2017 Final Four & March Departs: Steelers Friday Night Five Questions

Happy Friday to all of you once again and I hope you all had a great March.

Saturday will mark the first day of April and that means a full slate of pre-draft visits are forthcoming. We already have a good idea as to who roughly a third of those players will be and it will be interesting to see which ones fill out the other two-thirds of the list.

I’m keeping it short and sweet this Friday as I am currently way behind when it comes to getting some sacks cut up for a Saturday post. In case you’re curious, I’ll have nearly all the sacks that Tennessee edge rusher Derek Barnett registered during his college career. There’s a ton of them.

As always, I have five questions for all of you to answer in the comments below and I hope several of you can participate. Also, we had a record month of March and I want to make sure you all know that I appreciate every one of you for patronizing the site on regular basis.

Peace and love!

1 – How confident are you in linebacker Vince Williams being able to be an every-down player in 2017?

2 – Will this year’s Pittsburgh Steelers first round draft pick have had his pro day attended by general manager Kevin Colbert?

3 – True or false: Wisconsin product, edge-rusher T.J. Watt, is a bonafide first-round prospect.

4 – Will the remaining six members of the Steelers 2016 draft class all make the 53-man roster this year? If you answer “no”, let me know which player or players you think will miss the cut.

5 – Of the last three quarterback drafted by the Steelers, Omar Jacobs, Dennis Dixon and Landry Jones, which one were you the most excited about the day they were drafted?








Recap from last week’s questions:

Question 1. The choice between Miami tight end David Njoku and Youngstown State edge-rusher Derek Rivers at 30th overall in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft broke down into two different drafting philosophies: best available player or fill current need. The split was 18 for best available (Njoku) and 25 for current need (Rivers). Many felt Njoku was higher ranked when it came to draft position and looked at the longer-term vision of a potential beast. However, the Rivers backers were adamant that an edge rusher what was most needed in the short-term to put the Steelers over the hump for that elusive 7th Lombardi. While many felt, Rivers was more of a 2nd round talent they did not see him falling to the Steelers late in that round and that it was not overreach to elect him at #30.

Question 2. Friday Night Five Questions respondents named ten different running backs that they liked AND have “… a good shot at ultimately being selected by the Steelers.” The runaway favorite was Oklahoma Sooner Samaje Perine with 13 mentions. Pitt Panther James Conner & Toledo Rockets Kareem Hunt trailed behind with 6 mentions apiece. The only other running backs with multiple votes were South Florida Bull Marlon Mack (4) & Clemson Tiger Wayne Gallman (3). The others mentioned were BYU Cougar Jamaal Williams, Wyoming Cowboy Brian Hill, Texas Longhorn D’Onta Foreman, Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, & Wisconsin Badger Corey Clements. No votes for Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon; I guess if the evil empire won’t touch him; he has a snowflake’s chances in a furnace of being picked by the Steelers.

Question 3. This question seemed to have the most deviation among answers. Every single player got at least one vote most with several as the top edge-rusher who could be molded into a Pittsburgh Steeler outside linebacker … and every single player got multiple votes as the least or second least. I ended up just averaging their ranking by the respondents. The result was a tie between Charles Harris and T.J. Watt. Carl Lawson was next followed by Derek Rivers. Takkarist McKinley was 5th and Taco Charlton 6th. There was also a tie at the bottom between Tim Williams & Jordan Willis.

Question 4. T.J. Watt with fifteen votes & Charles Harris with thirteen were who we wanted Dave Bryan to “tackle” next with a sack compilation video. Dave delivered on both as well as Alabama linebacker Tim Williams who got mentioned. Perhaps these are in the queue: Temple Owl Haason Reddick (3); Ohio Bobcat Tarell Bashham (4); Louisville Cardinal Devonte Fields, Florida Atlantic Owl Trey Hendrickson (2); FSU Seminole Demarcus Walker; Fighting Illini Dawuane Smoot (3); Villanova Wildcat Tanoh Kpassagnon (2).

Question 5. Most understand that there is little danger of Mike Tomlin leaking information that would cause serious damage to Steelers Nation’s Security. One person said, “I am not sure he is willing to give a straight answer, I love that about him.” Of course, there are those that hate that about him too. With that in mind here is a list of the questions you would want to ask him during the annual AFC coaches breakfast. Maybe David Todd could glean a nugget if he has not already asked some version of these:

-What primary character aspect do you look for in prospects, and what character issue is a major black mark?
– Why didn’t you let Jordan Todman be a bigger part of the KR game?
– What schematic changes, if any, do you plan on making on the defensive side of the ball this year?
– You made a big pitch for Dont’a Hightower. Can you explain what attracted you to him, and what you felt he would bring to the Steelers’ Defense?’
– Are you a fan of drafting specialty players i.e. a return specialist, or a hybrid defender.
– How much tape do you watch on a player before you start to feel comfortable with your evaluation of that player?
– What’s your main process going into day three of the draft?
– How much stock do you put in combine results, and to what degree does the combine influence your player evaluation?
– Have you been in contact with Martavis Bryant.
– why don’t you prepare offensively to go against another team’s weaknesses instead of trying to do whatever you want and daring them to stop your scheme?
– Do you guys like cornerbacks or are they your least favorite position on the team?
– Do you feel that if we had one shut down corner that we would win the SB with the current roster?
– How do you feel about drafting a player who is injured that cannot contribute this year but has tremendous upside?
– How much opportunity is there after camp for a non-starter to make the jump to playing time?
– If you could look back to look forward would the next patriots defensive game plan be schemed differently?
– Any updates on Senquez Golson’s injury and rehab?
– Are you planning to run more press man coverage against the Patriots this year? Or will you just stick with the same zone scheme that has allowed Brady to gut us like a carp for the past 10 years?
– Will you take a shot at signing Gerald Hodges or Zach Brown to replace Lawrence Timmons?

  • Spencer Krick

    1. Yes, I think Vince is a solid ILB in this league.
    2. Yes.
    3. False
    4. No, I think Ayers is at risk in that very crowded WR room.
    5. I wasn’t really thrilled by any of them.

  • Thomas

    1: Very. He filled in nicely when Shazier left and can replace production wise what Timmons would have brought.

    2: Most likely, that seems to be the current trend. So far IMO their favorite player looks to be Lawson, but I’d rather try and snag a stud CB early on.

    3: False. I think he has the potential to be an amazing player but knee injuries and inconsistent production make me question him. Every OLB this draft has a lot of ? surrounding them.

    4: Yes

    5: I think Dennis Dixon had the most potential out of all of them, but I wasn’t thrilled by any of them.

  • WreckIess

    1. Probably not every down. As the Buck he’d have to cover a lot of TEs and I don’t know if he’s up for that. Most ILBs aren’t though so who knows?
    2. Nope.
    3. He could be, but bonafide? No. He’s not an automatic first rounder.
    4. No. Bryant being added knocks Ayers off.
    5. Dixon.

  • PaeperCup

    1) Every Down, not too confident. I guess he can play the part, but I would be surprised if we find him out there on 3rd down much. Hopefully drafting someone like Obi will fill that role.

    2) history says yes, but I will say this year will buck the trend. No.

    3) TRUE! ok, this is an opinion, but what is fact is that for 1 year experience he had great production and shows incredible promise as time goes on.

    4) No. Ayers will be on the outside with how crowded WR is going to be WHEN Bryant gets back.

    5) Dixon. I always liked the Ducks. And I liked his versatility. Part of me actually hoped for the second coming of Slash.

  • RickM

    1. No chance. He’ll be replaced on 3rd and long and possibly some 2nd and longs.
    2. Probably, but there’s always a chance someone unexpected may fall.
    3. Tough question. I think he’s somewhere between 25-40 so it could go either way.
    4. I think Ayers will show enough potential to bump Hamilton from the 53.
    5. Dixon. I remember being excited by his versatility. Landry was an “oh no”. Jacobs was sort of an after-thought.

  • Brian Tollini

    1. I am confident he is an above average run stuffing ILB…I am not confident in his coverage skills, but I am really glad we signed him to an extension when we did.
    2. I am going to say no, just because when it comes to the draft, I try really hard, but I know nothing.
    3. True. I am sold on him. The injury concerns are legit, but I would order his jersey as soon as his name is called.
    4. No. I think Demarcus Ayers will be put on the practice squad even though he seems like a solid prospect.
    5. I had the highest hopes for Landry, but I wasn’t real happy about the pick at the time. Drafting a QB when you have a franchise QB in place, is like buying a Playboy when you’re married to a supermodel

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    1. I’d like to see him play 70-80% of snaps if he is the “starter”. I have fair confidence he can do it. Can he defend passes as well as stuff the run & rush the passer?

    2. No. Steelers will use Colbert like Ike used Patton for D-Day.

    3. False. But doubt he will be available when Steelers pick comes up in 2nd round.

    4. Odds say no. Demarcus Ayers hurt by deep position at WR but I like him. Feeney already gone right?

    5. Dennis Dixon. Thought he had all the tools but was a diamond in the rough that never got smooth.

  • Jeff McNeill

    1) I think he will be very solid.
    2) yes
    3) false
    4)no Ayers
    5) Dixon by a lot.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    1. Mostly confident. What you would like to see is the Steelers bringing in an extra DB on obvious passing downs but we didn’t do that with Timmons and it didn’t kill us. So I am roughly as confident in Williams as I was with Timmons. Truth be told, I would have preferred having Timmons off on passing downs. But give me Williams all day as a 2 down or possibly 3 downs on 3rd and shorts. Give me him on goal line as well. Dude can handle business.

    2. I am going to go with the buck trends and say no. Smart money is probably on yes though given Alexs research.

    3. I am only a paper scout but I would say 50/50 depending on your outlook. It sounds like he has the pedigree of a first round pick but he doesn’t necessarily seem first round capable right away when it comes to playing. So ultimately I guess the answer is yes but for the Steelers maybe not as much given their more immediate need.

    4. I would say you could put 5 of them in pen. Burns, Davis, Hargrave, Hawkins, and Matekevich are all locks. Ayers I would put at around 30% at this point. He is hurt the most by numbers in his position group even though he did flash a little.

    5. None. I wasn’t paying much attention to the drafts at the time.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    1) VERY confident. Right now, today, Vince Williams is faster than Lawrence Timmons. I think by the end of the year Williams’ coverage skills will be as good, or better, than Timmons. I think Vince Williams tackling ability is as good, or better, than Timmons right now. Last year’s Chiefs game is an example of what Williams can bring to the table. I believe he will surprise Steeler nation much the same way Harrison did in 2007.

    2) No. This year they mix it up. I do believe he will have a personal visit though.

    3) False. But only because you used the word bonafide. If you said potential 1st round prospect, I’d say yes.

    4) No. If Martavis Bryant is eligible (90% sure he will be) Demarcus Ayers misses the cut. Brown, Bryant, Rogers are locks. Coates, DHB, Hunter, Ayers, (whatever rookie we draft) are battling for the last 2 spots.

    5) Dennis Dixon. And I don’t say that because I hated Jones. I just thought Dixon would be a nice “gadget” player that would compliment Ben. I hated the whole draft Jones plus trade a future 3rd for Shamarko fiasco (or maybe fit was vice versa).

  • gjnn

    1. I would be very surprised if the Steelers were expecting him to be an every-down LB. I think he’ll play about 60% of the snaps and do a sound job, especially against the run.
    2. I hope not because I want Harris or Rivers. Probably yes, though.
    3. True, in that I don’t think a 1st round pick on Watt would be a waste. He’d be in my top five of players I’d like the Steelers to draft at 30.
    4. No. The WR from Houston probably won’t make it. I think the other five will.
    5. I was least unexcited by Dixon but I wasn’t inviting the mayor to lead up a street parade about any of them.

  • Jaybird

    1) not very confident in VW as an everydown player.
    2) yes
    3) I’m not sure if he’s going to be great , but I think he’ll definetly go in the first.
    4) Ayers goes to the practice squad.
    5) I wasn’t excited about any of them , but I guess I liked Dixon the best.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Please elaborate on your answer for question #2. You mean Patton was a decoy?

  • Jeff White

    1. 68.2% confidence level
    2. Yes
    3. True, he will go
    4. All make it
    5. Dennis Dixon

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Yes. After being reprimanded for two slapping incidents in Sicily Patton was sidelined. In the UK, Operation Fortitude was a deception to fool the Germans on where the main landing would take place. Patton was “in command” of a phantom army that was geared to strike at the Pas de Calais rather than Normandy. It worked, Hitler delayed reinforcing Normandy because he was convinced Patton would lead the main thrust.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I thought maybe you were comparing Patton’s sprint through France (and the debacle at Metz) to Colbert’s sprint to the podium (and the debacle of drafting Jarvis Jones).

    Either analogy works I suppose.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    I’d rather Colbert fool rtheother GM’s on who he is looking at than pick an underacheiver.

  • Shane Mitchell

    1. I am confident he can play, but also confident that the defense wont be improved by him playing every down, he has always struggled a bit in coverage, we played Sean Spence ahead of him just a couple of seasons ago because he covered better, what has changed?

    2. I think it is 50/50 usually when we pick so late there is one prospect that falls that they didnt expect to have a chance to draft.

    3. False

    4. Ayers, we have 5 guys competing for the #5 WR position.

    5 Dennis Dixon

  • Boots

    1. I am not confident at all. That’s nothing against Vince, he’s just primarily a two down player.

    2. I’m going to say no, but he’ll be predraft visit.

    3. False, if his brother wasn’t JJ he wouldn’t even be in the discussion.

    4. Yes

    5. Dixon

  • Chris92021

    1. I am not. Vince Williams tries hard and he is a good football player but he is going to be hated by many people here when he gets isolated against slot receivers and RBs who will outrun him all day. Lawrence Timmons got beat often on those short crossing routes that would go for 8-12 yards. VW would see those short crossing routes go for 15-20 yards. Speed is more important in today’s NFL than it ever has been. VW would have been a Pro Bowler if he played in the mid-1990s but now, he will be a liability. Love the guy but he lacks the skill set to be a reliable starter in today’s NFL.

    2. Not necessarily but likely yes. Percentage, 70 percent if Kevin Colbert attended the pro day and met with the young man.

    3. Yes if we include the 30s as “bona fide”. The learning curve would be steeper than it was for Bud Dupree but Watt can definitely contribute for a team in his rookie season, including us.

    4. No. Demarcus Ayers gets cut and placed on the practice squad again. Everyone else (Burns, Davis, Hargrave, Hawkins, and Matakevich) all make the opening week roster.

    5. Dennis Dixon and it is not even close. I thought Dixon could have been developed into a starter for someone other than the Steelers. I never really thought Landry Jones was good when he was at OU and I thought he should have been cut after his second training camp/preseason. Never thought Omar Jacobs would make it as a QB when we drafted him.

    Enjoy the weekend, y’all. Don’t get fooled by stupid stuff tomorrow!

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Actually they played Sean Spence more on running downs and Williams more on passing downs if I remember correctly.

  • JohnB

    1. I have confidence in VW. I’m a fan of VW. I don’t think he’ll play all downs though.
    2. I’m going to say no to the pro-day visitees being called on day one.
    3. True. While some say he’s raw, some say he’s pro ready. I’m going with pedigree.
    4. Hmmm could be.
    5. Dixon cause my friend, who was a fan of his, talked him up. smh.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    1. If the front office has faith in VDub then I have faith in VDub! (Expect Hasaan Riddick to be first pick)
    2. Yes, probably.
    3. Tralse: late first early second. A team will draft him in the first round on his name alone! I’m leaning towards second tho.
    4. No. I don’t see Ayers making it. Wide Receiver eutopia over hea!
    5. Dixon I remember he was having a great yr in college before he got hurt.

  • Phenix

    1. Very Confident. Vince is hungry to be out there, those type of guys aren’t going to be denied. I think a lot of people are selling him short. Although, I have a feeling Steelers D evolves their scheme to where he isn’t asked to play every down regardless if he is a liability or not.

    2. Yes, most likely. I’m hesitant to say it will always be true every year though. Between Combine/Senior Bowl/Pro Days I’m sure they cover a lot of ground. I’m not concerned if they aren’t at a Pro Day.

    3. Yes. Watt seems like a boom or bust type of guy to me. He has the potential to be very good, and guys like that sometimes get selected in the 1st round. Not an early 1st rounder, but 1st rounder none-the-less.

    4. Feeney is already gone. Ayers not returning kicks much last year makes me think his spot is in jeopardy when ALL the other receivers come back healthy. Dirty Red makes the team, count on it.

    5. Dixon because of his ability to run.

  • Darth Blount 47

    1. I think sliding in that operative wording of “every-down player” is the breaker. No, I do NOT have much confidence that Vince “Googly Eyes” Williams will ever get the CHANCE to even show that he can be that player, regardless if he actually has the ability to or not. And really, that’s the key. It’s like the old.. “how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie pop?” The answer? No one truly knows because no one ever had the patience to find out.

    2. No.
    Going against the grain on this, I know. Still holding out hope that we can get Haason Reddick, though I realize it is unlikely. And under the Pro-Day Tracker, it says “Unknown Personnel Member,” at the Temple Pro-Day. So I’ll change my answer if that member was Kevin Colbert dressed up in a fake mustache and long haired toupee.

    3. Hmmm. Tough call. But I’m gonna have to say NO.
    Though Watt remains a hard nut to crack properly. He had 2 knee injuries that have to be huge red flags. He only really has the one season of production at his position after the prior position flip. And I just don’t know how to rate him off of that limited film and experience. He could make a lot of people look really dumb if he becomes anything close to his brother.

    4. Kinda comes down to whether we keep 6 WR’s or not, probably. I’ll say everyone ultimately makes it EXCEPT Ayers, who we can rightly try to stash back on the PS. Gonna be some crazy competitive WR competition come camp.

    5. Landry Jones. 16,646 passing yards at a big-time school with 123 TD passes. (129 total)

  • sam kojiro

    I’m not sure what direction Colbert and company should go. If they are 100% sure that a certain player will
    be a star then they should trade up if possible to get him ( like Big Ben and Troy ). If that player gets picked
    really early and we are not really sold on the other players. Then, they should trade that 1st and try to see if they can possibly get a 2nd and 3rd rounder or better. Then they’ll have two 2nd and three 3rd, but they should make sure that it’s an early 2nd rounder. There seems to be a lot of quality players in that late 1st and 2nd
    round grade that a team could get in the 2nd and early 4th round. I’m hoping that Colbert and Co. can
    knock this draft out of the ball park.

  • SoCal Steeler

    1) Not at all. I think he’ll be fine as a run defender, maybe better than Timmons but he’s going to be a major liability in coverage. He has to come off the field on passing downs.
    2) Probably better than 50%. He seems to be at a lot of the big ones.
    3) No, I think he’s a 2nd rounder who may get drafted in the 1st due to his name.
    4) Ayers is the most likely but he’d make the practice squad
    5) Dixon, I wasn’t expecting stardom but I thought he had talent. Maybe he was Bruce’s dummy.

  • SoCal Steeler

    I think you’re about .2% overconfident with that 1st answer, lol.

  • LucasY59

    1. No, he is not a every down player, but I am confident he will play well as a run stopping LB, they will sub him out on passing downs, but on early downs he wont be as big of a liability as some might think

    2. No, I think this yr could be a bit different for the first rd pick, there is a chance they drop the trend of a big 5 conference player being the pick, and they might also pick someone that Tomlin and Colbert didnt go to the pro day of, I think Reddick would be the pick if he is available, same with Melifonwu (and they are not from a big conference school) Derek Rivers is another option and he isnt even a FBS player so that would really throw things off of what they normally do

    3. False, he has a chance of being a 1st rd pick, but it will be at the end of it (last 10 picks of the 1st) there is also just as good of a chance he is a 2nd rd pick

    4. No, Ayers will have a really hard time making the roster, he would have to impress as a returner to get a spot on the 53

    5. Dixon, but I wasnt that excited, Landry was definitely the opposite of excited

  • Rene Gonzalez

    1. Very, the problem isn’t the drop off in talent at the starter spot, it’s the drop off in depth, which is why I think they should sign or draft someone.
    2. Yes
    3. False
    4. No, just because that’s something really rare. So I have to bump someone out and the one with the toughest path seems to be Ayers so…
    5. Honestly, I wasn’t thrilled by any of them. The only one I actually knew who he was before being drafted is Dixon so if I had to choose I guess it would be him.

  • jsteeler

    1. No, TE’s and RB’s out of the backfield will give him fits.
    2. No. Colbert has been busy.
    3. TJ watt for the right team and defensive concept. YES
    4. No, Ayers will be released if Bryant comes back.
    5. Dennis Dixon, but Before that Tee Martin. Won a National Championship with Tennessee After Payton couldn’t and came to Pittsburgh and never adapted to the speed of the game or read defenses. SMDH.

  • Reader783

    1 – I’m anxious to see what VW can bring to the table in terms of run stopping and football IQ, but I am excited for the almost necessary upgrade in pass coverage from LT. I think VW can play well for us and be the guy.

    2 – He’s making the rounds, so I’d have to guess yes just by pure odds

    3 – False: late 1, 2. Not bonafide 1. Great player though, maybe he’ll be better than his brother if we draft him (wishful thinking)

    4 – Given the WR depth we (could) have, it might be hard for Ayers to find a spot on the initial 53. I think AB, Martavis*, Eli, Sammie, DHB and Cobi are ahead of him at the moment and don’t forget Justin Hunter too. He has a chance to beat out Sammie, DHB and Cobi, but even then he is #4.

    5 – I remember having an Omar Jacobs trading card when he got drafted and thinking it was worthless since we had just drafted a kid who took us to the AFC championship and a Superbowl. I distinctly remember REALLY liking both Dixon and LJ because they were college studs that we got for a reasonable pick. I would say I liked the LJ pick more simply because Dixon had the knee issue and I had followed LJ at OU since they were pretty good while he was there and also Big 12 teams score 100 a game haha.

  • Reader783

    Feeney wasn’t counted in the remaining 6, you probably forgot about the 4th rounder who hurt his shoulder Jerald Hawkins, the T from LSU

  • Reader783

    Feeney is gone, yes, but we still have 6 guys from last year. Might be overlooking 4th rounder Jerald Hawkins, T from LSU who hurt his shoulder in camp

  • Michael James

    1) I think they may be lookig for a S/LB hybrid to replace VW on third down. I absolutely trust him on running downs, but not in pass coverage.

    2) Yes, I think so (since I believe Carl Lawson is their guy)

    3) Absolutely NO. There aren’t that many “bonafide” first-rounders and Watt certainly isn’t one of them. I think many people get distracted by his family name and his combine, but have they actually watched him playing? He has some upside, but we all know how raw Bud Dupree was coming out of college. Compared to Watt he was a finished product. Watt is insanely raw.
    Don’t get me wrong, he could become great, but I’m 100% convinced we’re only talking about him as a first-rounder right now because of his brother…

    4) I think they will, although Ayers is competing for a roster spot.

    5) I wasn’t thrilled by any of them.

  • Matt Manzo

    1: I’m only a little bit confident he can be an every down LB. 2-down thumper, sure. But I’m still worried about pass coverage.

    2: Yes. For the most part it seems to be more than a trend for his 1st rounders.

    3: False. I think Watt belongs more in the top of the 2nd.

  • Robbie

    1. Given the price, very confident. He’ll be a bargain. No one will confuse him for Shazier or Hightower but he’ll do fine.
    2. Yes.
    3. No. He could go first (I guess). But I don’t look at him and think this is definitely a top 32 player in the draft.
    4. Assuming Martavis comes back, Ayers :/ then he’ll prolly get poached from us.
    5. I liked Dennis Dixon because I knew he was a mobile QB. I got really excited when he almost beat the Ravens.