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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Week 3 FA, Steelers Mock Draft (updated with comps)

After watching the pro days, and the FA invites, etc I have come to the conclusion that this draft could only be built in 2 ways.  CB then WR or WR then CB.  I also took another hard look at the roster for 2014 and the potential for losing some of those players in 2015.  The mock below was built on the premise that A. Blount would be signed (done) and B. Worilds doesnt sign an extension by May 8th.

Below is a merged mock as only the 15th and 46th picks differ from one another, while the rest of each mock maintains the same.  The As are my first choice with Bs being second.

That said, with the 15th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select...

15A Darqueze Dennard, CB Michigan State- once again history shows we pick Big 10 or SEC most of the time in the 1st and 2nd rounds under Tomlin.  Colbert and Tomlin attended the Michigan State pro day as well as took Benjamin to dinner.  The only other time I recall that happening was last year with MT and Colbert took Bell and Dion Sims to dinner.  Bell was picked in the 2nd round (as I predicted) and the Dolphins snuck in 4 picks ahead of us in the 4th and took Sims.  Bastards.  Needless to say, DD is a 6 foot 4.4 36 in vert press CB from the Big 10.  And a captain to boot.  And I think he is at the top of our board with the likes of Gilbert, Evans, Ebron and Benjamin behind him.  Oh, and yes hes also a captain.

15B Mike Evans, WR Texas A&M- here is the player that allows us to follow suit in drafting a junior offensive player.  While Evans has size his speed is adequate, not necessarily fast.  His route running si fine, and yes he has played with an improvisational QB.  But its his ego that troubles me.

46A Donte Moncrief, WR Ole Miss- just the pick Ben wants and needs.  Unlike Wallace, also from Ole Miss, Donte is tight with his routes, also runs a 4.4, but he knows the entire route tree.  This aint no one trick pony.

46B Jaylen Watkins, CB Florida- I was so excited to see that not only did MT and Colbert attend the Gator PD, but Lake was also there.  Watkins proved in the combine that he has the body, athleticism, back pedal and speed to play int he NFL.  (As the brother of Sammy Watkins, his blood line doesnt hurt either)  But the thing that I think will be a long lasting edge for Jaylen with us is his team first mentaility.  In 2013 he played CB with Evans and Elam both left for the draft with little behind them at Florida.  Watkins offered to move to safety and played very very well.  That same conversation was had by Lake in his career in the NFL.  Watkins knew what would be best for the team probably wouldnt grab the attention of scouts, etc, but he knew the team needed him.  So he did it. He is also a captain.

97 (COMP) Ryan Carrethers, NT Arkansas State- while I could find proof of us as the Razorbacks PD, I cant find anything linking us to Ryan.  Other that the schools history.  They employed a young WR by the name of Michael Tomlin and installed him as their 2ndary coach years back.  Since then hes drafted another Red Wolf in DJ Johnson.  Weve proven we need a true 0 tech, and even the recent signing of Cam Thomas, only for 2 years, doesnt mean the 26 year old Fangupo is hanging onto a spot (never dressed).  A mid round pick is the norm for MT to draft DTs lately as the drunk TaAmu was a 4th rounder.  Further reviews show Ryan to be the 4-5th best true NT in the draft.

118 Prince Shembo, OLB Notre Dame- Whether or not Worilds signs an extension is actually irrelevant as the depth behind he and Jones is now only Carter (bust) and Moats.  Though the moats deal is only for 1 year.  The thing we missed re JJ was his size and speed.  Colbert over assumed his understanding fo the 34 would allow those 2 things to not be a problem.  While he did start, 1 sack is shitty.  Enter the Prince.  Some things that Shembo has that JJ does not- speed, size, power, and position flexibility.  Actually the only thing they have in common is the fact they both played in a 30 front in college.  MT and Colbert attended the ND pro day.

157 Taylor Hart, DE Oregon- UPDATE- I found an article where Hart went into detail about working out for Coach Tomlin and the staff at the Combine.  To say I was geeked is an understatement.  Now we just need the Eagles to make a mistake and miss him in the 4th round as this is the highest I can see us addressing the DE spot.  Also, after looking deeper into whats separated Cam Heyward from other recent 5 tech attempts (and failures) I whittled it down to knowledge of the position, use in the game plan, and overall stats.  The knocked a large number of DEs from the middle of the draft right off my board.  Take a minute to compare the career stats of Cam and Hart.  Almost a match.  A recent stellar PD requires us to grab him early, but his familiarity in the position could also allow him playing time.  At least on rotation.  And another captain.  And yes, a team captain.

173 (COMP) Crockett Gillmore, TE Colorado State- Ive always been a fan of the Georgia TE Lynch, but after looking over the history of the 6-8th TE being picked by the end of the 3rd round, I had to abandon him.  Thankfully Gillmore has similar stats and build, though maybe a better inline blocker.  Either way, Im hoping Coach Porter puts in a good word.  He did have a minor hammy tweak in his pro day.  Yup, a captain.

192 Ross Cockrell, CB Duke- As we really only have 1 CB after 2014 being Gay we do need to draft 2 CBs.  As the former bust Curtis Brown proved, some of the 2ndary dont need to necessarily be position flexible as long as theyre strong in special teams.  Thats totally Ross.  Size, speed, hands and a ST gunner.  Colbert loved the DBs in the Shrine game and attended his pro day.  And yet another captain.

215 (COMP) Wesley Johnson, OL Vanderbilt- The addition fo Wallace allows us to not really worry so much over the interior Oline, however this is Gilberts last year and Adams still sucks.  Johnson has the size, athleticism and history starting at RT LT and LG in a zone blocking scheme.  We also worked him out at the Vandy pro day.  Captain, yes.

230 Henry Josey, RB Mizzou- here is the 3rd down speed back that we now need thanks to the recent deal with LeGarrett Blount.  This kid can also return kicks.  He is a junior, at 5'9 195 he fits the mold for what MT and Colbert have been looking at.  If not for an injury this year he would easily be a 2-3 round pick.  Finally, another team captain.


Richardson, DB Arizona- Total DB that can flex to CB or Safety with height and speed.
Bryant, OL Youngstown State- flexible OL for any of the 5 spots on the oline.
Ramsey, DE Boston College- MTs required local kid selection.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Steelers post combine mock

You all know by now that my co-author and I use the CBS Sportsline draft site as our bible.  I got tired of waiting for them to update the board with the combine info, so I went ahead and built a logical mock with the Steelers both trading back and staying put.

Hind sight being 20/20 I really wish I had done this earlier (even last night) as my picks fall into place PERFECTLY.

This trading back scenario really has me believing it could occur.  It can occur.  And yes, it will occur.
While most people look for trading down options primarily in the 1st round, I took it in another direction altogether.  I bet we stay put at 15, draft the CB below, but when our turn comes around in the 2nd at 46- our phone will ring.  49ers are on the other end.  They want Jordan Matthews, Jerry Rice's cousin.  He's graded 57 overall with with another 10 teams between our pick and theirs... he wont last that long.  Hell, we could take him.

So, we strike a deal.  Swap our 46 for their 56, and they give us their extra 3rd round, 77th pick.  When I wrote this mock I had no idea what player would be dropping that could make this happen.  But the bible showed it to me tonight.  BTW- youll notice the number of times I mention most of these guys being team captains.  Why?  Because I was the only one that saw that was the trend last year with ALL of our picks.  We dont want iffy, maybe, halfass players anymore.  We want leaders.

Enjoy folks.  This is as real is itll ever get.

With the 15th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select... (I still hate you Goodell for making us wait another 2 weeks, you f'in jag off, when the original date wouldnt be a problem for Easter)

15 Kyle Fuller, CB Virginia Tech- a senior (MT has only ever drafted senior CBs), a "Permanent Captain" on his team, a position flexible defender (played both safety and cb), from Va Tech (a very close defense to ours), is best in a man off coverage, is 6 foot, plays the run HARD, and ran a 4.0.  This kid is what I was hoping Dennard from Michigan State would be.  The Combine showed me otherwise.  Oh, I forgot to mention- he's a blood line.  The Fuller name is in the NFL almost as much as the Matthews boys.

56 (from 49ers for our 46) Donte Moncrief, WR Ole Miss- Ive had this kid attached to us for months.  SEC product, over 6'2, built strong at 220, runs a 4.0 AND the ENTIRE ROUTE TREE.  We interviewed him at the Combine.  While most of the WRs we draft we seniors, there have been a few juniors (Wallace) that weve taken high.  This kid plays like a taller, faster Hines Ward.

77 (from 49ers in above deal) Terrence Brooks, S Florida State- Another kid Ive had attached to the black and gold for months.  Position flexible, this time from CB to S.  Plays angry vs the run, calls all the plays in the 2ndary, captain of the team, is 6 foot, and runs a 4.0.  Can cover the slot as well as the TE.  This is Clarks replacement.  Im not sure what to do with the Shark.

97 (Wallace Comp) Demarcus Lawrence, DE/OLB Boise State- and yet another from my past mocks.  Hes another Woodley/Worilds product, though at Boise St he was asked to stand up almost as much as when he had a hand in the ground.  Powerful vs the run, can scare the shit outta QBs as he uses numerous blitzing moves, and has spent time dropping into coverage.  And yes, a team captain.  As of today our only depth at OLB is Chris Carter.  Need I say more?

116 Arthur Lynch, TE Georgia- Finally, a guy that can officially take over for Miller in 1-2 years.  Used mostly in line when blocking, but was a certain threat on 3rd down and goal line.  Uses his size, 6'5 255, to block out defenders.  Isnt gonna out run anyone, but knows the entire route tree and runs tight routes so he will make separation.  Yup, another team captain.

133 (Lewis Comp) Phillip Gaines, CB Rice- Colbert let the cat out of the bag a few weeks ago when he said he "loved" the DBs in the East West Shrine game.  I was originally set on Cockrell, but the combine showed me (and everyone who paid attention) that Gaines might be the more well rounded pick.  At 6'0 200 he is Cortez Allen 2.0.  Ran faster than a 4.4, and can play inside or out.  And he is so much of a leader that he was the FIRST EVER junior to be named team captain at Rice.  Ever.

152 Ryan Carrethers, NT Arkansas State- finally a true 0 tech.  This kid showed at the combine why he was so disruptive to offenses, especially in the backfield.  Had almost 200 tackles while really only starting the last 2 years.  He is the definition of the term Bull Rush.  Google an interview with him.  Now close your eyes.  Sounds like Dermontti doesnt it?  A very bright kid with a passion to play.  Due to the game going more pass happy the NT wont get used alot.  So a later pick for the 0 tech makes perfect sense.  But what to do when hes not on the field.... oh, thats right, pick 191

191 Deandre Coleman, DL Cal- is a natural in a 30 front base defense either at 5 tech.  Has the size that some in the 40 front may like him as their 1 tech.  I like what Ive seen with him on the end at the 5.  Tomlin has been drafting bigger DL to play the 5 lately, with most on or over 300 lbs.  This kid is right up there.  Hell, at 6'5 315 he could play RT.  Plays the run much better than the pass, but thats expected in our defense.  Although pairing him with Cam in the middle of the 2-4-5 nickel set would be very fun to watch.  And yes, a team captain.

214 (Mendy Comp) James Morris, LB Iowa- James is natural ILB in a 34, either at the Mack or Buck.  Hes always running downfield, and understands the game very well.  While his 40 time was only 4.8 I bet he does better on his pro day as the tape shows, and stats, that he can cover.  And make picks.  (4 last year alone)  The stat that grabs Tomlins attention?  399 tackles in the Big Ten.  And heres our 2nd Permanent Captain.  Catching a trend here?

229 Jalen Saunders, OW Oklahoma- And Haley gets his toy.  There are 3 kids in this draft that are essentially the same type of player.  Saunders, Archer from Kent State and Thomas from Oregon, are all RB/WR/Offensive Weapons.  Line'm up anywhere and just let'm go.  All 4.4 or sub 4.4, and all the size of a thimble.  We missed on Rainey, so we try again.  Id rather have Dri Archer but Im betting someone gets him a little earlier with a kick ass 40.

255 (Mundy Comp) Trey Millard, FB/HBack/TE Oklahoma State- to me this kid looks like Will Johnsons twin.  But if you look deeper you find an interesting thing about Trey.  He was used in the Cowboys short yardage.  Not even so much as a blocker (yeah, sometimes) but also as a ball carrier.  He was their short yardage pick up.  This kid has the chance to be big and play big.  For those yinzers that miss the Bus, Trey will make them happy.  The biggest difference is that Millard can also block AND catch.  Imagine this- Its 3rd and goal.  Full House set (3 in the backfield).  Joining Ben is Bell, Will and Trey.  Ummm, who's getting the ball?  Good luck with that defense.  And yes, he is also a team captain.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Steelers Pre Combine Mock Draft

Now that the East West Shrine game and the Senior Bowl are finished as well as 335 players have been officially invited to the Combine, its time to take another look at our needs.

While I thought in the past I have done more research and planning than other websites concerning Steeler mock drafts (2010 getting 7/10 right) it looks like Ive taken another step towards getting even better tonight.

Did you know that there have been NO, ZERO, NONE underclass Cornerbacks drafted by the Tomlin regime?  Ever.  Nope, neither did I... until tonight.  I was reviewing and comparing a few of the mid round CBs (as MT prefers to draft them) when 2 CBs grabbed my attention.  Both were juniors.  With the possible loss of Ike, and the discovery that Curtis Brown is nothing more than a Special Teamer, there isnt anything behind Tez and Gay.  So how would 2 very young CBs fit, and possibly make an impression, on our defense?  Yes, LeBeau prefers to give the defensive rookies a redshirt, but how far behind would they be if they only had 3 years experience in college- AND had to wait a year to even get any real playing time???

This give me the idea to check the CBs drafted by Tomlin and Co. to see just how many Juniors weve drafted.  And like I said, zero was the answer.  Almost 10 CBs drafted anywhere from the 3rd thru 7th rounds, but ALL of them had at least 4 years of college, even with some having playing time as Freshmen.

FWDD to tonight.  With this new information in hand I decided to take yet another look at who we're losing, who we may lose, and who we may show the door.  I put all of this together with our draft history and came up with a final mock that even my Bears Blogger friend DeShawn hasnt even seen (I do tend to run these by him to get his opinion, but this one clicks so well that it had to be shared to everyone).

Some final points- Im using an educated guess on the comp picks as far as what round and how many, while realistically Im probably off by 1 or 2.  Im also just as aware as you are that if you watched the SB you know damn well that "Defense Wins Championships".

Now that being said, with the 15th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select...

15 Calvin Pryor, S, Lousiville- Typical Tomlin drafting a junior with the 1st pick, however very atypical in that this pick makes back to back defensive picks last year and this one.  MT has always gone Off, Def, Off, Def back and forth.  Until now.  Just like in 2003 we are drafting the best Safety in the draft.  Yes, the best.  HaHa is only in the 1st round because he played for Bama.  The kid has speed, hands AND LOVES TO HIT.  Do ya like the Seahawks defense?  Dick does use a cover 3 at times, and even a cover 1, but if the Shark could cover the top and have Pryor closer to the LOS covering the TE or slot WR (and terrorizing the running game) then this is perfect.
Check this out:

46 DaQuan Jones, DT, PSU- Our run defense is junk.  Stats and performance have both proven that our front 7 arent cutting it.  Ever since we had a stud NT like Casey weve been poor.  The 0 techs job is to take up 2 blockers allowing the remaining defense to make plays.  Steve doesnt do that.  Jones is a 1 tech (like Hampton was) and took off 20 pounds last yr to gain speed.  He showed in the Senior Bowl that even at 323 hes requires 2 OL to block him.  Coach Mitchell will probably put him on a routine to bring some of that weight back, but as muscle, before the season starts.  Jones at 6'3 335 would be dominant.

93 (COMP) Ross Cockrell,CB, Duke- A senior CB that led the ACC in picks and tackles that lit up the EW Shrine game and caught Colberts attention.  Primarily playing off man, and the speed to cover man to man is tremendous.  Throw in a few splash plays like INTs and were set.
Check this out:

94 (COMP) Jaylen Watkins, CB, Florida- Another senior CB that has and can play anywhere in the secondary.  Tomlin is also a bloodlines guy, so how about the older brother of this years best WR, Sammy Watkins?  Jaylen's dedication to the team is so deep he graciously accepted the challenge of moving to safety this year as both of the Gators safeties moved on to the NFL last year.  In doing so it shows he has a working head on his shoulders as well as the tall lean build we like.

111 Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss- Its not often to find a WR that is tall, fast with solid hands but the catch with Donte is his devotion to the full route tree and running the routes correctly.  Other taller WRs generally either lose speed or weight with their height.  Donte is a solid 6'2 225, with a natural glide that allows him to take the top off the defense but more importantly grab the YAC.  Being one of the better WRs in the SEC certainly doesnt hurt either.
Check this out:

134 (COMP) Crockett Gillmore, TE, Colorado St- the mistake we made with Paulson was hoping he could learn how to block.  As he played more of a WR/weapon in the Duck offense, blocking was never on his to do list.  Enter Crockett.  He certainly has the size to be a valued weapon in the red zone, but even better he is a mauler at the LOS.  No, he wont leave anyone in the dust when in a route, but he certainly knows how to use his 6'6 frame to box out smaller defenders.  He was a late arrival to the Senior Bowl and showed quickly he was meant to be there.

149 Demarcus Lawrence, DE/OLB, Boise State- MT loves to find 34OLB depth in the 5th round.  Here is another.  Lawrence is a tweener that did play standing as well as a hand in the dirt, but he will need a year or 2 to nail it down.  Due to him being a junior and a tweener, he is the only pick I have falling.  With the Worilds/Woodley debacle thats coming in the off season, we need additional depth at OLB.

181 Justin Britt, OL, Mizzou- Im gonna have to guess Coach Munchak will be allowed to make an addition to his new Oline in this draft, even as depth.  Britt is very familiar with the Outside and Inside ZBS and has experience playing OT and OG.  Hes athletically big at 6'6 315.

206 Ben Gardner, DE, Stanford- Were most likely losing up to 3 DEs in the off season.  While I hope we find a way to keep Woods, I do think we could use another DE for depth, preferably one with experience as a 5 tech.  Ben is just that.  He did have an injury to finish off last year so our doctors will need to clear him, but when healthy he was a beast vs the run.

213 Roderick McDowell, RB, Clemson- We are also lacking with depth behind Da Bell.  "Hot Rod" has the speed and hands to be a solid 3rd down/change of pace back, but also take over the return duties allowing AB to focus on being the #1 WR.

230 Caleb Lacey, ILB, Oklahoma State- In my opinion Vince will be fine lining up with Timmons inside, but there isnt much depth as Foote is almost 100, and Garvin is a converted safety.  Lacey however is a little known all around LB.  Solid in run support AND pass coverage.  93 tackles, 3 forced fumbles and 4 picks in the Big 12.  Sounds good to me.
Check this out:

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

8 and 8 x 2

Back to back years finishing 8 and 8.  Thats not the best trend.  However I have found my original respect for Coach Tomlin as he didnt let the whole season finish as it began.  Im also more of a fan of Haleys offense.  While others may not have noticed, his empty set has the personnel to transform into ANY other formation.  2 WR, or 3?  Check.  A RB?  Check.  A TE, or 2?  Check.  Using this, along with the no huddle, is a very deadly combination.

I hate the Refs.

Ok, so, where does that leave us?  With the 15th overall pick.  While my last posting was sold on us getting a franchise LT, Mr. Beachum may have swayed that if not more than a little.  For a guy thats only 6'3, he sure does hold his own over there.

FFWD to the National Championship game.  I was rooting for Auburn (no surprise, CAAAAMMMM), but found myself motivated while the Tigers were up 21 to 3.  I took another look at the Steelers last 4 draft years (10, 11, 12, and 13) and thought to myself "If Auburn can stick to their guns and not change their offense in the biggest game of their young lives, then why should I make all these concessions when building a true Steelers mock?  I then thought about the homework I did to build my most successful mock, 2010, where I called 7 out of the 10 picks correctly.  (Go ahead and beat that Bleacher Report, Kiper, etc.)  You cant.  You wont.  Nevertheless, I really stuck to what meant most at that time.  Need and history.  While the Steelers do generally draft the BPA, you have to have noticed that its the BPA that fills a need, not just a pure BPA.  If that were the case we'd have swarms of WRs, QBs, and RBs running about the place.  (Jarvis was a reach)

That said I took a look at our history, when we reached for a pick and when we waited to see what or who fell, and rebuilt a mock sticking to that history.  Pure and simple.  It allowed me (and the Steelers) success in 2010, and according to my cohort, it could very well happen again this time.  So much so that a devout Bears fan said "this is the most realistic draft you have ever made, and if it happens, Ill gladly be a Steeler fan".

Granted this is before the Senior Bowl, EW Shrine and the Combine, but after seeing all the uneducated junk thats out there, I felt once again that the public needed to see something realistic.  Something that COULD happen.  Something that ultimately MIGHT happen.

Intro the jagoff Goodell...

"With the 15th pick in the 2014 NFL draft (that was pushed back because Im a wuss), the Pittsburgh Steelers select..."

15 Louis Nix III, DT Notre Dame- I still have questions re this type of pick as the past 2 years we have been in more of the 2-4-5 Nickel than our base 3-4 formation.  Yes, every 30 front requires a true NT.  Steve isnt it.  Hampton was.  Even Woods or Hood arent it.  Hampton was.  But thru the reading Ive been doing and tape Ive watched I have found that while we typically send the NT to the sideline on "passing downs" we might not have to do that all the time with Nix.  He requires a double team, if he doesnt get one then hes gonna be in the backfield to take the hand off, or at least get the QB on the move.  So why not at least team him with Heyward in the middle of the Nickel???  He has the arm length, and the quick twitch needed to not only hog up lanes and blockers but also press the inside of the pocket.  Lets do the math.  5 OL right?  The base Nickel is essentially a 6 man front.  If 2 of the OL are blocking Nix, that leaves 3 to block Hayward and 4 LBs.  Not to mention any addtl blitzing that may happen.  So at the very least, with NO blitzing, its a 3 on 5 task.  Good luck offense.  Ok, so they go mass protect and keep in their RB and TD.  Now its a 7 on 6.  And now we blitz a CB.  The offense is down to only 3 WRs, while we have 5 DBs to cover and or blitz.  This was a long tale my friends, but the more I write about it, the more I like the pick.

HISTORY- in 2010 we reached 13 spots for Pouncey.  This is an 11 spot reach.

46 Martavis Bryant, WR Clemson- For every Sammy Watkins, theres a Martavis Bryant.  My heart skipped a beat when I saw the Tweet, him entering the Draft.  Tomlin draft a Junior.  Shocking.  Not.  Ben will be thrilled.  Hes 6'4.  Haley will be thrilled.  He's probably gonna clock very low 4.4s.  He didnt just take the top of the defense, be put a hole in the umbrella.  We saw a poor mans version of Bryant make the game winning TD catch in the Natl Championship game.  If not for all the drops and poor route running Id be a Kelvin fan.  But Bryant is the total package.  And ask yourself, "how can Clemson use Sammy on WR screens and drag routes so often???".  Because theres a monster darting down the field with at least a 40 inch jump.  Yes, and Sammy is awesome.  But think of it.  Sanders is gone.  Bye.  Our top 4 WRs are Brown, Bryant, Wheaton and Cotchery.  Brown the true #1, Bryant a true big deep threat, Wheaton a true slot WR, and Cotchery the possession WR.  Ill take it in a heart beat.

HISTORY- in 2010 we reached 24 spots for Worilds.  This is also a 24 spot reach.

93 COMP EJ Gaines, CB Mizzou- Yes, Tomlin, LeBeau and Lake love the bigger CBs, those that can cover the bigger WRs.  Yes, EJ is 5'10.  And yes, Im not a fan of the Lil Shark we drafted last year.  But theres another thing Tomlin and company adore- speed.  And the icing on the cake?  Hands.  EJ isnt just fast.  Hes "what the hell just ran by here???" fast.  He averages 3-4 picks a year.  The way I see it- Cortez will use a full off season as the starter.  Get him locked in for 4-5 years now.  Pay attention Colbert.  Ike redoes his deal, but only stays for 1 more year.  Gay has a 3 yr deal, and actually played ok as the Nickel back.  Where we have problems is after that.  Curtis Brown was a waste of a 3rd round pick.  And after that it only gets worse.  Let Gaines learn as the Nickle or Dime back this year then replace Gay in 2015.  Yes Colbert, Im planning for the future.  You should try it.  And then, as not all top CBs are over 6 foot, see if hes earned the starting nod next to Allen.  If not, maybe take a look at our 4th round pick, or get a stud CB in 2016 as Ive locked up most of the other needs this year.

HISTORY- in 2012 we drafted the grade equal to that of the pick.  IE, 93 picking 93.  That pick was Sean Spence.  Eh.  Ill get to him later.

94 COMP Dee Ford, DE/OLB Auburn- Oh the mess Colbert and Tomlin have made of our cherished outside linebackers.  Once the pedigree of the NFL, now... we could have Jones and Carter starting in 2014.  Hurts dont it?  Ok, so if you saw the Championship game you know who Ford is.  What I love about Auburn as that they really dont play a pure 30 or 40 front, especially when it has to do with their LBs.  (Just writing that makes me think Belicheat is gonna read this and pick him sooner.  Jagoff).  That means while Ford has the size of a "Tweener" he has experience in rushing with a hand down, standing up, and or in coverage (not alot, but some).  This kid is all motor all the time.  He doesnt even wait for the word "go", he hears GUH and hes out.  Looking ahead, due to injuries, do we redo Woodleys expensive overpaid deal?  Trade him? (if we lock in Jason Worilds, then thats what I prefer).  And then can we keep Jason?  Neither is really anti injury, but one is of a lesser hit, both to the sideline and to the wallet.  Behind them?  Jarvis on the other side.  And Chris Carter.  Thats it.  That sucks.  This would give Dee the "standard one year of learning" bullshit line that LeBeau throws out there.  If we happen to lose both Jason and LaMarr... Id be thrilled with Dee Ford on the strong side.  And not to confuse you Colbert- he has spent time STARTING over at LOLB LDE.

HISTORY- in 2012 we drafted the grade equal to that of the pick.  IE, 93 picking 93.  That pick was Sean Spence.  Eh.  Ill get to him later.

111 Terrence Brooks, S/CB Florida State- Ive been a fan all year, yet was confused when Jimbo pressed him into the box so often vs Auburn.  Yes, theyre a run first team, but ye theyre also a big playaction surprise team.  So when you keep your best safety (in my opinion), one that is a converted CB (another favorite trait of Tomlin, position flexibility), why lock him up in the box?  Nevertheless, Brooks is an all around DB, that yes began his time at Florida State as a CB, then moved to Safety.  While he does have the coverage ability to play either, I dont think he has the outright speed to keep up with WRs at the CB spot.  He has height at 6 foot, and the kid can hit.  Tackles correctly too.  Could he flex as a Dime or 5th DB in a Quarter coverage?  I think he could.

HISTORY- in 2013 we drafted a tiny little speedster of a safety and a useless QB with a reach as per CBS Sports of 4 spots.  This Jones is worse than the first Jones we got.  I graded him as a 7-UDFA.  Hopefully we make up for it with Ryan Clarks replacement.  This was also a 4 spot reach at the time the mock with built, 1/6/2014.

143 Andrew Lynch, TE Georgia- Heath is another year old, and another year wiser.  Spaeth actually could be better on his second go around.  David Pauslon.  Ugh.  Is an average WR pretending to be a TE.  If that.  Lynch on the other hand is not quite like Heath but almost as Miller was a dominate pass catcher at Virginia, doing a decent job of blocking.  Andrew on the other hand is a dominant blocker that has baby butt soft hands.  He has decent height, 6'5.  He is built for the position at 255, the same as Miller.  He wont however stretch the field, but will be vital on 3rd and short with a much needed 1st down catch, or a tight seam in the red zone.

HISTORY- in 2012 we drafted Chris Rainey as he fell 34 spots.  Lynch too will probably fall some as hes not the now trendy "pass catching TE".  This was a fall of 32 spots.

168 COMP James Hurst, OT UNC- Finally an offensive linemen.  Ive been a fan of Hursts all season.  I had a mock earlier in the year with him in the 3rd round.  He is a dominate Left Tackle that can play guard.  He is rare because he is far better as pass pro than run blocking.  Then how the hell does he fall to the late 5th round?  Simple.  He broke his leg in the bowl game.  As long as he tests out ok, he is worth a shot this late in the draft, especially since weve locked up other needs.  Im just hoping the break hasnt hindered his kick slide.  The main problem I had with Mike Adams is that his over did his slide so much that he even leaned on his weight in that direction, easily allowing the defender a straight shot to the QB.  We saw that live this year.  As long as the leg heals, we wont have that problem with Hurst.

HISTORY- in 2011 we drafted Chris Carter after falling 85 spots.  Hursts injury has him fall 78.

169 COMP Max Bullough, LB Michigan State-  Oh Max.  Or as I like to call him, "The Lighter James Farrior".  LOL  Yes he was suspended for the Rose Bowl.  And yes we are trying to steer clear of such players.  While we dont know what the suspension was regarding we do know this... Max is a power at ILB.  He owns the position.  The term "defenses QB".  Thats Max.  He reads, he hits, he tackles.  And while I am a big fan of Vince to play permanently alongside Timmons, I do think we need more solid depth.  Did I mention he could play outside as well?  Huh.  But what about Spence???  The jury is still out until he can actually play again.  If ever.  We cant sit on our hands hoping things work out. See what that got us in the CB and OLB positions?

HISTORY- this is shared with the 6th round pick.  yes I said I was gonna stick to the history, pure and simple, this was the only pick that needed to use the numbers from the next pick.  That said, in 2013 we drafted Vince Williams, after he fell 4 spots.

175 Benjamin Gardner, DE Stanford- Off comes Da Beard.  In steps Cameron Heyward.  And?  Ummm, Nick Williams?  Eh.  Arnfelt?  In preseason he was a stud.  So maybe.  Keep Woods.  God I hope so.  Move McLendon to 5 tech?  Ummm.  Resign Ziggy?  As you can see this is an issue but we do have options.  I believe with the loss of Keisel we must at least add competition.  And why not a player with starting time as a 5 tech?  In the Stanford defense?  Yup.  Gardner is used much like Heyward was (finally) this year.  5 tech in the base, and 1 tech or 3 tech in the Nickel.  His upside, like Cams is that hes not only good at stopping the run, hes a threat to the QB as well.

HISTORY- in 2011 we drafted Keith Williams, reaching 21 spots.  That was a mistake.  But like that pick, we reach only 16 spots to get him, and unlike him- he should stick around.

207 Roderick McDowell, RB Clemson-  Do you see why I had us drafting Bell in the 2nd round last year?  And do you see that we have no dpeth behind him?  Enter "Hot Rod" McDowell.  He was made in a zone blocking scheme, and has the speed to exploit the outside/stretch version of that in the NFL.  While Bell can be an every down player, it never hurts to give him a breather.  So why not attack the defense with a speed back while theyre catching their breath over the beating they took from LeVeon?  On top of this, wouldnt it be even better if we could give Brown a rest from Punt returns, and add a true weapon on kick off returns?  See Roderick.  Hes the perfect blend of patience and speed (with a goofed up fumble now and then.  Just being honest), while Bell is patience, patience, more patience and power.

HISTORY- in 2011 we selected Baron Batch, the painter, reaching 176 spots.  With McDowell we reach 193.  Why?  Hes 5'9.

I hope you enjoyed this educational, realistic Pittsburgh Steelers mock draft.  Im hanging onto it until after both the Senior Bowl and the Combine as I feel its a tremendous fit.  Thanks for the time.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

2014 Chicago Bears Mock Draft

2 and 6. Despite my anger Tomlin continues to be a, ok lets just call him, a "cat"

While I have Tweeted him and the PR director over and over Tomlin continues to stand by LeBeau just because of his name.  Thats pathetic.  Cowardly.  And even while Haleys offense did get a little better, it still had issues with some poor play calling (3rd and 1 vs the 31st worst team against the run and he went 4 wide?!?!?!)  Dipshit.

Nevertheless, I do hope both coordinators are replaced after the season, and while Id prefer they both get canned now and simply promote Kirby and Butler in the interim, we both know the Rooneys wont do that.  Stubborn.

The last 2 weeks have shown me that the primary concerns for the Steelers is... everything?  Just about.  Leading the way is our need for a true LT.  Check this blog and youll see why Adams would never fit, and how I called that DURING the college season.  Furthermore our defense has been horrible from top to bottom.  Woodley has been playing ok, as is Da Beard, Timmons and even newly starting LDE Heyward.  But after that the "above the line" players drops off.  And in some cases it drops dramatically.

I revamped a mock a did 2 weeks ago after we had 2 wins in a row.  Whoo hoo?  Nah.  What was clouded then and is clearer now is that our oline is unstable, our defense is shit, and our depth across the board is- NONEXISTENT.  So changes needed to be made.  The first thing I did was cut the Punter.  (See what I did there?  Hating Tomlin more and more each week)  Then I reassessed the immediate needs vs whats GOING TO BE on the roster in 2014.  Hopefully Tomlin does more than his 2011 "unleash hell" and even more than the recent "lets play rotate the Punter.  Again".  And while I said "going to be" on the roster this, once again, is my interpretation as to who SHOULD be left on the roster.  IE after eliminating quite a few people.  Side note- my buddy Ed Bouchette tweeted yesterday "what could the Steelers do with the two mid round pciks they gave up in the 2013 draft".  The loss of the 3rd rounder sent to the Browns for a midget safety that cant cover and a 4th rounder on a 3rd string QB that is junk with no black and gold future.  Not to mention the 3rd rounder the Pats were ok with giving us then for Sanders.  Now we have to wait till 2015 for that conditional pick.  But thats in the past, hopefully along with the pink slips given to Tomlin (yep, Im ready to move on), LeBeau, Haley and Colbert among others.

And yes, Im still interested in the GM job.

With all of that said, with the SIXTH pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers can only hope and pray to select...

6 Jake Matthews, LT Texas A&M-  Adams cant do it, Beachum can but only at an average ability, and Tomlin wont let Gilbert do it?  So, much like how we always hope the Steelers draft a high round CB, here is our franchise Left Tackle.  Jake has the experience in the ZBS, the pedigree, the ability, and yes, even the bloodlines.  Just like in 2004 when we finally drafted a franchise QB, here is that refreshing feeling all over again.

38 DaQuan Jones, DT Penn State-  2 years ago there was a 1 tech stud DT by the name of Mike Martin.  The Steelers, Pats and Titans were the only teams to work him out, and during that draft he was falling right into our laps.  But just as I thought the Titans jumped ahead of us and grabbed him 4 picks ahead of us.  Now is the time to get a second chance.  Or at least I think so.  Jones is bigger, both in height and weight, and hopefully stronger than Martin.  At the 1 tech he demands the attention of the center and guard most of the time, and if not double teamed he has the athleticism to get inside them and make the play.  While listed at 6'3 325 looks a little tall, Im betting hes closer to 6'2.  Either way, he is a modern age DT and could easily play the 0 tech.  I also feel he could stay on the field in passing downs as he does have the burst to get up field.

93 (3rd rd comp 1)  Jaylen Watkins, DB Florida- Yes, it is typical for me to draft a Gator, but while we ignored the school last year, it showed that may have been a mistake.  Heres what I figure, the Gators have 3 very viable options at CB in this draft, and all of them can play outside or inside at the nickel/dime.  While Jaylen will need to size up some to 190ish pounds, he is a dynamic CB that plays the run and the ball very well.  Not to mention that he was signed to the Gators initially to play cornerback, and has done just that until this year.  With Elam and Evans now in the NFL (and Elam not being drafted 31 by the Steelers as I recommended, now settling for a slow, unproductive OLB) Jaylen was asked to move safety.  Since then he has played well but it shows he can be more dominant in the CB spot.

94 (3rd rd comp 2) Terrence Brooks, DB Florida State comp 2)- A few years ago we drafted Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen back to back.  While Curtis showed junk on game tape he did well at the Combine.  Tez on the other hand was my man crush from day 1.  So here we are again.  Having lost Keenan Allen, kept old and expensive Ike Taylor, and will not let Clark walk we are low in the 2ndary.  Enter the 2nd of our back to back DBs, however this one is an exact flip of Jaylen.  Brooks is a hands down safety.  Its what he lives, what he does.  Yes he can move into the nickel spot at times, but playing the top of the umbrella is what he does best.  It also helps that his hometown is not located on the Yellow Brick Road.

112 Xavier Grimble, TE USC- 

146 Josh Hush, WR Oregon-  

168 (5th rd comp 1)  Jonathan Brown, LB Illinois-  

169 (5th rd comp 2)  JaWaun James, OL Tennessee- 

188 Roderick McDowell, RB Clemson-  Yup, 2 WRs.  Rainey, Rainey, Rainey... how you left a door wide open for a scat back with return ability to finally step in.  Some say "Hot Rod" is a tougher CJ Spiller.  I think hes a mix of Spiller and what Rainey could have been.  Rod could easily spell downs for Bell, maybe in a thunder and lightning role, but more so as a 3rd down threat.  He keeps Tajh Boyd safe with his cut blocks, but also gets free in the flat for a deadly screen or check down.  And I havent even gotten to the kickoff and punt return ability.  Rod could finally allow AB to solely focus on the WR role and not worry about getting plastered when returning punts

212 Chaz Sutton, DE South Carolina- 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Week 7: CHICAGO BEARS at Washington Redskins

After a Thursday Night win, the 4-2 Bears go to the nation’s capital to face the struggling Redskins.  After playing 3 games in a span of 11 days, the Bears will kickoff this week 10 days after last taking the field.  It’s also the Bears last game before their bye week.  

Somehow, despite very public disasters in tackling Reggie Bush and Brandon Jacobs, the Bears are still the 12th ranked defense against the run and tied for 7th allowing 3.8 ypc.  Those rankings and the tackling will once again be put to the test this week.  The bye week appears to have done RGIII some good as he looked a lot better moving around in the pocket, and more than doubled his season total with 77 rushing yards on Sunday.  Alfred Morris has been effective running the ball at a clip of 5.2 ypc, but has been used much less than he was last year due to the Skins getting down early in every game.  The combination of the Bears tackling last week, healthy legs on RGIII, and a rookie MLB making his first start, I expect the Skins to lean heavier on the run game than they have all year to this point.  Tackling and contain will be the keys.  Not just keeping RGIII in the pocket, but also keeping Morris from getting outside the tackle box on the zone or stretch plays.

Speaking of contain, the only good thing about not having a pass rush is that there should be no excuse to allow the QB to get outside of the pocket.  In fact, the goal should be to keep RGIII inside the pocket, not only because of his ability to run, but he has struggled throwing the ball from the pocket so far this season.  Griffin hasn’t really turned the ball over a ton, but the Skins have the fewest plays over 20 yards in the entire league.  In fact, RGIII has completed just 36% of the passes he’s thrown over 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.  None of the Skins WRs are particularly good at beating man coverage, and it looks like the timing is off just a little.  Tillman and Jennings should be able to handle Garcon and Hankerson.  I do worry about TE, Jordan Reed though, he creates matchup problems against Anderson or either of his Gator teammates Jon Bostic and Major Wright.       
Offensively, the Bears pose a pretty big threat to a shaky Skins defense.  Washington ranks in the bottom 10 in the league vs. the run and the pass.  However, they do have the ability to make the Bears sweat.  They have a pretty good duo of edge pass rushers in Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan, who have combined for 8 sacks (the Bears team total).  The Skins also aren’t afraid to send some extra guys, which really frees up Dangelo Hall to jump routes, which Jay Cutler knows all-too-well he likes to do.  However, that should leave the checkdowns to Forte wide open.  RBs like Joique Bell, Rashad Jennings, and James Starks have had big receiving days vs. Washington.  Forte could have a field day.  Even if he doesn’t I don’t think the Skins have what it takes to hold down both Marshall and Jeffery on the outside.  Still waiting for the Bears to call a double move on Hall from the 4 INT game of a few years ago.  Do that this week and the Bears will get a long TD.

One interesting matchup in this game will be on special teams.  Both teams have struggled stopping the return game.  The Bears have uncharacteristically struggled, while the Skins have probably been the league’s worse special teams, allowing a whopping 19.1 yards per return.  The Redskins really struggled Sunday Night in the return game allowing 1 score and 1 really short field.  Though Devin Hester is more reputation than substance at this point, Washington will definitely put in extra time on the 3rd phase of the game.  That being said, the Skins suffered major injuries on punt coverage last week and are breaking in 3 new players including a long snapper.  This would be a good week for Hester to break a long punt return.  Also, extra focus on coverage teams means more focus on staying in lanes and playing assignments.  Dave Toub’s special teams were pretty creative, and I’d like to see the Bears test the Skins with a reverse of some kind on a return to really test their discipline.

This is a big game for the Bears.  If there is a such thing as a “trap” game in the NFL, this is the one I worry about being one.  The Bears have historically struggled in D.C.  They are coming off a long week.  They are headed for a bye week and a subsequent week of focusing on the Green Bay Packers.  While I’m sure nobody is looking ahead to a game almost 3 weeks ago, I could see the Bears looking forward to the bye.  There are several players nursing injuries on defense, and the bye allows time for those players to heal and possibly for GM, Phil Emery to get some help for the defensive line or LB corps.  The Bears have had decent starts on the road in Pittsburgh and Detroit, but have kinda gone into the tank in the 2nd and 3rd quarters before turning it back on in the 4th.  Those fast starts should bode well as the Redskins have allowed 50 first quarter points.  But if the Bears start slow and allow the Skins to keep their running game in play, they could go into the bye with a loss.  5-2 is a huge difference from 4-3, especially for a team that started 3-0.  It’s a tough road game, but a legit playoff team shouldn’t lose this game.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Week 6: CHICAGO BEARS V. NY Giants

The Bears get right back at it after a tough loss, with a Thursday night game against the 0-5 Giants.  Not much to say about Sunday’s loss to the Saints, but the Bears got beat by a team they aren’t quite ready to compete with yet.  The offense wasn’t bad.  Forte got 4.6 ypc.  Cutler had a 128+ QB rating.  And Alshon Jeffery broke the Bears all-time record for receiving yards in a game.  Even the defense wasn’t terrible.  Completely stopped the run.  Completely shutout the Saints’ WRs.  And held Brees to mostly checkdowns to RBs and TEs (which did eat them alive).   But the ultimate takeaway from Week 5, is that without takeaways on D and some fine-tuning on offense, the Bears are not ready to “hang with the big boys”.  That’s not to say they aren’t good or a playoff caliber team, but they are clearly not championship material in any league that crowns champions after 5 weeks.

Thursday, the New York Giants come to town, and they are honestly, a mess right now.  They are the league’s worst rushing team with just 57 yards per game on the ground.  They have the fewest rushing attempts in the league, but still have managed to lose the most fumbles.  And speaking of turnovers, Eli Manning is the anti-Peyton this year, with a league-leading 13 INTs, 4 more than any other team has thrown.  If that’s not enough, the once feared front 4 has the fewest sacks in the league and have been a non-factor in disrupting opponents’ passing games so far this year as the Giants rank in the bottom 10 in both rushing and passing yards allowed per game.

That being said, the Giants do pose some threats to the Bears.  Eli still is top 5 in the NFL in passing yards.  While a lot of it has come due to being behind on the scoreboard most of the season, the Giants do boast possibly the best 3-deep WR corps in the league.  Hakeem Nicks, Reuben Randle, and mostly Victor Cruz do pose potential matchup problems for the Bears CBs.  Brandon Myers at TE can also make you pay if you forget about him in the middle of the field.  If matched up on Cruz in the slot, Isaiah Frey is going to have to have a really big game to keep Cruz from salsa dancing after a big play.  I do worry about a desperate Giants team looking at the standings and seeing themselves only 2 games out of 1st place despite the disaster so far.  This is still mostly the same time that won a Superbowl just 2 season ago, with absolutely nothing to lose at this point in the season.  If Eli can figure out how to not throw the ball to the wrong jersey, the Giants can move the ball and will put up points.  

A struggling Bears defense will be faced with the task of keeping the Giants among the league’s lowest scoring teams.  The Giants will likely be without 2 interior starters on the OL, with Chris Snee already sent to IR, and David Baas having missed Sunday’s game.  Unfortunately, the backup OL will be facing a makeshift defensive line.  DT, Nate Collins joined Henry Melton on the ACL surgery waiting list and Stephen Paea hasn’t been able to practice or play in over a week.  If Paea can’t go, the Bears DT roster will be 2 deep…..1 rookie who just made his NFL debut Sunday, and a guy who will have been on the roster about 15 days at kickoff on Thursday.  Luckily, the Giants have struggled to block edge rushers also and all of Peppers, Wootton, McClellin, and David Bass (not to be confused w/ Giants center) have shown flashes of a good pass rush the last couple weeks, though not really at the same time.  Should see a lot of the aforementioned 4 DEs on the field together, on pass or run downs.

As I said last week, it will need to be more of the same offensively.  The offense is headed in the right direction.  Have gobbled up a lot of yards and points in garbage time the last 2 weeks, but that’s a huge improvement over the complete disasters of the previous 3 seasons.  The Bears now officially have offensive weapons, with 4 players over 25 catches thru 5 games.  The focus this week needs to be on getting better in the red zone.  Despite scoring the 3rd most points in the NFL so far, the Bears have left several points on the board the last couple weeks.  1st and goal from the 9 (after a penalty), and 3 straight incompletions lead to 3 points instead of 7.  Would have made the score 23-14, and a FG instead of a 4th down drop by Earl Bennett on the next drive makes it a different game.  The previous week in Detroit, the Bears ran out of time before the half, but did get a shot to score a TD from the 10 before needing to kick a FG.  Later in the game, the Bears couldn’t punch it in after a 1st and 10, from the Lions’ 12.  They also failed to move any further on 2 other occasions after having first down just outside of the red zone.  The Giants also have injuries in the defensive backfield, so this would be a good time to work the no-huddle.  The Bears have had success going hurry-up late in games, but have also had much better redzone play designs with late, short TDs and in converting 3-for-3 two-point conversions.  

Even if the Bears aren’t championship material yet, they should still be considered strong contenders for a playoff spot in the NFC.  And if they are a potential playoff team, they frankly have no business losing this game.  The Bears are the clearly superior team so far.  They are playing at home on a short week.  They are facing a team that has serious health and underperformance issues all over the field.  This looks like a win on paper, but as the saying goes, “any given Thurs….er, Sunday”.  Win and feel good about a 4-2 record and 10-6 pace.  Lose and the playoff chances look pretty bleak after a promising 3-0 start.