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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Steelers add 15 UFAs

The Steelers have a pretty good idea of who their five starting offensive linemen will be. They also know who their top two backups are: John Malecki and Kelvin Beachum.

Beyond that, however, they have a lot of question marks on the offensive line.

That's why after picking up nine new players in the draft, the Steelers added five offensive linemen as undrafted rookie free agents, the best being guard Nik Embernate of San Diego State. Also signed at that position were offensive tackles Mike Farrell of Penn State and Mike Golic, Jr. of Notre Dame, guard Chris Hubbard of UAB and center Ivory Wade of Baylor.

Golic, of course, is the son of former NFL player and radio show host Mike Golic, Sr.

Also signed by the Steelers were defensive ends Brian Arnfelt of Northwestern and Cordian Hagans of Louisiana-Lafayette, linebacker Alex Baxter of Northern Illinois, wide receivers Reggie Dunn of Utah and J.D. Woods of West Virginia, defensive tackle Athony Rashad White of Michigan State, defensive tackle Omar Hunter of Florida, running back Curtis McNeal of USC and long snapper Luke Ingram of Hawaii.

Interestingly enough, the Steelers did not sign a punter to at least give them another leg at that position behind Drew Butler.

Butler was a bit up and down last season as a rookie and the Steelers do not have another punter on the roster.


Anonymous said...

Does Dunn have potential to replace Rainey?

Zac in Tempe

Anonymous said...

Dale, what do you know about Nik Embernate? I know the steelers brought him in for a visit, but there is very little on the web about him. I saw a highlight reel on him from the 2011 season and he looks mobile and nasty. Maybe someone who would fit more in zone scheme?

Thanks for the great draft coverage.

Lance said...

Embernate is the Guard that caught the Coaches and Scouts eyes while watching tap on E. Ansah. In the game they noticed Embernate manhandling Ansah.

Anonymous said...

He looks like a beast. If you want to talk about finishing blocks, this kid is knocking guys down 20 yards behind the play! I know it is hard to make a judgement based on highlights, but this kid looks the part. I have a feeling Tomlin will LOVE this guy.

Anonymous said...

"he looks mobile and nasty."

no wonder his nickname is embernasty. Think this guy will be an offseason favorite of most steelers fans. Hopefully he makes the team. We really need depth

Dale, what are your thoughts on Legursky and Starks? Possible or not that they come back?

Anonymous said...

You forgot Joe Madsen (another C) from WVU

Dale Lolley said...

The replacement for Rainey is Stephens-Howling - a more proven commodity than Rainey.

Embernate is a bad ass. I think he has a chance to make this team.

I think they are happy with what they saw of Malecki. He makes Legursky expendable since he can also play guard and center.

Starks will get an opportunity to start somewhere. There will be an injury somewhere in the league. Don't see him coming back to Pittsburgh unless there's an injury.

Patrick said...

I don't understand how a guy like Embernate doesn't get drafted?

We practically have a thread devoted to him, but 32 gms weren't aware?

Doesn't make sense when there are so many guys drafted that are damn near ghost like in terms of info. available about them.

Anonymous said...

Looking at the draft picks, Hawthorne returns kicks and Brown returns punts. I can't find anything about Wheaton, but assume he can do one or both?

marc said...

bell oughta take out the hurdling from his bag of tricks. someone, say terrell suggs for example, will catch him in mid-air and drive him head first into the ground.

Mark said...

That's like saying James Harrison shouldn't have hurdled LaDanian Tomlinson. (One of the YouTube commenters pointed out that while Gates was busy watching Harrison fly, Troy ran over and laid him out.)

But I agree Bell shouldn't consider trying that as a regular move.

Dale Lolley said...

Wheaton did it a little in college. Better on kickoffs. He admitted that he had trouble early on catching punts, which is a problem.

Pistol said...

Any inside info on the UDFA's minus Embernate?? He will at minimum be a practice squad guy IMO. Also like the Joe Madsen and Reggie Dunn additions.

Anonymous said...

I really hope the 7th rounder or one the UFAs pan out at DE so they don't waste another high round on one ever again.

marc said...

got the chance to watch some of wheaton's video clips. looks like antonio brown clone to me. smaller than i expected him to be for some reason. though, he did go up and fight for the ball which is more than one could say for wallace (pet peave of mine).

someone reported steelers were shopping dwyer. any truth to that?

i know some are skeptical for this team this year, but i like how things are looking. i believe there is good talent at all levels, offensively and defensively, with the weak link being the d-line. if no one steps up this year in that department you can expect a 1st or 2nd round pick for the d-line next draft, imo.

datruth4life said...

Dale, the FA that I am most interested in is KR/WR Reggie Dunn. I looked at his measurables compared to those of Tavon Austin, who was a 1st round pick by the St. Louis Rams. Austin posted these numbers at the combine:

5’8.4’’ height, 174 lbs., 14 reps at 225 lbs., 4.28 40-yard dash, 32-inch vertical, 10’0’’ broad jump, 1.50 10-yard split.

Now look at the numbers for Reggie Dunn, who wasn’t invited to the combine but posted these numbers at his Pro Day:

5’9.3’’, 178 lbs., 17 reps at 225 lbs., 4.25 and 4.26 40-yard dash times, 36-inch vertical, 10’1’’ broad jump, 1.52 10-yard split.

Yes, there is the little thing called production and being a starter at WR, a top 10 pick and arguably the most explosive player in the country, but you gotta love Dunn's speed and big play ability at a rookie free agent cost for the Steelers.

I noticed in at least one of his videos that Dunn caught a long touchdown on a fly pattern from the slot. If Dunn can return kickoff, punt returns and play some in the slot, do you think he has a chance to stick? Also, do you think Justin Brown can beat out Plaxico for that big WR spot? I'm thinking the Steelers could keep 6 WRs this year (including Wheaton, Brown and Dunn) since Sanders, Plaxico and Cotchery

BTW, the numbers for 7th round pick DE Nick Williams are pretty intriguing: 6’4.5’’, 309 lbs., 4.84 40-yard dash, 28 reps at 225 lbs, 1.70 10-yard split, 33-inch vertical (he has a higher vertical than Tavon Austin!), 9’3’’ broad jump. Love that he was a basketball player first that only played football one year in high school before going to Samford. A big raw piece of clay for John Mitchell. Here’s hoping the Steelers don’t try to stick this guy on the practice squad. If he is ready, keep him on the regular roster and let him learn since Keisel, Hood, A. Woods will all be free agents next year. Maybe Mitchell will do a better job with him than he has Ziggy Hood, who should lose his spot to Cam Heyward this year. Hood has been a big disappointment thus far. Body like Tarzan, play like Jane.

datruth4life said...

I meant the Steelers keeping 6 WRs this year (A. Brown, Sanders, Cotchery, Wheaton, J. Brown, Dunn) since Plaxico, Cotchery and Sanders most likely won't be back next year. Plaxico doesn't play specials teams and doesn't have any speed. The only way I could see him sticking is if the coaching staff used Plax to run those TE routes that Heath would run if he was healthy.

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