs, it means other players have to drop. Maybe Hightower lands in the Steelers lap.

alexrkirby said...

A lot of people think the Steelers should go inside linebacker in round 1 but I disagree. In today's NFL linebackers are no longer impact players unless they rush the passer. Linebackers are good against the run but liabilities in coverage. We already have Timmons to play coverage on 3rd down.

Why draft an ILB in round 1 so they can be a 2 down player?

Nate said...

alexkirby, makes some good points. But the same could be said about drafting Poe. He's probably only a 2-down defensive player.

I tend to disagree about the idea that non-pass rushing LBs aren't impact players. 32 of 32 teams would love to build their defenses around Patrick Willis, and he's averaged a little over three sacks per season since entering the league.

Anonymous said...

In a 3-4, ALL the LBs have the potential to be impact players. You certainly aren't getting splashy plays from the lineman, and the reality of the situation is that the LBs are supposed to be the guys making plays in LeBeau's defense.

To have more LBs who can cover wouldn't exactly be a bad thing, either. It's not as if the Steelers can't, or don't, utilize the Nickle package.

Given their situation at ILB, I don't think Kuechly or Hightower should even remotely be viewed as "throw away" picks.

alexrkirby said...

Could you name some impact ILB's in a 3-4 for me?

Try not to say Ray Lewis. He hasn't been an impact player in years.

Hint: There are none.

As the NFL de-emphasizes the running game ILBers lose value. The Steelers won't find a ILB who can cover better than Timmons so whoever plays opposite him will come of the field on 3rd down. Waste of a 1st rounder unless they think the guy can get sacks.

kyle said...

Timmons in 2010. Mayo. The kid who replaced Ray Lewis while he was injured. Sacks and coverage aren't the only things an ILB does. On a good team, the ILB is the leading tackler. On a bad team it's a safety. Kuechly 2012.

alexrkirby said...

ILB are like Rb's. If the line is taking up all the blockers they all look like all stars.

kyle said...

Inside Linebackers are like Nose Tackles: very few splash plays but when they are below average the entire defense suffers.