Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Report: Steelers To Have Pre Draft Visit With San Diego St. WR Vincent Brown

Adam Caplan of reported via Twitter that the Steelers are expected to have San Diego St. wide receiver Vincent Brown in for a pre draft visit tomorrow. Brown measured in at 5 foot 11 and 1/4 at the NFL Combine where he had a rough showing. He had hoped to run the 40 in the 4.4 or low 4.5 range, but instead ran in the high 4.6, low 4.7 range and his draft stock dropped because of it. He improved his time to the high 4.5 range at his Pro Day in late March. Brown is currently projected as a mid round draft pick later this month.

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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Steelers Gab 2011 NFL Draft Prospect Scouting Report – DE Da’Quan Bowers

Da’Quan Bowers, DE, Clemson, 6’4 280

Position Ranking: #1

Strengths: Has the size, strength, and technique to be effective at either right end or left end. Plays with good functional strength while extending arms quickly at the snap to lock-out the defender, shed, and make plays on the ball carrier in run support. Very consistent and strong against the run. Has the athleticism to be a very effective pass rusher. Powerful off the ball and can drive the defender into the pocket and disrupt the passing game. Very savvy in his pass rush, will use timing and deception to set his defender up by releasing slowly off the snap, then quickly bursting inside to beat the defender and make a play on the quarterback- athleticism and footwork make this possible. Throws his body around, and will dive to make the tackle away from his frame. Sound, wrap-up tackler. Plays with good intensity and aggression. Good instincts and can anticipate the snap count.

Needs Improvement: Doesn’t show the suddenness off the edge to be able to win the corner consistently at the next level. Has tight hips in space. Pass rush is reliant on power and doesn’t show much variety. Quickness and technique slow down as the game wears on. Better technique against the run than pass. Won’t always give a fighting effort on double teams. Didn’t show he could drop into coverage or consistently rush from a standup position. Questionable if he can become a 3-4 linebacker.

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Monday, 11 April 2011

Steelers Gab 2011 NFL Draft Prospect Scouting Report – S Rahim Moore

Rahim Moore, S, UCLA, 6’1 195

Position Ranking: #3

Strengths: A good athlete who plays light on his feet. Shows smooth footwork in his backpedal and changing direction; looks natural moving in reverse. Fluid in his overall movements with good agility. Capable of playing center field (cover 1) and has enough speed and range to get to the outside.

Played plenty of cover 2 and spent most of his time on the back end. Breaks down quickly in space to make proper technique tackles. Solid coverage awareness and has a good enough understanding of routes to put himself in position to make a play on the football. Voted team captain by peers and visibly encourages his teammates throughout the game. Well respected in the locker room and takes responsibility when the defense plays subpar.

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Steelers Not High on Taking Players from Texas?

The Post-Gazette reports that the Steelers may be a little hesitant to draft players from the Univ of Texas.

Might the Steelers’ experience drafting University of Texas players cause them to pass on cornerbacks Aaron Williams and/or Curtis Brown this year? Williams is a big, tough corner at 6 feet, 205 pounds and rated either third, fourth or fifth in the draft at his position (if Colorado’s Jimmy Smith plunges into the second round for various reasons). Brown is considered strictly a second-rounder.

Two Longhorns drafted by them in the 2008 season have done little in three seasons — wide receiver Limas Sweed, their second-round pick, and tackle Tony Hills, drafted on the fourth round. They have had great success with Casey Hampton, but he came from a different Texas culture when they drafted him in the first round in 2001. Another veteran Texas player, Jonathan Scott, helped save them at left tackle last season.

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Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Report: Tennessee WR Denarius Moore To Have Pre Draft Visit With Steelers

Another receiver quite possibly could be headed to the South Side for a pre draft visit with the Steelers as Adam Caplan is also reporting that Tennessee wide receiver Denarius Moore has a scheduled visit with the Steelers this week. Moore measured in at the NFL Combine at 5 foot 11 and a half and weighed 194 pounds. He ran his 40 in the low 4.4 range, recorded a 36 inch vertical jump and a 9 foot 10 inch broad jump. He is currently projected as a 3rd or 4th round draft pick later this month. In his final season with the Volunteers, Moore caught 47 passes for 981 yards and scored 9 touchdowns. In four seasons he caught 112 passes for 2004 yards and 18 total touchdowns. He is described as a vertically explosive receiver with a wide catching radius.

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Report: Marshall ILB Mario Harvey To Have Pre Draft Visit With Steelers

Marshall inside linebacker Mario Harvey is expected to make a pre draft visit to Pittsburgh sometime over the next few week according to Adam Caplan of Harvey had a great Pro Day and ran his 40 in the 4.4 range. He also bench pressed 225 pounds 27 times, recorded a 32-inch vertical and 9-5 broad jump and ran a 4.19-second short shuttle and 7.13 three-cone drill. The Steelers also reportedly showed interest in him in mid March as were the Ravens, Patriots and the Bengals. Harvey measured in at 5-foot-10 7/8 and 250 pounds. Harvey is currently viewed as a mid to late round draft pick by most scouts.

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Emmanuel Sanders Recovering From Second Foot Surgery

Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders underwent a second foot surgery this week on the foot he injured during Super Bowl XLV against the Green Bay Packers. Sanders announced the news on his Facebook page Monday and has to spend the next few days with his left foot elevated. Sanders injured the foot in the second quarter and it was reported as a small break. He underwent his first surgery on the foot when he returned to Pittsburgh and the second surgery reportedly was minor and went well. Sanders should hopefully will be fully recovered when and if training camp opens later this Summer.

Sanders made a quick climb up the Steelers depth chart as a rookie and finished as the Steelers number three receiver. He caught 28 balls for 376 yards and scored 2 touchdowns during the regular season. He also chipped in another 7 catches for 91 yards in the playoffs.

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Report: Southern Mississippi DT Anthony Gray Works Out For Steelers

Shawn Zobel from reported via Twitter that Southern Mississippi defensive tackle Anthony Gray recently worked out for the Steelers and is scheduled to visit the Packers next week as well. It is unclear if the workout was regarded as a pre draft visit at this time. Gray measured in at 5-foot-11 3/4, 330 pounds at his Pro Day on March 11th according to Gil Brandt, of He also reportedly ran the 40-yard dash in 5.19 seconds and 5.17 seconds, the short shuttle in 4.61 seconds and the three-cone drill in 7.93 seconds. He registered a 31 1/2-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot-4 broad jump and completed 39 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press.

Gray is a bit short for a nose tackle, but is thick in stature. He is currently regarded as a late round draft prospect. While at Southern Miss Gray registered 76 tackles (35 solos) to go along with 17.5 tackles for loss, he had 8.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

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Tuesday, 5 April 2011

ESPN Ranks Tomlin as the 2nd Best Coach in the NFL

Coach Mike Tomlin has been nothing short of spectacular in his four seasons as Steelers head coach. Winning three division titles, taking the team to two Super Bowls and winning one is quite the resume for a guy that wasn’t even on the Steelers radar when they started looking for a head coach after the 2006 season.

With that, Tomlin’s stock has risen all the way up to being the 2nd best coach in the league according to a recent poll done by ESPN of their NFL writers and bloggers. The site voted on Pats coach Bill Belichick as the top coach in the league, and while I can see that, I can also see Tomlin taking the spot over if the Steelers can get to another title game in the next two years and if the Pats stay out of the title game.

Don’t forget, Belichick hasn’t lead the Pats to a SB since 2007, and they haven’t won one since 2004. The Steelers have won two since then – 2005 and 2008 with an appearance in this last years game (2010).

One blogger that for some reason isn’t all that high on Tomlin is Mike Sando, who is the NFC West blogger for ESPN. Here’s the burb about Tomlin from the site, along with what Sando had to say.

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was second in the Power Rankings, and the lowest he rated was sixth on NFC West blogger Mike Sando’s ballot. The minus-4 differential from Sando — not a substantial disparity at all — was the largest negative margin relative to final placement in the entire process.

Sando explained his deviance from the pack.

“I favored coaches that walked into tough situations, won relatively quickly and then sustained the improvement over more than one season,” Sando said in a statement issued through an NFC West blog spokesman. “Tomlin took over a healthy operation and kept it going. He deserves credit for that — I ranked him sixth — but not as much credit as if he had produced similar results after taking over a struggling franchise.

“We should view the success Bill Cowher enjoyed in a similar context. Both worked for an outstanding organization.”

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Is Aaron Williams Worth A Nickel To The Steelers?

I talked about Texas cornerback Curtis Brown the other day and today wanted to focus in on another Texas cornerback, Aaron Williams, in relation to the Steelers. Back in late December, Williams announced his decision to skip his senior season at Texas to enter the 2011 NFL Draft and since then the biggest questions that surround him is if he is best suited as a corner or free safety at the next level. Williams certainly has the measurables of a coveted first round cornerback outside of his 40 time. At the NFL Combine in February, Williams ran in the low 4.5 range, but recently improved that number at his recent Pro Day on a faster track. His ball skills have also been questioned since the combine, but that too reportedly improved at his Pro Day as well. The Steelers were certainly represented well at the Longhorns Pro Day as head coach Mike Tomlin, Director of Football Operations Kevin Colbert and new defensive backs coach Carnell Lake were in attendance to watch the performance. Another knock on Williams as he enters the draft is the lack of physicality he has shown on film as well as his inconsistency as a tackler. The willingness and aggressiveness is there, but he will need his technique refined and Lake should be able to help him at the next level.

Despite all the knocks and the questions regarding what position and scheme he might best fit at in the NFL, Williams is still regarded as a late first round talent. Because of that, the Steelers might indeed have a good shot at Williams falling to them at the 31st pick, should they stay put with the pick. The Steelers like drafting underclassmen and Williams certainly fits that mold coming out after his junior year. He also has played well on special teams while at Texas and that too would be a plus. The Steelers certainly have a need at both the cornerback and free safety position, so Williams once again could fit regardless of the position they might deem him at the next level.

Williams, if drafted by the Steelers, would be a project, but certainly could see some playing time in his rookie season at the nickel spot or as a dimeback initially. He also should be able to contribute instantly on special teams. The Steelers could have several secondary spots open on the roster come training camp time as starting cornerback Ike Taylor could be lost via free agency and nickel back William Gay is not a lock to return either depending on how his free agent status pans out. In addition, defensive back Anthony Madison and safety Ryan Mundy are also free agents and neither are locks to return in 2011. Mundy saw most of his time backing up the strong safety position when Troy Polamalu was sidelined and Madison saw spot duty at both the nickel and dime spots in 2010. The Steelers certainly could also use depth behind Ryan Clark at the free safety spot and perhaps Williams would eventually be groomed to take over there eventually.

While Lake is new to the Steelers coaching staff, he certainly has walked the walk at both the corner and safety spot in his playing days with the Steelers. He also showed in his one season coaching at UCLA that he can teach today’s' younger defensive backs. Williams certainly would be in good hands with Lake and should be able to be molded into the same type player over time. His versatility could be useful in the short term as the Steelers look to start revamping the secondary. Should he be drafted by the Steelers, he would perhaps be considered the best player on the board when the Steelers draft, while also fitting a need. That, in my opinion, is rarity when picking down at the bottom of the first round. Although there are certainly some questions that still loom over Williams, I do not see him as a boom or bust pick here. The Steelers always do their homework when scouting and know by now whether or not Williams is a fit or not on the Steelers. Is it at cornerback? Is it at free safety? Only they know for sure. Perhaps Williams is worth a nickel or in the case of the Steelers, the 31st pick in the 2011 NFL draft.

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Sunday, 3 April 2011

Boise State WR Austin Pettis Scheduled To Make Pre Draft Visit With Steelers

Boise State wide receiver Austin Pettis is reportedly scheduled to make a pre draft visit to Pittsburgh next week to visit with the Steelers. Pettis left Boise State as the school's all-time leader in receptions with 229 and touchdown catches with 39. He also ranks second on the school's all-time receiving yards list with 2,838 for his career. In 2010, Pettis made 71 catches for 951 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Broncos offense finished ranked second in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 46.67 points a game during the regular season. This past week, the Steelers entertained offensive tackles Marcus Gilbert, James Carpenter Jr. and Jarriel King. They also previously had in Hampton nose tackle Kenrick Ellis in for a visit along with the draft eligible Pittsburgh Panthers players, who do not count against their 30 player limit of allowed visitors prior to the draft.

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Saturday, 2 April 2011

Steelers Hosting Florida State Center-Guard Rodney Hudson Monday

Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post reports Florida State center-guard Rodney Hudson is visiting the Steelers on Monday, according to a league source with knowledge of the situation.

Hudson has also worked out for the Baltimore Ravens. He’s a two-time winner of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, recognized as the top offensive lineman in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The first-team consensus All-American was a three-time first-team all-conference selection.

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Friday, 1 April 2011

Steelers Might Get A Draft Day Turkey

Since the 2011 NFL Combine, I have spent hours pouring through draft prospect profiles and game clips on as many top ranked draft hopefuls that match the needs that the Steelers have. My second Steelers mock draft reflects that work, but one player in that mock has caught my eye more than any other. That player is Texas cornerback Curtis Brown. Brown also carries two nicknames, "Turkey" and "Jordan". While at Texas, Brown made 28 starts and played in 52 games while wearing a Longhorn uniform. He intercepted two passes, had 32 pass unofficial pass break ups, forced one fumble and registered 3 thrown for losses. In addition to his cover skills, Brown also made 120 tackles, 86 of which were solo. If his defensive play was not enough, Brown also played on every special team during his career. Certainly a plus as far as what the Steelers look for in young player.

While at Texas, Brown matched up against current NFL receivers Dez Bryant and Michael Crabtree. His first career start came against Bryant, who he held to just 74 yards on 6 catches in 2008. Brown did not fare as good against Crabtrree the following week and he missed a tackle on a last-second, game winning pass play to Crabtree. Brown certainly learned from that experience I am sure as that loss was heart breaking. In addition to the opposing talent he faced on game days, Brown also went up against Jordan Shipley in practices. Shipley was drafted by the Bengals in 2010 and has had a pretty good start to his career in limited playing time.

Including Brown, Texas has three cornerbacks who all look to be drafted in the top half of the draft as Aaron Williams and Chykie Brown are also draft eligible. Williams looks to be a better fit as a free safety at the next level, while Chykie is regarded as a 4th or 5th round talent. At his recent Pro Day, Brown participated in some drills despite being sick with the flu. He stood on his combine measurables and at least gave it a go. The coaches and scouts pretty much saw what they needed to see from him a few months ago, but likely appreciated the effort.

Of course I am not the only one that Brown has caught the eye of as he seems to turned quite a few heads since the praising Deion Sanders gave him during the defensive back drills during the NFL Network combine coverage. Since that time, Brown seems to be inching his way up the analyst draft boards and easily in the second tier of the cornerbacks in this years draft class. Brown loves man-to-man and press, but also looks like he can adapt to zone and cover 2 coverages as well. His tackling skills are above average and he is not afraid to come up and hit the ball carrier. This will really help him stick out in the second tier group of corners. Like most young corners he needs some technique work, but new Steelers defensive backs coach Carnell Lake showed at UCLA he can work with young talent and Brown would be a great first student. Brown lacks the elite speed, but breaks fast on the football and also shows good awareness and recognition. He looks like a complete corner that could contribute instantly only special teams as well as sub package situations at the nickel spot. He plays bigger than his size with his great leaping ability.

The draft is still a good 27 days away as I write this and Brown is scheduled to make a pre draft visit to Pittsburgh. There will still be quite a bit of shuffling with the top 40 players overall and Brown should easily crack that in my opinion, if he hasn't already. The Steelers pick at 31 and the corner position certainly will be in play in either the first or second round for them. It is not out of the question that by draft night, the Steelers could call his name in the first round. The Steelers will also entertain several phone calls when they are on the clock and it is not out of the question that they trade down a handful of spots to take Brown in the first part of round two. Should they miss out on him altogether, I think Brown will be a name you will be hearing for quite a few years. Who knows, the Steelers might just catch them a Turkey on draft night to play corner for the next several years. I really think he best fits what the Steelers look for in a corner where they draft at. Should the Steelers draft him in the first or second round, several in Steeler Nation will be celebrating as if it is Thanksgiving. Me included.

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Steelers Hold Court at the Workout of Ohio State DE Heyward Steve Wyche reports that the Steelers were on hand for the workout of Ohio State DE Cam Heyward, a guy that could be on their short list should he fall come late April in the draft.

Defensive end Cam Heyward, who had Tommy John surgery in January, had his makeup workout at Ohio State on Wednesday in front of an NFL contingent that included representatives from 3-4 defensive schemers Pittsburgh and San Diego.

A source at the workout said Heyward weighed 295 pounds, ran the 40-yard dash in a slow 4.95-4.96 range (wouldn’t have made the top 15 at the combine) and had a 35-inch vertical jump (would have been sixth-best mark at combine). Heyward did not bench. He has been cleared for the activity medically, but hasn’t trained for it. He did, however, take part in all the field drills.

Among those in attendance were Chargers general manager A.J. Smith, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.

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