With Emmanuel Sanders possibly gone to the Patriots my previous two columns on the Destruction of the Steelers ring truer than ever.
2013 Final Draft, No, Really, this IS my Final Draft, Honest Injun.
1st Rd – RB – Eddie Lacey – AL – The squat and powerful Lacey brings to mind (hold on to your socks and cross your fingers) Jerome Bettis. He is powerful, hard hitting, nimble and fleet of foot. He is patient allowing the play to develop and displays 100% commitment to hit the hole and drag defenders along with him. A couple problems exist with injuries and fumbling due to his running style but, he is well worth the risk.
2nd Rd – CB – Jonathan Banks – Miss. State – The wiry Banks is a Gen 2 corner back at 6’2” 190# he is built to handle the Calvin Johnsons and Larry Fitzgeralds of the league. (Well, as well as anybody can handle them.) A soft handed ball hawk, he has great leaping ability is hard hitting and plays faster than his listed 4.51 forty. Cornerback is one of the strongest positions in this pretty weak draft so there are a lot of other CB’s you could take early.
3rd Rd – OT – Kyle Long – OR – Son of Howie, brother of Chris, this 6′-6” 312# tackle has a ton of upside. Athletic and mobile he is effective both in pass and running schemes. Called on to play LT and LG during his two years at Oregon, he is still a work in progress. Technique needs work, punching rather than latching on to defenders. The Family Long has donned him Most Athletic in the family which is saying quite a lot.
3rd Rd – S – D.J.Swearinger – S. Car. - For Emanuel Sanders – Look for this extremely Hard–hitting, fast closing Center Fielder to become a Dick LeBeau favorite. All over the field, Swearinger can be to intermediate and deep plays what Troy Polamalu is to plays along the line. 79 Tackles, 2 Int., 2 FF and 7 PBU in 2013. Swearinger and Williams could be a Safety duo to watch.
4th Rd – WR – Stedman Bailey – WVU – with WR and WVU players always under valued by the NFL, Bailey could still be available this late in the draft. Ending his college career with 12 TD’s 12,000 yards and an average of 17.9 yards per catch. It is Bailey and not the more famous Tavon Williams that leaves as WVU’ all-time leading reciever. And besides he has a cool-ass name “Bailey, Stedman Bailey.”
5th Rd – S – Shawn Williams – GA – The film I’ve seen on him shows a hard-hitting and crafty football player capable of playing SS, OLB and FS. On the line he shoots the gap quickly, in pass coverage he creates alligator armed WR’s who regret catching the ball when he delivers a brutal hit. His versatility and athleticism project him to be a perfect Steeler defender. This would be a very good pick. You would much prefer to see him in black and gold rather than purple and white.
6th Rd – ILB-OLB – Cameron Lawrence – Good height 6′-2” and weight 240# to play Linebacker in the NFL. Good 4.7 40 speed. Lawrence plays a strong overall game and has good initial punch and sweep moves to create space and disengage blockers. A natural gap-shooter in college he should probably move inside at the next level. Had 123 Tackles, 6 TFL, 2 sacks and 2 int as a Junior. Played Quarterback and Defensive Back in High school. A classic overachiever, Lawrence, “acts like he’s been there before” after making a big play.
6th Rd – PK – Dustin Hopkins – FSU – I’m always predicting the Great Shawn Suisham Breakdown but it never seems to happen. I think the Steelers asured him that a Power Wedgey would be in his future should he screw up. Hopkins 22 of 27 FGA and 44 of 44 in PAT. Could be a great NFL PK for a long time.
7th Rd – COG – Joe Madsen – WVU – 4 yr starter for the mountaineers Madsen is a good pass blocker and a football smart QB of the Offensive Line. All Big East for his career with the Mountaineers. A developmental Player, more depth at C-OG position.
Free Agency – Veterans – 7 Key Signings
RB – Ahmed Bradshaw – this would be a win win situation. I’ve always thought Bradshaw would make a great Steeler. With his combination of power and nimbleness he could bring a lot of the elements we’ve been missing since The Bus retired. If they can get him they have to try. It seems like he’s been around forever but, he’s only 26 and yes he’s’ injury prone with multiple foot surgeries but, in our Running Back by Committee scheme he could thrive for several years. He could be “The Man”.
LT – Tyson Clabo – A 2010 Pro Bowler Clabo has been a mainstay on the Falcon’s OL for years. He has played both LT and RT positions. Would be an immediate stabilizing fixture at either position. Clabo is 30 so he should have another 3 to 4 seasons of starter quality play in him.
OG – Deuce Letui – Has practically been a Steeler playing on Whisenhunt’s Cardinals. Letui is Good in pulling, good in run blocking and sound in pass protection. At 30 he’s a vet that could be around for a while.
OG – Tyronne Green – At 27 Greene has emerged as capable starting Guard. He needs to improve in all aspects of his game but, he’s young and should still have plenty time.
WR-KR-QB-Ath. – Joshua Cribbs – We steal the Super Bowl hungry Cribbs form our rival Browns. Cribbs is an incredible athlete he would be an excellent addition to an offense very familiar with the spread, he could be used as RB, Slot receiver or Wildcat QB. The improvisational and clever Cribbs is to the offense what Troy Polamalu is to the defense. A Good Offensive Coordinator would consider Cribbs a dream come true.
CB – Quentin Jammer – Age 34. still has some gas in the tank. Could provide a cushion for the eventual Cortez Allen or Curtis Brown era and provide some very crafty leadership at the position. A strong number 2 Corner Back.
S – Kerry Rhodes – 30, could step in at Center Field to spell FS Ryan Clark. Rhodes can also cause some Troy-like disruption at Strong Safety.. Expect to see Kerry in Nickel and Dime packages.
The Offensive Line – The Final Solution
3 of the 7 must have free agents fill out the offensive line like so:
LT Tyson Clabo LG David DeCastro C Maurkice Pouncey RG Ramon Foster RT Mike Adams
LT Marcus Gilbert LG Deuce Letui C Doug Legursky RG Tyronne Green RT Kyle Long
This is a good deep line up with good mixture of experience and young talent.
College Free Agents
No movement here:
QB – Jordan Rogers – Vanderbilt – Brother of Aaron.
RB – Onterio McCaleb – Auburn – The slight McCaleb 5′-10” 170# has a blazing fast 4.34 40.
FB – Cody Johnson – Texas – Real Fullback strong in short yardage, blocking and receiving. or
FB – Joe Suhey – Penn State – Son of Matt, another real Fullback.
OT – Tanner Hawkinson – Kansas – A big 6’5” 300# tackle, he is a fluid blocker.
OG – James Wilson – Florida – Good run blocker and willing pass protector.
DE – Mike Purcell – Wyoming – 6′-3” 300# 83 Tackles, 2 sacks, 10 TFL and 2 FF in 2013.
OLB – Travis Long – Wash.St. – 61 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, 9.5 sacks, four passes batted, an interception and a forced fumble in 2012 .
CB – Travis Howard – Ohio St. – 6’1” 196# Travis had 39 tackles, five PBU and four interceptions 2012.
S – Brandon Bishop – NC State – 6′-2” 205# 103 tackles 7 pass broken up 2 forced fumbles and 3 interceptions in 2012.
Coming Up: Day to Day Draft Coverage and Free Agency News.