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Author Topic: Grumpy bastard's 2010 mock and draft stock  (Read 1559 times)
Finnegans Wake
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« on: Dec 10, 2009 at 12:47 »

The last few games have everyone in a foul mood, and draft talk comes early this year.  Will try to do some updates through the bowl games on players to watch.  

Assuming we get two comp picks (Nate Washington and Bryant McFadden).  Both guys signed rather modest contracts, which factors, and IMO the PS tend to get screwed anyway on comp values, so my rough-hewn early estimate is for a R4 and a R6.  

We've chewed over needs, and we'll continue to revise.  As to value, that will be a moving target.  One player in this equation is the CBA, lack of which may entice a larger than normal class of junior declarees.  This makes mocking difficult at best, since using NFLDS as a guide only includes senior values, and interpolating a large swath of juniors will mean mocking is even less an exact "science" than usual.  

At 6-6, it looks increasingly unlikely that we get in at 9-7, so running the table will be needed to make the post.  That doesn't smell right.  With some of these losses, 8-8 feels about right, but if Pola returns, 9-7 will be a more logical ticket.  I'll go with that, and assume we are drafting ~1.17, +/-3.  

1.17

Guys we'd love to have but who will be long gone and too rich for a trade:  DTs Ndamukong Suh, Neb., and Gerald McCoy, Okla., could both transition to explosive 3-4 DEs, but should be gone in the first five picks.  I've seen comparisons of Suh to Warren Sapp and McCoy to Kevin Williams, but still would love to see how these guys would do at LDE, with Hood prepped for a more natural fit at RDE.

S Eric Berry is, hands down, the best safety in the draft.   He should go top 5, but is a lock for top 10.  Comparisons to Ed Reed aside, Berry can play either safety spot, is a true and humble student of the game, and is the complete package.  He may be slightly small for the job, but that's the only knock, and I doubt it matters.  Let mock drafters huff and puff over USC's Taylor Mays: he's a brutal hitter with shitty cover instincts, and has been exposed time and again.  In fact, unless Crazy Assed Al Davis takes Mays in round one, it would not surprise me if Mays fell to round two, like last year's "round one lock" Rey Maualuga.  The similarities to Maualuga are striking: violent player, with brains of mashed potatoes.  I'd be happy to have a safety tandem of Polamalu and Berry, though.

ILB Rolando McClain, Bama is somewhat reminiscent of Patrick Willis, and looks like he should be drafted close to the top 10, if not in the top 10.  I doubt we move up to grab him, although I think he plays with more polish than Brandon Spikes, Fla.  Spikes might be available at 1.17, and despite the notorious eye-gouge incident, may be a good value for us.  If McClain is there at 1.17, I'd be even more inclined to jump.  McClain, or Spikes, seem better suited to the Mack LB spot that Larry Foote used to man, where Lawrence Timmons seems less the enforcer (and perhaps better suited to a move to the Buck LB with coverage duties).  

Guys we will consider at 1.17 but reject:
 DT Jared Odrick, PSU.  Odrick, moving up most draft boards, has variously been assigned a value from ~1.10 to 2.42.  I think that's because Odrick looks like a guy who will transition well to the NFL, and should be able to play as a 3-4 DE or a 4-3 DT, but he doesn't have the kind of punch guys like Suh or McCoy have.  In short, we drafted Ziggy Hood last year, and it's doubtful we return to the well with another player so little differentiated from him.  Odrick may be tougher against the run, but I still think he's a R2 value for us.  So if he would be there at 2.49, giddyap.

CB Joe Haden of Florida looks like the best CB in a weak class, and could go off the board earlier than 1.17.  Haden's got speed and all the qualities you want in a top corner, except height.  Listed at 5'11", I suspect when he goes to the combine he comes in closer to 5'9".  That's a major liability for a first round corner, IMO.  CB Patrick Robinson, Fla. St., is also listed at 5'11", and it will be interesting to see what he measures out at, but Robinson's knock is consistency.  CB Donovan Warren, Michigan is also getting some talk as a mid-R1 corner, but despite legit size and speed, he's also been a bit inconsistent (check his performance against Golden Tate).  Warren will need time to develop, but would be a great R2 prospect.  CB Ras-I Dowling, UVA, is also getting some mid-R1 talk, but when you talk about a corner being fluid and able to flip his hips, that's not a strong point for Ras-I.  He projects more as a FS IMO, which could be how the Steelers would see him, or as a CB/FS hybrid, but I'd prefer a FS who's smoother.

NT Terrence Cody, Bama, AKA "Mount Cody."  Cody is already a Casey Hampton-sized beast.  That's the good news... and the bad.  Cody is the perfect 3-4 NT, but conditioning may be an issue, and it is likely he won't be able to stay in on any passing downs.  Tomlin may look for a more active guy who can add on some weight and be able to play three downs, if asked.  Cody wouldn't be a bad fit necessarily, but I suspect he latches on with a team like the Chargers.  

Prospects I think we'll look at, in order of interest:  1. S Earl Thomas, Texas.  The redshirt soph has said he's staying, but let's see if that changes over the next few weeks.  Another smallish safety in the mold of Eric Berry, but looks like he can play strong or free, great speed, great ball instincts.  Worth watching in the big game as a possible R1 pick.

2. NT Dan Williams, Tenn. Williams has really been getting a lot of attention this year, and may have passed Cody as the premier 3-4 NT.  He's lower to the ground than Cody at 6'2", and weighs in at a respectable but not obscene 325 pounds.  Combine numbers will be a big part of Williams's story, as most premier NT candidates can throw the bar up ~30-35 times.  More active, less likely to get winded.  We need an anchor to the middle as badly as we need a playmaking FS.

3. OT Bryan Bulaga, Iowa.  Possibly the best OT value in the ~1.17 range.  Could play RT or LT, and has good speed.  If Colon is retained, won't see much playing time early on, but could shift inside as an immediate (and big-bodied) upgrade at RG.  Positional flexibility could be huge.  

4. OG Mike Iupati, Idaho.  Currently the top rated interior lineman, does not appear to be a center prospect, but has the size to possible swing to RT.  Even with the middlin' Kemo, fair rookie Foster, and untested rookie Urbik, an upgrade to either OG spot cannot be discounted.  Given the way OGs slide at draft time, Iupati may be more of a R2 look.

5. CB Brandon Ghee, Wake.  Ghee is not getting as much talk as Haden, Warren, Robinson, or Dowling, but certainly has the size, speed, and skill to warrant a look here.

7. RB/KR C.J. Spiller, Clemson. Spiller could go top-10 rather easily, but we've seen running back slide come draft day.  Steeler Nation would let out a collective groan at taking a RB again in R1, but Spiller would easily replace two starters currently on the roster: he would be a younger change of pace back to replace Willie Parker, and he would be an explosive return man to replace Stefan Logan.  Purely a BAA value pick, if he is here.

8. ILB Brandon Spikes, Fla.  Torn on Spikes, and not only due to the eye-gouge.  Sometimes looks like a world-beater -- nasty, fast, powerful -- and sometimes does not look like he has what we look for mentally, with bad instincts and angles.  Could Spikes drop to R2 as well?

[R2-7 to be updated later.]
« Last Edit: Dec 16, 2010 at 08:23 by Finnegans Wake » Logged

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msdmnr2002
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« Reply #1 on: Dec 14, 2009 at 12:14 »

Sorry, put my reply on another thread by mistake.  Moved it here.

You've mentioned Spiller as a possibility here and again in your team analysis on another thread.  As a Clemson guy I've watched him every week and I'd like nothing better to see him in Black and Gold.  Never considered it a possibility with Mendenhall coming into his own.  Plus, typically if you take a RB in the first round he should be an every down 25+ carry guy, and I don't see Spiller as that.  However, I hadn't thought about the fact that if STs are that important, why not grab a guy who can instantly improve that area, plus add something to the offense?

Things you don't see about him in the stat sheet include how much he affected field position.  I know it's not an NFL tactic to pooch kick, but in college teams just stopped kicking to him.  More often than not Clemson was starting their drives around the 40 because opponents were afraid of the big return.

Honestly, homerism aside, I see Spiller as a more talented Reggie Bush.  He's faster, more elusive.  Not sure what size differential there is.  Negative for me would be durability.   He never had a serious injury, but he seemed to be dinged up a lot.  Fought a turf toe all year.

Not sure if that's who you want at #15 slot, but it would be intriguing.
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« Reply #2 on: Dec 14, 2009 at 13:21 »

Thanks for the input, msdmnr.  While most would agree that an infusion on D, I still think you have to consider BAA in all rounds, and in many circles Spiller is considered a top-10 or even top-5 player.  If the (presumably) new OC does re-dedicate attention to the running game, I think having a COP to RM is a nice option, not to mention that if RM were hurt our depth would suddenly look a bit thin.  But I am somewhat enamored of the idea of combining FWP and Stefan Logan into one guy: free up an extra roster space: perhaps burn that on something like a KO specialist.  Given the number of losses this year that came down to ST TDs allowed, I could live with that gambit.
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« Reply #3 on: Jan 27, 2010 at 18:05 »

Some targets.  NFLDS overall ranking in brackets.

QB

Steelers don't have pressing need here, and this class is just awful anyway.  Fordham's John Skelton [194] appears to be raising his stock some at the Senior Bowl, but if Batch retires, I'd look to the FA market.

RB

The issue with FWP as COP back will be price; I suspect he leaves, and if so, we aren't spending a high draft pick on a RB.  Two exceptions:  in R1, CJ Spiller [6] would be too much of a weapon to ignore, not only the home run speed threat, but a receiving option and a dangerous return man.  He should be drafted in the top 15.  Dexter McCluster [81] is getting some rave reviews as a playmaker at the Senior Bowl, despite being about 168#.  McCluster could be a slot receiver full time, and COP back as needed, and could be tried as an alternate at KR/PR.  I said a few weeks ago McCluster could go as high as R2; his stock now reflects that, as most draft boards have him as a R2/3 cusp value.  Expect him to go up a little more before all is done.

This RB class doesn't exactly feature speed, and I don't see a lot of COP backs who would seem to fit our needs.  Not to say that there aren't plenty of backs who couldn't succeed in the right system, but if we're looking for a jolt of adrenaline, then I think a few late round backs do merit mention.  Arkansas' Michael Smith [406] might be worth a late flyer if he's healed from a nagging hammy and can post a 40 time in the 4.4's.   In fact, I'll probably wait for the combine results to see if anyone in the R2-7 zone can actually break into the 4.4's; it doesn't look promising.  Smith is projected as a FA, but Hampton's LaMarcus Coker [424] is seen as a FA with serious red flags: he left Tennessee after flunking four pot tests.  That should exclude him from any Steelers board, but he seems to have genuinely turned things around, and he has legit 4.39 speed, and possibly better.  He could be a steal in R5, using the first of our comp picks, for example.  For the possible ROI on a Chris Johnson type, I'd ante up the R5 to ensure some other team doesn't take him.

Aside from that, a miserable year for QBs or RBs who fit as COP.

WR

Another area of scant need.  If Sweed can get his shit together, so much the better, but even with "only" Ward, Holmes, and Wallace, we're stocked.  I see WR as a position we might use a very late round pick on.  Connecticut's Marcus Easley [170] is a walk-on who became a legit go-to guy, a 6'2" 215# athlete who can run a 4.40 and may be able to play another position like FS.  Raw clay, in other words.

If you're looking for a Hines Ward type, check out UAB's Joe Webb [249].  Webb's got nice size at 6'3" 223#, but speed is a bit lacking at 4.67.  Went from WR to QB back to WR and is starting to show nicely after a rough start in Mobile.

TE

Doubt the Steelers draft a TE with Miller, Miller Lite, and FB/TE Johnson.  I just haven't really paid attention to the late rounders, if they are looking for someone to push Spaeth.  This year would seem to have other priorities, though.

OC

An area of need, as Hartwig is better than Mahan but a long ways from being dominant.  A thin class, however, certainly not as strong as last year.  At the top, Florida's Maurkice Pouncey [38] is a junior who has OG experience, nice size at 6'5" 318#, and who I think could even crack R1.  Like Tebow, he's used to the shotgun; unlike Tebow, he should adjust quickly.  I doubt he lasts to our R2 pick, but to draft him earlier would mean we ought to trade down.  Pouncey is, IMO, heads and shoulders above the rest of this class.

Matt Tennant [62] out of BC has the skills but is a bit light at 290#.  Maybe if he had a year behind Hartwig to add some bulk, but I'm worried that he won't have the anchor against real NFL talent, and wouldn't use anything earlier than a R3 pick.  He's currently slotted as a late R2. 

I'm not thrilled with the rest.  Perhaps Indy will reveal some good strength candidates; I had seen Eric Olsen as a guy who might fall to R5, despite projections higher, but I'm off him and all ND OL.  He has not impressed at Mobile, and NFLDS has dropped him to R6.  I have him as DND.

OT

OT remains a legitimate target, as Starks is arguably not a franchise LT, Colon better suited inside, and depth is just a nightmare.  Rutgers' Anthony Davis [20] is appearing in mocks higher than Iowa's Brian Bulaga [23], but I prefer Bulaga.  Davis is 6'6" 325#; Bulaga 6'6" 312#.  Davis has struggled with consistency and weight, and Bulaga missed three games with a thyroid.  Both can play LT, and could come in right away and push Colon to RG, an immediate improvement.  Both have to be considerations at 1.18.  One metric for LTs is 40 time, with sub-5.0 being a good indicator, and this favors Bulaga. 

But if triangle numbers are your thing, workout warrior Bruce Campbell [26] of Maryland will be an intriguing guy to watch at Indy.  He could blow the field away.  Problem is, he's only had 17 starts, so injury and experience are issues.  A lot -- a LOT -- of draftniks think he will go top 10.  I'm dubious.  I'd have to consider him at 1.18 with reservations.  He could be the best LT in this draft, but there are risks.

USC's Charles Brown [46] is another LT guy who has the feet, but may not be a dominant strength type of blocker.  He's only coming in at 290#, so I question his fit here.  Still, someone to watch, especially if he would fall to our R2.

Jason Fox [82], 6'6" 314#, is coming off a knee injury and had an irregular heartbeat that needs checked.  He's a R1 talent who is a possible (not guaranteed) LT in the pros, after manning that spot 3 years at UM.  Could be a good value pick if he checks out.  IMO, a R1 talent.

Indiana's Rodger Saffold [93], 6'4" 312#, was the talk of the Shrine game, and has LT potential, but I see him more as IOL at the next level.  Might get drafted too early.  In that same neighborhood is a guy I really like, Bulaga's bookened, Iowa's Kyle Calloway [115].  Calloway may never be a LT, but he has the legit size to man RT.  Imagine getting Pouncey and Calloway and having the right side of the OL suddenly dominant, as the 6'6" 322# big man clears out the junk beside RG Colon.  Calloway had a drunk driving arrest on a moped, but I'm not worried.  IMO, Calloway is the best value at OT in R3 if we don't pursue a legit LT.  From here out, the OTs have asterisks.
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #4 on: Jan 27, 2010 at 18:48 »

OT (cont.)

There is a lump of middlin' talent I am no fan of, and have as DND, given likely draft position: Selvish Capers, Zane Beadles (DND at any round), Ciron Black (fell off badly, DND at any round), Ed Wang, Sam Young (horrible, DND ever).  One late round flyer candidate is Hillsdale's Jared Veldheer [156], a 6'8" 321# phenom who will show well in Indy and get drafted way too early.  Mocks will pump his shit way up.  He may crack a 4.90 40 and throw up 30+ reps, but his technique is very raw.  He'd be worth considering R6 or later.  Don't buy the hype, but if you don't mind developing a guy 2-3 years, he could be a good LT prospect.

Texas' Adam Ulatoski [183] and Cal's Mike Tepper [204] played LT at major programs, have good size, but project to workman RT/backups in the pros.  I'd consider Ulatoski R5 and on, Tepper R6 and later.

OG

With Kemo, Essex, Urbik, Foster, Stapleton, and Legursky all possible OGs, I'm not sure if OG is a logjam of mediocrity or a position that may not need drafted.  Certainly, drafting a C and an OT, and moving Colon inside would solve a lot of problems.  Imagine, from left to right:  Starks, Kemo, Pouncey, Colon, Calloway.

That said, there are a fair number of players worthy of a BPA pick, and OG is not a position screaming strength as yet.  Idaho's Mike Iupati [22] is the only legit R1 guy, and he's kilin' it in Mobile.  At 6'5" 325#, with 35" arms, Iupati seems like a Colon-plus type, who can man RT, but who would knock it out as a RG.  Since we already have Colon, why not draft Calloway in R3?

Another OG/OT is Vladimir Ducasse [29], who's Haitian, not Russian, and who comes from UMass.  He's flying up the draft boards like a rabid bat, and frankly I think he will be drafted too high.  Again, he's a Colon-type, and we can draft better value by plugging in a legit RT like Calloway later.

Illinois' John Asomoah [59] hurt his shoulder and should fall as the draft comes around.  I rate him a R3 value, which seems to be redundant given the fact that we drafted Urbik last year, and I don't think he can play OT.  Arkansas' Mitch Petrus [108] is another in that same 6'4" 300# range, and as a former FB he's still growing into the role.  Again, seems redundant.  Mike Johnson [66] of Bama has played every OL position except C, but seems suited to OG, and is also in that same size group.  Of the three, Johnson impresses me most.

Ole Miss's John Jerry [146], brother of Peria Jerry, has been showing well at Senior Bowl practices.  He's a big boy, 6'5" 332#, and he's big and strong.  Frankly, he may be a better OG than the previous three.

DE

It's always fun sifting the 3-4 DEs from the DE listing, and scanning the DT lists for other possible candidates.  Despite taking Ziggy Hood R1 last year, the Steelers will need a  LDE of the future, as Aaron Smith has broken down two of the past three seasons.    Northwestern's Corey Wooten [33] seems consistently ranked too high, given injuries and inconsistency.  Sure, he's 6'6", 280# and can run a 4.80, but I still have him as a R3 rather than borderline R1/2 grade.  Jared Odrick [31], a DT at PSU, looks every bit the part, however.  He's got a great motor, and at 6'5" 301#, he would be a great future DE if we cared to spend another R1 pick on DE.  I have some questions about PSU guys transitioning, but not with Odrick.

UCLA's Brian Price [34] is rumored to be a potential target.  At 6'1" 300#, he seems too small, but Ziggy is about 3" shorter than Aaron Smith, so what do I know.  Price is a very active DT who to my eyes looks better suited inside in the 4-3.  Of similar build is Cal's Tyson Aluala [83], a bit short at 6'2" 291#.  I'd also say he looks better suited to the 4-3.  Syracuse's Arthur Jones [94] is 6'3" 295#, or closer to Ziggy-sized, and drops due to injury considerations.  He's the best run-stopper of the bunch IMO, and the best of this cluster.  But call me restless, I look elsewhere.   Purdue's Mike Neal [136] is a very active player, and at 6'3" 293#, fits this cluster; I suspect his value rises, and with Jones, might be the best 3-4 end, but check out the next profile.

Arkansas St.'s Alex Carrington [96] is a 6'5" 284# run-stopping beast.  He own't excite 4-3 teams, but could be a really interesting fit here, as he looks made for the LDE part.  A R4 asterisk.

East Carolina's Joseph Linval [198] is 6'5" 322#, and is therefore a bit lanky for NT, but could be a huge value at DE.  At DE, he'd be bigger than Smith or Keisel are now, and could probably be a great late round value.  A R5 asterisk, with potential to bulk for a tallish NT.

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