Stillers 2013 Draft Review
The Stillers finished one of their most critical drafts in recent memory. With holes abounding all over, it was highly crucial to obtain numerous BFPA (Best Football PalyerAvail.) as well as addressing needs.
I shall reiterate what I often say each year...you must draft the BPFA -- Best Football Player Available. Not merely best athlete, but best football player. This is caveated a bit with a needs-based analysis; you may need to examine needs if 2 draftees are equal, and, of course, you may need to avoid spending a 1st rounder on a position that might be very deep. Of course, never do a rabid reach simply for need. This is what produces the likes of Jamain Stephens.
The 2013 Stillers draft went as follows:
Round 1. Jarvis Jones, OLB, UGA
Round 2. Le’veon Bell, RB, Mich St.
Round 3. Markus Wheaton, Oreg St.
Round 4. Shemarko Thomas, S, Syracuse
Round 4. Landry Jones, QB, OK
Round 5. Terry Hawthorne, CB, Illinois
Round 6. Justin Brown, WR, Penn Bate
Round 6. Vince Williams, ILB, FSU
Round 7. Nicholas Williams, DT, Samford
Round 1. Jarvis Jones, OLB, UGA. By now, everyone is aware of Jones’ promise, attributes, and so on. I’m a bit ambivalent on this pick, and will play a “Missouri” stance of “show me” when camp opens and then when the exhibition season begins. The 4.9 forty disturbs the hell out of me. 4.9 ? Take any average LB off any Quad-A high school team in the country, and the guy can run a 4.9. Whether Jones was in poor shape, or conducted a lackadaisical workout, neither is a good excuse and it reflects poorly on Jonesie.
The bigger concern I have is that Jones is 6-2”. Six fucking TWO. Aside from FREAKS like Freeney and Harrison, there are ZERO edge rushers in the NFL this short.
It comes back to frame length. EveryOT in the league is 6-4 or 6-5 or 6-6. Most are at least 6-5”. There are ZERO 6-3" OTs in the NFL. NONE. AT ALL.
A 6-5 OT can easily stave off and then swallow a 6-2" guy. Easy as pie. I chatted with Anthony Munoz a few months ago at the All American Bowl. It was easy to see how he dominated, because of his wing span, hand size, and ability to simply SLAP away rushers before they got even 3 feet from his chest-plate.
Harrison excelled because he had incredible LEVERAGE out of his 6-2 frame, based on incredible, super-human strength from his quads, chest, and arms. I've seen Jones, and he doesn't have HALF the strength, bulk, or leverage that Harrison had. He's a SPEED guy, which is nice in college, but in the NFL, there are only very few Michael Adams's that he'll face in a season. He'll face competent 6-5" OTs who have the frame length to push him away before he can even think of swimming, bulling, or slicing. And, of course, there is the issue with run stuffing, where Jones will have to fight off OT or TEs that usually are 6-4” or bigger. I hope I’m wrong, but I have considerable doubts.
Then, add the double-whammy that Dick despises playing rookies, plus Dick always reduces rookies to confused, meek, passive, bumbling stiffs with his overly complicated defenses. Under Dick, I wouldn’t expect Jonesie to contribute much, if at all, this season.
Round 2. Le’veon Bell, RB, Mich St. The Stillers bypassed Eddie Lacy and grabbed Bell. At the time, this was surprising, but after the draft, it was learned that a team source told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the Steelers "wouldn't touch" new Packers RB Eddie Lacy because his big toe "had been fused." The Steelers were viewed as an ideal landing spot for Lacy because of their need at running back, but he apparently wasn't even a consideration. Two days removed from his surprising slide, we're starting to get a pretty good idea of why Lacy fell. His attitude turned teams off, but his 2012 toe/foot operation turned out to be a bigger concern than the draft community ever realized.
Impressive combine results for Bell: Vertical Leap: 31.5 in. Broad Jump: 118.0 in. 3-Cone Drill: 6.75 seconds. 20-yard shuttle: 4.24 seconds.
Bell played behind a lousy OL and was the workhorse back for the Spartans. He shared time as a freshman and sophomore, then basically was the entire offense as a junior, then came out early and is only 21. I think the Stillers liked that he had proved he could carry the load, yet was younger and had less tread on the tire than a Ball or Franklin. At 235, he should be big enough to handle the rigors of pro football. Per the TR -- "Bell weighed in the 240s last season, but he is currently at 230 as many backs drop weight in advance of the combine to help their 40 speed. He plans to stay there unless the Steelers suggest otherwise." Oh, fuk ! Momlin's staff LUVS nothing more than player packing on the pounds !! Even if Momlin doesn't order Bell to add more weight, Momlin will likely give tacit approval to Bell to pack on some pounds. The guy could be 245 by the time he reports to camp.
I am extremely excited and pleased with this pick. Momlin despises rookies, but it will be very difficult to keep Bell out of the mix.
Round 3. Markus Wheaton, Oreg St. Athletic WR who ran jet sweeps at Oreg St. Was an all-state track star in high school. Had 91 receptions, 11 TD's as a senior. Is said to have trouble high-pointing the ball, which was Wally’s primary issue. Should compete for the #4 WR job, as I don’t think Momlin will give a rookie the #3 job right out of camp, what with Cotchery capable of that spot combined with Momlin’s hatred of giving rookies meaningful PT.
Round 4. Shemarko Thomas, S, Syracuse. The Stillers traded up to snag Thomas in round 4. Sharko is faster than i thought......ran a 4.44. He's already FOUR steps faster than Ryan Clark. Read this thorough review of Sharko at Bleacher Report:
I really like this pick, assuming Sharko comes to camp, ready to hunt bear. There’s babble about him being a future replacement for Pola. Screw that. He is the very-soon replacement for the slowest, least ballhawking FS in the entire NFL, Ryan Clark. Of course, under Dick, Sharko won’t get even a sniff at a starting job until 2015, but in the meantime, he should be able to help Momlin’s perennially weak kick coverage teams.
Round 4. Landry Jones, QB, OK. A decent stab at taking a mid-tier QB in the middle round. Landry won’t cause anyone to forget about Danny Marino, but he has some attributes and could mature into a competent backup. Obviously, it’s tough to tell. Who predicted rabid stardom for Tom Lady the day after he was drafted in the 6th round?
Round 5. Terry Hawthorne, CB, Illinois. This late in the draft, it’s a real crap shoot when yer looking at CBs. Hawthorne was among the best left at his position. 6', 195. 35.5 vertical, 4.44 40, 11 bpr. Played some WR because Illinois sucked hard. Had a concussion and didn't take the step up this year that would have gotten him drafted earlier. Of course the talent around him basically blew. Had a good week at the east-west shrine game. He appears to be very stiff in his tapes, and doesn’t turn all that well. Could be gone before camp even ends.
Round 6. Justin Brown, WR, Penn Bate. 6'3", 207, 4.6 40, but 1.55 10 yard spit and 4.96 3-cone shows agility. Transferred out of PSU for his senior season (without having to sit thanks to Sandusky debacle). Was a top recruit. Actually very productive at both PSU and OU. 79 catches last year. Punt returner who had a punt return TD last year. I think most had a free agent grade on him, but he has plenty of talent. His transfer sort of caused him to get lost in the shuffle. Could make the team as a punt returner and #5 WR. Assuming Wheaton is a lock, then J. Brown may be fighting Plex for the final WR spot.
Round 7. Nicholas Williams, DT, Samford. This manblew up the combine, and some draft experts had him as a possible 5th rounder. 6'4.4", 309, 34.1 arms, 4.94 40 (nearly as fast as Jarvis Jones), 1.63 10 split, 28 bpr (which is pretty impressive given arm length), 33 vertical.
Undrafted free agents --
Reginald Dunn, WR (5-9 3/8, 178) - At the 2013 Utah Pro Day, Dunn ran the 40 in 4.25 and 4.26 seconds. He had a 36-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot-1 broad jump. He ran the short shuttle in 4.36 seconds and the three-cone drill in 6.85 seconds. Dunn had 17 lifts on the bench press. Dunn has never been a full-time starter, but his speed might get him a long look in training camp. A first-team All-Pac 10 selection in 2012, Dunn would have easily led the nation with a 51.3-yard kickoff return average. However, he only had 10 attempts, which wasn't enough to qualify. Still, a single-season NCAA record four of those went for touchdowns. He was never a full-time starter at Utah and has plenty of work to do before seeing time in an NFL offense, but his speed is undeniable.
Bunch of OL and DL were signed, which was to be expected. Madsen and Wade are mildly interesting C prospects. Farrell did pretty decent in his only year as a starter. Plus if Golic Jr. makes the team Mike & Mike will talk about the Steelers instead of just the Jets. White, the MSU DT, is also interesting.
Cinci’s draft nags at me. Thanks to their signing of James Harrison, they no longer had a need at OLB. They then drafted Eifert in round 1 and Giovanni Bernard, the RB out of UNC, in round 2. Bernard led all NCAA RBs last season in yards after contact, and seems to be a good bet to bolster the Cinci ground game. And then, a D has to deal with Gresham, AJ Green, and now Eifert. Had Asshole Colbert not been so hardheaded with Harrison, then Harrison could have been retained and Eifert could have been nabbed in round 1. Time will tell as to how this works out.
(Still Mill and Stillers.com -- when it comes to the analysis of the Pittsburgh Stillers, no one else comes close….)
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