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Friday, April 26, 2013

Steelers add to backfield

The Steelers passed on Eddie Lacy and Montee Ball, among others, to take running back Le'Veon Bell in the second round of the draft.

While some might question the move - and I didn't have Bell on my second-round list - I found that Lacy had injury issues that caused some concern and the Steelers just liked Bell more than Ball.

As you all know, I like Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's draft preview guides. McGinn had Bell rated as the third-best back in this draft, with scouts saying he had the look of a feature back.

Will that be the case? We don't know.

But what we do know is that Bell carried the ball 382 times last season for a team in which he was the entire offense and did not break down. He also catches the ball out of the backfield well.

And at 6-1, 230 pounds, he ran a 4.57 40 and had the fastest three-cone drill among running backs at the combine.

OK, that makes some sense.

Bell doesn't always run like a big man - he doesn't look for contact like Isaac Redman. But that's not always a bad thing either, especially when you'd like to see him stay healthy in the NFL.

The Steelers passed on some good talent to take Bell, including Arthur Brown, D.J. Swearinger and Margus Hunt, three players I think could be stars in the NFL.

Bell had better become the player the Steelers think he will be - Tood Haley compared him to Eddie George - for this one not to bite them in the behind in the future. Brown went to Baltimore, while Hunt went to Cincinnati.

If those two players turn into stars and Bell does not, the Steelers will be reminded of that four times per season.

@ In the third round, the Steelers added a dynamic receiver in Markus Wheaton of Oregon State.

Wheaton finished as Oregon State's all-time leading receiver with 227 career catches. The school produced both Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, so it's not a joke record - though Johnson and Houshmandzadeh were there at the same time.

He's also got speed to burn. He ran a 4.45 at the combine but says he can run in the 4.3 range. If he can run somewhere in the middle of that, say a 4.37, he's plenty fast enough to help this team replace Mike Wallace.

Wheaton is also far more polished than some of the other receivers that went ahead of him. It was a solid pick.

@ The draft wraps up today. Look for the Steelers to address the safety position in the fourth round - Phillip Thomas of Fresno perhaps - and then add depth on the offensive line, cornerback and inside linebacker as well.

Wheaton's teammate Jordan Poyer would be a possibility in the fourth round at cornerback - he actually returned punts and kicks ahead of Wheaton at the school - as would William & Mary corner B.W. Webb, whom the Steelers had in for a visit.

One late round safety to consider is California University's Rontez Miles, a player the Steelers are very familiar with and like.


Patrick said...

any chance Redman is moving to FB? Is that too far out there?

Dale Lolley said...

No need to move him. They have Johnson there, who they like.

Patrick said...

one of the RB's is going. Batch is the obvious candidate, seems like a crowded house all of the sudden.

Anonymous said...

Eddie George averaged 3.6 yards a carry.

Anonymous said...

Bettis averaged 3.9 yards a carry...what's your point.

icb63 said...

So Todd Haley is making these picks?

Steve-O said...

Actually I think it was Kirby who touted Bell

Pistol said...


Do you think they will double up at Wr or pick up a few UDFA's ??

Pistol said...

Also do you think a QB could be taken anytime soon with them all dropping like this??

datruth4life said...

Dale, I can understand the Steelers taking L. Bell in the 2nd round, but my heart did sink when the Ravens selected ILB A. Brown near the end of the 2nd round. I think that one is going to come back and bite the Steelers. Is it me or has Ozzie Newsome and Cincy's GM been kicking K. Colbert's behind in the draft the past few years. At least the Steelers should have double digit picks next year in what should be a better skill position draft. My Day 3 picks that should interest the Steelers:

S Philip Thomas
S Shamarko Williams
OT David Bakhtari
DT Jessie Williams
CB B.W. Webb
ILB K. Reddick
C Barret Jones
OT Reid Fragel
QB Tyler Bray

Dale Lolley said...

I don't see them taking another WR, though value could change that. They've got six guys there - with Gilreath - who can play.

I don't see them taking a QB in this draft, either. There have been so few taken - three - that some gems might be UFAs. I like Sean Renfree from Duke as a guy who can come in and be No. 3. Very accurate. Ryan Griffin from Tulane is a big-armed prospect as well.

Anonymous said...

Shamarko Thomas for president.

Steve-O said...

If you want to see how Markus Wheaton matches up against some of the better college talent take a look at the NFL video (on YouTube) of the 2013 Senior Bowl WR vs. DBs practice. The kid just oozes confidence, a sudden burst, great route running and change of direction. He goes up against Desmond Trufant and spins him in circles. I for one look forward to seeing him in a Steeler uniform.

Anonymous said...

I called it Shamarko Thomas for President baby!!!!
This kid is like a guided missile. The price was a bit high, next years 3rd for Cleveland's 4th this year, but it is worth it!! Look at the tape, this guy just makes guys disappear. He is the same size as another safety that did pretty well in the league, Bob Sanders. Kid lost both parents and has stood up to help raise his siblings. Passionate and intense. Welcome to the Steelers. Hopefully you will work out better than the last Syracuse safety we drafted-Anthony Smith. (who I also loved until he hit Hines in practice).
Mrs. Isaac Redman

Steve-O said...

Shamarko Thomas is a human missile, a bit short but I love the way he plays. My first thought was that the price to move up was a bit too high but I think the Steelers get a 3rd round comp pick for the loss of Mike Wallace so its all good.

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