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PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Pro Sports Daily     Official Site     USA Today     Pro Football Weekly     Steelers Stats     ESPN

2009 draft     2008 draft     2007 draft     2006 draft

2005 draft     2004 draft     2003 draft     2002 draft

 

2009 DRAFT PICKS
links go to NFL.com website

Rd Sel# Player Pos. School Jay's ranking Jay's draft value
1 32 Evander Hood DT Missouri #3 DT Round 2

Senior Bowl practice comment

Except for Urbik, who looked very good all week, Hood held his own and had some good moments.

ONE ON ONE BLOCKING DRILLS SCORED BY JAY GOLDBERG

7 - 8 Urbik 1-5   Levitre 1-0   Shuman 1-1   Canfield 3-1   Mack 1-1

Player who will have a better NFL career than many drafted higher than him.

Ziggy, Ziggy, Ziggy, where to start.  Yes you have a very good spin move, but sometimes, you try it a bit too much; good coaching will control that.  However, no coaching is needed to correct Hood's potential and ability.  Hood has an amazing mix of speed, quickness, strength and athletic ability for a 300 pound man.  And he also had solid production at Missouri.
3 79 Kraig Urbik OG Wisconsin #1 OG Round 2

Senior Bowl practice comment

Urbik looked very good.  He dominated Ziggy Hood a top DT prospect.

ONE ON ONE BLOCKING DRILLS SCORED BY JAY GOLDBERG

8 - 4 Hood 5-1   Brace 1-0   King 1-3   McGee 1-0

Player who will have a better NFL career than many drafted higher than him.

Urbik is my top rated guard.  He looked like the best offensive lineman on the field during one-on-one blocking drills during Senior Bowl practices, dominating Ziggy Hood, not an easy thing to do.  Urbik will never win the workout award, but gets it done on the field at a high level.  he will be a top caliber starter in the NFL for years.
3 84 Mike Wallace WR Mississippi #12 WR Round 3

Senior Bowl practice comment

Didn't jump out in drills, did catch some balls in 11 on 11's.

Senior Bowl Game

Wallace is on this list because of a good kick return and one play where he got open deep and made a great grab for a touchdown.

Player who will have a better NFL career than many drafted higher than him.

Wallace is a player I have rated more highly than most.  He has good size, great speed and is a terrific deep threat.  What was most impressive, however, was that he displayed reliable hands in Senior Bowl practices and showed superb athleticism and explosion in workouts.  Initially, Wallace will help on returns, but in year three he will be a dangerous offensive weapon.  He reminds me a bit of Joey Galloway.  
3 96 Keenan Lewis CB Oregon State #7 CB Round 2

Senior Bowl practice comment

Looked very very good in press coverage, not that good in off coverage.

Player who will have a better NFL career than many drafted higher than him.

Lewis has nice size and looked very good in drills during Senior Bowl practices in press coverage.  He did not look as effective playing off his man.  Lewis is an explosive athlete.   In addition, while some scouting reports questioned his ability to play physically, Lewis lifted the bar 20 times so he has good strength.  Lewis is higher on my board than on many others, but I'm very comfortable with where I have him graded.
5 168 Joe Burnett CB Central Florida NR Late Round Value
5 169 Frank Summers RB Notre Dame NR 7th/FA
6 205 Ra'Shon Harris DT Oregon NR Late Round Value
7 226 A.Q. Shipley OC Penn State #5 OC Round 4
7 241 David Johnson TE Arkansas State NR 7th/FA

East West Shrine Game

How's this for an unusual post?  Johnson makes this list because he looked very good blocking in the run game.  I hope he's at the Combine so I can see him catch.
FA ---- Ramon Foster OT Tennessee NR Late Round Value
FA ---- Tom Korte ILB Hillside NR 7th/FA
FA ---- Mike Reilly QB Central Washington #11 QB Round 5
FA ---- Andrew Shantz ILB Portland State NR 7th/FA

 

A+

2009 COLLEGE DRAFT REPORT CARD

by Jay Goldberg

The Steelers first four selections were all on my list of players who will have a better NFL career than many selected higher than them in the draft.  Their other picks, even the two that went higher than where I had them grded, made a lot of sense.  They have specific skills that the Steelers were looking for.  This is an excellent draft for Pittsburgh.

DRAFT PICKS

Hood was a great pick by Pittsburgh.  He is very strong and has the speed, quickness, athleticism and skill set to grow into one of the better 3-4 defensive ends in football.  As an end in a 3-4, Tyson Jackson will be the steady down-in, down-out pro, but Hood will be a more feared defender.  He also has good inside pass rushing skills and could kick inside in the nickel to provide the Steelers with an additional pass rusher on passing downs.

The selection of Urbik in round three will prove to be one of the steals of this draft.  Urbik was my top guard in the draft.  While not a workout warrior, he is an excellent football player.  Interestingly, one of the things that got me excited about him was that he dominated Ziggy Hood during the one-on-one drills; and Hood looked very good against everyone else I saw him paired with.  Urbik is the type of player you plug into the starting lineup and before you know it ten years have passed and you've never once had thoughts of replacing him.

Wallace is one of the fastest and most athletic receivers in the draft.  He showed good hands during Senior Bowl practices and will help returning kicks.  Wallace could force his way onto the field in multiple receiver sets this year, and is the future starter opposite Holmes when (if?) Ward slows down.  I look at Wallace as a potential Joey-Galloway-like receiver.

I kept scratching my head as cornerback after cornerback in round three came off the board (Barnes, Allen, Webb, Owens, and Powers) and Lewis remained.  Lewis, in my opinion, is the only one of these six with Pro Bowl potential.  Yes, I said Pro Bowl potential.  Lewis has good size and strength, runs in the 4.4's and is a top athlete.  The Steelers got yet another steal with Lewis.

Burnett was selected by the Steelers higher than where I had him graded.  However, that grade was as cornerback.  Burnett is a terrific punt returner.  He will allow Holmes to concentrate on offense.  Burnett is also a strong kid and will help on special team cover units as well.

Summers is another player drafted by Pittsburgh higher than where I had him graded.  However, I understand why.  The bigger backs that could backup fullback and be a short yardage runner were off the board.   Therefore, if the Steelers believed Summers was the last of a group that could fill that role, drafting him higher than where he was graded makes sense.  However, I would have gone with Javarris Williams as my short-yardage back.  He is a tough kid and has surprising speed.   However, he couldn't have served in that6 role and been a backup fullback because he is too light. 

Harris was a great roll-of-dice pick in round six.  He may have to spend a year on the development squad bulking up and working out in the weight room.  If successful, he has the skills to grow into a solid backup nose tackle.  If unsuccessful, I do not believe he has the quickness to play end in the 3-4.

Look at Shipley in shorts and you pass, quickly.  Look at him on film and you love what you see.  However, he is quicker and stronger than he looks.  Shipley does have short arms which will work against him transitioning his skills to the NFL; but he is a hard worker and tough kid which will work for him.  If I were a betting man (wait, I am a betting man), I would bet on him becoming a top sub who a team will be confident in if he needed to play.

Johnson is a specialty player.  In round seven Pittsburgh added one of the best blocking tight ends in the draft.  Johnson has a chance to have a long NFL career as a team's blocking tight end.

COLLEGE STREET FREE AGENTS

Foster has good size and looked good on film.  However, his workout did not support what was seen on film, which is why he went undrafted.  This is a kid Pittsburgh will look at in camp to decide if he is just a poor workout warrior or if he just looked better on film than he really is.  This one could go either way.

Korte needed to land with a team that played a 3-4 defense if he had any shot to stick.  Well, he is on a 3-4 defense.  He faces long odds but the Steelers' backup inside linebackers are not players with resumes showing success playing inside in NFL 3-4 defenses.

I like Reilly more than some of the quarterbacks that were drafted.  I expect him to be on the development squad this year and, if Dixon can win the backup job, make the team as the #3 QB next year.

Schantz is very similar to Korte.  Like Korte he faces difficult, but not impossible odds to make the team.

For chart below: red indicates workout number in top range at position in draft
ARM-HAND relative to position, for ranges see ranking pages for 2009 draft

LAST NAME
at Combine
FIRST NAME SCHOOL HGT WGT ARM-
HAND
BENCH 40 10 20 SHORT LONG 3 CONE VERT BROAD
Hood Ziggy Missouri 6'2.7" 300 L-M 36 4.88 1.62 2.81 4.45 - 7.32 34.5" 9'8"
Urbik Kraig Wisconsin 6'5.3" 328 M-L 29 5.25 1.82 3.00 4.75 - 7.87 25.5" 8'2"
Wallace Mike Mississippi 6'0.3" 199 S-M 14 4.28 1.43 2.46 4.27 - 6.90 40" 10'9"
Lewis Keenan Oregon State 6'0.7" 208 XL-XL 20 4.47 1.53 2.58 4.42 - 6.89 38.5" 10'10"
Burnett Joe Central Florida 5'9.3" 192 M-L 22 4.49 1.55 2.59 - 11.27 6.68 35.5" 9'10"
Summers Frank UNLV 5'9.1" 241 - 30 4.63 1.58 2.67 4.35 - 7.12 34.5" 9'4"
Harris Ra'Shon Oregon 6'3.6" 298 L-M 28 4.88 1.64 2.89 4.66 - 8.18 27" 8'10"
Shipley A.Q. Penn State 6'1.1" 304 S-S 33 5.19 1.72 2.93 4.40 - 7.46 31" 8'4"
Johnson David Arkansas State 6'1.4" 271 X-XL 21 4.71 1.60 2.72 4.40 - 7.28 32.5" 9'5"
Foster Ramon Tennessee 6'5.1" 328 L-L 20 5.57 1.90 3.25 4.98 - 7.96 26" 7'8"
Korte Tom Hillside 5'11.1" 236 - 21 4.78 1.63 2.74 4.34 - 7.16 31.5" 9'2"
Reilly Mike Central Wash 6'3" 214 XL-XL - 4.74 1.62 2.71 4.11 - 6.76 32.5" 9'1"
Schantz Andy Portland State 6'0.7" 234 - 19 4.71 1.58 2.70 4.34 - 7.48 34" 9'8"

2009 NEEDS PRIOR TO DRAFT AND FREE AGENCY
Major need
     Need     Upgrade possible     Depth/possible need     Not a need

QB If I was a GM and could choose any quarterback in the NFL for now and the future, Big Ben is the player I would select.  Bothe Batch and Leftwich are UFAs and with Dixon not ready to be the primary backup, the Steelers will have to resign one of their own free agents or find another one.
RB Parker, Mendenhall, and Moore are a terrific threesome at running back.  McHugh and Davis are solid at fullback.
WR Ward, Holmes and Washington are a very solid one, two, three.  Sweed had a rough rookie campaign but that was not a surprise since rookie receivers often have trouble adjusting to the NFL and Sweed was coming off an injury.  He will improve.
TE Miller is a good blocker and very good receiver.  Spaeth is a solid number two tight end who had a nice game when he had to fill in for Miller.
OL Starks and Smith are UFAs.  If both leave a left tackle will be needed.  Right tackle Colon would be better at guard.  The Steelers will look at tackles in free agency and in the draft.
DL End Smith and Nose tackle Hampton are top-drawer.  Keisel and Kirschke are dependable but not exceptional at end.  The Steelers could add an end who could push to start and a backup nose in the offseason.
LB This is one of the best linebacking units in the NFL.  Outside Harrison and Woodley are terrors.  Inside Farrior is still a force, but is an UFA and Foote played well.  Timmons is on hand should Farrior not resign with the team.
DB Deep and talented describes the Steelers' secondary.  Even with McFadden an UFA, the team still has Taylor, Gay, Townsend and Madison at corner.  Polamalu and Clark are a top safety tandem and Carter is a solid backup.
ST Reed and Sepulveda are fine kickers.  Holmes has some big moments in the punt return game but it may be time for him to concentrate solely on wide receiver.  Russell is solid as a kick returned but not a game breaker.  An upgrade in the return game could be addressed in the offseason.

 

2008 DRAFT PICKS
links go to NFL.com website

Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School Jay's ranking Jay's draft value
1 23 Rashard Mendenhall RB 5'10.1" 225 Illinois #2 RB Round 1
2 53 Limas Sweed WR 6'3.7" 215 Texas #2 WR Round 1
3 88 Bruce Davis DE/OLB 6'2.5" 252 UCLA #15 DE Round 3/Round 4
4 130 Tony Hills OT 6'5.1" 309 Texas #11 OT Round 3
5 156 Dennis Dixon QB 6'2.3" 195 Oregon   Late Round Value
6 188 Mike Humpal OLB/ILB 6'2.4" 244 Iowa #13 OLB Round 4/Round 5
6 194 Ryan Mundy FS/CB 6'1" 215 W Virginia   Late Round Value
FA   Travis Williams CB/Ret 5'9.3" 186 E Carolina   Late Round Value
FA   Jordan Reffett DT/DE 6'5.2" 292 Washington   Late Round Value/Free Agent
FA   Michah Rucker WR 6'5.5" 217 E Illinois   Late Round Value

 

B+

2008 COLLEGE DRAFT REPORT CARD

by Jay Goldberg

The Steelers came into the draft needing help along their offensive line early, but the board didn't line up for them and instead they got two of the biggest steals in the draft in rounds one and two.  They did draft former tight end Hills in round four and he has potential but isn't NFL-ready right now.  There were some options along the line the Steelers could have added in rounds five and six, but the players they drafted are fine.  I did think they would have gone after players like Tyler Polumbus and Robert Felton in free agency.  While no sure things, players of this ilk would have been worth a look in camp.

DRAFT PICKS

When looking back at this draft, Mendenhall could be the best every down back to come out of this draft (McFadden will be the best playmaker).  The timing for drafting a player like Mendenhall who is big, fast, quick, runs well inside and outside, and is a good receiver was perfect.  Fast Willie Parker is coming off injury and is coming off back to back seasons of over 300 carries.  He is not a big back and being in the top five in carries for two straight years could start to take its toll on him.  Mendenhall could become option one in a two-back system sooner than many people think.

Sweed was a steal in round two.  Just like with Mendenhall, when looking back at this draft, Sweed could be the best receiver to come out of this draft.  Sweed has excellent hands, very good speed for a big receiver, and is a top athlete.  At almost 6'4" with a 37.5" vertical, Big Ben and him can play catch above defensive back heads.  

Davis was very productive at UCLA at defensive end, especially as a pass rusher, but may lack the quickness and change-of-direction skills to play outside linebacker in the Steeler's 3-4 defense and is much too small to play end in a 3-4.  Of course if the Steelers ever go back to a 4-3, the system Tomlin favored prior to becoming Pittsburgh's head coach, he could be a good pass rushing defensive end.

Hills is an athletic offensive tackle who is a converted tight end.  He still is a bit of a work in progress, but has the tools to develop into a quality starter.

Dixon is an excellent athlete who got injured late in his senior year and will likely sit out this year.  Down the line he could give Pittsburgh an interesting developmental quarterback, who could play multiple roles while learning to play under center.  In the spread offense as a senior he completed two-thirds of his passes.

Humpal was thought to be a player who had limited athletic ability and got by on smarts and hard work.  However, his workout shows that he is a pretty good athlete who is quick and has decent speed.  He will be a very good special teams and solid backup.

Like most of the Steelers' picks, Mundy was a productive player in college.  He is a heady player with good strength.  He is also a terrific athlete who changes direction well and will be a top special teams player.  He has potential a safety as well.

COLLEGE STREET FREE AGENTS

Williams is an undersized corner who plays faster and quicker on the field than he times.  Early in his college career he was a top punt returner and may need to show that skill to stick.  If not, he is a good candidate for the Steelers' practice squad.

Reffett is a good kid who picked a good situation for him.  He plays the run better than the pass but is undersized (bulk) for a run-stuffing defensive tackle.  However, he has the perfect frame for defensive end in the 3-4.  He faces long odds, but is a hard worker.

Rucker has good size, is an excellent athlete, and was productive at Eastern Illinois.  I predict he will stick on the Steelers' practice squad.  He is a couple of years away but could develop into a #4 receiver and special teams player.

red indicates workout number in top range at position in draft
(blue college name indicates workout #'s include Pro Day numbers)

COMBINE
YES
FIRST NAME SCHOOL HEIGHT WEIGHT BENCH 40 10 20 SHORT LONG 3 CONE VERT BROAD
Mendenhall Rashard ILLINOIS 5'10.1" 225 26 4.45 1.57 2.59 4.18 NA NA 33.5" 9'9"
Sweed Limas TEXAS 6'3.7" 215 NA 4.48 1.54 2.62 4.33 NA NA 37.5" 10'8"
Davis Bruce UCLA 6'2.5" 252 19 4.72 1.59 2.74 4.47 NA 7.34 32" 9'11"
Hills Tony TEXAS 6'5.1" 309 24 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA
Dixon Dennis OREGON 6'2.3" 195 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA
Humpal Mike IOWA 6'2.4" 244 20 4.68 1.63 2.75 4.19 NA 7.00 38" 10'2"
Mundy Ryan W VIRGINIA 6'1" 215 21 4.55 1.59 2.62 4.33 NA 6.81 36" 10'10"
Williams Travis E CAROLINA 5'9.3" 186 16 4.44 1.51 2.56 4.21 NA 6.98 33.5" 10'0"
Reffett Jordan WASHINGTON 6'5.2" 292 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA
Rucker Michah E ILLINOIS 6'5.5" 217 NA 4.47 1.50 2.58 4.47 NA 6.90 39" 11'3"

2008 NEEDS PRIOR TO DRAFT AND FREE AGENCY

PIT          Major Need          Need          Upgrade         Depth Need         Not a Need

QB  With Roethlisberger and Batch, the Steelers are in excellent shape at quarterback.  However, this may be the year that Pittsburgh invests in a quarterback late in the draft to develop as a future backup for Big Ben.
RB  Parker is coming off of an injury, and Davenport had good moments and not-so-good moments as his backup.  Davis could expand his role in 2008.  Look for the Steelers to add a big back who can be used in short yardage and goal line situations and challenge Davenport for the primary backup role.
WR  Holmes came on strong and is on his way to becoming an elite receiver.  Ward is still very effective.  Wilson and Washington are good, speedy backups, but a quick slot receiver could be added.  It was hoped Reid would play that role, but it hasn't happened yet.
TE Miller is one of the best tight ends in the league.  Spaeth can catch and is a willing blocker.  Tuman is a free agent.  Dekker is on hand to replace him.  If Tuman leaves, a tight end will be brought in to challenge Dekker.
OL  This unit underachieved in 2007 and Faneca and top backup Starks are free agents.  The Steelers could draft a center or guard to replace Mahan (Simmons could move to center), a guard to replace Faneca, and a tackle to challenge Colon (right side).
DL If Smith comes back healthy, this unit is fine.  Keisel is a bit undersized but McBean may challenge him in camp.  Hampton is still a solid run-stuffer.  The Steelers could use depth at both end and nose.
LB Still a strength for Pittsburgh.  Harrison was great in his first year as a starter.  Haggans is a free agent who will be shown the door so Woodley can start.  Farrior is still very effective.  Foote will have to hold off Timmons to keep his starting job in 2008.  The Steelers may look for some backups, but that's it.
DB Townsend, Taylor, McFadden and Gay are a nice foursome heading into next year.  However, if a stud corner can be secured the group could be upgraded.  Polamalu, Smith and Carter are good safeties and Clark is expected back.
ST Outside of Reed, this area needs to improve in 2008.  Sepulveda, a fourth round pick last year, showed enough to be the punter again.  Bodies need to be added who can play on coverage teams, and a return man will be added.  Rossum and Reid are replaceable.

 

2007 DRAFT PICKS
links go to NFL.com website

Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School Jay's Ranking Jay's Draft Value
1 15 Timmons, Lawrence OLB 6-3 232 Florida State # 3 OLB Round 2
2 46 Woodley, LaMarr DE 6-2 269 Michigan #13 DE Round 3
3 77 Spaeth, Matt TE 6-7 267 Minnesota # 7 TE Round 4
4 112 Sepulveda, Daniel P 6-3 229 Baylor # 1 P Late Round Value
4 132 McBean, Ryan DE 6-5 290 Oklahoma State # 8 DT Round 3
5 156 Stephenson, Cameron G 6-3 306 Rutgers Late Round Value
5 170 Gay, William CB 5-10 187 Louisville Late Round Value
7 227 Baker, Dallas WR 6-3 207 Florida # 21 WR Round 4
FA Capizzi, Jason OT 6-9 324 Indiana (PA) Late Round Value
FA Fowler, Eric WR 6-3 215 Grand Valley St Off My Board
FA Jones, Derick DE 6-4 282 Grand Valley St Off My Board

 

C

2007 COLLEGE DRAFT REPORT CARD

by Jay Goldberg

The Steelers had most of their top draft picks rated slightly higher than me.  They did get good value with McBean and Baker on day two.  In addition, no college street free agents jumped out at me.

I had a second round grade on Timmons, not a first round grade.  However, if drafted as a SAM in a 4-3, I could see him being grabbed in round one.  As an outside linebacker in a 3-4 he shows potential, but it is no sure thing that he will develop into a big time pass rusher.  Therefore, if the Steelers switch to a 4-3 in the next year or two (Tomlin's preferred defense), then this pick (and draft grade) will have to be re-visited.  Woodley is another OLB projection.  He was a productive sacker in college at defensive end, goes all out on the field, and is a hard worker.  I had a third round grade on him because he is a bit short for a 4-3 defensive end and needs work if moving to OLB in a 4-3.  He also has the look of "New England Patriot" defensive-end turned inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense ala Bruschi and Vrabel.  Spaeth is a big target with reliable hands and is an excellent blocker.  He is clearly the number two tight end on this team behind Heath Miller.  He should contribute immediately as a blocking tight end and goal line target but his upside for Pittsburgh is limited by the of Miller.  With the lack of depth behind Parker, my choice here would have been running back Antonio Pittman.  Spaeth may have been available in round four (and Patrick would have been available at tight end in round five).   Sepulveda was my top rated punter in the draft.  I like the selection of McBean.  He looked good playing end in Senior Bowl practices and should make the move there very well for the Steelers.  McBean reacts well to the ball and is quick and could develop into a pass rush threat form his 3-4 end position as well.  Stephenson played offensive and defensive tackle before settling in at guard.  He is a very tough, strong kid who needs some work but should develop into a good run blocker.   Gay should be a solid special teas player with the ability to be a dime back.  He is more quick than fast which will allow him to line up in the slot.  Baker was a great get in round seven.  He is a tough kid with good hands and quickness.  He will develop into a solid number three receiver.  All he lacks is home run speed, but he will get open, catch the ball, and move the chains.

The Steelers didn't sign any college street free agents that made me go wow.  Capizzi is a prime candidate for Pittsburgh's development squad.  He is a big kid who needs work but could develop into a backup tackle.  Fowler, a tall wide receiver, is worth a look in camp.  He had a monster senior year and is another candidate for the Steelers' development squad.  Jones is mentioned because the Steelers' obviously saw something in him while watching tape on Fowler.  He has the size to play end in a 3-4 defense.

red indicates workout number in top range at position in draft

COMBINE
YES

 

COLLEGE

POS HGHT WGHT BENCH 40 10 20 SHORT
SHUTTLE
LONG
SHUTTLE
3
 CONE
VERTICAL
JUMP
BROAD
JUMP
TIMMONS LAWRENCE FLORIDA ST OB 6'0.7" 234 25 4.59 1.50 2.68 4.32 11.78 6.89 35" 10'3"
Timmons is strong, athletic and fast.  He has the tools to play the SAM or the WILL in a 4-3.  Only a one year starter, Timmons flashed pass rush ability but did not dominate in that area.

COMBINE
YES

 

COLLEGE

POS HGHT WGHT BENCH 40 10 20 SHORT
SHUTTLE
LONG
SHUTTLE
3
 CONE
VERTICAL
JUMP
BROAD
JUMP
WOODLEY LAMARR MICHIGAN DE/LB 6'1.4" 266 29 4.74 1.65 2.72 4.42     38.5" 9'9"
Woodley plays hard and gets results.  He is a better athlete than many thought.  He is short for a defensive end so his best shot could be as an OLB in a 3-4 defense, but he will need work to grow into that position.

COMBINE
YES

 

COLLEGE

POS HGHT WGHT BENCH 40 10 20 SHORT
SHUTTLE
LONG
SHUTTLE
3
 CONE
VERTICAL
JUMP
BROAD
JUMP
SPAETH MATT MINNESOTA TE 6'7" 265    4.81           33.5"  
Spaeth is a big target with reliable hands.  He lacks the speed to get deep down the seam but could be an excellent short yardage and goal line target.  He is also one of the best blocking tight ends in the draft.

COMBINE
YES

 

COLLEGE

POS HGHT WGHT BENCH 40 10 20 SHORT
SHUTTLE
LONG
SHUTTLE
3
 CONE
VERTICAL
JUMP
BROAD
JUMP
MCBEAN RYAN OKLAHOMA ST DT/DE 6'4.3" 286 27 4.96 1.64 2.87 4.46   7.79 28.5" 9'0"
McBean is a bit light for a defensive tackle so he will have to go to a team that pairs a quick tackle with a run-stuffer (like Atlanta) or will have to go to a 3-4 team as a defensive end.  McBean looked very good at the Senior Bowl.  He has good read and react skills and is very quick for his size.  He has the potential to develop into a quality starter.

COMBINE
YES

 

COLLEGE

POS HGHT WGHT BENCH 40 10 20 SHORT
SHUTTLE
LONG
SHUTTLE
3
 CONE
VERTICAL
JUMP
BROAD
JUMP
STEPHENSON CAMERON RUTGERS OG 6'3.2" 306 34 5.40 1.81 3.09 4.81   7.72 28.5" 8'5"
Stephenson is a strong, physical player who played offensive tackle and defensive tackle before settling in at guard.  He needs work, but he could pay dividends for a power rushing team.

COMBINE
NO

 

COLLEGE

POS HGHT WGHT BENCH 40 10 20 SHORT
SHUTTLE
LONG
SHUTTLE
3 CONE VERTICAL
JUMP
BROAD
JUMP
GAY WILLIAM LOUISVILLE CB 5'10.1" 187 16 4.48 1.51 2.55 4.15   6.89 38.5" 9'10"
Gay is strong for his size and more quick than fast.  He should be a solid special teams player who could also serve as a dime back.

COMBINE
YES

 

COLLEGE

POS HGHT WGHT BENCH 40 10 20 SHORT
SHUTTLE
LONG
SHUTTLE
3
 CONE
VERTICAL
JUMP
BROAD
JUMP
BAKER DALLAS FLORIDA WR 6'3.1" 208   4.53 1.53 2.62 4.19 11.58 6.69 36" 10'9"
Baker is an underrated receiver.  He has good strength and quickness and reliable hands.  While he lacks elite speed he knows how to get open and should develop into a reliable #3 receiver.  He is a very underrated prospect.

COMBINE
NO

 

COLLEGE

POS HGHT WGHT BENCH 40 10 20 SHORT
SHUTTLE
LONG
SHUTTLE
3 CONE VERTICAL
JUMP
BROAD
JUMP
CAPIZZI JASON INDIANA (PA) OT 6'8.6" 324 26 5.22 1.86 2.96 4.80   7.77 22" 9'5"
Capizzi is big and strong and that alone should get him onto a team's development squad.  He needs work but has a chance.

COMBINE
NO

 

COLLEGE

POS HGHT WGHT BENCH 40 10 20 SHORT
SHUTTLE
LONG
SHUTTLE
3 CONE VERTICAL
JUMP
BROAD
JUMP
FOWLER ERIC GRAND VAL ST WR 6'2.7" 215                  
Fowler was a big-play receiver and first team Little All American.  He led the nation in yards per reception, receiving yards and receiving TDs.  Fowler is production over measureables but should get a look in some team's camp.

COMBINE
NO

 

COLLEGE

POS HGHT WGHT BENCH 40 10 20 SHORT
SHUTTLE
LONG
SHUTTLE
3 CONE VERTICAL
JUMP
BROAD
JUMP
JONES ERIC GRAND VAL ST DE 6'3.7" 282 24 4.74 1.61 2.70 4.55   7.34 31" 9'11"
Jones has the size and athleticism to develop into a backup 3-4 defensive end.  He is a development squad candidate.

 

2007 TEAM NEEDS PRIOR TO THE DRAFT and FREE AGENCY
major need     need     depth/possible need     not a significant need

QB Big Ben is a big talent and didn't have as bad a year as the stat-geeks indicate.  Batch is solid.  A #3 is needed.
RB Parker is the real deal.  A better backup is needed.
WR Ward is a top talent.  Holmes looked good.  Washington was inconsistent.  Depth is needed.
TE Maybe the new coaching staff will actually use Miller.  Tuman is a sold backup.
OL Starks is replaceable at RT.
DL The line was built for the 3-4, but Tomlin will be changing to a 4-3 sooner rather than later.
LB Farrior and Foote could be fine is a 4-3, but can Hagan or Porter hold down the SAM long term?
DB Carter is an UFA and is a valuable sub.  The Steelers are talented and deep at corner and safety.
ST As Holmes gets more valuable on offense, an alternative on returns could be brought in.

2006 DRAFT PICKS
Links go to write-ups at NFL.com

Pittsburgh
Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School Jay's ranking Jay's draft value
1 25 Holmes, Santonio WR 5-11 187 Ohio State # 2 WR Round 1
3 83 Smith, Anthony FS 6-0 193 Syracuse # 4 FS Round 3
3 95 Reid, Willie WR 5-11 187 Florida State Late Round Value > Round 4
4 131 Colon, Willie G 6-3 321 Hofstra   > Round 4
4 133 Harris, Orien DT 6-3 302 Miami (Fla.) # 10 DT, # 10 DE Round 3
5 164 Jacobs, Omar QB 6-4 233 Bowling Green # 5 QB Round 2
5 167 Davis, Charles TE 6-5 254 Purdue   > Round 4
6 201 Philip, Marvin C 6-1 306 California Late Round Value > Round 4
7 240 Humes, Cedric RB 6-1 228 Virginia Tech Late Round Value > Round 4
  FA Love, Grayling C/OG 6-3 306 Arizona State Late Round Value > Round 4
  FA Kudla, John DE 6-2 265 Ohio State Late Round Value > Round 4
  FA Madison, Anthony CB 5-8 180 Alabama Late Round Value > Round 4
  FA Baker, Zach FS 6-2 212 East Carolina # 8 FS Round 4

 

B

2006 COLLEGE DRAFT REPORT CARD

by Jay Goldberg

The Steelers reached in round three for Reid, and in round four for Colon; however, they stole Jacobs in round five.

I liked Jackson more than Holmes, but the Steelers needed a wide receiver and Holmes was my second rated receiver in the draft.  Holmes has game-breaking speed, reliable hands, and good cutting ability.  He could also help in the return game, more on kickoffs than punts, because he is more fast than quick.  Holmes will be an integral part of the Steelers' offense his rookie year.  Smith will challenge Clark for the the Steelers' starting free safety job.  Both are heady players who like to hit, but Smith is a more of a playmaker than Clark and should be the starter by years' end.  Smith has a nice combination of read and react skills, smarts, and hitting ability.  Smith will also be a plus on special teams and should see time in the nickel and dime until he wins the starting job.  The Steelers replaced El with two players, Holmes and Reid.  Holmes will be the receiver, Reid the return man.  Reid has good speed, but only average quickness.  He will be a good return man, but is an end of the bench type as a receiver.  I thought round three was too high for him, but the top return men were coming off the board quickly so he may not have been available at pick 131.  Speaking of pick 131, the Steelers and I are not on the same page when it comes to Colon.  Colon is a small school player, making a position change (tackle to guard), who is a developmental prospect.  He may develop, but he may not.  I would have gone with Kuper at guard in this spot; or better yet, I would have jumped on Jean-Gilles in round three and taken Bloom at this spot. Sounds very Pennsylvanian, but more eastern PA than western.  What it came down to is two PA teams selecting a guard and a wide receiver/return man at similar spots in the draft.  Pit controlled the board and came away with a project (Colon) and a return man with limited utility as a receiver (Reid).  Philly ending up with Jean Gilles (a potential Pro Bowl guard) and Bloom (who could help as a third wideout as well as a return man).  Time will tell, but I like what Philly did better.  Harris is a perfect fit as an end in the Steelers' 3-4 defense.  He was an athletic tackle at Miami who should make a seamless transition to end and be part of the Steelers' rotation at end sometime this year.  He is very good against the run.  Omar Jacobs was a steal, but with Big Ben in front of him no one may ever know it.  Jacobs has an unorthodox delivery but can make all the throws, has a strong arm, is mobile in the pocket, is very accurate, and plays mistake-free.  He will be a quality backup for Roethlisberger.  Davis has size and strength and could develop into an useful blocking tight end and big red zone target.  However, Davis is far from a sure thing.  Philip is a center with good strength, quick feet, and natural ability.  However, his athleticism holds him back from being a top prospect.  Philip could find a home as a backup center who can come in and hold the fort if called upon.  Humes could be the Steelers' new short  and goal line runner.  He is a strong, move the pile type of back.

The Steelers signed four college street free agents of note.  Grayling Love doesn't have the upside of Colon, but is a heady player who uses good technique and strength to get the job done.  In three years Colon will either be starting or gone, but in either case LOve should be around as a valuable sub.  The Steelers will look at college defensive end Kudla at outside linebacker.  Kudla has tremendous strength, plays with a passion, and has good short area speed.  He could find a role as a blitzing linebacker.  Madison is an undersized corner with good speed and athleticism.  He could stick as a backup and special teams performer.  Zach Baker was an excellent free agent signing by the Steelers.  Tabbed a heady, instinctive player who may not have the athletic ability to play at the next level, Baker showed better than expected results at his workout.  While he didn't blow anyone away, his numbers were more than acceptable for a NFL safety.  Look for Baker to make a serious run at a roster spot, and end up on the Steelers' practice squad if he falls short and isn't picked up by another team.

red indicates workout number in top range at position in draft

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Holmes Ohio State 5'10.4", 189 4.34     4.26   6.83   38" 10'6"  
WR
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Is NFL-ready.  Holmes has speed, is a polished route-runner, and can make the tough catch.  He is also a very good athlete and can cut on a dime.  In his Junior year Holmes caught 53 passes for almost 1,000 yards and 11 TDs.  He is a big play waiting to happen.
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Smith, A Syracuse 6'0.1", 190 4.57 1.63 2.72 4.29   6.63 18 41" 10'5"  
FS
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Smith had some nice moments during Senior Bowl practices.
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Smith is a playmaking safety who likes to hit.  Nothing wrong with that.  He is strong, a very good athlete, and is a good read and react safety.  His speed isn't great, but his instincts make up for that.  Smith had 14 interceptions his last three years at Syracuse.
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Reid Florida State 5'10.4", 189 4.34 1.53 2.57 4.26   7.06   37.5" 9'9"  
WR/RET
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Reid is a former running back who has excellent speed, but only average quickness and athleticism.  He caught 50 balls his senior year averaging less than 13 yards a catch and scoring only one time, not taking advantage of his speed.  Reid is strictly a return man and end of the bench receiver.
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Colon Hofstra 6'3", 321                    
OG/OT
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Colon played tackle at Hofstra but projects to guard in the NFL.  He is purely a developmental prospect who some team may take a flyer on late on day two.
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Harris Miami 6'2.7", 298 5.27     4.51   7.45 25 29.5" 8'6"  
DT/DE
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Harris can play tackle in a 4-3 or be an end in a 3-4.  He has good athleticism and is an excellent run-stuffer.
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Jacobs Bowling Green 6'3.4", 231 4.83 1.74 2.86 4.31   7.87   32.5" 9'0"  

PLAYER WHO WILL PERFORM BETTER IN NFL THAN MANY DRAFTED BEFORE HIM

How does 71 touchdown passes against 11 interceptions sit with you?  That was what Jacobs did at Bowling Green.  He also completed well over 60% of his passes in college, and had a YPP of 8.55.  On top of that, Jacobs made all the throws required of an NFL quarterback at the Combine, and has great size.  Jacobs does have an unorthodox delivery, but he is very talented and will be a solid starting quarterback in the NFL, out-performing some QBs that will be drafted higher than him.
QB
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - A player flying under the radar because he was better in his sophomore year than he was last year (as a junior).  In his sophomore year, he threw for 40 TDs and had only 4 ints.  Jacobs is a very good athlete as well as a very good quarterback.
Greg A. Bedard, Palm Beach Post, Jacobs is still being questioned because of his unorthodox sidearm delivery. It was one reason why Jacobs did not receive any scholarships from a major Division I school. St. Louis Ram's head coach Scott Linehan thinks the doubts of his delivery are overrated. Linehan said, "That throwing motion thing is way overrated. I think your anticipation and your ability to get the ball in the receiver's hands is the key more so than the motion. He's a proven player and I think he's a guy who can go help whoever takes him and be very effective. He's proven it."
Mike Mayock, NFL Network - Jacobs has a poor delivery, but he threw the ball very accurately at Combine workouts.
Butch Davis, Network NFL - Jacobs is a player flying under the radar but is impressive.
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Davis, C Purdue 6'5.2", 260 4.84 1.75 2.90 4.37   7.38 27 33" 9'7"  
 TE
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Davis is strong but needs to play tougher.  He has a chance to stick as a blocking tight end and short area target.
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Philip Cal-Berkley 6'1.1", 309 5.24 1.78 3.04 4.70   7.87 27 27" 8'0"  
C
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Philip has long arms so his height is not an issue.  Philip looks natural as a center.  He is strong and has good mobility, but is not a top athlete and may be nothing more than a NFL backup.
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Humes Virginia Tech 6'0.3", 224 4.59 1.64 2.75 4.23   6.78 18 32" 9'3"  
RB
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - At the Senior Bowl, Humes looked like a big powerful, slashing runner.
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Humes could be a good short yardage and goal line runner in the NFL.  He is a strong, move the pile type of back.  In his senior year Humes ran for over 750 yards and scored 11 touchdowns.
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Love Arizona State 6'3", 306 5.51           28 28.5"    
C/OG - NOT AT COMBINE
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Love is a heady, over-achiever with good strength.  Love gets by on technique over athleticism and could be a good backup in the NFL>
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Kudla Ohio State 6'2", 265 4.75 1.63 2.74 4.45   7.22 45 34" 9'6"  
DE/OLB
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Kudla (along with Bunkley) was the strongest player in the draft.  He also has good short area speed.  If he adds a little weight he could be a rock against the run.  He already is an aggressive pass rusher.
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Madison Alabama 5'8.3", 180 4.40     4.41 11.64 6.93 14 38.5" 10'3"  
CB - NOT AT COMBINE
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET -  Madison is an undersized corner with good speed and athleticism.  He could stick as a backup corner and special teams player.
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Baker East Carolina 6'1.5", 212 4.53     4.15   6.90 16 39" 10'5"  

PLAYER WHO WILL PERFORM BETTER IN NFL THAN MANY DRAFTED BEFORE HIM

Baker is a bit of an unknown, but falls into a category I love.  He was labeled a smart, heady player who may not have the athletic ability to make it in the NFL.  Then he worked out.  And while Baker is not among the top athletes at the position, his numbers clearly show he has the athleticism to play in the NFL.  Included in those numbers is 4.53 in the forty, 4.15 short shuttle, 6.90 three cone, 16 bench presses, a 39" vertical, and a 10'5" long jump.  Baker has now proved he is a smart heady player who has the athletic ability to use those smarts in the NFL.
FS - NOT AT COMBINE
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET -Baker was labeled a smart heady player who may not have the athletic ability to make it in the NFL.  His workout proved otherwise.

 2006 TEAM NEEDS
prior to free agency

PIT
QB Roethlisberger is a Hall of Fame type of quarterback. There I said it.  He is a special player.  Batch is an UFA who the Steelers would like back, Maddox is not a free agent and will probably be let go.  The Steelers need to get their backups in order during the offseason.
RB Parker played very well and will only get better.  Haynes is an UFA and should be a priority to resign.  He could play a dual role next year as third down and change-of-pace back.  Staley will have to take a pay cut to stay and challenge for the backup role.  Bettis is retiring.  Running back is another position where the backup situation has to be worked out in the offseason.
WR Randle El and Morgan are UFAs.  Ward is Pro Bowl, Wilson a good number three or four.  Washington could surprise, but surprise means moving up to number three or four.  Look for the Steelers to sign a veteran to start opposite Ward if they can not resign El.
TE Miller is a star in the making.  Tuman is another UFA who the Steelers want back.  He is a monster blocker.  If Tuman doesn't resign, the Steelers will bring in another blocking tight end.  They also need a third tight end.
OL A good starting line, a young buck on the bench (Kemoeatu), and a vet on the bench (Essex) means the Steelers just need to bring in players to challenge for end-of-bench roles.
DL A major strength could be hurt if von Oelhoffen leaves as an UFA.  With the number of teams playing the 3/4, he could be a hotter item in free agency than many think.  Hampton and Smith are great 3-4 players.  The Steelers need to solve their starting RDE position this offseason.  Keisel is another UFA the Steelers want back.  He is not an answer to replace von Oelhoffen, but is a good role player.
LB Move on to the next position.  Porter, Haggans, Farrior, Foote, Harrison, and Wallace all return.  Enough said.
DB Hope and Townsend are UFAs.  McFadden is ready to step in for Townsend, but there isn't a replacement for Hope on the roster.  Carter is a good nickel safety, but isn't a starter.  Polamalu returns and that's very, very good.  Taylor is a RFA who should improve.  A nickel corner to compete with Colcough and a free safety are offseason needs.
ST Kicking is in good hands, punting is okay hands.  Morgan and El, the primary return men, are UFAs so the return game has to be addressed.

 

2005 COLLEGE DRAFT

Pittsburgh  - links below go to NFL.com reports Jaybird Jaybird
Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School Ranking Value Board
1 30 Miller, Heath TE 6-5 265 Virginia # 1 TE Round 1
2 62 McFadden, Bryant CB 5-11 190 Florida State # 12 CB Round 3
3 93 Essex, Trai OT 6-4 324 Northwestern   > Round 4
4 131 Gibson, Fred WR 6-4 202 Georgia # 13 WR Round 3
5 166 Wallace, Rian ILB 6-4 243 Temple # 13 ILB, # 12 OLB Round 4
6 204 Kemoeatu, Chris G 6-3 344 Utah # 9 OG Round 4
7 228 Nua, Shaun DE 6-4 266 Brigham Young   > Round 4
7 244 Herron, Noah RB 5-11 224 Northwestern # 18 RB Round 4
FA   Stanley, Ronald OLB 6-0 244 Michigan State #17 OLB, #13 ILB Round 4
FA   Frazier, Andre OLB 6-5 229 Cincinnati # 16 OLB Round 4
FA   Harris, Elliot DE 6-3 279 Arkansas Late Round Value > Round 4
FA   Tuiasosopo, Zach FB 6-2 249 Washington Late Round Value > Round 4

 

Outside of Essex in round three, the Steelers got excellent value throughout their draft.

The Steelers had a solid draft.  Miller will add a weapon to the Steeler offense.  Look for him to be looked for in spots where Big Ben looked for Burress last year.  While the tight end has not been a big factor in Pittsburgh's offense recently, Cowher showed how he could utilize a talented tight end back in the Eric Green days.  McFadden was another solid selection.  He has good cover skills, and is a physical corner.  He will push for a starting job from the start of camp.  Essex was a reach.  In fact, a major reach.  He is a former tight end who grew out of the position through eating, not the weight room.  when you think of a former tight end moving to the offensive line, you usually think that you're getting an athletic lineman.  That is not the case with Essex whose workout numbers were nothing special.  Gibson was a steal, and a player who the Chiefs will regret not drafting instead of Thorpe.  Gibson has size, speed, and knows how to get open.  He is a bit inconsistent, but Cowher will take care of that.  Long term, he is the best option on the team to start opposite Hines Ward.  Wallace is a quick linebacker who lacks the speed to play inside in a 4-3, but is a very good fit for a 3-4.  The Steelers are currently looking at him outside, but I predict he will eventually be moved back inside where he can become a tackle hound.  Kemoeatu was another good selection.  He will need time, but he has tremendous potential.  He should be starting in two-to-three years.  Nua is a quick, smallish defensive end, who may not have the athletic ability to play outside linebacker, and is certainly not big enough to play end in the Steelers' base defense.  He will be limited to special teams, and the nickel defense if he sticks.  herron is an interesting player.  He lacks speed, but is very quick, and and excellent receiver, both on dump offs, and downfield.  He could be a very good third down back, and is not the usual smallish third down back.  He has good size.

The Steelers followed up a good draft with a very good college street free agent signings.  Ronald Stanley is another inside linebacker that the Steelers are trying on the outside.  Stanley is a strong, very heady player who can be a difference-maker as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.  He could also make it as an outside linebacker.  Andre Frazier is the more traditional pass-rushing outside linebacker that the Steelers are know for.  He is a former defensive end with excellent speed and athleticism.  Elliot Harris is a quick, smallish defensive tackle, who the Steelers will try at end.  He could be a perfect fit as a run-stuffing, move-the-pocket end, who gets the occasional sack.  He could be a pleasant surprise in camp, although he may have to spend a year on the Steelers' practice squad.

RED NUMBERS BELOW - among best at position   
Long shuttle numbers (where available) in blue, top performers to be determined later

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Miller TE                 39
Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports: Miller (6-4, 255) did not work out at the Virginia Pro Day or the combine as he was recovering from his January surgery for a sports hernia. He will not be able to work out prior to the draft but will be ready for the May mini-camps for teams.
Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports:
The top tight end prospect, Heath Miller of Virginia, is a receiver capable of getting deep up the middle of the field and is also superb in "red zone" situations. But a few scouts reiterated on Saturday that Miller, an underclassman, must dramatically upgrade his blocking skills. "It looks," said one scout, "like he's a willing blocker at times. He just isn't a very good blocker. He's got to work harder at it."
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports:
The only tight end who is worthy of a first round pick in the 2005 draft.  Miller has great hands and excellent speed for the position.
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McFadden CB 4.41   4.06   6.90 23 39.5" 11'3" 19
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: McFadden has good man-to-man cover skills, and can play the run.  The only knock on McFadden is that he doesn't come up with interceptions.
InsideTheLeague.com reports:
Florida State CB Bryant McFadden looked good in man-to-man coverage, played physically and showed explosiveness in his breaks during workouts Tuesday, Jan. 25, for the South workout at Mobile, Ala.
Colin Lindsay of GBNReport.com reports:
One player who did appear to struggle breaking on the ball was CB Bryant McFadden of Florida State.
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Essex OT 5.33 1.90 4.97   7.68 22 29" 8'2"  
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Essex is a former tight end who grew out of the position (through eating, not working out).  While he has some skills with which to work, he is not a particularly good athlete and may only find a NFL home as a backup right tackle.
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Gibson WR 4.40 1.57 4.14   7.03   36.5" 10'6" 19
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Gibson's value is declining heading into the draft.  However, he has good size, is fast, and is a good athlete.  He also has good hands, and shows the ability to get open.  He could be a steal if falls to day two.
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports:
Gibson had a solid game at the Senior Bowl.  He looked very good early, making catches all over the field including over the middle (an area of concern).  Best of all, he was constantly getting open. 
Carlos "Big C" Holmes of www.daytondailynews.com reports:
Gibson possesses a good burst and outstanding body control while making adjustments to catch the ball.
InsideThe League.com reports:
Georgia WR Fede Gibson was the best of an impressive crop of receivers during workouts Tuesday, Jan. 25, for the South workout at Mobile, Ala.
Colin Lindsay of GBNReport.com reports:
Georgia's Fred Gibson was very fluid running routes and coming out of his breaks; he also caught everything thrown his way, but did have a few bobbles before he got the ball tucked away..
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Wallace ILB/OLB     3.97   7.46 10 35.5" 9'4" 22
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Wallace is a quick linebacker, who has the potential to be a tackle-hound.  However, he needs to play in a system where the defensive line engages offensive lineman, so he can be free to move to the ball and make tackles.
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Kemoeatu OG 5.10 1.87 4.57   7.75 31 29" 8'2" 14
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Kemoeatu has tremendous potential.  He will need time to develop, but could pay big dividends for the team that drafts him.
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Nua DE                  
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Nua, a small but quick defensive end, is better rushing the passer than playing the run.  While quick, he doesn't have great speed.
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Herron RB 4.71 1.64 3.97   6.96 17 38" 9'0" 25
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Herron will be a pleasant surprise for the team that drafts him.  He has good size, and is an excellent pass receiver.  He will be a solid third down back, and can double as a backup for a team's feature back.  However, his lack of speed does limit his upside.
NFLFans.com reports:
Excellent size, smart runner, good hands catching the ball, punishing runner.   SLOW......and a poor blocker, has no burst, but is a plodding back.
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports:
Herron played very well during the Senior Bowl game showing the ability to be a good third down back in the NFL.  He caught the ball very well, both on short passes and downfield.  He also looked good on draws.
Colin Lindsay of GBNReport.com reports:
Northwestern RB Noah Herron had a solid day (Wednesday at Senior Bowl practice), catching the ball very well coming out of the backfield, and also contributing a nice cutback run
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Stanley OLB/ILB 4.82   4.51 12.32 7.34 26 38" 9'6"  
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Staley is a sleeper as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.  He doesn't have the speed to play inside in a 4-3, but is a playmaker who can rush the passer and get interceptions.
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports:
Staley scored two touchdowns in the Hula Bowl.  He also looked good stopping the run. 
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Frazier OLB/DE 4.60 1.67 4.18   7.10 19 38" 10'9" 25
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: It is clear that Frazier has decided to try to be drafted as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.  He continues to lose weight and gain speed and athleticism.  Based on his hard work in the offseason, he has a shot to be a good 3-4 linebacker.
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Harris DE/DT 4.81   4.35   7.60 26 35" 10'6"  
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Harris could play tackle in a 4-3, or end in a 3-4.  He plays the run better than the pass, and could be an effective rotation player.
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Tuiasosopo FB 4.92 1.76 4.70   7.58 21 25.5" 8'4" 26
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Tuiasosopo is a one-dimensional blocking fullback.  However, he blocks very well.
Colin Lindsay of GBNReport.com reports:
Washington FB Zach Tuiasosopo, finally outfitted with his own helmet - he didn't wear a hat at all on Monday and was outfitted in a Colorado State helmet Tuesday -  chipped in two devastating  blocks leading running plays in practice on Wednesday at the Senior Bowl.

2005 TEAM NEEDS PRIOR TO FREE AGENCY AND THE DRAFT

Jay Goldberg of 90FootballLinks.NET reports: 
major need         need position         possible need, depth needed    no real need
Key UFA: Burress WR, Bell LB, Ross OT, Vincent G, Rasby TE, Brooks OT
Key RFA: Hayes RB (5th),Mays WR (6th), Foote LB (6th), Hope S (3rd), Reed K
NOTE - RFA COMPENSATION AT MINIMUM TENDER

QB: Roethlisberger and Maddox are a nice one-two punch.  batch is an UFA, but the Steelers should have no trouble bringing in a capable third QB.
RB:
With or without Bettis, this is a strong position for the Steelers, assuming the keep Hayes.  Staley and Hayes will be enough.  Also, Parker showed some skill.
WR: If Burress leaves in free agency, like it looks now, the Seelers will be in the market for another receiver.  Randle El should remain a number three, so a starter to pair with Ward will be targeted.
TE: The tight end is not used as a receiver much in the Steeler offense.  Too bad.  However, if a good two-way tight end can be secured, it would add an additional weapon for Big Ben.
OL: The Steelers have good options along their line, however, a number of them are free agents.  The Steelers will need to do some work putting together their line this offseason.  A young player for the future via the draft should be targeted.
DL: Smith and Hoke are set.  Von Oelhohhen is okay, but could be improved upon.  Depth will also have to be addressed.
LB: Bell is an UFA, but hasn't seen the field much recently anyway.  Haggans will be a star.  Porter and Farrior are excellent pros.  Foote, a RFA, should be retained.  The Steelers could use a young outside linebacker for depth, and an inside linebacker to push/backup Foote (assuming he is resigned).
DB: Townsend is steady. Williams and Scott have seen better days.  Colclough and Taylor have potential.  Another corner should be added to bolster the unit.  Polamalu and Hope are a good young safety tandem.  Hope is a RFA who needs to be resigned.
ST: Reed does a good job in difficult weather conditions in Pittsburgh.  He is a RFA who may get some play in free agency.  Gardocki is a very good punter.  Randel El is solid in the return game, but it may be time to bring in a player who can take some of the burden off him, without losing the threat he represents in the return game.

 

2004 COLLEGE DRAFT

Pittsburgh
Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School
1 11 Roethlisberger, Ben QB 6-4 242 Miami (Ohio)
2 38 Colclough, Ricardo CB 5-10 186 Tusculum
3 75 Starks, Max OT 6-7 359 Florida
5 145 Adibi, Nathaniel DE 6-3 255 Virginia Tech
6 177 Lacy, Bo OT 6-4 294 Arkansas
6 194 Kranchick, Matt TE 6-6 258 Penn State
6 197 Caylor, Drew C 6-5 288 Stanford
7 212 Taylor, Eric DT 6-2 302 Memphis

 

They finally did it. For the last three years I have practically screamed (in writing anyway) for the Steelers to draft a quarterback in round one.  They finally did it, and boy did they get a stud.  To start with, the Steelers really lucked out.  In my opinion there is a drop off in talent and potential from Manning and Big Ben to Rivers.  The Chargers' (and to a lesser extent the Giants') mistake is the Steelers gain.  Roethlisberger will be the best quarterback from this class.  I had Manning rated higher than him only because Manning, in my book, represented practically no risk.  The Giants should have taken the big gunslinger (say thankya Steeler fans) at four instead of trading for Manning and giving up all those quality draft picks.  In round two the Steelers drafted a corner for whom I had a third round grade.  I know I'm in the minority, but of the three quality small school cornerback prospects, I liked Joey Thomas best.  Colclough should be a good player, however, so I can't argue the selection.  Starks was excellent value in round three.  I had a second round grade on him and he was one of the few players (outside of Gallery) who was a legitimate left tackle prospect.  Adibi has the skills to make the transition from end to outside linebacker in the Steelers' scheme.  However, I said the same thing about Alonzo Jackson last year so we'll see.  Bo Lacy will have his work cut out for him trying to make the team.  Kranchick, on the other hand, could not only make the team, but force his way onto the field.  I had a fourth round grade on Kranchick who could be looked at as a steal down the line.  Kanchick is tall, a capable blocker, and a hard worker.  All he lacks is down-the-field speed, but that is not a major part of the Steeler game plan for tight ends.  Caylor will have to show good skills as a long snapper as well as at center to stick as a backup.  Taylor is an intriguing pick.  He could be a very good fit for the 3-4 defense.  Taylor has excellent size for a defensive end, and could be good both against the run and occupying blockers for the Steeler linebackers to make plays.  A good pick for round seven.  As far as college street free agents go, a few to watch include:  Zamir Cobb, a productive college wide receiver with adequate size, speed and athletic ability;  Bobby Blizzard, a tight end who could be a candidate for the Steelers' development squad; Josh Parrish, one of the better guards available after the draft; and Yaacov Yisrael, a safety who could be a solid special teams player.

PLAYER/ TEAM NEWS PRIOR TO DRAFT

PLAYER HGT-WGHT FORTY SHORT SHUTTLE 3 CONE DRILL VERTICAL
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Roethlisberger 6-4 7/8, 240 4.81 4.32 6.81 30" -
Roethlisberger
Miami-Ohio

#2 ranked QB by Jaybird

Pete Fiutak / CollegeFootballNews.com posted at foxsports.com reports: Projected: Top five pick. Good or bad move to come out early? Get ready for the articles and comparisons for the next several months between Big Ben and Eli Manning. If Manning is the number one pick in the draft, Roethlisberger is number two; but Ben's no Ryan Leaf.
One of the stories making the rounds at last week's Super Bowl in Houston was that more than one team around the league has Miami of Ohio junior QB GBNReport.com (Great Blue North) reports: Ben Roethlisberger rated as the top prospect overall on their 2004 draft board, ahead of Ole Miss QB Eli Manning. Manning, of course, has the pedigree; he's also a deserving #1 prospect in his own right, its just that Roethlisberger, who hasn't received much national attention playing at the less than fashionable other Miami program, is bigger, more mobile and has a stronger arm.
Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports: Ben Roethlisberger of Miami (Ohio) was 6-feet-4 7/8, 241 pounds (at combine).
InsideTheLeague.com reports: Miami (Ohio) QB Ben Roethlisberger did not go through workouts at the NFL Combine, but he did take part in throwing drills. He was consistently long on his deep passes.
NFLFans.com reports: Ben had great interviews at the combine and showed excellent arm strength and measurables. He definately took a step forward among the QB prospects and may now be the solid #1 choice.
Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports: Roethlisberger's workout was scripted by Steve Clarkson, who is a former San Jose State QB and currently helps prepare quarterbacks for the NFL. Roethlisberger (6-4 7/8, 240) ran his 40s in 4.81 and 4.82. He had a 30-inch vertical, a 4.32 short shuttle and a 6.81 three-cone drill.  His positional drills were referred to as outstanding. They had him throw a lot of passes on the move, and threw about 80 passes total with very good accuracy. He threw to Grant Mattos, who was with the Chargers last year, along with Cal Murry, a running back at Miami, Ohio this past year and tight end Matt Brandt (no relation). They finished the workout by having him stand flat-footed on his own 40 and throwing to receivers in five-yard increments starting at the opposing 30-yard line. By the end of the drill, he was connecting to receivers in the end zone 60 yards away. One Giants personnel guy said to me, "I've seen enough," as in Roethlisberger can't get any better. Another person there said, "If Al Davis passes on him, he's making a big mistake."
Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports: Roethlisberger is sliding a bit and many teams (like Pittsburgh) now have Rivers rated ahead of him.
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Colclough CB 5.10.8, 195 4.49 4.30 - 6.80 9 39" 10-7
Colclough
Tusculum

#11 ranked CB by Jaybird

Jay Glazer of  SportsLine.com reports: Cornerback Ricardo Colelough is this year's diamond in the rough. He was discovered at tiny Tusculum College in Tennessee but invited to run with the big boys. He showed great promise at 5-10, 186 pounds, and picked things up extremely well, considering he was so far behind his counterparts in the recognition department.  "He's done a great job this week," said one NFC scouting director. "He's never seen anything, so everything that he's being taught, it's the first time he's seeing it, but he's picking it all up.".
Drew Boylhart of www.thehuddlereport.com reports: CB Ricardo Colclough - Tusculum - Good skills, good speed, good tackling. Good potential here. He is tough. I like him.
Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports:  Tusculum's Ricardo Colclough ran in the low 4.4s at the Combine.
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Starks T 6-7, 337 5.59 - 4.65 7.88 24 30" 8-4
Starks
Florida

#5 ranked OT by Jaybird

NFLFans.com reports: OT Starks has all the tools one would ever want to become an enormous success in the NFL. He is a huge man possessing great athletic abilities. He is very quick and has good speed for his size. Strong, with long arms, and all the tools are attached, EXCEPT, motivation. He often relies on his athleticism too much and instead of using proper technique to accomplish his task. Under the proper guidance in the NFL this OT could be as good as any in the draft in 2004, including Gallery and Andrews.
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Adibi DE 6-2, 3/8, 253 4.63 1.62 4.36 - 25 33" 9-10
Adibi
Virginia Tech

#10 ranked DE by Jaybird

D. J. Boyer of Football.com reports:  Nathaniel Adibi Adibi was seen as a late first day prospect and was seen as a speedy defensive end out of Virginia Tech. Adibi has looked very bland and lifeless (at Senior Bowl practices), he just looks like a body there or like a sparring partner in boxing that the offensive line gets to beat up on.
NFLFans.com reports: Nathaniel can immediately help his new team in the area of a pass rusher. He is developing rapidly in run support and has the attitude and work ethics to achieve in that area as well.
Matt Miller of draftshowcase.com reports: Nate Adibi may not be consider a huge sleeper by most draftniks, but has fallen of the radar lately. Adibi is not the biggest guy to ever play DE (62 3/8 254 lbs), nor is he the quickest (4.66 40). He did 24 strength reps at the pro day and showed good lateral movement. Some scouts grade Adibi too light to play DE, but he is good at changing direction and could stick on a team that needs a situational outside rusher and he could eventually add weight and turn into a starting wide end. He will have to get better at using his hands and lower base leverage.
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Lacy T 6-4, 294 - - - - - - -
Lacy
Arkansas

Jaybird: below 4th round

USAToday.com reports: Has a big frame with good linear speed, long arms and thick legs...Shows the foot speed to defeat defenders working the edge coming off the snap...Shows above average knee bend, awareness and lateral agility on traps and pulls...Developed a strong hand punch to rock back the defenders, using his long arms effectively to keep his opponents out of his chest...Stays on his feet and maintains a wide leg base in his pass set, showing good kick slide and hand action to sustain and steer out the pass rusher... Has the frame to add more bulk with no loss of quickness...Ambidextrous athlete.  ...Needs to develop better lower body power in order to maintain balance...Shows explosion to cave the defensive line, but still learning how to locate targets moving in the second level.
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Kranchick 6-6 5/8, 258 4.60 - 4.53 11.62 7.09 19 31" 10-0
Kranchick
Penn State

#8 ranked TE by Jaybird

NFLFans.com reports: Kranchick is a great kid with excellent size and tools to develop into a very productive TE. He does not have break-away speed but will give you a great tall strong target in short yardage situations and a very reliable blocker. I think he could definitely develop, in the right system and coaching, into a starting TE in the NFL.
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Caylor C 6-5, 288 - - - - - - -
Caylor
Stanford

Jaybird: below 4th round

USAToday.com reports: Intriguing prospect who has yet to tap his impressive athletic potential...Spent three seasons as a defensive lineman before moving to the opposite side of the ball as a senior...Split time between center and offensive tackle the first four games of the 2003 campaign before taking over starting chores in the middle of the line for the team's final seven contests...Also performed well as the team's deep snapper for his final three seasons...Possesses great speed for a down lineman.
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Taylor DE/DT 6-2, 304  4.88 - 4.26 7.40 26 33" 9-2
Taylor
Memphis

Jaybird: below 4th round

GBNReport reports:  Eric Taylor, a 6-3, 310-pounder who has been running under 4.9 seconds for the 40 has been attracting the attention of scouts.
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Cobb (WR) 5-11 3/8, 187 4.48 - 4.23 11.53 7.15 - 35" 10-0
Cobb
Temple

Jaybird: below 4th round

Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports:  Cobb, has a shot to stick on the next level.  He had a solid 2003 catching 74 balls for 866 yards and 5 touchdowns.
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Blizzard (TE) 6-4 3/8, 266 - - - - - 12 - -
Blizzard
North Carolina

Jaybird: below 4th round

NFLFans.com reports: Great size and athletic ability; has soft hands and does a nice job catching the ball and gets good "RAC"; runs nice routes; not afraid the throw a block; however, still developing and a bit raw; and decent but not great speed; and drops an occasional pass for no reason.
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Parrish G 6-6, 337 5.36 - 4.94 8.30 24 28" 8-10
Parrish
Wash State

Jaybird: below 4th round

NFLFans.com reports: Has shown good tools, attitude, and certainly could surprise me but I do not see Josh as a pro bowl starter in the NFL but as an excellent reserve who can come off the bench and pinch hit for an injured comrade for several plays or games if needed. Will be a solid player, just not necessarily stellar, at the next level. Good guy to have on your team.
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Yisrael S 5-11, 198 4.63 4.15 11.42 6.83 12 33"  9-11

 

2003 COLLEGE DRAFT

Pittsburgh
Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School
1 16 Polamalu, Troy SS 5-10 206 Southern California
2 59 Jackson, Alonzo DE 6-4 266 Florida State
4 125 Taylor, Ivan CB 6-0 202 Louisiana-Lafayette
5 163 St. Pierre, Brian QB 6-3 218 Boston College
7 242 Wall, J.T. FB 5-11 261 Georgia
C+

2003 COLLEGE DRAFT REPORT CARD

Polamalu was a great pick.  He is a big-time hitter, and has surprising speed.  He will be all over the field for the Steelers.  Jackson is being moved to outside linebacker and the Steelers have had very good success turning college defensive ends into outside linebackers.  Taylor, a former running back, is new to his position but has good size and speed and could be a good NFL corner.  But not this year.  St. Pierre needs to develop more consistency.  However, he has good size and skills with which to work.  Wall could be in the mix for playing time at fullback.
Polomalu WORKOUT NUMBERS Matt Gambill of AllProScouting.com reports, Troy Polomalu's pro day's numbers: 4.34 and 4.37 forty, 4.37 short shuttle(slipped) and 4.06 short shuttle, 6.75 3 cone, 43 1/2" Vertical, 10-8" broad jump.
A Jackson Matt Gambill of AllProScouting.com reports Alonzo Jackson measured 6040, 266 and did 14 reps.
WORKOUT NUMBERS Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports, Alonzo Jackson was 6-3, 265 pounds. He ran 4.69 and 4.77, had a 42-inch vertical jump. 37-inch arms, and did 15 reps.
Taylor WORKOUT NUMBERS Matt Gambill of AllProScouting.com reports, CB Ivan Taylor worked out yesterday in Lafayette. Taylor ran in the high 4.3-low 4.4 area twice.
Wall WORKOUT NUMBERS  Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports, This young man (FB J T Wall) got some attention. He stood in at 5-11 5/8, weighed 262 pounds, ran 4.78 and 4.82, and had a 31-inch vertical along with an 8-foot, 4-inch long jump. Here's the best part: He threw up the 225-pound bar 38 times and caught the ball extremely well.

 

 2002 COLLEGE DRAFT

GRADE : A-


Usual solid draft.  Simmons, is a good fit for the Steelers OL.  Randle El could be one of the most dangerous third wideouts in the league.  He gives an offense tremendous flexibility (run, pass, catch) and will keep defenses off balance.  Hope is a true weak safety coming to a team that currently starts two players better suited for strong safety (Flowers and Alexander).  OLB Foote is being moved from the inside but who can ague with the Steelers success drafting LBs.m  FB/RB Hayes was a great pick in round five.  Long term he could be the back that eventually replaces the Bus.  He runs strong and hard and is quicker than you think.  Mays could be a useful WR which is about all you can expect from WR drafted in the sixth round.  DE Keisel is a hustler and effort player and those are always good to have in back-up roles.


Links below take you to NFL.com's report on player, position or college team.

Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School
1 30 Simmons, Kendall OT 6-3 311 Auburn
2 62 Randle El, Antwaan WR 5-10 191 Indiana
3 94 Hope, Chris FS 6-0 210 Florida State
4 128 Foote, Larry OLB 6-1 231 Michigan
5 166 Haynes, Verron RB 5-10 224 Georgia
6 202 Mays, Lee WR 6-1 190 Texas-El Paso
7 212 Glover, Lavar CB 5-9 177 Cincinnati
7 242 Keisel, Brett DE 6-5 279 Brigham Young

Click here to go to 900 Football Links prospect news to check out more info
 

 

Pittsburgh Steeler Products

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2005 COLLEGE DRAFT

Pittsburgh  - links below go to NFL.com reports Jaybird Jaybird
Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School Ranking Value Board
1 30 Miller, Heath TE 6-5 265 Virginia # 1 TE Round 1
2 62 McFadden, Bryant CB 5-11 190 Florida State # 12 CB Round 3
3 93 Essex, Trai OT 6-4 324 Northwestern   > Round 4
4 131 Gibson, Fred WR 6-4 202 Georgia # 13 WR Round 3
5 166 Wallace, Rian ILB 6-4 243 Temple # 13 ILB, # 12 OLB Round 4
6 204 Kemoeatu, Chris G 6-3 344 Utah # 9 OG Round 4
7 228 Nua, Shaun DE 6-4 266 Brigham Young   > Round 4
7 244 Herron, Noah RB 5-11 224 Northwestern # 18 RB Round 4
FA   Stanley, Ronald OLB 6-0 244 Michigan State #17 OLB, #13 ILB Round 4
FA   Frazier, Andre OLB 6-5 229 Cincinnati # 16 OLB Round 4
FA   Harris, Elliot DE 6-3 279 Arkansas Late Round Value > Round 4
FA   Tuiasosopo, Zach FB 6-2 249 Washington Late Round Value > Round 4

 

Outside of Essex in round three, the Steelers got excellent value throughout their draft.

The Steelers had a solid draft.  Miller will add a weapon to the Steeler offense.  Look for him to be looked for in spots where Big Ben looked for Burress last year.  While the tight end has not been a big factor in Pittsburgh's offense recently, Cowher showed how he could utilize a talented tight end back in the Eric Green days.  McFadden was another solid selection.  He has good cover skills, and is a physical corner.  He will push for a starting job from the start of camp.  Essex was a reach.  In fact, a major reach.  He is a former tight end who grew out of the position through eating, not the weight room.  when you think of a former tight end moving to the offensive line, you usually think that you're getting an athletic lineman.  That is not the case with Essex whose workout numbers were nothing special.  Gibson was a steal, and a player who the Chiefs will regret not drafting instead of Thorpe.  Gibson has size, speed, and knows how to get open.  He is a bit inconsistent, but Cowher will take care of that.  Long term, he is the best option on the team to start opposite Hines Ward.  Wallace is a quick linebacker who lacks the speed to play inside in a 4-3, but is a very good fit for a 3-4.  The Steelers are currently looking at him outside, but I predict he will eventually be moved back inside where he can become a tackle hound.  Kemoeatu was another good selection.  He will need time, but he has tremendous potential.  He should be starting in two-to-three years.  Nua is a quick, smallish defensive end, who may not have the athletic ability to play outside linebacker, and is certainly not big enough to play end in the Steelers' base defense.  He will be limited to special teams, and the nickel defense if he sticks.  herron is an interesting player.  He lacks speed, but is very quick, and and excellent receiver, both on dump offs, and downfield.  He could be a very good third down back, and is not the usual smallish third down back.  He has good size.

The Steelers followed up a good draft with a very good college street free agent signings.  Ronald Stanley is another inside linebacker that the Steelers are trying on the outside.  Stanley is a strong, very heady player who can be a difference-maker as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.  He could also make it as an outside linebacker.  Andre Frazier is the more traditional pass-rushing outside linebacker that the Steelers are know for.  He is a former defensive end with excellent speed and athleticism.  Elliot Harris is a quick, smallish defensive tackle, who the Steelers will try at end.  He could be a perfect fit as a run-stuffing, move-the-pocket end, who gets the occasional sack.  He could be a pleasant surprise in camp, although he may have to spend a year on the Steelers' practice squad.

RED NUMBERS BELOW - among best at position   
Long shuttle numbers (where available) in blue, top performers to be determined later

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Miller TE                 39
Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports: Miller (6-4, 255) did not work out at the Virginia Pro Day or the combine as he was recovering from his January surgery for a sports hernia. He will not be able to work out prior to the draft but will be ready for the May mini-camps for teams.
Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports:
The top tight end prospect, Heath Miller of Virginia, is a receiver capable of getting deep up the middle of the field and is also superb in "red zone" situations. But a few scouts reiterated on Saturday that Miller, an underclassman, must dramatically upgrade his blocking skills. "It looks," said one scout, "like he's a willing blocker at times. He just isn't a very good blocker. He's got to work harder at it."
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports:
The only tight end who is worthy of a first round pick in the 2005 draft.  Miller has great hands and excellent speed for the position.
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McFadden CB 4.41   4.06   6.90 23 39.5" 11'3" 19
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: McFadden has good man-to-man cover skills, and can play the run.  The only knock on McFadden is that he doesn't come up with interceptions.
InsideTheLeague.com reports:
Florida State CB Bryant McFadden looked good in man-to-man coverage, played physically and showed explosiveness in his breaks during workouts Tuesday, Jan. 25, for the South workout at Mobile, Ala.
Colin Lindsay of GBNReport.com reports:
One player who did appear to struggle breaking on the ball was CB Bryant McFadden of Florida State.
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Essex OT 5.33 1.90 4.97   7.68 22 29" 8'2"  
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Essex is a former tight end who grew out of the position (through eating, not working out).  While he has some skills with which to work, he is not a particularly good athlete and may only find a NFL home as a backup right tackle.
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Gibson WR 4.40 1.57 4.14   7.03   36.5" 10'6" 19
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Gibson's value is declining heading into the draft.  However, he has good size, is fast, and is a good athlete.  He also has good hands, and shows the ability to get open.  He could be a steal if falls to day two.
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports:
Gibson had a solid game at the Senior Bowl.  He looked very good early, making catches all over the field including over the middle (an area of concern).  Best of all, he was constantly getting open. 
Carlos "Big C" Holmes of www.daytondailynews.com reports:
Gibson possesses a good burst and outstanding body control while making adjustments to catch the ball.
InsideThe League.com reports:
Georgia WR Fede Gibson was the best of an impressive crop of receivers during workouts Tuesday, Jan. 25, for the South workout at Mobile, Ala.
Colin Lindsay of GBNReport.com reports:
Georgia's Fred Gibson was very fluid running routes and coming out of his breaks; he also caught everything thrown his way, but did have a few bobbles before he got the ball tucked away..
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Wallace ILB/OLB     3.97   7.46 10 35.5" 9'4" 22
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Wallace is a quick linebacker, who has the potential to be a tackle-hound.  However, he needs to play in a system where the defensive line engages offensive lineman, so he can be free to move to the ball and make tackles.
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Kemoeatu OG 5.10 1.87 4.57   7.75 31 29" 8'2" 14
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Kemoeatu has tremendous potential.  He will need time to develop, but could pay big dividends for the team that drafts him.
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Nua DE                  
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Nua, a small but quick defensive end, is better rushing the passer than playing the run.  While quick, he doesn't have great speed.
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Herron RB 4.71 1.64 3.97   6.96 17 38" 9'0" 25
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Herron will be a pleasant surprise for the team that drafts him.  He has good size, and is an excellent pass receiver.  He will be a solid third down back, and can double as a backup for a team's feature back.  However, his lack of speed does limit his upside.
NFLFans.com reports:
Excellent size, smart runner, good hands catching the ball, punishing runner.   SLOW......and a poor blocker, has no burst, but is a plodding back.
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports:
Herron played very well during the Senior Bowl game showing the ability to be a good third down back in the NFL.  He caught the ball very well, both on short passes and downfield.  He also looked good on draws.
Colin Lindsay of GBNReport.com reports:
Northwestern RB Noah Herron had a solid day (Wednesday at Senior Bowl practice), catching the ball very well coming out of the backfield, and also contributing a nice cutback run
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Stanley OLB/ILB 4.82   4.51 12.32 7.34 26 38" 9'6"  
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Staley is a sleeper as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.  He doesn't have the speed to play inside in a 4-3, but is a playmaker who can rush the passer and get interceptions.
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports:
Staley scored two touchdowns in the Hula Bowl.  He also looked good stopping the run. 
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Frazier OLB/DE 4.60 1.67 4.18   7.10 19 38" 10'9" 25
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: It is clear that Frazier has decided to try to be drafted as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.  He continues to lose weight and gain speed and athleticism.  Based on his hard work in the offseason, he has a shot to be a good 3-4 linebacker.
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Harris DE/DT 4.81   4.35   7.60 26 35" 10'6"  
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Harris could play tackle in a 4-3, or end in a 3-4.  He plays the run better than the pass, and could be an effective rotation player.
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Tuiasosopo FB 4.92 1.76 4.70   7.58 21 25.5" 8'4" 26
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Tuiasosopo is a one-dimensional blocking fullback.  However, he blocks very well.
Colin Lindsay of GBNReport.com reports:
Washington FB Zach Tuiasosopo, finally outfitted with his own helmet - he didn't wear a hat at all on Monday and was outfitted in a Colorado State helmet Tuesday -  chipped in two devastating  blocks leading running plays in practice on Wednesday at the Senior Bowl.

2005 TEAM NEEDS PRIOR TO FREE AGENCY AND THE DRAFT

Jay Goldberg of 90FootballLinks.NET reports: 
major need         need position         possible need, depth needed    no real need
Key UFA: Burress WR, Bell LB, Ross OT, Vincent G, Rasby TE, Brooks OT
Key RFA: Hayes RB (5th),Mays WR (6th), Foote LB (6th), Hope S (3rd), Reed K
NOTE - RFA COMPENSATION AT MINIMUM TENDER

QB: Roethlisberger and Maddox are a nice one-two punch.  batch is an UFA, but the Steelers should have no trouble bringing in a capable third QB.
RB:
With or without Bettis, this is a strong position for the Steelers, assuming the keep Hayes.  Staley and Hayes will be enough.  Also, Parker showed some skill.
WR: If Burress leaves in free agency, like it looks now, the Seelers will be in the market for another receiver.  Randle El should remain a number three, so a starter to pair with Ward will be targeted.
TE: The tight end is not used as a receiver much in the Steeler offense.  Too bad.  However, if a good two-way tight end can be secured, it would add an additional weapon for Big Ben.
OL: The Steelers have good options along their line, however, a number of them are free agents.  The Steelers will need to do some work putting together their line this offseason.  A young player for the future via the draft should be targeted.
DL: Smith and Hoke are set.  Von Oelhohhen is okay, but could be improved upon.  Depth will also have to be addressed.
LB: Bell is an UFA, but hasn't seen the field much recently anyway.  Haggans will be a star.  Porter and Farrior are excellent pros.  Foote, a RFA, should be retained.  The Steelers could use a young outside linebacker for depth, and an inside linebacker to push/backup Foote (assuming he is resigned).
DB: Townsend is steady. Williams and Scott have seen better days.  Colclough and Taylor have potential.  Another corner should be added to bolster the unit.  Polamalu and Hope are a good young safety tandem.  Hope is a RFA who needs to be resigned.
ST: Reed does a good job in difficult weather conditions in Pittsburgh.  He is a RFA who may get some play in free agency.  Gardocki is a very good punter.  Randel El is solid in the return game, but it may be time to bring in a player who can take some of the burden off him, without losing the threat he represents in the return game.

 

2004 COLLEGE DRAFT

Pittsburgh
Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School
1 11 Roethlisberger, Ben QB 6-4 242 Miami (Ohio)
2 38 Colclough, Ricardo CB 5-10 186 Tusculum
3 75 Starks, Max OT 6-7 359 Florida
5 145 Adibi, Nathaniel DE 6-3 255 Virginia Tech
6 177 Lacy, Bo OT 6-4 294 Arkansas
6 194 Kranchick, Matt TE 6-6 258 Penn State
6 197 Caylor, Drew C 6-5 288 Stanford
7 212 Taylor, Eric DT 6-2 302 Memphis

 

They finally did it. For the last three years I have practically screamed (in writing anyway) for the Steelers to draft a quarterback in round one.  They finally did it, and boy did they get a stud.  To start with, the Steelers really lucked out.  In my opinion there is a drop off in talent and potential from Manning and Big Ben to Rivers.  The Chargers' (and to a lesser extent the Giants') mistake is the Steelers gain.  Roethlisberger will be the best quarterback from this class.  I had Manning rated higher than him only because Manning, in my book, represented practically no risk.  The Giants should have taken the big gunslinger (say thankya Steeler fans) at four instead of trading for Manning and giving up all those quality draft picks.  In round two the Steelers drafted a corner for whom I had a third round grade.  I know I'm in the minority, but of the three quality small school cornerback prospects, I liked Joey Thomas best.  Colclough should be a good player, however, so I can't argue the selection.  Starks was excellent value in round three.  I had a second round grade on him and he was one of the few players (outside of Gallery) who was a legitimate left tackle prospect.  Adibi has the skills to make the transition from end to outside linebacker in the Steelers' scheme.  However, I said the same thing about Alonzo Jackson last year so we'll see.  Bo Lacy will have his work cut out for him trying to make the team.  Kranchick, on the other hand, could not only make the team, but force his way onto the field.  I had a fourth round grade on Kranchick who could be looked at as a steal down the line.  Kanchick is tall, a capable blocker, and a hard worker.  All he lacks is down-the-field speed, but that is not a major part of the Steeler game plan for tight ends.  Caylor will have to show good skills as a long snapper as well as at center to stick as a backup.  Taylor is an intriguing pick.  He could be a very good fit for the 3-4 defense.  Taylor has excellent size for a defensive end, and could be good both against the run and occupying blockers for the Steeler linebackers to make plays.  A good pick for round seven.  As far as college street free agents go, a few to watch include:  Zamir Cobb, a productive college wide receiver with adequate size, speed and athletic ability;  Bobby Blizzard, a tight end who could be a candidate for the Steelers' development squad; Josh Parrish, one of the better guards available after the draft; and Yaacov Yisrael, a safety who could be a solid special teams player.

PLAYER/ TEAM NEWS PRIOR TO DRAFT

PLAYER HGT-WGHT FORTY SHORT SHUTTLE 3 CONE DRILL VERTICAL
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Roethlisberger 6-4 7/8, 240 4.81 4.32 6.81 30" -
Roethlisberger
Miami-Ohio

#2 ranked QB by Jaybird

Pete Fiutak / CollegeFootballNews.com posted at foxsports.com reports: Projected: Top five pick. Good or bad move to come out early? Get ready for the articles and comparisons for the next several months between Big Ben and Eli Manning. If Manning is the number one pick in the draft, Roethlisberger is number two; but Ben's no Ryan Leaf.
One of the stories making the rounds at last week's Super Bowl in Houston was that more than one team around the league has Miami of Ohio junior QB GBNReport.com (Great Blue North) reports: Ben Roethlisberger rated as the top prospect overall on their 2004 draft board, ahead of Ole Miss QB Eli Manning. Manning, of course, has the pedigree; he's also a deserving #1 prospect in his own right, its just that Roethlisberger, who hasn't received much national attention playing at the less than fashionable other Miami program, is bigger, more mobile and has a stronger arm.
Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports: Ben Roethlisberger of Miami (Ohio) was 6-feet-4 7/8, 241 pounds (at combine).
InsideTheLeague.com reports: Miami (Ohio) QB Ben Roethlisberger did not go through workouts at the NFL Combine, but he did take part in throwing drills. He was consistently long on his deep passes.
NFLFans.com reports: Ben had great interviews at the combine and showed excellent arm strength and measurables. He definately took a step forward among the QB prospects and may now be the solid #1 choice.
Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports: Roethlisberger's workout was scripted by Steve Clarkson, who is a former San Jose State QB and currently helps prepare quarterbacks for the NFL. Roethlisberger (6-4 7/8, 240) ran his 40s in 4.81 and 4.82. He had a 30-inch vertical, a 4.32 short shuttle and a 6.81 three-cone drill.  His positional drills were referred to as outstanding. They had him throw a lot of passes on the move, and threw about 80 passes total with very good accuracy. He threw to Grant Mattos, who was with the Chargers last year, along with Cal Murry, a running back at Miami, Ohio this past year and tight end Matt Brandt (no relation). They finished the workout by having him stand flat-footed on his own 40 and throwing to receivers in five-yard increments starting at the opposing 30-yard line. By the end of the drill, he was connecting to receivers in the end zone 60 yards away. One Giants personnel guy said to me, "I've seen enough," as in Roethlisberger can't get any better. Another person there said, "If Al Davis passes on him, he's making a big mistake."
Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports: Roethlisberger is sliding a bit and many teams (like Pittsburgh) now have Rivers rated ahead of him.
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Colclough CB 5.10.8, 195 4.49 4.30 - 6.80 9 39" 10-7
Colclough
Tusculum

#11 ranked CB by Jaybird

Jay Glazer of  SportsLine.com reports: Cornerback Ricardo Colelough is this year's diamond in the rough. He was discovered at tiny Tusculum College in Tennessee but invited to run with the big boys. He showed great promise at 5-10, 186 pounds, and picked things up extremely well, considering he was so far behind his counterparts in the recognition department.  "He's done a great job this week," said one NFC scouting director. "He's never seen anything, so everything that he's being taught, it's the first time he's seeing it, but he's picking it all up.".
Drew Boylhart of www.thehuddlereport.com reports: CB Ricardo Colclough - Tusculum - Good skills, good speed, good tackling. Good potential here. He is tough. I like him.
Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports:  Tusculum's Ricardo Colclough ran in the low 4.4s at the Combine.
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Starks T 6-7, 337 5.59 - 4.65 7.88 24 30" 8-4
Starks
Florida

#5 ranked OT by Jaybird

NFLFans.com reports: OT Starks has all the tools one would ever want to become an enormous success in the NFL. He is a huge man possessing great athletic abilities. He is very quick and has good speed for his size. Strong, with long arms, and all the tools are attached, EXCEPT, motivation. He often relies on his athleticism too much and instead of using proper technique to accomplish his task. Under the proper guidance in the NFL this OT could be as good as any in the draft in 2004, including Gallery and Andrews.
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Adibi DE 6-2, 3/8, 253 4.63 1.62 4.36 - 25 33" 9-10
Adibi
Virginia Tech

#10 ranked DE by Jaybird

D. J. Boyer of Football.com reports:  Nathaniel Adibi Adibi was seen as a late first day prospect and was seen as a speedy defensive end out of Virginia Tech. Adibi has looked very bland and lifeless (at Senior Bowl practices), he just looks like a body there or like a sparring partner in boxing that the offensive line gets to beat up on.
NFLFans.com reports: Nathaniel can immediately help his new team in the area of a pass rusher. He is developing rapidly in run support and has the attitude and work ethics to achieve in that area as well.
Matt Miller of draftshowcase.com reports: Nate Adibi may not be consider a huge sleeper by most draftniks, but has fallen of the radar lately. Adibi is not the biggest guy to ever play DE (62 3/8 254 lbs), nor is he the quickest (4.66 40). He did 24 strength reps at the pro day and showed good lateral movement. Some scouts grade Adibi too light to play DE, but he is good at changing direction and could stick on a team that needs a situational outside rusher and he could eventually add weight and turn into a starting wide end. He will have to get better at using his hands and lower base leverage.
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Lacy T 6-4, 294 - - - - - - -
Lacy
Arkansas

Jaybird: below 4th round

USAToday.com reports: Has a big frame with good linear speed, long arms and thick legs...Shows the foot speed to defeat defenders working the edge coming off the snap...Shows above average knee bend, awareness and lateral agility on traps and pulls...Developed a strong hand punch to rock back the defenders, using his long arms effectively to keep his opponents out of his chest...Stays on his feet and maintains a wide leg base in his pass set, showing good kick slide and hand action to sustain and steer out the pass rusher... Has the frame to add more bulk with no loss of quickness...Ambidextrous athlete.  ...Needs to develop better lower body power in order to maintain balance...Shows explosion to cave the defensive line, but still learning how to locate targets moving in the second level.
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Kranchick 6-6 5/8, 258 4.60 - 4.53 11.62 7.09 19 31" 10-0
Kranchick
Penn State

#8 ranked TE by Jaybird

NFLFans.com reports: Kranchick is a great kid with excellent size and tools to develop into a very productive TE. He does not have break-away speed but will give you a great tall strong target in short yardage situations and a very reliable blocker. I think he could definitely develop, in the right system and coaching, into a starting TE in the NFL.
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Caylor C 6-5, 288 - - - - - - -
Caylor
Stanford

Jaybird: below 4th round

USAToday.com reports: Intriguing prospect who has yet to tap his impressive athletic potential...Spent three seasons as a defensive lineman before moving to the opposite side of the ball as a senior...Split time between center and offensive tackle the first four games of the 2003 campaign before taking over starting chores in the middle of the line for the team's final seven contests...Also performed well as the team's deep snapper for his final three seasons...Possesses great speed for a down lineman.
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Taylor DE/DT 6-2, 304  4.88 - 4.26 7.40 26 33" 9-2
Taylor
Memphis

Jaybird: below 4th round

GBNReport reports:  Eric Taylor, a 6-3, 310-pounder who has been running under 4.9 seconds for the 40 has been attracting the attention of scouts.
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Cobb (WR) 5-11 3/8, 187 4.48 - 4.23 11.53 7.15 - 35" 10-0
Cobb
Temple

Jaybird: below 4th round

Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports:  Cobb, has a shot to stick on the next level.  He had a solid 2003 catching 74 balls for 866 yards and 5 touchdowns.
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Blizzard (TE) 6-4 3/8, 266 - - - - - 12 - -
Blizzard
North Carolina

Jaybird: below 4th round

NFLFans.com reports: Great size and athletic ability; has soft hands and does a nice job catching the ball and gets good "RAC"; runs nice routes; not afraid the throw a block; however, still developing and a bit raw; and decent but not great speed; and drops an occasional pass for no reason.
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Parrish G 6-6, 337 5.36 - 4.94 8.30 24 28" 8-10
Parrish
Wash State

Jaybird: below 4th round

NFLFans.com reports: Has shown good tools, attitude, and certainly could surprise me but I do not see Josh as a pro bowl starter in the NFL but as an excellent reserve who can come off the bench and pinch hit for an injured comrade for several plays or games if needed. Will be a solid player, just not necessarily stellar, at the next level. Good guy to have on your team.
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Yisrael S 5-11, 198 4.63 4.15 11.42 6.83 12 33"  9-11

2003 COLLEGE DRAFT

Pittsburgh
Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School
1 16 Polamalu, Troy SS 5-10 206 Southern California
2 59 Jackson, Alonzo DE 6-4 266 Florida State
4 125 Taylor, Ivan CB 6-0 202 Louisiana-Lafayette
5 163 St. Pierre, Brian QB 6-3 218 Boston College
7 242 Wall, J.T. FB 5-11 261 Georgia
C+

2003 COLLEGE DRAFT REPORT CARD

Polamalu was a great pick.  He is a big-time hitter, and has surprising speed.  He will be all over the field for the Steelers.  Jackson is being moved to outside linebacker and the Steelers have had very good success turning college defensive ends into outside linebackers.  Taylor, a former running back, is new to his position but has good size and speed and could be a good NFL corner.  But not this year.  St. Pierre needs to develop more consistency.  However, he has good size and skills with which to work.  Wall could be in the mix for playing time at fullback.
Polomalu WORKOUT NUMBERS Matt Gambill of AllProScouting.com reports, Troy Polomalu's pro day's numbers: 4.34 and 4.37 forty, 4.37 short shuttle(slipped) and 4.06 short shuttle, 6.75 3 cone, 43 1/2" Vertical, 10-8" broad jump.
A Jackson Matt Gambill of AllProScouting.com reports Alonzo Jackson measured 6040, 266 and did 14 reps.
WORKOUT NUMBERS Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports, Alonzo Jackson was 6-3, 265 pounds. He ran 4.69 and 4.77, had a 42-inch vertical jump. 37-inch arms, and did 15 reps.
Taylor WORKOUT NUMBERS Matt Gambill of AllProScouting.com reports, CB Ivan Taylor worked out yesterday in Lafayette. Taylor ran in the high 4.3-low 4.4 area twice.
Wall WORKOUT NUMBERS  Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports, This young man (FB J T Wall) got some attention. He stood in at 5-11 5/8, weighed 262 pounds, ran 4.78 and 4.82, and had a 31-inch vertical along with an 8-foot, 4-inch long jump. Here's the best part: He threw up the 225-pound bar 38 times and caught the ball extremely well.

 2002 COLLEGE DRAFT

GRADE : A-


Usual solid draft.  Simmons, is a good fit for the Steelers OL.  Randle El could be one of the most dangerous third wideouts in the league.  He gives an offense tremendous flexibility (run, pass, catch) and will keep defenses off balance.  Hope is a true weak safety coming to a team that currently starts two players better suited for strong safety (Flowers and Alexander).  OLB Foote is being moved from the inside but who can ague with the Steelers success drafting LBs.m  FB/RB Hayes was a great pick in round five.  Long term he could be the back that eventually replaces the Bus.  He runs strong and hard and is quicker than you think.  Mays could be a useful WR which is about all you can expect from WR drafted in the sixth round.  DE Keisel is a hustler and effort player and those are always good to have in back-up roles.


Links below take you to NFL.com's report on player, position or college team.

Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School
1 30 Simmons, Kendall OT 6-3 311 Auburn
2 62 Randle El, Antwaan WR 5-10 191 Indiana
3 94 Hope, Chris FS 6-0 210 Florida State
4 128 Foote, Larry OLB 6-1 231 Michigan
5 166 Haynes, Verron RB 5-10 224 Georgia
6 202 Mays, Lee WR 6-1 190 Texas-El Paso
7 212 Glover, Lavar CB 5-9 177 Cincinnati
7 242 Keisel, Brett DE 6-5 279 Brigham Young

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