SL Discussion Thread for Week of April 18

This is your thread to talk about … well, whatever you want.

– We’re getting close to draft day and Ted has his latest mock draft for your enjoyment. Check it out. [Us]

– In related news, Pro Football Talk takes a look at the Steelers needs for the draft, with offensive line, defensive line and cornerbacks leading the way. [Pro Football Talk]

– The Pittsburgh Power last on Saturday night to the Jacksonville Sharks. [Pittsburgh Power]

– Dale Lolley has an updated list of players that have come in for pre-draft visits. [NFL From The Sidelines]

– And for your random YouTube: The Steelers new defensive backs coach, Carnell Lake, making a huge play against the Bengals.

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  • Cols714

    Every year it seems that the Steelers draft a player that pisses everybody off for some reason or another. Most times this is unwarranted and the player turns out to be good, but that doesn’t stop the YouTube scouters from going nuts. Timmons was one, Worilds last year, and in the past, Essex and Spaeth were others.

    So QOTW, who is that player this year? I think if they draft Aaron Williams, the message board crowd is going to go crazy.

    • DC in ATL

      Agree.

      I think with so much focus on our Offensive Line and Cornerback needs, a first round pick at any other position is going to aggravate a good many fans and draftniks.

    • Randy Steele

      I’m just hoping the front office plays it safe. Pick the guy who has the best chance of becoming a starter on this team for 5 years. If that’s Aaron Williams (and I think it may be), so be it.

      • ROb D

        I am come around a lot on the whole drafting a CB thing. Maybe it’s watching all those Rod Woodson highlights on YouTube or the jolt of memory having Carnell Lake back in the fold brings.

        I just hope if we take a guy in RD 1, that he has something approximating the impact and/or position flexibility those two guys brought to the table. I doubt anyone taken that late will have the overall talent of Lake or Woodson though.

        • Anonymous

          I’m actually heading the other way. I originally thought OT and CB would be about equal. But I’ve been rewatching the season (I just finished the Carolina game) and a few hindsight observations/opinions:

          McFadden and Gay were not as bad as they are made out to be. They were pretty poor, but not useless. McFadden could especially be streaky. He would play half-decent a long time, then get picked apart in a few drives.

          Taylor is not as great as I originally thought. He was usually very good, but he’s not shutting down top flight receivers alone or anything like that.

          Clark is average or a little below. He’s slow and not particularly athletic. He also doesn’t seem to have an intuitive sense of the ball. On the other hand he is smart, disciplined, and a pretty good tackler.

          The line, other than Pouncey and Miller, is really bad. I think we tend to acknowledge this as a whole and then fall into the trap of calling each individual decent or serviceable. But no, they aren’t.

          People talk about Kemoeatu being a good puller, but he whiffs as often and he flattens someone – I think he’s dramatic rather than good at pulling – and he is a flag machine.

          Adams is average, which makes him a bright spot on the line, but he will not be around long.

          I think a lot of people excuse the line play because Roethlisberger holds the ball a long time. Well it’s true that he gives up sacks that way. But I see just as many, or even more times when he escapes the pocket or manhandles a rusher to get away. If you excuse the line for the long play sacks, you have to charge them for the escaped QB hits.

          If you only watch Steelers games, you will get an inflated view of the o-line’s performance. You might say to yourself, “these guys aren’t doing much worse that the other team’s line.” But remember, the other team’s line is going up against the best front 7 in the NFL. The Steelers aren’t.

          Mendenhall could be great. It’s remarkable how often he is hit in the backfield. After a while it gets to be the norm. Again we’re biased by watching the Steelers. That’s not generally something that is supposed to be a foregone conclusion, but with the Steelers’ lines it pretty much is. Mendenhall puts up above average numbers as is. What do you think he’s do if he didn’t have to cut back in the backfield on every run?

          Pouncey is not as good as the hype. But he could develop into it.

          Alright, so I’m rambling now. Where does this all leave us? I guess I’m saying that the o line appears to me to be a bigger weakness than the secondary right now. And their age and contract status is as bad as the DBs. A better line would not only protect our plays-injured-at-the-end-of-every-season quarterback, but it would allow Miller to run out in patterns more often, and give Mendenhall some room. But all that said, you have to take what is available to you. But at equal talent levels (for example Sherrod vs Williams – and that’s just an example since I can’t claim to any expertise at evaluating actual talent) I’d go with the tackle over the CB.

          • ROb D

            Very interesting post..

            I wonder if this is the year when a lot of people are screaming for Corner and the Steelers will matter of factly take O-line?

            I think we DO get accustomed to bad play and think its just “average”.

            I think the Steelers must have looked at how quickly a rookie became the best player on the O-line (plus adding a guy at the end of his career take over the RT spot with barely a fight from anyone on the roster and I think he would have beaten Colon out as well) and realized just how bad a line has to be for that to happen. I am looking for an upgrade along the line from the Steelers.

            Which means they go ILB…lol..I am never right about what they are going to do

        • Anonymous

          I’m actually heading the other way. I originally thought OT and CB would be about equal. But I’ve been rewatching the season (I just finished the Carolina game) and a few hindsight observations/opinions:

          McFadden and Gay were not as bad as they are made out to be. They were pretty poor, but not useless. McFadden could especially be streaky. He would play half-decent a long time, then get picked apart in a few drives.

          Taylor is not as great as I originally thought. He was usually very good, but he’s not shutting down top flight receivers alone or anything like that.

          Clark is average or a little below. He’s slow and not particularly athletic. He also doesn’t seem to have an intuitive sense of the ball. On the other hand he is smart, disciplined, and a pretty good tackler.

          The line, other than Pouncey and Miller, is really bad. I think we tend to acknowledge this as a whole and then fall into the trap of calling each individual decent or serviceable. But no, they aren’t.

          People talk about Kemoeatu being a good puller, but he whiffs as often and he flattens someone – I think he’s dramatic rather than good at pulling – and he is a flag machine.

          Adams is average, which makes him a bright spot on the line, but he will not be around long.

          I think a lot of people excuse the line play because Roethlisberger holds the ball a long time. Well it’s true that he gives up sacks that way. But I see just as many, or even more times when he escapes the pocket or manhandles a rusher to get away. If you excuse the line for the long play sacks, you have to charge them for the escaped QB hits.

          If you only watch Steelers games, you will get an inflated view of the o-line’s performance. You might say to yourself, “these guys aren’t doing much worse that the other team’s line.” But remember, the other team’s line is going up against the best front 7 in the NFL. The Steelers aren’t.

          Mendenhall could be great. It’s remarkable how often he is hit in the backfield. After a while it gets to be the norm. Again we’re biased by watching the Steelers. That’s not generally something that is supposed to be a foregone conclusion, but with the Steelers’ lines it pretty much is. Mendenhall puts up above average numbers as is. What do you think he’s do if he didn’t have to cut back in the backfield on every run?

          Pouncey is not as good as the hype. But he could develop into it.

          Alright, so I’m rambling now. Where does this all leave us? I guess I’m saying that the o line appears to me to be a bigger weakness than the secondary right now. And their age and contract status is as bad as the DBs. A better line would not only protect our plays-injured-at-the-end-of-every-season quarterback, but it would allow Miller to run out in patterns more often, and give Mendenhall some room. But all that said, you have to take what is available to you. But at equal talent levels (for example Sherrod vs Williams – and that’s just an example since I can’t claim to any expertise at evaluating actual talent) I’d go with the tackle over the CB.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    NFL Live on ESPN said today that without a CBA, there will be no signing of UDFAs after the draft. It seems like this would make 7th round picks more valuable than normal. I wonder if any teams will stockpile r7 picks this year to have the pick of the litter of what would normally be UDFAs.

    • ROb D

      Interesting..we all know how good Colbert and Co. have been with UDFA’s.

    • GlennW

      I don’t really see the difference here. If you can’t sign and work with the 7th-rounder until the CBA situation is resolved, he’s not much more valuable than the UDFA you can pick up later. Maybe there’s slightly more value to the 7th-rounder for advance roster-planning purposes, but that’s about it. In any case, I wouldn’t be trading next year’s 5ths and 6ths just to stockpile 7ths this year in what is going to be a crazy situation anyway. Just be ready to move on the UDFAs when the time comes.

  • Grw1960

    Aaron Williams would be ok with me. The Steelers need an interior DB whether Williams plays the nickel CB or ends up as a safety. I think he can help the Steelers stop the bleeding on passing downs.
    I figure it could be Heyward or Williams at 31. If they are not there, I hope the Steelers trade down. Otherwise the CB pickings get a lot dicier by the end of round 2.
    If they have to pick a DB at the end of round 2 or after. I hope Lake gives better advice than Horton used to.

  • Cols714

    I have to admit, I get really really annoyed about the Patriots, especially around draft time. To listen to the talking heads, just because they like to trade around they must be good at drafting.

    I realize they have a bunch of picks in the first three rounds this year, but what people are missing is that they paid a price to have those picks. To hear drafty people talk, those picks just appeared. But they gave up some good players by not drafting them in order to trade for picks this year. Don’t you think they could have used Seymour last year? Or Dez Bryant?

    I think they screwed up by not actually drafting players the last few years and it probably cost them at least one Super Bowl appearence. But even if you think it was the right move, you have to at least acknowledge that all of these picks came for a price, they weren’t just free.

    It’d be nice if the talking drafters would acknowledge this fact.

    • Anonymous

      Well, there was one trade where they got a third round pick and all they had to do was give Minnesota cancer.

    • GlennW

      Cols, credit where it’s due. After a couple shaky conventional drafts, the past two years the Patriots’ “amass-picks” strategy has landed them McCourty, Gronkowski, Spikes, and Aaron Hernandez (even Mesko looks like a hell of a punter with their 5th-round pick) in 2010 and Chung, Brace and Vollmer (a RT we’d kill for) in 2009. If they come close to repeating such success again this year with even more low-round picks, they’ll have hauled themselves some very nice talent for the future. All while drafting late, but making a bunch of 2-for-1 deals where they really didn’t sacrifice anything except for an aging Seymour (personally, I wouldn’t touch Dez Bryant with a 10-foot pole). It’s simply not true that the Patriots are only deferring picks and are “not actually drafting players”. I think the experts are lauding the Patriots’ strategy because it’s been working, mostly. If the Steelers had done the same we’d be ecstatic (which is not to say that the Steelers haven’t also had good drafts; we have).