Where Is The Current Draft Stock Of Alabama NT Josh Chapman?

It is no secret that the Pittsburgh Steelers will likely select a young nose tackle to groom in the draft later on this month and one player that could certainly fit the bill is Alabama nose tackle Josh Chapman. Chapman is still currently rehabbing after having surgery in mid January on his left knee to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament that he suffered in a game against the Florida Gators back in October.

Chapman was not able to participate at the NFL combine back in February, but was able to bench at the first Alabama pro day in early March where he did 29 reps of 225 pounds. Because of all of the missed workouts, the stock of Chapman has fallen as a result. But just how far has it fallen? Had Chapman not tore up his knee he would have easily been a first or second round prospect, but now it appears he is a third or fourth round pick according to many draftniks.

The biggest question is when Chapman will be back to 100%. He stated in a recent interview, “I know I can play this year. I feel like I\’ll be 100 percent healthy around June. I love to take care of my body, and Dr. Andrews said I should be right by May or June. I\’m able to leg press and put weight on it. People always say it\’s hard to come back, but I know my mindset. I\’m getting back on that grind.”

If June is indeed the date circled on the calendar then that means he will be a very limited participant in mini-camps and OTA sessions, which certainly could set back his development. Will that drop his draft stock even more as a result? Could the Steelers actually have a shot at drafting him late in the 4th round? I don\’t think you can rule that out completely as a possibility.

If indeed the Steelers were able to draft him there, it would be a huge bargain. Steve McLendon is slated to start the season at nose tackle if Casey Hampton is not ready by week one himself. Hampton, as many of you are well aware of, is currently rehabbing from surgery to repair a torn ACL himself that he suffered in the AFC Wild Card game against the Denver Broncos. There is an outside chance he could start the regular season on the PUP list, but that is far from set in stone right now.

If Chapman is medically cleared by the start of the regular season, he could serve as an emergency backup to McLendon if Hampton is sidelined for the first six weeks on PUP. While I would not suggest doing it long term, Ziggy Hood could also serve as the emergency backup nose tackle for McLendon as well. Hood does not have great two gap skills or anchor ability to play the position well, but you have to do what you have to do.

The good news with Chapman though is that he played in the 3-4 system at Alabama, so he at least knows the basics. If he has the football smarts that most scouts claim he does, he should be able to learn the nuances of the Dick LeBeau scheme fairly quick with the only problem once again being lack of reps leading up to training camp. How tough are those reps anyways? Should be football in shorts, right? Maybe he can participate more than what I think.

The best case scenario would be that Chapman is medically cleared by the start of training camp, but that would still only be a little over 6 months since his surgery. That could be pushing it despite the positive outlook Chapman has, but I am of course not a doctor. He basically is on the same time table as Hampton is at this point, so both very well could be available by week one. That would be a huge plus and neither would have to play right away if McLendon can hold the fort down the first few weeks.

Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert has been down to Alabama for both pro days this spring. While he certainly was likely down there to watch Dont\’a Hightower, Courtney Upshaw and Mark Barron perform, I am willing to bet he checked on the progress Chapman is making as well.

So can Chapman fall all the way to the 4th round and is he the pick assuming the Steelers do not draft another nose tackle in the early rounds? Based on what you know now, where does his draft stock currently sit?

  • Finnegans Wake

    I don’t think Chapman falls all the way to R4, injury or no. On film, he’s the best NT in the draft, although his measurables might not be Poe-like. Looks the part, looks like a young Hampton. Tough enough to play through the injuries, knowing that it might dip his draft stock. Healthy, this guy’s a top 50 player. Coming back from injury, I doubt he escapes R3, and if the Steelers want him I think they may even need to move up some to get him in R3. Not a fan of Ta’amu at all, so if we miss on Chapman I’d roll the dice with McClendon to start the season, Hamp getting back into the rotation, and a late round guy to develop.

    Fangupo is an interesting prospect but he’s already 27. That said, you can play nose well into your 30s. A deep, deep sleeper is Damon Harrison from William Penn (Iowa), worth a R7 comp, very raw obviously. Not wild about a lot of these DTs who are getting mentioned as possible 30 front NTs (Still, Worthy), I don’t see them filling out their frames and being a proto NT.

    It’s a thin crop of NTs. If we took Chapman in R2, I’d be fine with that. Steelers will pull the trigger early on guys they like.

  • Jprankster2005

    I’d pass on him…… We can get Ta amu in 2nd or 3rd……. Or a NT like Worthy

  • LucasY59

    Chapman is the best 3-4 NT in the draft IMO, too bad hes in the same boat as Hampton with the ACL problems, as far as long term value late 4th round is a steal for Chapman, I think the Steelers will take Ta’amu because they need a 2nd NT on opening day.

  • LucasY59

    Has anyone heard anything about UDFA NT Anthony Gray from last year? I think a lot of last years draft picks and UDFA’s didnt get the chance they deserved, they didnt have the full offseason of training and learning the Steelers system. same goes for ILB Mario Harvey and OG Keith Williams. all three could at least provide some possiblities in areas where the Steelers have the most need for depth

  • Grw1960

    I think with his injury holding him back. Chapman could fall to the late 3d round if teams in the late 2nd and early 3d round want to take a gamble on Ta’Amu’s upside instead of taking Chapman.

  • Grw1960

    I thought I read some where that Gray didn’t like the grind required to succeed. and basically quit when he saw he would not make the roster in his first camp.

  • Bleebo77

    The Steelers also seem high on Mike Martin, but his draft stock is rising such that he likely won’t be there for them in the 3rd. Some mocks have Ta’amu going mid-2nd, so it might be a choice of taking Martin in the late 2nd or Chapman in the 3rd or beyond.

  • Jprankster2005

    Round 3 at earliest for this guy and I dont’ like the fact that he’s hurt so I would pass on him if we can’t get him in 3rd……. They can’t gamble on this position seeming Hampton last yr. is ahead of him……. They need someone that can start 2013 and be backup this yr. I don’t think Hampton will even play this yr. to be honest that’s my opinion….. I think they should of cut him and took there chances with Mcclendon and a Rookie…… That would of saved them 2.8 million more and that’s a few players we could sign with that money…… But they want Hampton here and It’s going to pan out just like Aaron Smith did last yr. I would put my money on it……. Hampton is done……

  • Seems like Chapman could be a late round, value pick up. Even if he doesn’t pan out as a starter, at worst, Chapman should be able to be an effective back up at the NT position. Looks like a safe pick up, with a lot of potential upside.

  • Bleebo77

    I’ve seen a number of 7 round mocks with Chapman not going until the 5th round or even later. From all I’ve seen, round 2 feels quite high for Chapman based on projections (and I’d rather see them take an OG/OT in 2), but on the other hand, it seems risky to pass on him in the 3rd and hope he’s still there in the 4th… although again, some mocks have him going even later. I guess it’s all about the Steelers board and letting the draft come to them.

  • Finnegans Wake

    As the saying goes, all it takes is for ONE team to take a player in any given round. I’ve seen a lot of really whack mocks (Burfict still popping up R1, etc.), and IMO there are enough 3-4 teams that SOMEONE will pull the trigger for Chapman ~mid-R3. Could be wrong, but I think R5 is way too late.

  • Finnegans Wake

    If Hampton couldn’t play this year, they WOULD have cut him.

  • Finnegans Wake

    Both 4-3 players, IMO. Ta’amu gets pushed around too much to anchor the POA consistently, and Worthy ain’t a NT. Doesn’t have the frame.

  • Moderatelysane

    I suspect Colbert will let the draft come to him wrt NT. If Ta’amu is there in the 2ND, they’ll take him. If Chapman is there in 3rd, they take him, ditto martin in 4th. Remember, we don’t have to strike gold, if the pick doesn’t turn out to replace Hamp, he could replace Hokey! I think Chapman may well be the best value and fit for our scheme.

  • Finnegans Wake

    Martin is not a 30-front NT. I suspect Ta’amu isn’t either, contrary to popular opinion.

  • But can Martin develop into a 0-tech NT? At 308, he lacks the ideal weight, but Hampton was only 318 during his rookie season. Martin is also a very lean 308, so I don’t think it would be hard for him to add some mass. He’s a strong kid (500+ lb bench, 700+ lb squat), so he has that going for him as well. It seems like Martin has the body type, and tools to develop into a two gapper, but it’s going to take some coaching, and it’s not going to happen over night.

  • Grw1960

    I like Martin though, he is a lot like Hoke was, maybe better.

  • TrueSteelerForLife

    First to answer the main question: I don’t think he is there for us in the 4 and I would like to take him in the 3rd. I hope the Steelers will too, a la Heath Miller, if you know what I mean.
    The reasons I like Chapman are as follows: he has a natural ability to anchor agains the run no matter the weight, he is clean off the field, he is familiar with the system, he will be our NT down the line if we get him under John Mitchell’s tutelage and we will only use a 3rd round pick on a two down player, which is how it should be. At this point I feel he presents the best value an NT this year and truly might end up being the best of the bunch

  • Jollyrob68

    Martin is more like Hoke and to be honest I liked Hoke better. I’d take Martin if he’s there in the 3rd or Chapman in the 3rd. LAter round I like Delvin Johnson of Memphis. He’s a NT but can also play 5 tech.

  • Jollyrob68

    I’d take Martin over Worthy.. But I’m a former wrestling champ & NT so I’m Bias.lol

  • Intropy

    There’s a lot of tape of Ta’amu doing the pushing around. Unfortunately for him he had his worst game in his most visible game, but given his body of work I think he’s the best NT prospect in this draft. The biggest knock I hear on him is conditioning and discipline maintaining his body.

  • Clintmartin

    Martin isn’t yet Ta’amu is but Ta’amu will be gone before steelers2nd rd pick

  • PoKey21

    I dont know I like McLendon for the next year or 2. He might pan out to be good. I dont know if hes the future, but hes only 26.