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Saturday, May 02, 2015

Day 2 post-draft thoughts

Some Steelers fans might not have liked the pick, but I like the team's selection of Senquez Golson in the second round of Friday's draft.

It showed something of a change in thinking for the Steelers with their corners.

Yes, at 5-9, 176 pounds, Golson isn't the ideal size for a cornerback in the NFL. But he takes the ball away, including recording 10 interceptions last season.

For too long the Steelers have focused on bigger corners who don't necessarily have ball skills. And picking where they were typically at in the bottom of the first round, they rarely had an opportunity to select a corner with good ball skills.

If a guy has both size and ball skills, he goes in the first part of the first round.

But the Steelers took Golson over some larger corners who didn't possess his ball skills.

Those trashing the pick should think about one thing. Did they want the Steelers to take a chance on Tyrann Mathieu a couple of years ago?

Mathieu, as you might remember, had numerous off-field issues at LSU, eventually getting himself kicked out of school.

But there were plenty of Steelers fans who wanted the team to take a chance on him - despite his 5-9, 186-pound size and bevy of issues - because the team needed playmakers in its secondary.

Golson is Mathieu without the rap sheet.

The typical Steelers pick would have been Eric Rowe, a big corner with speed who had three career interceptions in college. And Pittsburgh was interested in him.

But for a team that hasn't had more than 11 interceptions in a season since 2010 - the last time it won a playoff game - acquiring a playmaker in the secondary was a must.

@ I thought the pick of Sammy Coates was a good value pick in the third round.

Yes, he has some issues with drops. But the Steelers feel that can be corrected.

He's got 4.4 speed and averaged over 20 yards per catch in his college career. And at 6-1, 212 chiseled pounds, he's got a different body type than Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton or even Martavis Bryant, to whom Coates has been compared.

The Steelers see Coates as a guy who can do some of the dirty work blocking while also having the ability to take the top off a defense.

@ The Steelers were trying to move up in the second round but found the price too expensive. Then, when they decided to wait and see if tight end Maxx Williams would fall to them, Baltimore pulled the trigger and moved up, giving up their second and fifth round picks to do so.

We'll see if that bites the Steelers in the behind. Williams is the top tight end in this draft, but it's a weak tight end group. He catches the ball well, but isn't particularly fast and offers little as a blocker, though he could get better as he grows into his body.

But it's not getting any easier to find true tight ends with so many college teams running spread offenses.

One thing for certain, if you look at the team's record of selecting tight ends early in the draft, it's been good, with Eric Green, Mark Bruener and Heath Miller all contributing early in their careers.

All were first-round picks and all had plenty of success right away.

In fact, the Steelers went to the Super Bowl in both 1995 and 2005, when they took Bruener and Miller in the first round.

@ Who will the Steelers target on Day 3?

Ohio State's Doran Grant or USC's Josh Shaw are the top corners still available. That position has once again been picked over pretty hard, but it wouldn't surprise me to see the Steelers make a move to go up in the fourth round to get one of them.

Other targets could include Penn State's Jesse James or South Alabama's Wes Saxton at tight end, Georgia Tech center/guard Shaq Mason and Clemson defensive end Corey Crawford or Kristjan Sokoli of Buffalo.

The Steelers also could target a safety since Will Allen isn't getting any younger. James Sample of Louisville  and Ibraheim of Northwestern are the top strong safety types available. One guy to keep an eye on, though is UCLA's Anthony Jefferson.

At free safety, there are some interesting guys still out there. Cody Prewitt, who played with Golson at Ole Miss is a solid centerfielder type and Penn State's Adrian Amos also is still on the board.

Derron Smith of Fresno also is a guy who had 15 career interceptions in college.

There also are a couple of interesting small college outside linebackers available in Davis Tull of Chattanooga and Kyle Emmanuel of North Dakota State, though I don't know the Steelers will take another outside linebacker unless the value is just too great to pass on.

I'm hearing that CFL product Shawn Lemon is just a guy so a special teams ace could find a spot.


adamg said...

Golson will get a lot of chances to show off his ball skills because I'm sure teams with big WRs like AJ Green will be consistently targeting him. Antwan Blake is a similar player and we saw how teams were just able to throw over him.

Tom said...

I'm with ya Dale. Lots of salt from the fans for picking a shorter corner but you can't deny that Golson is one hell of an athlete and his hand-eye coordination must be off the charts if he's good enough to play pro baseball as well. Watching his highlight tapes I will be first to admit some of those INT's were terrible throws from the QB but I would argue that's a testament to the football IQ this kid has to know where the ball is at all times.

Personally I think Coates is a steal. Sure the Steelers got robbed of TE Williams because Arians bent over for the Ravens, but I think Coates is going to line up in some similar positions that Williams would have been utilized in this next year anyways (considering Maxx isn't a plus run blocker). I am getting goosebumps thinking of the potential that a 4-wide Steelers offense could do this year. Ben had a career year last year, but a 5,000 yard season is in the tea leaves if this offense clicks like it should.

adamg said...

Golson admitted he couldn't hit breaking pitches, so an MLB career was unlikely. The baseball world is full of good field/no-hit OFs.

His Steeler comparable is Antwan Blake, another short, but fast and athletic CB with good cover and ball skills. I don't recall many Steeler fans being very happy when he was thrust into a starting CB role. Just admit the pick was a reach in the 2nd round.

I myself will be happy if the Steelers are able to get Adrian Amos today. I think his stock was probably hurt because he played during the scholarship reduction sanctions, under a few different DCs and was moved between corner and safety.

Bill in DC said...

It is hard to call a pick of the what you think is the best player at a position of need a "reach" if multiple teams you are competing against value that same position.

Scarcity has an effect on value.

I do not think that Golson -- or a player of his quality -- would have been available when we picked in R3.

Agree with Tom on Coates -- Golson + Coates may end up being better than Williams + whatever we would have picked in R3.

adamg said...

Let me ask you this. If Golson had gone to say, NE (they also picked a CB), wouldn't you be salivating at the thought of him being matched up against Bryant?

kyle said...


Think of it this way. How many 6'1 corners handle the Calvin Johnsons of this world with no trouble?

Golson on Bryant may not be a good match up but I kinda like the idea of Golson on Edelman.

As someone pointed out elsewhere, plenty of Steeler fans wanted the team to sign Brandon Flowers...the 5'9 Brandon Flowers.

I like Eric Rowe but his highlight tape from college might as well be the training video for unnecessary roughness penalties in the NFL. He might turn out to be a better player than Golson but even if the Steelers had gotten him, I'd be concerned about him getting flagged non-stop.

Anonymous said...


Ike Taylor had a habit of hanging on his receiver for the past several years in order to cover them to the extent that even announcers were complaining about it during games - before he continued doing it ... and got flagged for it during games.

And most Steeler fans thought the guy was just awesome. (I didn't.) So if Rowe turned out to be like Ike and got flagged nonstop, most fans of the team probably would have been impressed.

kyle said...

I'm not talking about Ike (or Cortez, for that matter) getting flagged for grabbing guys. I'm talking about a big hitter in Rowe getting flagged every time he lowers a shoulder into a receiver.

As I said, I like Rowe but there are no perfect prospects. If the Steelers had drafted Kevin Johnson, people would complain about his tackling. If they had drafted Rowe, his three career interceptions would come up. Jalen Collins? Foot injury and weed. It never ends.

adamg said...

Kyle, I hope the kid works out and I agree he'll be a good match up for the smaller WRs. It might be a great training camp show to see him go 1 on 1 with Antonio Brown, too.

My point is that most Steeler fans aren't impressed with Antwan Blake, who I happen to like, and Golson is very much in the same mold.

Done By Forty said...

Shaw goes one pick before the Steelers, and again a target goes within the division.

Them's the breaks, I guess.

(update) ....and then Grant goes!

Anonymous said...

The Steeers didn't use 2nd round pick to get Blake. They got him as a FA and paid him the league minimum.

Dale Lolley said...

Blake doesn't have Golson's ball skills

Dale Lolley said...

Guys like A.J. Green are going to be targeted no matter who is covering them Adam. That's why he's A.J. Green

Anonymous said...

If "big if" we can get back to a nasty pass rush I like the idea of Golsons quickness and ball skill combination jumping those quick outs to neutralize our rush. Might b a match made in heaven. Won't know what the kids got until he gets out there. AB is too small too.

pennstump said...

I know we've already beat this drum twice, but any chance we'd take a flyer on Ifo Ekpre-Olomu since he has so much upside?

Noel said...

Jarvis Jones was rushing the passer well enough before getting hurt; couple that with the natural development of Tuitt and Shazier and everyone else and that will not only negate some of the effects of having smaller corners but forcing erratic, pressured throws will make those ball skills more likely to get the turnovers guys like Ike never could create. I like this draft a lot so far even though Dupree has a lot to prove before I'll feel too warm and fuzzy.

adamg said...

I'd love to see the Steelers take a flyer on BJ McBryde of UConn.
He's raw as a football player, but very big, quick and athletic. He's got some good blood lines, too, being a nephew of former 110 meter hurdles world champ, Candy Young.

adamg said...

Well, they did get a project in Deion Barnes. Kid has a great motor and gets after the qb, but has a lot of work ahead of him. He came out a year early, so he's young and will need to get a lot stronger.

Diffenbach as a UDFA might have a chance if his knee is 100%.

adamg said...

Oops, looked at a bad list, no Barnes.