Categorized | 2014 Draft, Article, Prediction

CBS Sports Draftniks Release Another Round Of Mock Drafts Prior To Scouting Combine


Last week, the CBS Sports draftniks released another round of mock drafts prior to the scouting combine getting underway and combined they have the Pittsburgh Steelers selecting three different players with the 15th overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Rob Rang and Pete Prisco both have the Steelers down for drafting Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix III. Dane Brugler has Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix going to the Steelers while and Pat Kirwan has Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy heading to Pittsburgh.

Rang writes:

Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame: Nix will have to prove his health before earning a first round selection as he underwent knee surgery in December. When healthy, however, he’s proven himself to be one of nation’s elite run-stuffers. He’d be an upgrade over incumbent starter Steve McLendon, whose play leveled off in the second half of his first season taking over for long-time standout Casey Hampton.

Prisco writes:

Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame: He is a perfect fit in their defense. They have to get better inside.

Brugler writes:

Hasean Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama: Playmaking safeties are in high demand in the NFL right now so don’t expect Clinton-Dix to last long on draft day. The Steelers need to find the long-term replacement for free agent Ryan Clark at free safety and Clinton-Dix fits the bill.

Kirwan writes:

Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri: The Steelers could go in many directions but everything starts up front, and the 6-foot-5 Ealy fits their profile for a defensive lineman. It’s time the Steelers get more pass rush from their front three.

Nix remains a very popular choice of the national media and Clinton-Dix has had his name penciled in as the Steelers selection in a lot of mocks that I’ve seen as well. You should already know my thoughts on the Steelers taking Nix in the first round and several of you have already weighed in on that scenario as well. So what about Clinton-Dix and Ealy? Let’s focus most of the discussion in the comments below on these two players and what you like or dislike about either.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Caesar

    I’m actually warming up to the idea of Dix or Calvin Pryor. I think Brugler kind of has it right, “today’s NFL” makes talented center field types pretty valuable, and if Dix holds up well in all the offseason evaluations he might make good sense.

    Unless Ealy can stand up, don’t bother.

  • Rob H

    I like both Dix and Pryor, and wouldn’t have a major problem if they were the pick.
    However, I strongly believe that FS (as well as ILB) are positions where you could bring in a veteran FA or two without breaking the bank. Those two positions are probably the hardest to learn in this defense, and a veteran could come in and pick it up a lot quicker than any rookie, just like Clark did when he was signed years ago. It also increases your ability to draft the BPA at 15, and start to emphasize need areas in 2-4.

  • pittsburghjoe

    The pick will be Mike Evans, if he is still available. With the 15 pick, you need to find a “splash” player. Gilbert (CB) has splash potential as well, but needs to develop.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    Nix the dix!

    I’m not a fan of either.

    Pryor is interesting but I’m not As impressed with dix.

    A first round pick shouldshould ideally require a double team to be neutralized and should be a 3 down player.

    ILB must be addressed with a well above average player.
    We need an elite DB that can shut down a portion of the field
    A second elite TE take the offense to the next level where they D just doesn’t matter as much.

    I would like to improve the D line but those guys don’t put up numbers in this system anyway. You have to develop cheap talent somewhere and the Cline seems like the best place at this point.

    I also think that improving the ILB and DB’s will go a long way towards making the line better.

  • Dale

    I can’t see us taking a DE in the first round, especially since if we take a NT McClendon can move over to end.

  • Dutchess Hershberger

    Kirwin pick is a surprise, Ealy is a 4-3 end if ive ever seen one, and very unrealistic the steelers use another number 1 on a defensive end, no less from Missouri, this goes to show you how astute these so called experts are not, and I like Kirwin listen to him all the time on Moving the chains.

  • Superdriller316

    Give Joey someone else to work with. Dee Ford!

  • Dutchess Hershberger

    take a look at DANTE MONCREIF OLE MISS WR 6-2 225, A BEAST
    he can be had in the 3rd round best wr in draft not named Sammy,
    he is better then mike evans and benjaimin, plus very mature and a class act perfect fit for steelers

  • dkoy85

    He’s good but unless he has elite speed I just don’t see his transition into the NFL being better than Benjamin or even Evans.

  • Callentown

    Okay, I hope it’s okay to do this. I’m going to share a small piece from something I read recently that I think bears weight in this discussion about Nix or the NT position in general:

    ‘Everything the Steelers do on defense is predicated on their ability to stop the run. The most important run defender in Dick LeBeau’s scheme is the nose tackle. Casey Hampton excelled in that role for years before Steve McLendon took over last season. McLendon had thrived in a pass-rushing role, but he struggled to sustain quality play as a full-time starter at the nose.

    McLendon, according to Football Outsiders, made his average tackle following a gain of 3.0 yards, the worst of any starting nose tackle in a 3-4 defense last season.

    The Steelers slipped to 20th in the NFL in defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA), according to Football Outsiders. Last season marked the first time in five years that the Steelers did not finish in the top 10 in either rushing or passing DVOA. And the Steelers allowed 125 rushing yards per game last season after surrendering just 95 rushing yards per game in 2012.’

    – Cian Fahey

    Draft Nix (if the Bears don’t take him) and move McClendon to DE – problem solved.

  • Jazz

    They already have enough speed in Wheaton and Brown.

  • dkoy85

    What I meant was I don’t see him being better than either Benjamin or Evans. The only thing I see in his game is a deep threat and if he doesnt have elite speed I cant see him translating well into the NFL. Benjamin and Evans each have to potential to be something special at the next level… IMO Moncreif does not. Like you said we have enough speed.

  • dkoy85

    If Nix is the real deal and McLendon will be an upgrade over Hood then I’d be happy with the pick. Let Hood and McLendon battle it out in camp.

  • SteelersDepot

    I hope you can see how silly that reasoning is. Im convinced people just don’t watch tape any more. It’s a fantasy world.

  • Callentown

    Dave, please expand. What is the problem with that point of view?

  • 243546

    It assumes that the decline in run defense was based solely on the change at NT. What about the loss of Harrison and Foote, and relying in rookies to take their place? What about the inability from the secondary to prevent big runs from becoming huge runs? Placing the blame solely on the NT position is just lazy analysis.

  • Axe Skot

    The biggest problem was the linebackers as a unit. OL not sealing the edges, IL not true to assignments. When Troy is playing IL on a number of formations, that should be the indicator right there. Most of the runs went outside and not up the middle.

  • Callentown

    Assuming these stats are positionally-based. Football outsiders may be about stats but they aren’t just randomly guessing at things or they wouldn’t be around.

  • Iron Cadet

    Mcclendons average tackle was 3.0 yards in front of the line of scrimmage. Doesn’t that tell you that he is getting pushed back consistently?

  • SteelersDepot

    No it doesn’t. Does it need to be spelled out for you? Think long and hard about how flawed that stat is.

  • SFIC

    Nix is NOT the real deal. The people who seem to be saying this are the ones who’ve seen his highlights only (most of which were against very weak competition). I’ve watched lots of game tape of him over the last two years and it’s very obvious Nix was easily handled in most cases, even against single blocking. I wouldn’t even take him with a later 1st rd pick…no value.

  • SFIC

    I like Dix but from the tape I watched was inconsistent at times and that worries me a bit. I don’t value the Combine as much as others, but I look forward to seeing Dix in the Back Pedal drill and his 40 time too.

  • SFIC

    I just don’t feel the Steelers will go DE in 1 even though I like Ealy.

  • Bradys_Dad

    We shouldn’t overlook Hageman from Minnesota – this kid is a stud in the making

  • Richie

    No to Nix, they need a big tight end or big WR for Ben but if they decide to trade Ben next two years they will go defense.

  • SFIC

    Hageman flashes too much for me. He’ll make a big play or too for the highlight tape then is lost the rest of the game. This was apparent on Senior Bowl week. He made a few big plays in the practice one on one drills. Then did absolutely nothing in the game.

  • Callentown

    According to the majority of scouting ratings, Nix rates as a 91, which is around 9th or 10th best of players coming into the NFL.

    These are people like Dave who watch every single play. Not fans who occasionally watch a Notre Dame game here and there.

  • Callentown

    Please explain. I don’t understand why it’s flawed.

    I completely agree that this D needs a stout NT to not get pushed back. Also, it seemed like McClendon was getting a nice push at the DE spot.

    Thx Dave..

  • Callentown

    Pittsburgh ranks #4 on second level against the run (i.e. linebackers), but ranks #23 on the D-line against the run.

    #30 in stuffing the run. Seems that has to do with the NT to a large extent – although far from alone in that responsibility.

  • SFIC

    Actually, you’d be surprised how little many of these so called scouts actually watch. I watch lots of games and lots of game film too. All I can say is don’t base your opinions on these scouting sites. Watch the film yourselves and NOT just the highlights.

  • Bradys_Dad

    No argument – but that was 1 game. I guess that I just see a much bigger (no pun intended) upside to Hageman than I do Nix. Nix scares me as a guy who isn’t in control of his weight nor his work ethic. I know, I know, Big Snack wasn’t a mindful eater either but he didn’t need to prove himself. Maybe we’ll go WR in Round 1 and I will have wasted my time overthinking this whole thing anyhow. I am tired of SNOW !!!!!!!

  • Craig Ressler

    Curious to see if Pryor is able to raise his stock as the draft approaches, but I too like both Dix and Pryor. Sort of feel like I would like to see them address S over NT, at least as the 1st round is concerned. Feel like it is probably the more pressing need of the two. But ultimately hope they take the best available of those two positions more than anything when they draft in the 1st.

  • Craig Ressler

    Yeah, I hope you are wrong. I personally would hate that pick. Have certain reservations about Evans but also feel that defense needs to be the priority in the 1st.

  • dgh57

    Does DVOA take into account the players surrounding McLendon or the direction the play is run because I don’t know anything about DVOA. If not what happens if Hood gets taken out of a play ran to his side and McLendon makes the tackle 3 yards back who’s fault is it? Right there is your 3 yards made before the tackle is made. To me McLendon had a fine year. Stats only tell half the story as I also prefer the eye test.

    There’s a better stat that tells more about what happened to our defense last year. According to Allen Robinson of TribLive rookies played 1279 snaps in 2013 by 5 rookies after one rookie played only 46 snaps in 2012! Mix in there Troy playing ILB and one can see the miscommunications and confusion that would cause a player to worry about other concerns other than his own!

    To me Nix would have to be the 2nd coming of Hampton for him to be valued as a #15 pick and from what I’m hearing he’s far from being that.

  • LayDownTheHammer

    You know my thoughts on Clinton-Dix. Ealy can become a good player if coached properly and works hard enough, but he’s for a 4-3 system so no dice with us.

    It’s stunning that no one is mocking Lewan to us and about half have him going ahead of #15 and half below.

  • LayDownTheHammer

    Amen

  • LayDownTheHammer

    Oh God no, we don’t need another undersized pass-rusher-only without a tract of run blocking/cover skills. This is like Chris Carter 2.0 unless he learns reallll well realllly quickly.

  • LayDownTheHammer

    He’s boom-or-bust because of his consistency and being a head case sometimes. Needs to be coached up properly but can do it all if he puts his mind to it. Just think of a less flagrant version of DeMarcus Cousins.

  • PA2AK

    While NT needs an upgrade…it’s a long term problem and should wait a year. McLendon was more than serviceable in his first year. Given the ypc against when he was in there…especially up the middle….we have at least 5 positions I’d rather see them go after than Nix at #1.

  • Rob

    I remember a few years ago after the draft Kevin Colbert gave an interview saying that the most important part of their team is the lines and that’s where they build from–I’m paraphrasing of course. With that said, I can easily see them taking a nose tackle or a 3-4 d-end in the first round.

  • PA2AK

    I’ve also seen stats that say McClendon was one of the best considering plays up the middle. …point is neither stat is perfect.

  • Callentown

    dgh57, I honestly don’t know exactly how they come up with the stats. I wasn’t searching for the article, it just came up in surfing around for Steelers stuff.

    I think I just really like the idea of having more of a stout NT and having Mac on DE instead of bringing in a new DE or waiting for one on our team to pan out.

  • Rob

    Wouldn’t it be nice if Mack fell to us? I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m extremely uncomfortable with Jason woirlds as the starter. He’s only had a 1/2 season of production and it just so happened to be in a contract year.

  • CuldesacBill

    I think there are so many good safeties after the first round, they will not use a first round pick on one. The same goes for DL. Also, Alabama draft picks make me nervous. I still say they should trade down. They need so much, the need as many picks as possible.

  • LayDownTheHammer

    Agreed although he has lots of work to do as a 3-4 OLB. Totally agree on Worilds though it’s not a popular opinion apparently. Better hope Mack flops at the Combine I guess.

  • Rob

    You make a good argument. There’s positions I’d rather see them draft too, but realistically Pittsburgh will always draft the best player available regardless of position. If nix is the top player on the board, we are taking him. There’s enough needs on our defense that it’s almost a given the top player will match a need anyway

  • Rob

    I don’t get why it’s not popular. It’s too risky. That only being able to rush from one side thing bothers me too. I’d rather keep woodley and draft youth. Better the devil you know… Sign and trade worlds if we can

  • 2winz

    yeah and Dontari Poe was not the real deal either coming out of college right? didn’t he get stuffed by a running back? yet, look at him now. The point I’m trying to make is.. whether you like it or not.. is not evidence that Steelers won’t draft Nix. don’t be surprised if they do draft him. The Steelers know what they are doing and they will do their research on many players. A lot of people were against Jarvis Jones last year, yet the steelers still selected him. so don’t be surprised

  • kamil

    I agree , this kid is ready

  • Jazz

    I really can’t see the Steelers taking Nix or Pryor with the 15th Pick; we’re talking about the 15th pick. Whomever they decide to select, if they stay at their current spot (#15), I would hope they select someone they feel can come in and contribute from day #1. The ILB from FSU last year, he contributed more than the Steelers previous five 1st round picks. Look it up and do the math, this guy was a 6th RD Draft pick. I really don’t care who they select, just select someone that can potentially come in and start right away.

  • 243546

    Absolutely. John Mitchell would turn Hageman into a force.

  • RyanW

    I would LOVE the Clinton Dix pick. While I wouldnt mind taking Nix as I dont believe Mclendon is the right kind of NT for our D I wouldnt mind giving him another year and having an excellent Safety like Dix in the secondary

  • Jazz

    I will be the first to admit, I really thought McClendon would have done a better job than that last year. I think he is better suited for DE; if they select NIX at #15, we know the writing is on the wall for the DL to look like this – Cameron Heyward, Nix, and Steve McClendon.

  • LayDownTheHammer

    I’ve seen 3 BS arguments, honestly – 1) Worilds was our “best” OLB this year. Not much for comparison eh? 2) Worilds “got better” as the season went on. Still can’t play the run or cover like an NFL starter. 3) He’s been injured and “stuck behind” 2 Pro Bowl OLBs. And yet, again, after 4 seasons of learning the playbook and mentally digesting the info, he can’t play the run or cover remotely well.

  • 243546

    A lot of comments about not spending a first round pick on the D line. If the right player is available, why wouldn’t the Steelers spend a first on the D line? One thing that has been constant with every Super Bowl winning team that Pittsburgh has produced, is a dominant front 7. I don’t see that right now. If Colbert has a shot at getting a player that he thinks can return the front 7 to its former glory, then he absolutely should pull the trigger.

  • 243546

    Start right away, or contribute right away? Timmons is the only high round defensive pick who wasn’t an instant contributor. As long as the team gets a stud player, who cares if he can’t start right away, versus being a contributor in sub packages?

    The draft is about getting players who can make the team better over the next 4 to 5 years, not just this year.

  • 243546

    Early is a tough call. Missouri lined him up at DE and DT, which is similar to how Cam Heyward was used at OSU. I think he has the skill set to play DE in a 3-4. The question I have is will he be big enough? He was listed at 6’5″ 275 lbs, but those numbers probably came from last years spring practices. If he weighs 285 or higher at the combine, then I think he could be a possibility. Keisel was 6’5″ 285 lb when he was drafted.

  • Jazz

    I disagree; teams need players that can come in and contribute immediately. Four to Five years? Most players jump ship after four years. Have you been keeping up with the New Bargaining Agreement? That is exactly the formula the Steelers have used in the pass, and it did work some what. However, the Steelers haven’t developed enough players for depth nor have they drafted enough good players to develop over the past 6 yrs. That’s why they need to draft someone that can potentially come in and help them immediately. And enough of this crap about allowing players to sit and learn, we constantly see other teams players drafted come in and start immediately, and not just 1st round players. With the exception of LaMarr Woodley, Antonio Brown, LeVeon Bell and Mike Wallace, I can’t think of anyone else that have come in contributed immediately.

  • Rob

    Well said. I like how you think. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who is anti-woirlds at this point. Everyone went from complaining about the steelers passing on Sean Lee to select Woirlds midway through the season to celebrating him and saying we NEED to sign him and cut Woodley… I’m thinking, did I miss something here? I’d still rather Lee or Navarro Bowmen… Woirlds has a lot to prove even with his “strong finish.” He doesn’t seem anywhere near as good as recent steelers OLB greats.

  • LayDownTheHammer

    Thanks very much – I’m also anti Gilbert and Adams, Paulson, somewhat Dwyer, C. Brown, W. Gay (somewhat), Carter, and Ziggy (somewhat). I’m pro Velasco, D & W Johnson, Cotch, Baron Batch (before he was ousted), Shark, Ike, Spence, McLendon (just not as NT), and Beachum.

    And, anti-Tomlin’s drafting strategies but not anti-Tomlin per se.

  • Callentown

    Couldn’t agree more. They know more inside the team than we’ll ever know talking on a fan board :)

  • 243546

    Where his average tackle occurred isn’t specific enough. It doesn’t tell us the number of tackles he made on runs that went through a gap he had responsibility for, or if he made a play on a run that went through another players gap assignment. If McLendon has two gap responsibility on a play, he is responsible for both A gaps. If a stat includes plays other than those that were run to either A gap, then it’s meaningless. I’ll give an example to show why.

    Let’s assume McLendon has two gap responsibility, and has to control both A gaps. Hood has the playside B gap. The RB takes the hand off, and runs to the B gap. Hood can’t control his gap, and the RB gets through. McLendon slides to his left, and makes the tackle for a 5 yard gain. Is that a good play or bad play by McLendon? According to Football Outsiders, it’s a bad play.

  • Rob

    Gilbert’s probably the one that bothers me most on the line. Beacheum seemed to me to benefit from Ben running a more hurry up offense later in the season. I’m hoping it’s not just a trick and he’s actually good. All in all I’m willing to wait and see what muncheck can do with this group before I decide anything. I don’t think anyone is high on Curtis brown or carter.. William gay, I cringed when we resigned him, but he actually looked good at times his year. Still it’s probably just an anomaly and he will revert true to form. Dwyer, I’d rather see Pittsburgh draft tre mason, I sincerely hope Pittsburgh doesn’t have long-term plans for Paulson. Ziggy just needs to go. He’s just not imposing enough to be a 3-4 d-end… We tried that experiment, it failed. I like most of the guys you’ve mentioned you liked. Ike probably has another decent year in him. As for tomlin, I like the man. Im a fan of him. I’m a little confused about the recent drafting. I just don’t know how much say tomlin has in the process. Colbert usually hits in the first round. Last year seems like a decent draft, but prior to that with the exception of some late round finds like Antonio brown and Wallace, he’s left a lot of talent on the board we could have used and drafted scrubs. It’s tough to build a consistent playoff team when we are missing on second and third rounders.

  • SFIC

    Poe was compared to Ngata coming out. Poe also showed great footwork and quickness. I don’t see that in Nix at all. I just see a big man whose tough to move. He compares more to Cody than Poe. I would much rather use a later pick on McCullers or Ellis than chance wasting our first on Nix because I don’t think he’s a sure thing. Not close.

  • Mike Blauser

    Hello All, and thanks for a great debate. I tend to agree with Callentown. We need a nose tackle that consistently demands a double team that he either fights to a standstill or pushes back. Like Casey did. Any stats on how often McClendon draws the double ? And how does he handle it? Eating up blockers is the key for the nose to help free up the backers. If that does not happen, the defense just does not function as designed. Would love to see a Casey clone @ nose, and McClendon & Heyward @ the DE spots. Our backers would thrive in that scenario. Thanks

  • LayDownTheHammer

    As far as the 3 OL, I am anti-Adams and Gilbert because they’re both lazy and unmotivated. Gilbert can’t control his weight and is never in tip-top shape, and Adams remains horrible in technique despite I’m sure his being taught a billion times. Beachum, on the other hand, is an intelligent guy and gets hated on for his lack of athleticism but makes up for it with a better brain than Gilbert and Adams put together. The NFL is almost as much a brains game as it is a physical game.

    As far as Tomlin’s say in the draft, he did say in a press conf this year that he’s responsible for every draftee. And simple logic states that our drafts started getting awful after Cowher left and Tomlin came. Colbert has always been a constant, so it can’t possibly be him. Tomlin’s 1st rounders haven’t been as good as Cowher’s but even worse are his late (4+) rounders. Google search all the Steelers drafts and take a look at the 4+ rounders before and after Cowher left. It’s stunning. Too early to decide on the 2013 draft but it’s sure better than Tomlin’s 2012 dud. Drafting is the single biggest thing crippling this franchise. I realized this and spoke out in 2010 but no one believed me…now they’re all eating their words.

  • WIINGY

    I’ll take Pryor over Dix please. He’s more physical and the Steelers defense needs a physical presence, and someone that can actually tackle!

  • SFIC

    I really like Pryor, a lot. But we drafted Shark last year to be our SS of the future. As much as I like Pryor, just don’t see us going there.

  • WIINGY

    except our pass defense will still suck.
    Even when we stopped the run, we couldn’t get off the field on 3rd down.

  • WIINGY

    Nix will be a reach. He had about a third of Hamptons production in college.

    The Steelers can’t draft for need at 15. Take the best player. They will have more picks later.

  • Matt Manzo

    I agree because there seems to be a lot of talent from round 2-4, for the positions of need: CB, S, WR, TE, OLB. The more picks we can gather during that span the better.
    I am worried about the gap between our 2nd round pick and our 3rd. A lot of good prospects will be taken between those two picks. I’d love to get a high 3rd pick with a trade down.

  • WIINGY

    Hampton had 3 times the production of Nix in college, and we traded back and drafted him at 19.

    Nix will be a reach at 15

    Casey Hampton was the best NT to ever play the game. You can’t expect McClendon or Nix to live up to that. McCLendon is solid and if you build a solid unit around him he will be fine.

  • WIINGY

    look at what? KC rush defense was just as bad as the Steelers.

  • WIINGY

    Pryor is a FS. He can cover and come up and play run. He’s an all around bad ass!

  • SFIC

    I just don’t feel Pryor has the speed to cover the field at FS. I see him more of a Cam Chancillor type. JMO

  • Jollyrob68

    Why? They won’t let him play. They will strip him of everything that made him a first round pick. Dline you draft on day 3 unless a stud dropped to rd 2. This year sign some FA and don’t waste the picks.

  • Jollyrob68

    Like Pryor better.

  • Rob

    Maybe they should hire cowher back as a draft consultant… I think it also hurts us that other teams are running the 3-4 these days. We used to be able to find personnel deeper in the draft. That’s not an excuse though. They do need to find a better way of selecting players, whether it’s limiting Tomlin’s influence or doing a better job ranking prospects. I’ve heard people day pittsburghs approach to the draft isn’t very modern compared to other teams.

  • LayDownTheHammer

    True but more college teams run 3-4s now too. Tomlin is the problem and your Cowher idea is key, but the Steelers will never do it. I’ve already posted in another forum that as long as Tomlin is with the Steelers (which assumes he is heavily involved in the draft), we’ll never win titles. F*cking up the draft is so crippling to us, who never look at FAs or spend big on a few people thus expanding our cap hit – it’s all a ripple effect and Tomlin’s drafting is hence dooming us. Not too farfetched huh?

  • Rob

    I’m not that pessimistic…yet… Tomlin seems like a smart guy. The steelers are well run. I’m hoping the will identify the problem, learn from their mistakes and fix it. It has to be evident even to then at this point that they are doubt something wrong in the draft. They were in denial for a few years there, or so I believe. What is really like to see if Pittsburgh trading down and getting more picks every year like New England… Can you imagine what Colbert can do with multiple picks in the first 3 rounds?

  • LayDownTheHammer

    I’m clearly jaded so I dunno how much the trading idea would work if drafting is such an issue with Tomlin. I’ve been clamoring for the Steelers to trade down (or up) forever instead of middling around all the time. Seems like all the deep drafts we have higher draft picks and in the shallower drafts we pick lower.

  • 243546

    A player can contribute right away without starting. The same 11 guys don’t play every snap. Woodley, Hood, Worilds, Heyward, and Jones all contributed as rookies. In other words, they helped immediately.

  • Big Joe

    Kony Ealy is suited for a 4/3 defense, not a 3/4. He does not hold up well when trying to control gaps and he gets pushed around in double teams, which is what a 3/4 DE needs to be able to do. It has little to do with applying pressure on the QB if he can’t demand double teams to keep the tackles and TEs off of the OLBs in a 3/4.

  • Big Joe

    You could be right but he’ll have to show a great deal more speed than what he has. If all we want is a tall, ball-control type of receiver, than so be it. There’s value in that, but I think the Steelers will wait for a tall WR that also has some speed to stretch the defense down the sideline. Mike Evans is not going to demand a deep safety over the top since he poses no speed threat.

  • Big Joe

    While it’s possible that the Steelers go with Dix if St Louis doesn’t get him at #13, they would have to be sure that he’s part of the solution covering Taylor and Gay over the top while Polamalu and S. Thomas cover underneath closer to the line of scrimmage. I think a good portion of Taylor’s problems last year was that he cheated like he normally did at times but Clark and Polamalu were caught out of position over the top in protection trying to do too much underneath to cover for the shortcomings at ILB. Time will tell on this selection.

  • Big Joe

    If Mosley was available then I think the Steelers go that route given the unknown of Spence and the age of Foote. If not, then I think Gilbert or Barr would also be potential selections. Gilbert would be able to learn outside CB over the first year with Lake and, like C. Allen, play some to gain some game experience in Dick’s system. If Gilbert is off the board, then I think they may take a real hard look at Barr who seems to have fallen within their range after some folks took some more time with his game tape. If the Steelers keep both Woodley and Worilds, then we’ve got depth at the position. If they cut Woodley and eat the staggering millions still on the books for dead money, then we’ll need another top notch OLB to get into the system; othewise, we have no depth except Carter and we might as well have none.

  • Big Joe

    I agree with your evaluation. Ealy is a 4/3 DE and is nowhere close to being built for a 3/4 two-gap DE in a 5-technique. I have no idea what Kirwin was looking at when he made his pick. There is little in Ealy’s play during college that indicates any sort of strong 3/4 potential.

  • Big Joe

    I like your thinking at this point in the candidate evaluations. If Dee Ford is within striking distance of our #46 pick in the 2nd round, then I think the Steelers pull the trigger. However, I think Anthony Barr is falling within range of the #15 pick so we’ll have to see who Pittsburgh invites to their facility after the Combine. That’s usually a good sign of who their looking at.

  • Iron Cadet

    Long and hard. How is it flawed? It’s accurate.

  • Big Joe

    It also doesn’t take into account the assignments of the ILBs who are supposed to fill one of the two gaps as well on a run play thus taking away one of the lineman who is double-teaming the NT. In many instances last year, our ILBs missed their assignments when filling in on the gaps. This forced our DC to us Polamalu closer to the line to compensate for Williams et al and to put Timmons into potential covering positions instead of letting him loose to flow along the line. This all contributed to holes being left open for those 3 yard gains before the NT could disengage and catch the RB laterally.

  • Big Joe

    I would normally agree with such an assessment when all variables to Dick’s defense are even; however, Gay has never been good on his own and Taylor takes too many chances. This past year, both of our safeties were caught out of position a number of times per game trying to do too much to compensate for the ILB play. This left Gay and Taylor exposed so when they took chances, neither of the safeties could get back in time to cove the top. I’m just not sure that if they get back to playing their roles and positions cleanly – should our ILB play be better and more consistent – that they won’t fair much better. Having said that, I still think the Steelers draft 1-2 CBs this year to get them into school so they can have Taylor’s/Gay’s replacement ready to roll by 2015.

  • Big Joe

    I, too, saw him play in a few games and when going against stronger OL’s, he struggled against double-teams. He had a good amount of success against smaller OC’s and OG’s nowhere near his weight and strength. In the NFL I have to wonder whether or not he’ll get pushed around again like he did against tougher competition. In other words, he makes me nervous at #15.

  • Polamalu430

    I don’t think the Steelers will go DL in the first round. They will
    build their board and setup who they think are the top 15 players in the
    draft. When it gets to their slot, they will see who is left on their
    blue chip board and pick the one they want out of that group. Colbert
    said in his interview last week that “you can’t disrupt the natural
    evolution of he roster. You just can’t”. He believes deeply in
    drafting best possible athlete regardless of need. He has also said in
    the past that if you have two “equally” ranked guys, you would then
    consider need to differentiate between the two since they were equally
    ranked. I don’t think Nix is in the top 15. He has health issues and
    some inconsistency in his performance. I would say CB, WR (weapon for
    Ben which Colbert noted was important – only if he is a splash guy
    though) or S are stronger possibilities than anything else. I don’t
    think they will draft a ILB either. I think if they do draft one in the
    first, it will be next year after they see what Williams can do in year 2
    or maybe Spence if a miracle happens. I would say Foote will be the
    fallback there. I am scared of Ealy. I think he is Hood 2.0 (round peg
    for square hole). I wasn’t that impressed with Dix from film I saw of
    him, but I am not an expert at watching tape.

  • Big Joe

    I see Hageman as being more likely a fit for Baltimore’s defensive scheme rather than ours. He gets blown off the line by double-teams way too often and that is neither a good 3/4 DE or a NT. In fact, there are few 3/4 DE or NT’s in this draft that won’t take 2-3 years to develop and we already have 2 DE’s on our roster for development in Arnfelt and Nick Williams both of whom the team like. I see the Steelers keeping both Hood and Woods – both of whom can fill in at NT in a pinch – then finding at NT next year. However, the Steelers know what they’re doing so we’ll see how things shake out.

  • Big Joe

    I wish I could agree with Dix or Pryor, but I may by the time the draft comes rolling around. Dix has the speed and instincts to play over the top and cover for the mistakes of our CB’s sometime in 2015, but not next year. Troy will likely play closer to the line again and S. Thomas will likely either play the slot or take over for Clark to cover-up the mistakes of Gay and Taylor this year. Dick and Lake know what they’re doing so the draft should reflect their need for youth and talent infusion this year at some point in rounds 3 and 4 of the draft.

  • Garrett Hunt

    I like Calvin Pryor over Clinton-Dix

  • 243546

    Ranking D-lineman by the average distance of where the tackle a ball carrier isn’t much better than random guessing. The stats may be fine. That doesn’t mean that authors application of those stats are fine too.

  • Desmond Tordsen

    Moncreif is a good player, only problem is we already traded away our third round pick…

  • Callentown

    Thanks for taking the time to talk thru that. All I can say is that I do not know HOW they determine their stats but assume they are not blindly throwing darts at a wall.

  • Callentown

    There are a handful of needs on defense to be sure. I’m hoping we can bring in at least 2 DB’s that are in rounds 1 – 4. An ILB (Mosley would be perfect if he somehow falls) is a need as well.

    But if you look at past Steelers teams who had success on D, they all have a strong front seven.

  • Callentown

    That’s lofty praise for Hampton to be sure. Liked him a lot, but it IS possible to replace a stout NT. There are a handful around the league today that would, IMO, fair better at the NT position than Mac.

  • Axe Skot

    Agree. My feeling right now is that this year’s #1 NT is less valuable than any of the 5 best cornerbacks or safeties. Again, because this nose tackle isn’t the second coming of Hamp. Weight problems, injury issues, etc. I think Mac will only become better at the nose position and is a good solution right now. Does anyone really believe that Nix would beat Mac out of the job right off?

  • Rikki Giaro

    I don’t believe he will make it to 15 in the second round, but trading down and taking Allen Robinson could help in many ways. Pittsburgh would get a tough big WR, one that is good in the screen game , has good hands, and is good in the open field. Add in the extra picks, that could at the very least help find some depth on the defensive side. Yes I am a bit of a homer ,so I would love to see the Penn State Product in black and gold next year.

  • 243546

    If darts are being blindly thrown at the wall, it usually comes from people trying to give meaning to numbers that aren’t actually there. That’s what appears to have happened with the author of the quote you provided.

    Alan Robinson wrote this the other day:

    “McLendon was given a positive grade by Pro Football Focus both as an overall defender and as a run defender. He ranked 33rd among all NFL defensive tackles, and 25th against the run, by a service that grades every player on every play, much like a player’s own position coach would do.

    For comparison’s sake, Hampton ranked 77th among the 85 most-used defensive tackles, and 37th against the run, in 2012. Hampton was not signed after that season and did not play in 2013.”

    Those are just rankings. There’s no raw score associated with them, so we don’t know if 77th in 2012 is actually worse than 33rd in 2013. But if the numbers from year to year are at least somewhat similar, it would seem that according to PFF, McLendon was actually a better run stopper this year, than Hampton was last year. So how do we account for the decline in overall run defense?

  • Callentown

    Keep in mind, Robinson later states the same info I shared from Football Outsiders as contrary to the Pro Football Focus stats and also quotes Colbert saying Mac “was ok”.

    I keep saying that we as fans no very little about any of this. It’s the coaches and organization that have the best understanding.

    But there are enough opinions at least outside of the Steelers that suggest he is not the best fit at NT and may be better suited as a DE.

    For the record, I am not a Nix fan. He’s just the highest rated NT in the draft.

  • Callentown

    SFIC, I have no pro or con interest in Nix and have not seen highlights of him. Since I’m not a professional scout, my opinion of him is irrelevant.

    He’s the highest rated NT on the board, so I’m suggesting that is one approach that would help the defense. ILB, CB and S are important as well.

    But for any of us on this board to talk as if we know these players capabilities better than the scouts whose job it is to understand the true dynamics of what a player at a particular position can do in a team’s specific schemes is just crazy.

  • 243546

    Whether or not he is the best fit at NT is open for debate. As far as being better suited as a DE, that’s something I’ve read a lot, but have seen no evidence to support that conclusion.

  • 243546

    Getting back to the average tackle stat, without additional context, it’s a meaningless number. Also, let’s not take the Colbert comment out of context either.

    ““He did OK. He was OK,” Colbert said. “He fought through some injuries and gave us some good work. But, again, to say that anybody was good enough, including myself, when you’re 8-8, I think that’s a disservice to the organization.””

  • Callentown

    Well, we will all know soon enough what the organization thinks about this. If they do not bring in another NT thru FA or the draft, we have our answer.

    For my money, I’d prefer him at DE where a line of Cam, a stout NT and Mac would be formidable!

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