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Friday, April 18, 2014

A look at the Steelers visitors thus far

Here's a look at the players the Steelers have hosted thus far for their pre-draft visits. Each team gets 30 players, though local players - in the Steelers' case, Aaron Donald, for example - don't count against that number.

These are the guys who have actually visited, not players who are rumored to be coming in.

Shaq Richardson, Arizona (6-0, 194) A late round sleeper prospect with good size.
Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State (5-11, 199) A physical corner who is better in press coverage than he is in zone. The Steelers have, however, played more press in the past couple of years.
Bradley Roby, Ohio State (5-11, 194) Speedy and athletic. His 2012 tape was better than his 2013 tape. He also had an arrest for a bar incident that drew a suspension. Talented but which tape do you trust?
Jason Verrett, TCU (5-10, 189) A feisty corner who plays bigger than his size. A 4.38 40 and 39-inch vertical make up for his lack of height. Sticky in coverage.
Phillips Gaines, Rice (6-0, 193) A 4.38 40 at the combine certainly was an eyebrow raiser for Gaines, who owns 45 career collegiate starts. Opponents completed just 32.5 percent of the passes they threw his way in 2013, though, like Roby, he was suspended for the opener due to an undisclosed violation of team rules.

Brock Vereen, Minnesota (6-0, 199) Saw time at corner, nickelback and free safety in his career. His size and cover skills, along with a 4.47 40 make him an interesting candidate.
Calvin Pryor, Louisville (5-11, 207) An impact free safety. It would be a shock if the Steelers selected him after signing Mike Mitchell.
Deone Bucannon, Washington (6-1, 211) Had 15 career interceptions, including six in 2013. Also forced three fumbles in 2013. The Steelers are looking for turnover-makers in the secondary. This guy can do it.

Lache Seastrunk, Baylor (5-10, 201) Solid runner, but he struggled some against the better defenses he faced. An unknown as a pass catcher.

Aaron Donald, Pitt (6-1, 285) Had all kinds of production at Pitt, but really doesn’t fit the Steelers’ scheme.
Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame (6-6, 304) Had hernia surgery in the 2013 offseason. Then had foot issues this offseason that have kept him from working out. A dominant player in 2012. Fell off somewhat in 2013.
Scott Crichton, Oregon State (6-3, 273) Athletic enough that he could play linebacker. A disruptive player who had 10 career forced fumbles. Also played nose tackle at times in college.
Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota (6-6, 310) Built like an offensive tackle. At times he looked dominant. Other times, he looked disinterested. Could be because everyone ran away from him.

John Brown, Pittsburg State (5-10, 179) A 4.34 40 at the combine certainly put Brown on everyone’s radar. He’s not big, but the speedster did have five career touchdown returns (3 punts, 2 kickoffs). Late round steal?
Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss (6-2, 221) Love this kid. A freaky athlete who stood out on video I was watching of other SEC players.
Bruce Ellington, South Carolina (5-9, 197) Though he’s short, he’s built like a running back. Also started at point guard for two seasons for the Gamecocks, showing his complete athleticism.
Martavis Bryant, Clemson (6-4, 211) Another of the big receivers in this draft, though he hasn’t generated the heat of some of the others. Of course, playing opposite Sammy Watkins will have that effect.

Ryan Shazier, Ohio State (6-1, 237) The speedy Shazier is a Lawrence Timmons’ clone who could play inside or out for the Steelers. He’d probably have to be a first round pick.
Jordan Zumwalt, UCLA (6-4, 235) Like Shazier, Zumwalt could play inside or out, though he doesn’t have the speed of Shazier or Pierre-Louis. But he could be had in the middle rounds.
Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College (6-1, 232) Another speedy linebacker, Pierre-Louis is a bit on the small side. Would have to play inside for the Steelers, who are obviously looking for cover linebackers.
Carl Bradford, Arizona State (6-1, 250). Like the other linebackers listed here, he can play inside or out. Unlike the others, he has more classic Steelers size.

Rob Blanchflower, UMass (6-4, 256) Struggled through the 2013 season with a sports hernia, which could be why the Steelers brought the late round selection in to kick the tires.


Anonymous said...

On Seastrunk: Baylor never throws to their running backs, like, at. All.

He actually looked pretty okay in those drills at the Combine, so he should probably be at least passable in that regard. The bigger question will be his pass blocking.

kyle said...

I've never gotten a clear answer on what constitutes "local" for this. Do the Ohio State players count against the 30?

If so, I count 21 visitors so far with three weeks to go. Only six are on offense and none of them are being touted as first rounders.

The Steelers don't always bring in the kids they end up drafting in the first but I wonder if this is a sign that they'll be breaking the pattern of alternating offense/defense in the first round every year.

Anonymous said...

Aaron Donald would be an OLB in the Steelers' scheme. He's about the same size Woodley was the past few years, but way more athletic.

Anonymous said...

That's too much projection for him to be more valuable to the Steelers than some other team. Seems like an unlikely pick.

Z in Tempe

Dale Lolley said...

I do not believe Ohio State counts in the Steelers local guys.

Dale Lolley said...

Unless, like Pryor, the kid happens to be from Pittsburgh

Anonymous said...

That is a possibility. If so, the interest in Mike Neal a while back may have been more about picking his brain about his transition from DT to OLB last year, with Aaron Donald in mind. Tho Neal re-signed with the Pack before they met.

I still don't think it's likely, but I can't flippantly dismiss it because everyone has him pigeon holed in a 43.

As for what is considered local, it's in the NFLs Constitution and Bylaws. I don't recall exactly, but I'm sure you can google a link to that doc/pdf. IIRC it is anyone who resides or goes to school within a 75 mile radius of an NFL team's corporate city limits.

Dale Lolley said...

That sounds correct

Dale Lolley said...

That sounds correct

Anonymous said...

"That's too much projection for him to be more valuable to the Steelers than some other team. Seems like an unlikely pick."

No doubt. I wasn't saying they'd pick him, I was just challenging the notion that he's not a "scheme fit" for the Steelers because everyone was assuming he'd have to play DL in their scheme.

Dale Lolley said...

He would have to play on the defensive line. There's nothing to show that he could play linebacker in the NFL. Nobody ran him through any of the linebacker drills. He's never done it.

Anonymous said...

People need to STOP rationalizing some way we can take Donald just because he's from Pitt.

Us taking him would be a disaster for himself and us.


kyle said...

My interest in the Steelers picking Aaron Donald has nothing to do with him being from Pitt. He and Clowney are the top defensive playmakers in this draft. Clowney is not going to be available at 1.15. Donald very well might not either (between TB, NY, and CHI).

He is a proven commodity. That's why I think he'd be a good pick. It has nothing to do with his high school or his college. I don't even live in the Pittsburgh area.

The idea that he would be disastrous is hyperbolic to say the least. Hood wasn't a good fit for the system but he was not as good a player in college as Donald is. If you can't find a place in your defense for a guy who makes plays the way he does then there is something wrong with your defense.

Anonymous said...

SHUT UUUUUPPPPPP ABOUT AARON DONALD!!!!!!!! Its not going to happen. Maybe Dale can rename the blog comments "Aaron Donald Comments".

kyle said...

I responded to someone who mentioned him.

Can we get a list of the players we're allowed to discuss?

Anonymous said...

clearly, Donald does not have the typical size for a DE on the steelers defense. but that does not automatically exclude him from being selected by the steelers because we, as fans, think we know how he could/could not be used on their defense, let alone as if we omnisciently have knowledge as to what their defensive plans will be for next year anyways.

what we do know is that he had a highly successful college career as a disruptive player on defense. he was also recognized as the top defensive player in college football this past season. does that mean he will be a great nfl player, no. but I would find it hard to believe that lebeau would not be able to find a way to work a player like that into the steelers defense.

I am not saying they should pick him above all other players. but, if they do, then that tells me they think they found themselves a difference maker on defense and that's fine with me.

ultimately, it obviously just depends on how the draft shakes out. you never know who may fall down the ladder and right into your lap.

Anonymous said...

As far as first round picks, here is the list.

Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State.
Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M.
Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA.
Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M.
Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State.
C.J. Mosley, OLB, Alabama.
Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU.
Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State.
Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina.
Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State.
Marqise Lee, WR, USC.
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan.
Haha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama.
Calvin Pryor, S
Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech
Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame.
Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame.
Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota

Patrick said...

Anonymous at 9:33 forgot Donald

kyle said...

Haha, Anon. Thanks, man.

That list is the problem though and the original reason I brought up Mr. Never Gonna Happen. Just about all of those guys have something troubling (to me) about their game. I'd rather have someone whose game I trust but maybe isn't a square peg for a square hole.

I'm really not trying to beat the drum though. I haven't been trying to shoehorn him into discussion as I was only a recent convert anyway.

Really, anyone other than Lewan and Ebron will suit me fine. And if they do draft one of those guys, I'll hope for the best as usual.

Eric T said...

Really, anyone other than Lewan and Ebron will suit me fine.

I could get onboard with this and add Benjamin to this list.

At this point my preference in order (assuming top guys are gone) is Evans, Dennard, Gilbert or trade back and get one of Tuitt, Nix, Hageman

kyle said...

I don't like Benjamin at 1.15. The aforementioned drops and the fact that he comes out of his breaks like his feet are stuck in paint cans bothers me. But he has caught a lot of touchdowns so I think he could be of use if they can get him later.

The three guys you mentioned wouldn't bother me except Dennard doesn't look like he'll ever be anything more than "solid" which isn't thrilling for that high of a pick. Gilbert is an outstanding athlete and takes the ball away but he doesn't seem to like to tackle. Evans can have the same paint can problem at Benjamin, which isn't surprising considering most giant guys have trouble getting to full speed/changing direction (except for Calvin Johnson but I'm not sure he's human).

Like last year, I wish they could move back but that is always easier said than done.

Dale Lolley said...

I would rather have Fuller if we're talking about corners. I think he fits the Steelers' defensive scheme better.

Probably the best pure zone corner in this draft and has a feisty streak in him.

Patrick said...

I suppose this year is so deep that trade downs are much more attractive but I'd rather trade up to get dennard, Gilbert or Evans than move down. I don't think the trades are going to have good value unless a big name QB is failing.

kyle said...

The more I see/read about Fuller, the more I like him. Good cover man, doesn't grab like Dennard, and likes to hit.

Anonymous Brian said...

I no longer like Ebron for the Steelers. I also think a group of the "little" receivers ranked behind them will be better than both Evans and Benjamin.

I hope the Steelers pick Allen Robinson in the 2nd round.

I can't figure out who they'll take in the 1st. Going by position, I can find a reason they'd take just about anybody other than QB or RB. (Heck, if they find a muscled punter, they could maybe trade up for him :) )

Also if a pass rusher OLB - again I don't know enough about individual ones but just in general - falls to them that they didn't expect, wouldn't they be tempted to take him? In the second, at least? (The Worilds has 1/2 a proven season and Jones has nothing - as a pass rusher - theory.)

Anyway, schedule tomorrow, so:

Mock Schedule 1.0: