2017 NFL Scouting Combine: Steelers Friday Night Five Questions

Happy Friday to all of you and welcome to the 2017 scouting combine weekend.

Alex Korora and I will be buried in our televisions and spreadsheets through Monday in order to bring you all of the results. In case you didn’t know already, you can view the results here.

On Friday the offensive linemen, running backs and specialists all took part in the on-field events of the underwear olympics and Alex has recapped the day for you here. After the combine wraps up on Monday, the start of free agency will quickly follow and that means next Friday we might just have a new Pittsburgh Steelers player to talk about if the team makes another early splash like they last year with tight end Ladarius Green.

It’s been quite an eventful week for Steelers fans to say the least and I’m so glad the offseason is moving along quickly.

Personally, I’ve had a tough few days as I found out on Wednesday that my my internet buddy Alan Gifford passed away last weekend. Alan was a huge Pittsburgh sports fan and did several small projects for the site. I certainly will miss him. He really had a kind heart and was always willing to help out.

As usual, I have five questions for all of you to answer in the comments below and a several are related to the Steelers.

Have a great weekend and thank you for visiting the site this week.

1 – How much of the combine do you watch every year?

2 – Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey had a solid performance on Friday that included him registering the fifth-fastest 40 time this year at his position and the second-fastest 3-cone time of all-time. With that noted, do you think McCaffrey is overrated or underrated as we sit here in early March?

3 – Cornerback Ross Cockrell recently received an original round restricted tender from the Steelers. Will you be surprised if he signs an offer sheet with another team prior to the deadline?

4 – Running back Le’Veon Bell claimed Friday on First Take that the Steelers would have beaten the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game if he had stayed healthy. Are you buying that?

5 – Name the next soon-to-be Steelers unrestricted free agent who will be re-signed either before or after the start of the new league year on March 9. Choices: (Lawrence Timmons, Landry Jones, DeAngelo Williams, Ricardo Mathews, Jarvis Jones, Markus Wheaton, Shamarko Thomas, Cody Wallace, None of them)

Last Friday’s results via David:

Friday Night Questions Recap

Last week, 23 players were listed that respondents felt would be a good fit for the Steelers and should be profiled. Several have already been covered:

Ben Boulware

John Ross  – Alex discussed

T.J. Watt

Dawuane Smoot

Adam Shaheen

Elijah McGuire – profiled 27 February

Brady Gustafson

Javancy Jones

Xavier Woods

Obi Melifonwu

Tanoh Kpassagnon – profiled 27 February

Nathan Gerry

Trey Hendrickson

Christian McCafferey

Dede Westbrook

Rasul Douglas

Brandon Bell

Chris Godwin

Malik Hooker

Shane Falco

Jabrill Peppers – profiled 3 March

Jake Butt

JuJu SmithSchuster

Not sure how many of these will get a full profile but many have already been mentioned in mock drafts and other articles.

Most people felt that the 3rd round compensatory would not dramatically alter the Steelers approach to the draft but did provide flexibility. Several people mentioned picking an additional edge rusher, a tight end or using the pick to trade up for a coveted player.

Near unanimity that the combine provides players an opportunity to impact their value. Mostly by exceeding or not meeting expectations in their performance.

The consensus was that the Steelers would pick a tight end some citing the additional pick. Several were emphatic in saying no since this would be an admission that the Ladarius Green transaction had been a mistake.

  • Josh Gustad

    1. I watch a very small amount of combine. Partly because it’s at an inconvenient time at work, and partly because it’s the Underwear Olympics. Shoutout to the Terrible Podcast and Dave calling it that lol.
    2. I think McCaffrey is a good back. I defintely think he is the most versatile. I do worry about his yards after contact. I don’t think he should go in the first round, but think he will have a solid career.
    3. I’m not extremely knowledgable on the restricted tender process, but I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody made a run at him. I don’t see us matching a large number.
    4. Not for a second. As a matter of fact, I remember telling myself that it didn’t matter if Le’Veon was on the field that night. Last I checked, he didn’t play defense.
    5. Lawrence Timmons. He just seems to want to finish out his career with Pittsburgh. After last year I hope that feeling is mutual.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    1. None

    2. Don’t know anything about him

    3. Mildly surprised. I can’t imagine there is a big market for him but you never know.

    4. Not even a little. The way I remember it is that when D Will came in he was effective and we drove right down the field for a TD. Not sure how Bell does much better than that. Let’s not even talk about how bad the defense was. Bell is the best back in the league but he is also a moron. Can’t rap either.

    5. I lean towards none but if you forced me to put money down I think I would go with Matthews.

  • RickM

    1. None. Football in shorts means little. Pre-practised drills in spandex mean less.
    2. Depends on the game tape, unless there’s a rule change adding cones to the field.
    3. Tough question. Not overly surprised if it happens. I think normally only about 11% of 4th rounders become starters so it’s not a high price if a team thinks he can start for them.
    4. No, he doesn’t play D. It’s also silly to minimize the N.E. win. There’s no upside.
    5. Landry Jones.

  • CP72

    1. I take Friday and Monday off work to watch it live. Been a draft nerd for about 30 years.

    2. I think he’s being a little over hyped. Reggie Bush was a better athlete and never became a superstar.

    3. If a team could get a starting caliber corner for say 4 million per season and a 4th rounder….why wouldn’t you look at that option? Some teams just have a ridiculous amount of cap available. They can overpay.

    4. Was Le’Veon planning on playing corner at some point during the game?

    5. I’ll say Timmons. They want him back and he wants to come back. It will get done.

  • Chris92021

    1. Not as much as I used to. If I have to put it in time, maybe 30 total minutes (which means like 5-7 minutes a day).

    2. McCaffrey is a good football player. Not a great running back, not an elite receiving running back, not an elite kick/punt returner but flat out, bottom line, good football player. Given that the league is inventing new positions (the Big Nickel, the specific slot receiver, etc.), a good team with a creative coaching staff can take advantage of someone like McCaffrey. I could see him getting a stat line of 12 carries, 4 receptions, 3 kick returns per game. Last time I remember seeing a guy like this was Reggie Bush and Bush carved out a 10 plus year career in the NFL. I think McCaffrey will have a similar career barring serious injury. I see him going anywhere from 20 to 50 in the draft.

    3. No I would not. Cockrell is a solid CB. Smart kid and not afraid to mix it up. Sure, big receivers will eat him up (see Brandon Marshall last season in the Jets game) but Cockrell isn’t going to make too many mental mistakes. Having said that, I think he will be with us in 2017.

    4. No because the Patriots have our number, plain and simple. We need to do what the Ravens did to us after 2010 season when it comes to the Patriots. I am convinced that we could have had Mean Joe Greene, Rod Woodson, Kevin Greene, Jack Lambert, Mel Blount, and Donnie Shell playing defense for us and Keith Butler would still play off coverage and play right into Brady’s hands. And our offense flat out can’t do anything inside the red zone consistently, which has been a problem for more than a decade now. Until those things change, we are beating the Patriots, even with a healthy Bell.

    5. None of them will sign before March 9. However, I do think by mid-April, Lawrence Timmons will take a hometown discount and sign a 3 year deal with us. Landry Jones will sign soon after for about 1 million a year, which will make a lot of people unhappy.

    Enjoy the weekend, y’all.

  • Spencer Krick

    1. I at the very least keep it on while I’m doing other things.
    2. That’s a tougher question than I thought it’d be. I think he’s right where he’s at, I bet he goes in round 2.
    3. It’s a pretty good FA market, but you never know. I’ll say no, I think he’s worth a 4th.
    4. Not unless he can rush the passer/play man coverage lol.
    5. Timmons.

    lol @ Shane Falco.

  • WreckIess

    1. I only pay attention to the positions of need.
    2. Slightly overrated by some that think he’s a top 2 RB in this draft.
    3. Yeah because I doubt anyone is going to make the offer. The contract they’d probably have to give him to prevent then from matching plus the 4th rounder will probably scare teams off.
    4. Not with that pass rush. It would’ve been closer though.
    5. I say Ricardo Mathews.

  • 1.) I try to watch as much of it as I can. I make an extra attempt to watch more than usual if I feel there is a lot of talent there. It’s different every year. Fun to watch.

    2.) Don’t know too much about this dude, but with the second fasted cone drill of all time, he may be a bit underrated?

    3.) I wouldn’t be too surprised if one or two teams are looking at him, but I highly doubt Cockrell will be with any team other than the Steelers next season. He’s been around for a while and he knows the system. He seems to get along well with his teammates and he’s not a guy who makes waves. Why blow a good thing over an amount of money that probably wouldn’t be enough to be that much of a big deal in the overall scheme of things anyway? He’ll should remain a Steeler in 2017.

    4.) I absolutely do. We could have worn them down with Bell. Plus, Bell would have been another receiving threat in that game as well. I know there are others out there who have said repeatedly that it made no difference at all that Bell was injured and that we would have lost either way. I don’t know how people can say that when Bell was a primary reason we even made it to that game. I stick with what I will always believe, and that is that Bell at 100% makes a world of difference. No matter which team we’re playing.

    However, that being said, did the Steelers actually know he was injured before the game or did they totally implement Bell into the game plan beforehand thinking he would be one of the main contributors to a victory? Questions, questions, questions. Will they ever really be answered?

    5.) Lawrence Timmons and or Cody Wallace.

  • Jaybird

    1) 75%
    2) he played well in college and did well at the combine. I guess that makes him not overrated.
    3)yes I would be surprised if he signed an offer with another team.
    4) we would have lost if we had Jim brown and Walter Payton in the backfield!

  • PaeperCup

    Good catch. Did Dave add that in, or did someone actually request that? I think that the Sugar Bowl game performance hurts his stock.

  • PaeperCup

    1) Very little, but I happened to have the TV on at work today. Since I have weekends off I won’t be watching, but I’ll stay updated.
    2) Appropriately rated. I think he’s a top 5 back, maybe even top 3. I think he will be a good football player just on his work ethic alone/.
    3) I’m never surprised. Ever.
    4) That surprises me that he said that. I do think it would have helped, possibly allow use to control the tempo of the game a little better, but in the end we know the defense was really what came up very short in that game.
    5) Tough one. Matthews, then Wallace, then Timmons.

  • Spencer Krick

    I hope they profile him, even though his Ohio State tape is going to be a bit hard to get a hold of.

  • falconsaftey43

    1. I try to watch as much as I can, but the wife is not a fan.

    2. McCaffrey is criminally underrated. He’s the ideal RB for today’s offense. Cook and He should be the 1st two selected, and I believe McCaffrey is the best. Fournette is good, but and old school power back that needs 25 carries a game.

    3. I think someone may make sign him to an offer sheet, but nothing crazy. I’d expect the Steelers to match. Just so many teams that need CBs (Philly for instance where he’d easily be best CB on the team.

    4. I think it would have helped the offense keep in more competitive, but the defense didn’t stand a chance in that game.

    5. Timmons is the only one with a chance to re-sign before FA.

  • AndyR34

    As always, Dave, great questions! And condolences on the loss of your friend…good friends, I find, are very hard to replace and the loss of one usually happens at inopportune times…not that there is ever a good time.

    1) 1/2 hr or so here and there. Usually have too many other things to do.

    2) I’m thinking under-rated. I think this guy will have a better NFL career than collegiate…with the right team. Needs a creative OC.

    3) Yes…I think he wants to be a Steeler (who wouldn’t)

    4) Probably not.

    5) Law Dog

  • Jason Campbell

    1) I usually watch the highlight clips of the players that seem like good fits
    2) time will tell, the system is going to be key. Not sure he can take over a game on his own
    3) I’d be surprised if he left, not surprised if he gets offers
    4) I’d love to say that it would’ve mattered, but, c’mon man
    5) LawDog.

  • Boots

    Sorry about your friend.

    1. I watch as much as time allows. Some years it’s more than others.

    2. I go back and forth on him. While I do think he’s going to be a good, versatile player, I am not sold that he’s an every down workhorse type back. For me he’s a little overrated bc I have trouble pulling the trigger on a guy like that in the first rd.

    3. I won’t be surprised if Cockrell signs an offer sheet. The better question might be are the Steelers hoping he does?

    4. I do think they would’ve had a better chance to win. It completely changed the offensive game plan and I believe that NE’s defense could’ve been worn down with a heavy dose Bell.

    5. Timmons

  • Lambert58

    Boulware looks like a Matakevich clone.

    1 Don’t watch much if any
    2 McCaffrey is dynamic, I believe he is deserving of the hype
    3 I will be surprised if Cockrell signs something with another team. This is a prove-it year for him.
    4 They would have had a much better chance with a healthy Bell. Who knows?
    5 Timmons will be signed next

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    1. I don’t watch too much. If I do watch it’s the WR’s and DB’s.
    2. I think he’s rated how he should be. He’ll get drafted between 1st Rd and mid 2nd. RBs are tough to evaluate.
    3. Nobody wants Cockrell except us. I don’t think any team is plotting on taking Ross from us. That’s my dude tho!
    4. Yes. Someone with reliable hands catching the ball was needed.
    5. Timmons or Bell

  • 1. I watched some today, but normally I don’t pay a whole lot of attention. I just wait for the results to be posted on the depot ; )

    2. I think his hype is warranted. I’m a fan, he said right where he needs to be in my book.

    3. I will be shocked if Cockrell isn’t a Steeler next season.

    4. This is Laughable, and tbh, I wish he wouldn’t have said that. Now we will have to witness the pats beat us again Nex year with a healthy bell.

    5. Timmons please

  • Brian Tollini

    1. Usually a decent amount, last year I watched a ton.
    2. Neither at this point.
    3. I would not be that surprised with how valuable the position is.
    4. Not buying it unless he was planning on playing D.
    5. Law Dog.

  • Carlos Ortega Fernández

    1. Some..about 30 minutes a day

    2. Is a good back, he’s versatile but to say that he’s overrated or underrated we should watch him on the field playing real NFL football and no just drills

    3. I think Cockrell will be with the team in 2017 season

    4. We never know…I don’t belive in “what if”

    5. Timmons…I hope

  • LucasY59

    1. I dont “watch” much of it at all, If there is a position group that I am really interested in then I will pay some attention or if its a specific player I am interested in, I might have it on (or the re-runs of it on) but usually I am doing other draft research at the same time, I do spend a lot of time (probably too much) looking at the information and measurables that come from the combine tho

    2. I guess I will say underrated, but I have a hard time deciding on him, I dont think he will be a great #1 back in the NFL, but I do think he will make plays, and a team that uses him correctly would have success with him (I think he could fit in well (his skill set is useful, especially his pass catching) with the Steelers O, but the draft pick would be too high and he would be underused as well)

    3. yes I will be surprised, he is a decent CB but I dont think teams will want to outbid/give up a draft pick to get him (especially with the other FAs available) I think the decision was a little surprising, but the more I think about it, the more I think it was the right move and will save them a bit of cap space

    4. No, he was not having any success before the injury and the hateriots had game planned to stop him (and like I said it was working)

    5. hmmm, not really sure, Timmons? there is talk of negotiations (which is much more than we have heard for Williams) Landry could get an offer, but it wont be until after FA has started, Mathews and Thomas could get low $ offers soon after FA starts as well, but they will have the opportunity to talk to other teams (so the only way they re-sign is if there is little to no interest from other teams)

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    1 – None. Must rely on Steelers Depot for Combine news.

    2 – Don’t know. I think how he played more important than times.

    3 – Yes. Hoping he stays so that the Steelers cann build depth in the secondary.

    4 – Coulda, woulda, shoulda. The Steelers lost, nothing will change that. The team has to win when they have the chance. Hope that is a lesson for Le’Veon. et al.
    5– Lawrence Timmons

  • Matt Manzo

    Happy Friday!

    1: I watch all of it! Probably 3 times for the positions I’m interested in.

    2: Mcaffery seems underrated right now, in the public eye.

    3: I’d be surprised if Cockrell signed elsewhere.

    4: I buy that Bell thinks we would’ve won! But I don’t think it wouldn’t have helped.

    5: Timmons! Maybe Landry beats him too it?

  • Grant Humphrey

    Any chance at all the we sign Brandon Marshal? I mean opposing defenses are absolutely dead if we add Marshall to Ben, Bell, AB and Bryant, hopefully returning next season.

  • Jeff McNeill

    1) I watch it a lot since I am disabled and have been more or less bedridden for the last year.
    2) I heard him compared to Reggie Bush I think he will have a very similar career.
    3) I will be surprised.

  • Dan

    1 – Not much anymore. I don’t have NFLN anymore, and can just gt the results online anyways.
    2 – He’s rated about where he should be. I have this painful hunch that ge’ll end up in New England.
    3 – I wouldn’t be. Solid CB help is in high demand.
    4 – No, the whole team collectively fell apart. Bell being there wouldn’t change that.
    5 – Possibly TImmons and Matthews, everyone else is gone.

  • Alex Kozora

    “He’s got heart. Miles and miles of heart.” – Willie McGinty

  • Darth Blount 47

    1. Sometimes a little. Sometimes a lot. This year specifically, so far, a lot.

    2. UNDERRATED. But hey, I have a man crush, so don’t take my word for it. I’d say, if you doubt his abilities, go look at 2015. Just go look. And then tell me he isn’t awesome. He should have won the Heisman. He lit up the combine except for the bench, and I firmly believe he has the best receiving ability of ANY RB. Which is why his value is so high. Mayock believes he is so good, he could play RB AND Slot WR. And that doesn’t even mention his return skills. I hope he goes somewhere where he can show off his talent and shine. And yes, I pray that isn’t New England or within our own division.

    3. Would I be surprised? Yeah, I guess I would, just based on the propensity teams have shown in the past to NOT go that route more often than not. But do I think it would be smart for some of those teams with millions of dollars, way under the cap, to come and try to grab him??? Yeah, I think it would be smart. He could start for many teams. Especially say, Cleveland, who has 47 picks.

    4. Sure. I love his optimism and positive thinking. Shows a lions’ heart.

    Just kidding…. Law Dog. Law Dog makes the most sense.

  • SilverSteel

    DO you think it was a smart move to not sign Cockrell to a multi year contract given the state of our secondary depth? The releasing of Gilbert and now the move with Cockrell makes little sense to me. Everyone is saying that Cockrell was getting beat all year and cant tackle. I do not see that. I think he was solid all year especially when he needed to come up big against an elite receiver.

  • SilverSteel

    The lesson for Bell should be learned by Tomlin. Rotate the guy more often. We ran him into the ground for the last 8 games. Bell could have been fresh for the POs had we used him a little more wisely.

  • SilverSteel

    If we lose Cockrell, we are in a very tight spot for CBs. If that happens, it will not be seen as a wise move at all. I say we should have given him a team friendly contract and used him as quality depth if someone beats him out. We need him right now badly due to releasing Gilbert. We should have let Gilbert compete in camp not just released him. We are acting like quality CBs can be picked up anywhere. No rookie will be able to do what Cockrell does now.

  • SilverSteel

    If we expect to match a Cockrell offer, why didn’t we just sign him to a team friendly deal now? Makes no sense. At worst we would have had quality CB depth. We can’t afford to lose him after releasing Gilbert.

  • SilverSteel

    I agree on the Patriots comment. It seems like we schemed scared and in our fears. We should have been way more aggressive playing them. I like our DC but that and other games last year were totally mis managed.

  • Matt Manzo

    I didn’t realize it was only a 4th round tender! I definitely would rather have signed him to a 4 year.
    Now it seems there’s a chance of him signing elsewhere. I think that would be catastrophic!
    Someone said that maybe the FO is trying to figure out his value? That would make sense. But now it seems like a real possibility that someone throws big money at him and he leaves.

  • LucasY59

    you are acting like they easily have an extra 5 million in cap space (they could go get a FA if they need to, of match a other teams offer on Ross IF they even try to sign him away)

    as far as Gilbert they could still bring him back for less $, so I will stick with saying the FO are making wise decisions and should benefit from extra $ for other players because of it,

    and I think there are some CBs that will be available in rds 1 and 2 so IF they end up needing to get a CB they can do so (and those rookies could turn out to be better than Cockrell)

    one other problem is that saying Ross is the best CB on the team isnt really saying much (just like it was when Gay was that guy) if he is the best that just means he is the best of a bad group,

    with that said I do agree the team is in a worse situation without him, but I wont pretend that losing him will be the end of the season

  • Ni mo


  • Kevin Schwartz

    1) Pretty much zero time. I read a bit, but don’t pay much attention until the draft.

    2) Haven’t seen enough of him to say. I’d guess about properly rated, but there’s a chance that he’s under-rated and could end up a star. I doubt he’s overrated.

    3) Yes – I think he’s sticking around unless we sign a free agent and his starting spot is in peril.

    4) Sorry, but no. We just didn’t have it that day and I don’t think Bell would have done enough to change the outcome.

    5) Timmons or Jones – but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s none of them.

  • Beeze

    1. Watch little to none of the Combine
    2. Not over or underrated to me. Seen as the #3 or #4 RB by most which seems about right for him

  • Beeze

    1. Not much
    2. Just about right, 3rd or 4th RB by most
    3. It wouldn’t surprise me if another team takes a run at Ross
    4. Has Bell been smoking in his car with Blount again?
    5. Law Dawg!