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Steelers CB Ike Taylor Defends Work Ethic Of Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin


By Josh Svetz

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor has spoken out many times this season, giving his opinion on just about anything sports-related, especially when it could involve a possible draft target.

Recently, Florida State receiver Kelvin Benjamin came under fire when, according to Gil Brandt of NFL.com, he skipped a pre-draft workout with an unnamed NFL coach.

Since this report, Benjamin’s work ethic has come into question.

On Tuesday’s edition of The Ike Taylor Show, Taylor made it very clear what he thinks about Benjamin’s work ethic.

“As far as work ethic, there’s nothing wrong, the man works hard,” said Taylor. “Just looking at his background, seeing him come from a fatherless household with just his mom and grandma, something similar to I, you want to push and work harder to fulfill yourself, reach personal goals, but to also help out your family.”

A little known fact about Taylor is that he trains with Benjamin, as they both train with Tom Shaw in Florida, so it is important to know that Taylor has seen Benjamin not just as a football player, but as a person as well.

If a guy like Taylor says that Benjamin’s work ethic is fine, then personally, I have to take his word for it, as Taylor has shown good character during his time with the Steelers.

After Taylor gave his thoughts on Benjamin’s work ethic, he took a stance on private workouts altogether.

“You have to think about it, two guys were injured during individual workouts with teams,” started Taylor. “If I was an agent, I would tell my client, no. They saw you at your pro day and at the combine, why should you have to work out extra. The team (you work out for) may not even have the opportunity to draft you when they want to anyway.

“These guys (prospects) go through a lot during the season and in training. That’s a lot of wear and tear on your body coming off a college football season. I would not work out privately for anybody if I was a college athlete.”

First off, as far as I know, there is only one player who was injured during a private workout this offseason.

Clemson offensive lineman Brandon Thomas tore his ACL when working out for the New Orleans Saints, according to multiple sources.

Of course, having just one player go down with injury during what Taylor deems as an unnecessary workout is too many.

Furthermore, Taylor brought up a great point about the body’s health and how a private workout could put extra stress on it, and this could hurt the player in question.

Defending Taylor’s convictions, his co-host John Harris brought up a good point that the workout could just be a smoke screen to take attention off a team’s desired target player.

He also talked about the possibility that a player could get injured at one of these private workouts, which would in turn hurt their draft stock and possibly prevent them from being drafted altogether.

Despite Harris and Taylor’s obvious disdain for the private workout, they did compromise on certain situations.

Harris and Taylor did mention that if it was just a physical to make sure the player the team is targeting is healthy and in good shape, then that is ok, but in terms of private workouts, both were firmly against it.

With the Thomas injury occurring, the idea of the private workout could become less and less as potential draftees attempt to get drafted as high as possible.

As far Benjamin goes, his agent Eugene Parker has denied that he skipped the workout, despite Brandt sticking to his story.

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  • BradleyT

    I wouldn’t mind us drafting Benjamin at all. He has huge upside and I think he’d have immediate impact as a rookie. He could be a TD machine. I also wouldn’t mind us taking a corner in the 1st then Allen Robinson or Jordan Matthews in the 2nd…. I also like Odell Beckham Jr….. I just wish the draft would hurry up and get here!!

  • steelster

    I think cody Latimer will end up having a better career than kelvin Benjamin.

  • Geoff Cordner

    Benjamin drops to 2nd round a possibility?

  • dkoy85

    Seems like Latimers stock is rising. After looking into him I wouldn’t mind taking him in the 2nd round if we grab Dennard or Tuitt in the first. The kids a physical specimen.

  • steelster

    Exactly, I give dennard the edge over tuitt but I like your thinking.

  • Paddy

    Ravens would take him at 17 I think. However if a top safety was there they probably would pass on Benjamin.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Great points about private workouts. Once NFL scouts have a player’s college tape, combine numbers, and pro day results…what else do they need? Anything beyond that is a luxury.

    Frankly, I’m tired of the overly critical attitude among many football fans toward players—especially when it comes to career decisions. These athletes bust their butts in college, declare for the draft, put on a show at the combine, and host team reps at pro days. And their careers haven’t even started.

    You want to interview them? Fine. Get a better sense of their comfort level with certain styles of play? Why not. Want a closer look at some of their measurables? Knock yourself out. But don’t question their ethic when they decide to protect their investment (declining private workouts) mere weeks before one of the most important days in their career. They shouldn’t have to “kiss the ring” on the chance that the team in question will select them. Draft them first, THEN see how hard they’ll work. You know, once they HAVE the job.

  • Virdin Barzey

    Need versus desire. CB is a need versus Benjamin at WR is a desire.
    There’s no guarantee with these guys but that 15th pick is a big one. We need an impact player that will be star. Hard for me to believe Benjamin will make it to the second round.

    The question would be can we find a very good corner in the 2nd round or are our chances better at finding a very good WR in the second round and later?

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Even a first-round corner won’t be a starter in 2014, except on special teams and perhaps in sub packages (or in the case of injury). The right WR, on the other hand (like KB) could see 10-12 snaps a game, and maybe even overtake the #3 receiver spot by season’s end.

  • steelster

    I disagree by mid season I think gilbert or dennard would see a lot of playing time and maybe even start. Are the steelers going to keep playing taylor if he keeps getting burned. Might as well put the rookie cb in.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Just for fun… I want you all to imagine that by working out with Tom Shaw, Benjamin is able to improve his forty time to about a 4.4. Would that change your opinion on his draft stock?

    If you watched his combine you’ll see that he did not get off to a clean start (when he posted a 4.61). I would not be surprised at all if Shaw helps him on his initial burst to shave off of a tenth of a second. And then another tenth by improving his stride.

    Ike Taylor has said on numerous occasions that Shaw taught him how to run. Specifically he taught him how to stride shorter. That would likely apply to the long legged Benjamin as well.

    If he gets down to 4.4?… Look out.

  • Doug Sawyer

    based on what?

  • Doug Sawyer

    we can get the same over all value by taking 2 CB’s in the top 4 picks rather than 1 at the top spot who doesn’t fit our system(Dennard)We could draft a Benjamin #1 and get immediate redzone/3rd down production and 2 CB’s and we will have addressed 2 huge issues for the team

  • Doug Sawyer

    we will play Gay and Allan and in a lot of nickel and dime packages …at times we played with 3 safeties on the field last year…we will do the same until we get CB’s smart enough to play Lebeau’s system…banking on one CB(Gilbert or Dennard) is not smart…we have to throw bodies at the issue and see which one sticks

  • Doug Sawyer

    Taylor is not talking as an armchair QB like everyone here.Taylor has taken on top talent across the NFL…he knows what he sees in Benjamin all the haters should pay attention…He will be wearing Black and Gold

  • steelster

    Doug do you know anything about latimer or can’t you look beyond Benjamin.

  • steelster

    but what 2 cb’s doug, by the time you get to the end of the third round you start to get into the third tier cb’s.

  • Doug Sawyer

    I asked you a simple question…based on what can you predict that Latimer will have a better career than Benjamin?…you never addressed the weight issue the other day either …seems like you just spout off against Benjamin for no logical reasons other than hunches

  • steelster

    Gay is only a slot corner. If we have to rely on him as a starter something is wrong.

  • Doug Sawyer

    did you hear/read Colbert state that he had never seen a CB class as deep as this one in his career?…yes or no?
    He didn’t say WR class.. he stated CB class… in the 3rd round there will be talent that can play for our system
    guys like Ross Cockrell and Phillip Gaines and those guys can be taken after we already take a Jaylen Watkins in the 2nd

  • Doug Sawyer

    the something wrong would be Taylor getting destroyed which he won’t

  • http://www.nyob.com/ Dr. Doom

    No thank you to Kelvin Benjamin. Just no thank you.

  • Doug Sawyer

    LOL…can’t wait to hear you go all yinzer after we draft him

  • steelster

    Latimer has Benjamin beat in speed, better hands, better vertical jump, better blocker and he has the strongest upper body strength of all the wr’s at 23 reps at 225 lbs. Also ran a 4.39 forty, that is moving for a 6′ 3″ guy. He is good in the red zone and beat dennard for a touchdown by using his body to block him out. He had 9 touchdowns playing with 2 below average qb’s. He has soft hands and a basketball background. My point with Benjamin and his weight is with 4 percent body fat if he wants to go below 240 it will be difficult for him to do. He is more likely to gain weight.

  • Doug Sawyer

    that has nothing I repeat nothing to do with him having a better career Look at where the garbage heap Heyward Bey is in his career …yeah on our roster …good grief

    coming out of college he was better at everything you speak of about Latimer …but the end result?
    YOU can’t predict that

  • steelster

    wrong coming out of college heyward was all about speed many experts said he had bad hands and they were right. The only reason bey was drafted in the first round was because al davis loves speed.

  • steelster

    doug, go watch latimer on tape and watch the placement of his hands when he catches the ball.

  • Doug Sawyer

    wrong and wrong…you are stuck on stats that have no relevance wither they have a Good Career as you say you can predict…what if Latimere ends up on the Bills or Jets or Browns…will he have an awesome career there?You can honestly say he will?Heyward Bey was the #7 over all pick in 2009 and if you spend 2 minutes looking at his stats from college you could claim the exact same thing about him as you do Latimer

  • steelster

    Yes, I think he will have a good career no matter what team he plays for. Heyward bey had a lot of critics on his skill set and in particular bad hands. Latimer has a nice skill set but is still on the raw side and only 21. Benjamin will most likely have a better rookie year but in the long run I think latimer wiil be better because of better skill set.

  • Virdin Barzey

    In that case we should trade the pick since most don’t think Benjamin will or should go at 15.

  • steelster

    Watkins didn’t even start for the gators and you want to pick him in the second round and he will be our 2015 starter, wow I hope you are right.

  • Doug Sawyer

    all I can say is he has some talent…he played in a very weak conference and most of his noticeable stats came against questionable teams Illinois,Bowling Green,Penn State,Missouri …he also tallied 40yrds against Indian State
    29 yards against Navy 58 yards against Michigan State
    55 yards against Minnesota 42 yards against Wisconsin and 60 against Ohio State ….sounds like a Houdini to me

  • steelster

    just read a 2007 draft profile on bey and it said he could be a one trick pony in the pro’s. I like to go more by what the scouts and experts say then the game stats. That is just me. I wish I knew latimer’s drop percentage rate because I thought Jordan Matthews had great hands but he doesn’t.

  • steelster

    Yes, that is what a lot of fans want.

  • Doug Sawyer

    right and the stats I just posted about Latimer suggest he is a ghost from game to game and against sub par talent

  • Doug Sawyer

    yes except the Ravens will take him right after us

  • Doug Sawyer

    imagine the Ravens having Smith,Jones,Pitta and Benjamin lining up across from us…that would be a nightmare…one that no Dennard or any other “top”CB will stop

  • steelster

    latimer faced 2 first round corners and scored on dennard I thought we want red zone talent how many first round cb’s did Benjamin face.

  • steelster

    Would be much more concerned if Benjamin ended up on the browns or bengals.

  • Doug Sawyer

    58 yards against one and 60 yards against the other hardly a stirring performance …and I have watched tape…hilariously one of his highlight videos finished with about 3 minutes of him slam dunking in a basket ball court
    yeah Johhny football cough cough can do that too

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    I was really starting to like the idea of drafting Benjamin in the 1st round but after watching more tape on basically ALL the WRs in this class, I don’t anymore. There are so many good WRs in this draft that there will be a very good one in the 2nd-3rd round. trade back and grab a DL like Hedgeman or Tuitt if Donald/Barr/mack is not there at 15. Everyone seems to want a corner, but I’m okay with a healthy C. Allen and Ike Taylor with Gay/Shark as the nickel and dime for another season then draft a guy in round 3 and hope he pans out like C. Allen and K. Lewis (both 3rd round picks.) I know Taylor lost a step but the secondary improved in the last couple games when they let the CBs just play on one side the entire game instead of having Ike follow around the best WR. People want to crucify Ike like he isn’t capable of covering anyone anymore, did they not watch the 2nd half of the Lions game? Dude held Calvin Johnson to ZERO catches. Ike at the very least, is still a capable number 2 and if C Allen takes another step forward he has the ability to be the number 1

  • steelster

    I don’t hate Benjamin and I don’t love him either. Wish he was a more complete player and he is a high risk/high reward player. I think the steelers will go with a much safer pick with dennard or beckham. I do like the dennard first round and latimer or another receiver in the second that would be nice.

  • Doug Sawyer

    I think there are plenty of WR’s that are talented in this draft too…but not with the same competition level that Benjamin faced and none of them have the same measurables in size and production…The most important thing to understand is that Pittsburgh doesn’t need another receiver they need a dominate redzone weapon Brown and Wheaton are perfectly fine WR’s so is Moore …outside of Ebron in terms of high powered large target there is Evans and Benjamin …they are in a class of their own as far as size and production…

    I’m less concerned about what you call a guy like Benjamin in the NFL TE/WR Joker what ever…the new pass happy rules of the NFL make it dumb to not have guys that are massive athletes challenging CB’s that have been in the 5’10 range for the last decade

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    Watkins would be a horrible 2nd round pick. they already have a CB/S hybrid in Shamarko Thomas.

  • Doug Sawyer

    I mean if we just wanted a great receiver we’d get Cooks from Oregon St…because he is the best WR in the draft …but that’s not what we are doing…we are looking to add another dimension to our offense

  • steelster

    Love Johnny football, hope he does well in the nfl.

  • Doug Sawyer

    OMG face palm…this explains everything

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    I completely understand where you are coming from when you say they NEED a red zone target. We all get frustrated watching drives end with FGs. But this team has too many needs to spend a top 15 pick on a guy who I personally and many Draftniks think is the 4th or 5th best ALL AROUND wide receiver in the draft. Watkins, Evans, Beckham Jr., and Brandon Cooks are all better players than Benjamin. Maybe even Lee as well. The DL is the biggest need on this team right now and no one is saying a word about it. There isn’t even another capable DE other than Heyward on the team. I think the reason they are looking at so many WRs is that they are hoping one of these guys will drop to the 2nd round. better value there.

  • Doug Sawyer

    Watkins played every secondary position on the Gators against top tier talent and yes he started 3 at CB and 6 at safety which tells you he knows coverage and is flexible in what he can do…he also grew up covering Sammy in practice

  • Doug Sawyer

    so Lucus…who would you target in the 2nd round at CB?
    Ideally I’d target Fuller because he best suited for our defense …but I doubt he will be there…another guy I could see us going after is McGill another solid 2nd round option that should be there

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    If Fuller is still there Fuller would be the pick for me. Sort of don’t feel he will be there though. I would go Phillip Gaines in the 2nd round. He reminds me of Gilbert, he has basically the same skill set as Gilbert but he is a little stronger. Gaines would be a first round prospect if he didnt play for Rice and wasnt injury prone. (was healthy the entire season in 2013)

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    haven’t done any tape watching on McGill but after looking at his measurables he is intriguing.

  • wdhammer

    The steelers won’t draft a corner # 1

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    you must be an all stats guy or something. Watch the tape a lot of the time when Taylor was getting “burned” he was either expecting help over the top or passing his defender off to another zone. dude still held a couple top receivers to their worst games of the season

  • bigsky

    why so ‘in your face’ and confrontational? An open forum demands some compromise. The draft is an inexact science, and nobody knows for sure. Your certainty in all areas are a point of concern for me. You know football, but you don’t know about interfacing with fellow humans.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Lucas-

    You make some good points. I’m a big fan of Benjamin, but even I would pass on him if we could trade back with the 49ers to get their 1st and 2nd rounders.

    1.30 – Stephon Tuitt (DE)
    2.15 – Jeremiah Attaouchu (OLB)
    2.30 – Martavis Bryant (WR)
    3.33 – Pierre Desir (CB)
    4.15 – Ross Cockrell (CB)

    To me the question is – Would you rather have Kelvin Benjamin? Or Martavis Bryant AND Stephon Tuitt?

    I personally would take the latter. And I think Colbert would too. THAT is the reason Colbert is looking at all these weird ranges of prospects. He wants to be prepared for a variety of scenarios in case a trade presents itself.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I guess my other comment is who do you see as the other elite red zone threats in this year’s draft? A-S-Jenkins? Amaro? (Both of those guys have some red flags to me.)

    Do we draft a mid/late round TE and call him our new red zone weapon if we can get the right mismatch?

    There are a lot of good receivers with decent height who haven’t shown on tape that they’re great touchdown makers. Do we gamble on one of them and hope they catch a lot of TD’s once they get to the NFL?

    The one difference with Benjamin is he has shown on tape that he catches TD’s (and 3rd down passes). That has to count for something IMO.

  • Doug Sawyer

    welcome to the internet

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