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Monday, January 28, 2013

Post Senior Bowl thoughts

Watching the Senior Bowl, I couldn't help but think that it was something of a waste of time - at least for me, since I cover the Steelers.

OK, maybe not a complete waste of time, but as we've seen time and again with the Steelers, their first-round pick likely won't be one of the players who was performing in the Senior Bowl.

Time and again in the Kevin Colbert era, the Steelers have tended to take players who were coming out as juniors, whether they be redshirt juniors or true juniors.

The thinking, at least for the Steelers, is that when you take a guy who is 20 or 21 years old, not only do you get more mileage out of him, but his potential upside might be greater as well.

If he grades out as a first-round pick at 20 or 21, he still has room to grow.

Now, once they get into the later rounds, age doesn't become such a factor. But for those guys making the big money - the first rounders - the Steelers like a guy who's just 25 or 26 heading into his second contract.

With that in mind, some guys to look at as potential first rounders include linebacker prospects Barkevious Mingo, Damontre Moore, Alec Ogletree, cornerback Dee Milliner, defensive tackles Jonathan Hankins and Sharrif Floyd, wide receivers Keenan Allen, DeAndre Hopkins and Robert Woods, running back Gio Bernard and safeties Matt Elam and Eric Reid.

The young underclassman mantra isn't a must, but it's a good place to start when looking at potential Steelers first-round draft picks.

Some of those guys probably won't wind up with first-round grades once everything is hashed out, but they are some players to watch at the NFL combine. Of course, there are other factors as well.

With a guy like Ogletree, you have to weigh his four-game suspension at Georgia for a violation of team rules - drugs - against his athleticism and play. Given the issues the Steelers had this season with draft picks, I'm guessing they take Ogletree off their board.

Another thing to consider is that given this team's need of an influx of playmakers, the Steelers might throw the underclassman rule out the window and simply take the best playmakers available.

@ The Steelers aren't wasting any time looking at potential new special teams coordinators. They are interviewing Washington's Danny Smith, a Pittsburgh native, for the open position.


Anonymous said...

With 70some juniors in this draft class, safe bet not all will be 1st rounders. And with over 100 players at the Senior bowl, it's also a safe bet all won't be 1st rounders either. Meaning, it's ok to think outside R1 when watching this game. Last year the Steelers second thru fifth round picks (Adams, Spence, Ta'amu, and Rainey) were all Sr Bowl participants. But don't beat yourself up over it. Colbert doesn't put much thought in the draft outside R1 either.

Anonymous said...

The Steelers could really use a home run in the draft. We haven't really had one of those since Ben. Not that we haven't had decent guys, just no really ballers. And no, Pouncey isn't that great.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm talking about R1 specifically.

Dale Lolley said...

Not saying I didn't watch the other guys. But the guys at the positions to watch - WR and DB - were vastly underutilized thanks to the sub-par QB play.

Anonymous said...

Good to see that the Steelers are looking at filling the coaching positions. Any word on offensive line coach? Heard that Russ Grimm is still available:

Dale Lolley said...

Russ will continue to be available. Arians would have hired him, but he took the job Russ was just fired from.
Russ is not returning to Pittsburgh.

Patrick said...

Heath Miller was a first rd pick after Ben and a home run,

Whens it all said and done, Pouncey likely will be too.

Anonymous said...

That's too bad, because Russ was Steelers offensive line coach from 2001 to 2006. For those 6 years, the rushing offense finished in the top 10 5 times. After he left, they only finished in the top 10 once. Granted, philosophy and personnel play a part, but if you're going to be successful running the ball, it all starts up front. We have such "potential" with the offensive line, that it's a shame the Steeler don't hire someone they know could do the job.

Rushing ranking by year:
2001 – 1
2002 – 9
2003 – 31
2004 – 2
2005 – 5
2006 – 10
2007 – 3
2008 – 23
2009 – 19
2010- 11
2011 – 14
2012 - 26

Anonymous said...

Hal Hunter,Jr. will be the next OL coach.

Dale Lolley said...

When Russ had the horses up front, they played well. When he didn't, they didn't. Seems pretty simple to me.

Steve-O said...

I watched a highlight video of Cordarelle Patterson and the guy is unbelievably special. I realize that a lot of tape was left on the cutting room floor and I'm sure there are weaknesses but I wonder if there's a chance he could be a future home run hitter for the Steelers. Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

The only visibly bad year for the Steelers when Grimm was there was 2003. I'm recalling this from memory, but wasn't that the year of Tommy "machine gun" Maddox? And didn't Amos Zeroue have the starting job over the Bus that year?

I actually think the Steelers have the horses to be a good offensive line. But I don't think it's "that simple". We had them in 2012 and it didn't happen. I concede injuries was that the culprit. I also think Sean Kugler did an outstanding job with what he had. However, to have a Hall of Fame offensive lineman coach them could help them realize their potential. I mean someone who has actually been there and done that at a high level.

Apparently something happened when Tomlin was hired to piss Russ off. Mr. Rooney seemed to think that a miscommunication had taken place. If that was the case, then it’s simple enough to correct. Mr. Rooney apologizes for the miscommunication and offers Russ the same title he had when he left: assistant head coach/offensive line coach. Why would Russ take it? Because he can take a running game which was 26th in 2012 and put it in the top 10, which is what the Steelers want. If he does this, the Steelers will return to the playoffs and it puts Russ back in consideration for a head coaching job. It's a win for the team and a win for Russ.

DAVE said...

Larry Zierlein is Arizona.
I'm so glad the Cardinals hired Arians so that Arizona can remain Pittsburgh West/B-squad/Steelers Retirement Community.

Anonymous said...

love the comment dave

DD said...

It is obviously crucial to hit on 1st rounders in the draft so I agree with the initial thought. However, missing on 2nd-4th rounders, which is where I would assume much of the talent in the Sr. Bowl plays, is precisely why this team has questionable depth. Especially 2nd rounders. So I think the Sr. Bowl is critically important to future success.

Eric T said...

However, missing on 2nd-4th rounders, which is where I would assume much of the talent in the Sr. Bowl plays, is precisely why this team has questionable depth

Woodley, Wallace, Lewis, Sanders, Brown (6th), Gilbert, Adams, Worilds, Allen, etc have all been been solid contributors to great players. Other then 2008, all their recent drafts have been pretty good at producing players, even if you exclude the 1st round. I think the "lack of depth" this year was a product of a higher than usual amount of injuries.

Dale Lolley said...

"Something happened to piss Russ off when Tomlin was hired."

That something was Grimm was passed over for the job. That's a pretty big something, don't you think?

Mr. AllDayE'ryDay said...

Taking Ogletree off their board would be a big mistake. He may be the hardest hitting/surest tackling linebacker coming out. See the hits he put on Eddie Lacey in the SEC title game? Straight up monster truck collisions man.

Dale Lolley said...

I guarantee he didn't get suspended at Georgia for his first failed drug test. It was likely multiple positive tests. Shows a lack of discipline. I agree, he's a very good player - raw, but good. But the risk might outweigh the reward.

Anonymous said...

"That something was Grimm was passed over for the job. That's a pretty big something, don't you think?"

Absolutely Dale, that is very big. But I also think it goes further than that and like the Everett story, we may never know the complete truth. Both contract terms and dollars were discussed with Russ, so he may have been under the impression that he had the job. Problem was, terms and dollars were also discussed at the same time with Tomlin. So it does sound like there was a communication problem. When more than one person is involved, misunderstandings can happen.

The fact that Russ was passed over when he was the in house favorite must have stung. However, just like when the Steelers or the other 31 teams step on the field each week, there will be a winner and a loser. Or to broaden it, every time there is a job opening, there are winners and losers, just have to accept that as part of life.

What’s more important is that Russ is currently unemployed and the Steelers could really use him. The Rooney’s are known for their diplomacy, if anyone could smooth the situation out, it would be them. How the offensive line develops will be the key to the Steelers success next season. With Le Beau, Butler and Lake, I don’t worry about the defense. Ben has some good receivers, though RB is a big question at this point. Russ could not have a better situation, having a line with tremendous potential and a stable organization, he just needs to overlook that he got beat out by Tomlin. If he can do that, I think he’d be in line for a head coaching position in another organization, which the Rooney’s could support.

Pistol said...

I dont care what Ogeltree's production was etc he made these "multiple" mistakes at UGA when he was broke. What do you think will happen when he gets a bunch of money???
Is Spence's rehab not looking good?? I would think OLB would be a bigger priority if Spence is expected back right??