SL Post-Draft Discussion Thread for Week of May 1

This is your thread to talk the draft, free agency, labor issues — anything but William and Kate.

First, thanks to everyone for hanging with us through the weekend. The first-round live chat was a huge success. Also, to paraphrase Ali G, mad props to SL draft guru Ted Kian. Pretty sure he’s a robot. A very opinionated robot at times, but one with a singular focus come draft time. Hats off to you, sir.

If you’re looking to relive the 2011 Draft magic, some handy links:

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Discussion Threads
Day 1 Day 2 Day 3

New Steelers Faces
Cameron Heyward Marcus Gilbert Curtis Brown
Cortez Allen Chris Carter Keith Williams Baron Batch

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* Non-draft-related, but I didn’t want this to get lost in the mix. SL reader and attorney Jeremy Clark has an enlightening take on the recent labor issues. Great read.

* Post-draft Steelers presser. Colbert says they identified 100 players prior to the draft who could help the team and “we got seven of them.”

* Finally, this seems like the perfect way to wrap things up: Mayock’s take on the Steelers’ draft haul:

(It was a) typical (Steelers draft). I mean, Kevin Colbert, I can’t say it enough, is one of the most underappreciated decision makers in the National Football League.

Picking at 31 he gets Cam Heyward, just bring your hard hat and go to work, tough kid, he’s an ideal five-technique. Marcus Gilbert will play tackle for them. Trai Essex has been hurt, they’ve had all kinds of issues at the tackle position. Curtis Brown a corner, Cortez Allen a developmental corner.

Chris Carter, an explosive edge rusher from Fresno. Stuck his hand in the dirt there. He’ll stand up and be a lot like Woodley, a lot like Harrison. Keith Williams is an interior offensive lineman. And then a great character guy at the end of it, Baron Batch. I mean, that is a typical Pittsburgh Steeler.

And when I talk about Kevin Colbert, it doesn’t matter if the head coach is Bill Cowher or Mike Tomlin, the consistency of the organization stays the same.

Now feel free to predict the Steelers’ undrafted free-agent signings. Even though no one knows when the hell that will actually happen.

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  • Canadian Steeler

    I wanted them to draft Ian Williams (NT from Notre Dame) as early as the 5th, so I’d love him. Mark Herzlich’s an obvious (maybe sentimental) one as well.

    http://www.draftcountdown.com/Results/Undrafted.php

    Seems like there’s a few good safeties there as well.

    God, I have no idea what I’m gonna read/think about now that the draft’s over. Maybe work? Bah.

  • Canadian Steeler

    I wanted them to draft Ian Williams (NT from Notre Dame) as early as the 5th, so I’d love him. Mark Herzlich’s an obvious (maybe sentimental) one as well.

    http://www.draftcountdown.com/Results/Undrafted.php

    Seems like there’s a few good safeties there as well.

    God, I have no idea what I’m gonna read/think about now that the draft’s over. Maybe work? Bah.

  • http://www.steelerslounge.com/ ryan

    Re-posting this comment from Canadian Steeler in this thread because it’s a good one:

    “…I heard on a podcast (think it was ESPN Football Today) how much of a difference Aaron Smith makes to our linebackers performance. It certainly makes sense when you think about Woodley’s struggles when Hood first replaced Smith (though as Hood improved, Woodley’s play certainly did too). Now Woodley’s success is not obviously completely dependent on Aaron Smith’s health, as he’s obviously a freak, but it’s interesting especially when both he and Clark Haggans had some relatively similar success as superior players (IMO) in Deebo and Porter.

    Anyways, it’s no secret that our defensive line frees up the space for our linebackers to make plays, so this is pretty much just a long way of saying how much I’m growing on the Heyward pick. Being able to (hopefully) fill that defensive end position for the next 5-10 years is absolutely pivotal in the success of players like Worilds and Carter.

    Pressure’s key to LeBeau (and I’m assuming Keith Butler’s) system, and quality defensive line play seems just as important as the actual rushers.”

  • Randy Steele

    Nothing flashy about this Steeler draft, that’s for sure, but it feels sane, solid, and safe, which are qualities that a risk-adverse fellow like me truly admires.

    I think everyone’s worry now is that if the lockout continues to drag on, most of these guys might fall so far behind in their training that they’ll never be able to compete fairly with the vets on the team.

  • Randy Steele

    And here’s a odd tidbit that I stole from SCI this morning about Baron Batch and Curtis Brown that I thought was noteworthy:

    “Batch was the player who caught fellow Steelers draft pick Curtis Brown from behind on Brown’s interception return last season and noted that they watched the clip of the play when both visited the Steelers together prior to the draft.”

  • Dean Keaton

    The only player who I know enough to say I’d like to see the Steelers give a shot as UDFA is John Graves, DT, or Darren Evans, RB, both from Virginia Tech. Graves would probably be a DE in the Steelers’ system, and they obviously don’t really have much of a need there anymore, but I think he’ll sign somewhere. Evans was a decent player in college, but clearly not as good as Ryan Williams.

    It will be interesting to see what happens to the guys who weren’t drafted, my guess is that the UFL will grab as many of them as they can, and they will get poached by NFL teams right before and during training camp, whenever that happens.

  • ROb D

    Well, that was a nice rush of football in the veins for a few days. Back to contemplating the lockout, I guess. Bummer. You see a league that can attract this much attention of their FREAKIN’ DRAFT..and then you really wonder what the heck is going on. Enough of that..

    Very happy with the draft although we don’t know what we really have till they hit the field. But the 2 corners and the 1st rounder seem to be meeting with a lot of approval in the draftnik world. Gilbert..lots of hope riding on him. A LOT of people seem to like Carter..he’s made several “best of” drafts as a sleeper pick.The running back is going to be REALLY hard not to root for..and he doesn’t even have a cool nickname like..ahhhh…Tank ! Top that all of with a guy who Mayock says would have been a top 15 pick in virtually any other year? Hard not to be happy.

    Watching Kugler our O-line coache comment at steelers.com…seems to have a lot of enthisisam for the picks and “finding the best 5″ as he puts it. We have a lot of bodies along the O-line and it would be great if someone like C. Scott emerges as a legit guard. Another year of experience really does make a huge difference for lineman. I’m optimistic. Just hope there’s football to confirm so we can all be enthused by this re-load effort.

  • Randy Steele

    Another small point: I think the Patriots’ draft was hugely over-rated by the assorted lapdogs in sports media.

    Nate Solder reminds me of the French army with their quick, delicate feet that always look great while running in retreat.

    But during an attack? Solder seriously lacks, at least now, the upper body strength to attack his opponent in any credible way. I was scared that the Steelers might pick this guy at 1.31. But for someone to take him at 1.18? No thank you.

    Obviously, Belichick thinks that’s a problem that can be fixed. We’ll see. (I can only hope they insert him at left tackle immediately and gets Brady killed.)

    And Ryan Mallett? There were about a zillion teams this year desperate for help under center, and all of their owners, general managers, coaches, and scouts turned thumbs down on this guy. Sure, maybe they were all wrong and Mallet may someday buck the odds and prove to be an astute, conscientious, astounding quarterback, but then again, he may also be as self-centered, mean-spirited, and indulgent as his new head coach.

    To me at least, these two draft picks spoke volumes about Belichick’s ego. Yes, he has a great track record. Yes, he dares to be different. But maybe this time with this draft he got too full of himself for his own good.

    • Anonymous

      I’m not so sure about Solder. I think he’ll turn into a solid starter at tackle, but not his first year. Mallet is a head-scratcher. On the other hand, I was really hoping the Steelers would take Marcus Cannon at the end of round 4. He could be a tremendous value pick at a position the Steelers needed to fill.

      • Randy Steele

        You’d give up Cortez Allen for a guy who’s about to undergo chemotherapy for a dangerous cancer that may or may not be manageable?

        • Anonymous

          Yes I would. Prior to the announcement of the cancer Marcus Cannon was projected to be a mid second round selection at a position the Steelers need to fill. He will miss his first season, but that’s okay given the Steelers contract situation, and Allen is a project who will likely be limited in his first season. Reports I’ve read have suggested a better than 90% chance of “beating” the cancer. Whether that means he’ll come back at 100% effectiveness or not I don’t know. But even if you lower the odds to 75% for the sake or argument, I think it’s still worth it. If you believe the point chart, then the 50th pick (around where Cannon was projected) is worth 400 points and the 128th pick (where Allen was drafted) is worth 44 points. Now I think the curve on that chart is too steep, but that’s quite a difference in value.

          In addition, I don’t think it’s Cortez Allen they have to give up. I think it’s Chris Carter. Most projections I have read had Cortez Allen going in the 6 round some in the 5th, so having him at the end of the 5th. If you think that’s too risky giving up Keith WIlliams should move you to the top of the 5th, and you can get Allen there.

          But all in all, yes I would give up Cortez Allen for Marcus Cannon. I would give up Chris Carter for Marcus Cannon (reasonably best case). And I would give up both Chris Carter and Keith Williams for Marcus Cannon. It’s a risk. He may never be able to play. But all the players taken that deep are risks never to play. And the upside is tremendous for that late a selection.

          • GlennW

            Agreed Intropy– I was tracking Marcus Cannon at that stage of the draft also and hoping we’d select him. On the flipside, I doubt that many of us had even heard of Cortez Allen, except vaguely as a name on a long list of draft-possible CBs. Cortez Allen wasn’t even on Ted’s most excellent “Steelers draft value” board! Which is not to say that as a project he can’t/won’t develop into a good player, just that I don’t know why there’d be any particular excitement around him *at this point*, and as opposed to Cannon.

          • EasyLikeSundayMorning

            The rule of thumb is that a draft pick this year is worth a round more than next year’s (a 1 next year = a 2 this year). So discount Cannon to a r3 this draft for his redshirt year. Would you discount a guy at least another round for recovering from cancer and having to miss a year of practices? If so, he was fairly valued but not a bargain in r4 this year.

  • SteelerBill

    Good morning…..Can you guy’s do me a favor? Can someone look over the past few drafts involving the Pats and grade/demonstrate for me where all this draft movement has resulted in anything? Hernandez and Gronkowski last year I get – but we pulled Sanders and Wallace and didn’t move. It reminds me of Dwight Schrute when he spoke in front of the salesman at Dunder Mifflin – he waved his arms and beat the podium because people respond to that – forget what he actually said…..

    • Gretz

      I can do a deeper look, but just looking last year they traded back twice in the first round and ended up with Devin McCourty in round 1 (after moving back twice) and one of the additional picks they received from those trades turned out to be Aaron Hernandez. They also traded a third round pick last year to Carolina (who took Armanti Edwards) for a second round pick this year that turned out to be Ras-I Dowling.

  • http://www.steelerslounge.com/ ryan

    SB,

    When Peter King, PR staffer for the Pats, writes in MMQB that he’s baffled by New England’s ‘strategy’ last weekend, that pretty much says it all.

  • Randy Steele

    Oh, and some things never change in Cleveland. I stole this little jewel from Peter King this morning…

    ” When Cal defensive end Cameron Jordan was taking a tour through his new business home — the New Orleans Saints practice facility in Metairie, La. –on Saturday, his cell phone rang.
    ‘Hi,” said the voice on the other end. ‘Jordan? This is the Cleveland Browns … ” The call was for some biographical information. The Browns were making their fourth-round choice on Day 3 of the draft.
    ‘Uh, yeah, this is Cameron Jordan,” he said. ‘But the Saints already picked me.’
    There was an awkward pause, and Cameron Jordan said: ‘I think you mean Jordan Cameron, you’re looking for Jordan Cameron. That’s not me.’ ”

  • Anonymous

    UDFAs to go after:
    Ian Williams
    Mark Herzlich
    Deunta Williams
    Janoris Jenkins
    David Akers
    Kai Forbath
    Chas Henry

  • John S.
  • GlennW

    Oh boy… it seems that one way or another, Mendenhall is going to talk (er, tweet) his way out of Pittsburgh, or the NFL altogether.

    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11123/1143632-66.stm

    • Anonymous

      Someone needs to tell him to shut-up. What is that 9-11 conspiracy crap he’s talking about? Let’s give him a taste of his own medicine: I find it hard to believe that a guy who has really solved his fumble problem could just cough it up at such a critical point in the Super Bowl…hmmmm….. What a dope.

      • Cols714

        He’s a good player and didn’t have a fumbling problem last year. So he’s a little bit out there, who cares?

        As long as he keeps on playing like he did last year there wouldn’t be any reason to get rid of the guy. And once again, he didn’t have a fumbling issue last year, despite what you may think.

        • Anonymous

          Cols714, I should have put the “/sarcasm/” on my comment. I really wish he hadn’t said anything, but it is a free country. I was just trying to be funny with my “Super Bowl fumble” conspiracy.

          And I don’t want to get rid of the guy. It was just a dumb comment to say that we didn’t have Osama’s side of the story.

  • http://www.steelerslounge.com/ ryan

    Like Art Rooney II, I can’t comprend what the hell Rashard was thinking. But it’s not like he’s Clinton Portis wearing goofy costumes and saying ridiculous shit. Rashard’s a thoughtful dude, even if a little weird, although I wouldn’t know where to begin in defending that tweet.

    (I’ll try anyway: Maybe he thought people were talking about Obama? No? Okay, moving on…)

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, a head scratcher. Almost makes you long for the days when athletes didn’t tweet!

  • David

    GlennW, agreed. If his fumble in the SB wasn’t enough, these comments may have signed his walking papers.

    I just hope, if the time comes, that we’ll get more than a 5th round pick.

  • Gretz

    While I obviously disagree with Rashard Mendenhall, his opinion on global politics and world issues mean as much to as me as who the president thinks will win the NCAA Basketball tournament. I guess the biggest kick I got out of all of this was Ron Cook complaining on the radio today about why people care so much, how much attention comments like that get, and then dedicating his entire show to the comments. Good times.

  • Dean Keaton

    IMO Rashard’s comments are much, much worse than a fumble in any game. Per Ryan’s point below, Rashard is a thoughtful and generally articulate guy, so we can’t claim that he’s just stupid. To say what he did at this point in time when most Americans are trying to figure out what to make of the death of Bin Laden makes me believe that this might be just the tip of the iceberg… I can only hope that any future controversial comments are merely humorous and not so inflammatory.

    He will likely still be on the team for this season, but Art II responding so quickly is not a good sign for Mendy’s long term future with the team.

  • GlennW

    Just to be clear, I wasn’t advocating that the Steelers dump Mendenhall. More the case that the Rooneys have a short fuse when it comes to players who inspire the ire of the team, fanbase or the city (Big-Investment Ben excepted), which is sure to be the case here.

    If Mendenhall had stopped at his first question (“What kind of person celebrates death?”) or at his (apparent) peace-loving religious beliefs, he’d have been fine. But most of the rest of the rant just makes him sound like a nutjob. I’m longing for the good ol’ days (of all about five years ago) when Steelers off-seasons weren’t a soap opera…

  • http://www.steelerslounge.com/ ryan

    I originally didn’t have plans to write anything on Mendenhall but people are now talking about cutting him so, well, here ya go.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    A suggestion for a post: a listing of the best articles, videos, scouting reports, etc. for each of our draft picks. I’m lazy and I assume I’m not the only one.

  • Anonymous

    Random website suggestion. Increase the number of “recent comments” on the right rail. When I visit, the first thing I like to do is read all the comments I haven’t read for articles I have, but sometimes flurries of comments fill the list.

  • http://www.steelerslounge.com/ ryan

    Intropy, ELSM:

    Done and done.

    Comments now show the 10 most recent, and we’re rolling out the best stories, vids and scouting reports for the ’11 Steelers draft class starting tomorrow morning.

    YOU’RE WELCOME.

    • Anonymous

      Awesome, thanks.

    • EasyLikeSundayMorning

      This is very cool. Your great Heyward page inspired another suggestion. It might be a lot of work (at least initially), but it would be cool to have player pages that include links to the best profiles and highlights. Maybe you start with Troy and a few stars and interesting fringe players.

      It would also be interesting to see if you could get any of the players, coaches or front office guys to be a guest on the podcast.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah. It would an awesome feature if you could get Tomlin, Harrison, Clark, Cribbs, Massaquoi, and Gooddell in for a round table discussion on concussions and the lockout.

  • David

    My new sentimental favorite to make the team? Batch (the RB)

  • http://www.steelerslounge.com/ ryan

    This sounds fun: According to TMZ, Hines was cuffed at gunpoint. Luckily, it was all just a misunderstanding!

  • http://twitter.com/SteelerBill13 Bill Pintsak

    Ahh but @agretz Champion cared enough to not only hire him as a spokesman but subsequently fire him. While you may not personally care (and this has been my point) a lot of people do. These guy’s are selling image.

    • David

      I took the Gerry Dulac article today about Mendy being dropped by Champion as a shot at Ron Cook’s “Mendy has a right to free speech” article. Kind of like an interoffice debate.

      • Randy Steele

        Mendenhall has the right to say anything he wants, and he also has the right to suffer the consequences of what he says. Done and done. So what’s the debate about?

  • http://www.steelerslounge.com/ ryan

    Just so we’re clear: Dulac is adamant that Colon ain’t moving to guard.

    In Feb., Scott Brown wrote this:

    “If all three are with the Steelers next season it could give the team the flexibility to experiment with Colon at guard — or simply make it harder on the coaches to settle on the top five linemen.

    ‘Those are problems I’d like to consider at some point,’ Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Monday. ‘There’s a lot of unanswered questions involving that.’”

    And Randy Steele pointed out that Bouchette published the same quotes about possibly trying Colon inside.

    Curious what JJ thinks about Colon’s mobility issues (at least according to Dulac). And more than that, what the Steelers plan to do with Colon if the labor issues aren’t resolved anytime soon and he ends up back Pittsburgh for another season.

  • http://www.steelerslounge.com/ ryan

    Just so we’re clear: Dulac is adamant that Colon ain’t moving to guard.

    In Feb., Scott Brown wrote this:

    “If all three are with the Steelers next season it could give the team the flexibility to experiment with Colon at guard — or simply make it harder on the coaches to settle on the top five linemen.

    ‘Those are problems I’d like to consider at some point,’ Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Monday. ‘There’s a lot of unanswered questions involving that.’”

    And Randy Steele pointed out that Bouchette published the same quotes about possibly trying Colon inside.

    Curious what JJ thinks about Colon’s mobility issues (at least according to Dulac). And more than that, what the Steelers plan to do with Colon if the labor issues aren’t resolved anytime soon and he ends up back Pittsburgh for another season.