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    Default Draft an OT?

    NFL Draft: Offensive tackles always a big dilemma
    Thursday, April 21, 2011
    By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Peter Diana/Post-Gazette
    Since 1970, Marvel Smith is the only Steelers left tackle to get selected to a Pro Bowl.

    Football people hold two distinct philosophies when it comes to stocking teams with offensive tackles. One is to draft them in the first round whenever possible; the other is to ignore them in the first round, find them later and develop them.

    For years, the Steelers have favored the latter and, while they have been quite successful as a team on the field, they've had only one Pro Bowl left tackle since the NFL merger in 1970, Marvel Smith -- and he made it once. The only other two to make it were right tackles -- Larry Brown (drafted as a tight end) once and Tunch Ilkin (drafted as a center) twice.

    The Steelers have made no pretense about what they think of offensive tackles when it comes to drafting them. They have not drafted one in the first round in the past 15 years. They drafted only one left tackle in the first round since the 1970 NFL merger. They have drafted one tackle of any kind in the first round in the past four decades who turned out any good.

    Jamain Stephens (1996) was a bust, and Tom Ricketts (1989) quickly was moved from left tackle to guard and did not last. The only other tackle chosen by the Steelers in the first round in the past 42 years (Chuck Noll never drafted one in that round) was right tackle Leon Searcy (1992). He was their only success, playing four years before leaving as a free agent.

    Will next Thursday become only the fourth time since Noll became their coach that the Steelers will use their first-round pick on an offensive tackle? And, if so, will he become only the second one from that round to become a hit with them?

    It is an obvious need with their two scheduled 2010 starters both coming off serious surgeries -- Max Starks (neck) and Willie Colon (Achilles). Flozell Adams, who replaced Colon, is 36. Colon, Trai Essex and Jonathan Scott are all free agents of some sort.

    It would be a rare draft if no tackle were chosen in the top 15, as is predicted by many, but a run on about five is expected after that and, if one of those five fall far enough, the Steelers could have a crack at drafting Derek Sherrod of Mississippi State.

    The problem the Steelers face and have confronted for years is that so many teams place a high value on tackles that, if 30 teams bypass one, it can be a risky pick at No. 31 compared to other positions. You can get the top tight end down there, the top center and maybe even the top running back, but you can never get the best offensive tackle. If a good tackle is available, he usually is snapped up in the top 10 to 15 picks.

    "The failure rate there is probably as low as any position in the game with that guy being able to play 10 years," Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said of the top-10 tackle selections. "There's not a big risk in taking an offensive lineman at the top of the draft -- you got him for 10 years, if you can re-sign him."

    Two veterans who ran pro drafts for years believe, however, you do not necessarily need to draft a tackle in the first round, that it is sometimes better to draft them later and have a good offensive line coach develop them. That is what Chuck Noll did throughout his career -- the best example being Brown.

    Ernie Accorsi (who worked for the Colts, Browns and New York Giants) and Tom Donahoe (who worked for Blesto, the Steelers and Buffalo Bills) said Noll's way was a good one, and it has been one the Steelers have generally followed for more than 40 years.

    "If I was going to go teach a course at Harvard on how to build a team, that's the blueprint, look at the Steelers' blueprint," Accorsi said. "You can develop a line as a unit. To me, the left tackles are important because they have to protect that quarterback, but they're well behind the pass-rushers, to me.

    "You can't develop a guy who doesn't have feet. But someone who has quick, fast feet like the kid from Maryland the Ravens have now ..."

    Baltimore drafted Jared Gaither in the fifth round of a supplemental draft, and he is their starting left tackle.

    "No question they're important, but, if you have some raw ability there, these offensive line coaches in our league over the years are the most valuable on your staff," Accorsi said. "These guys are developing players and doing great jobs with these lines."

    The Steelers believe they have that kind of line coach in Sean Kugler, who Donahoe admires and considers part of the "mushroom club."

    "Those offensive line coaches -- especially those guys in the mushroom club as they call themselves -- take a lot of pride in that: Take a raw guy, a developmental guy and bring him along. There's a lot of pride connected to coaching linemen in the NFL. There's just one coach who coaches five positions -- he coaches [about] half the offense, and it's such an integral part. If you want a successful offense, you have to have a good off[ensive] line.

    "Jim McNally didn't want high picks when he worked with the Bills. He said he'd have to break them down, school them and wanted to make sure he had their attention."

    It's a blueprint the Steelers generally have followed for more than 40 years. Will it continue next week or will they break tradition and go for a tackle in the first round?

    Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11111...#ixzz1KB7sYMma
    Steelers seem content bringing in people later and then developing them on their own time schedule. Pouncey was one of the exception, maybe Faneca too, but wouldn't surprise me at all if they went a different direction in at least the 1st 2 rounds.

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    Default Re: Draft an OT?

    If we have a choice between a good tackle or a good corner...............I don't know whom to take. It's , your ****ed if you do and ****ed if you don't. I really don't see any of this being a problem because at number 31 I, don't see us actually getting a very good player at a need position.

    I can't believe the draft is going to be here so quickly and I thought the draft was going to get postponed or some termoil was surrounding it ? I forget what lead me to think that but, glad it's in full force as it seems now.

    I also wouldn't be surprised if the Steelers take a receiver or an inside linebacker the first round.

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    Default Re: Draft an OT?

    Quote Originally Posted by fezziwig View Post
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    If we have a choice between a good tackle or a good corner...............I don't know whom to take. It's , your ****ed if you do and ****ed if you don't. I really don't see any of this being a problem because at number 31 I, don't see us actually getting a very good player at a need position.

    I can't believe the draft is going to be here so quickly and I thought the draft was going to get postponed or some termoil was surrounding it ? I forget what lead me to think that but, glad it's in full force as it seems now.

    I also wouldn't be surprised if the Steelers take a receiver or an inside linebacker the first round.
    ILB is not what I'd be looking at now. I think we have a couple decent young backers in Worlids and Stevens. WR maybe if a stud is there but CB and OL are still at the top of my list.

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    Default Re: Draft an OT?

    Your probably right about IL because the Steelers have always developed linebackers very well. I do miss Kirkland and his style, size. I've been a Farrior backer from the start but I wish we now had a IL that could totallly disrupt when need be.

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    Default Re: Draft an OT?

    ******tte makes a good point with OL coaches wanting to develop their own players in their own mold. OL coaches don't so much coach as they choreograph. They need to train 5 guys to operate in concert with the game plan. In that respect, the OL coach is at least as valuable as the OC because the OC will be limited in what he can do if his OL coach is a doosh nozzle.

    I don't think the value at OT is going to be there in the first round, TBH. The only guy I see remotely in that neighborhood might be Carpenter, and that's even a slight reach where the Steelers draft in the first.

    Drafting Brewer (which I have advocated in my mock in the Draft Day Room: http://www.pittsburghsportstavern.co...r-Mock-w-UDFAs), for what he would offer to this team immediately, is worth a flier at the end of the second. He can be plugged in to spell Adams and can be Starks understudy and insurance policy. At the very least, he's valuable depth (which, if Starks and Adams are healthy, is prolly going to be the case anyway for this season). I also advocate taking him at the end of the second because he won't be there when we draft in the third and the other options at that position don't have nearly the upside of this guy.

    I think moving Foster to RG was a move that will help this team solidify the inside for a few years. It gives him PT and he still has position flexibility to move back out to T if the Steelers need that in the future. So, I don't see where G is necessarily a larger need than T. Skilled Ts are harder to find than skilled Gs. We do need a replacement for Kemo, but the need is not immediate. If we take a player later in the draft to afford a look (I'm projecting Boren in the 5th) that at least bolsters depth and possibly sets the table for that pick to step into Kemo's role at some point in the next couple years.
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    Default Re: Draft an OT?

    Quote Originally Posted by exNCite View Post
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    ILB is not what I'd be looking at now. I think we have a couple decent young backers in Worlids and Stevens. WR maybe if a stud is there but CB and OL are still at the top of my list.
    We need to give Sylvester and Worilds a chance before stockpiling more guys in the draft. If someone slides to the 6th or 7th that can't be passed on, so be it, let's take a look. I even advocated taking DeCicco from Pitt as a UDFA and moving him inside.

    I don't have a receiver anywhere on the Steelers radar. Unless Julio Jones slid to the Steelers in the 1st (not happening), I don't think we have a need for anything more than a 4th or 5th WR. Those players can be found at the end of the draft. And WRs are hit or miss. They either play or they don't. Wallace and Sanders can play. We also need to see where Brown fits into this equation. We still have Hines.

    Getting CBs and OL is an imperative in this draft. Now, the labor situation throws a monkey wrench into the UDFA equation. But, it'll give us a chance to analyze our situation for a longer period of time before we make offers. So, that might be the silver lining in the labor cloud.
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    Default Re: Draft an OT?

    Quote Originally Posted by buckeyehoppy View Post
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    We need to give Sylvester and Worilds a chance before stockpiling more guys in the draft. If someone slides to the 6th or 7th that can't be passed on, so be it, let's take a look. I even advocated taking DeCicco from Pitt as a UDFA and moving him inside.

    I don't have a receiver anywhere on the Steelers radar. Unless Julio Jones slid to the Steelers in the 1st (not happening), I don't think we have a need for anything more than a 4th or 5th WR. Those players can be found at the end of the draft. And WRs are hit or miss. They either play or they don't. Wallace and Sanders can play. We also need to see where Brown fits into this equation. We still have Hines.

    Getting CBs and OL is an imperative in this draft. Now, the labor situation throws a monkey wrench into the UDFA equation. But, it'll give us a chance to analyze our situation for a longer period of time before we make offers. So, that might be the silver lining in the labor cloud.
    I think OT, CB, S, and DT are the top needs...ordered: CB, OT, DT, S
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    Default Re: Draft an OT?

    Ian Williams...3rd or 4th RD

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    Default Re: Draft an OT?

    My answer to the thread question is "first draft the big uglies, the O and D linemen" and then go after the smaller so called "skill players."

    Truly.

    I would hope the Steelers--if they don't trade down in Round 1--come out of the draft with two of the following players in Rounds 1 and 2: Mike Pouncey, Derek Sherrod Gabe Carimi, Marcus Johnson. James Carpenter or Ben Iljama, (all OL) JJ Watt, Phil Taylor, Cam Heyward, Jarvis Jenkins, or Kendrick Ellis (all DL)

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    Pitt Fan--

    I've said this before but neither the Notre Dame nor Penn State grads impress me with their ability to perform in the NFL and I mean for the past 10 years or so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DCBILL View Post
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    Pitt Fan--

    I've said this before but neither the Notre Dame nor Penn State grads impress me with their ability to perform in the NFL and I mean for the past 10 years or so.
    I've watched Williams for 4 years....he can play. If the Steelers could get him in the mid rounds he would be a steal.

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    Default Re: Draft an OT?

    I don't know why, but I have a feeling about a DT from a small college in the fourth round or there abouts. I can't quite rationalise it, but there you are.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBen2112 View Post
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    I think OT, CB, S, and DT are the top needs...ordered: CB, OT, DT, S
    Agreed.........although,I may put S a bit higher on the food chain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by War Machine View Post
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    I don't know why, but I have a feeling about a DT from a small college in the fourth round or there abouts. I can't quite rationalise it, but there you are.

    Notre Dame is a small college......

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    Default Re: Draft an OT?

    I have no doubt that both schools produce fine scholar atheletes, guys with character who perform well in college.

    It's their ability to do that in the pros that concerns me with drafting kids from either school.

    Again, I am making a "football comment," not a JOPA or religious statement.

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