As we get deeper into the beefcake beauty contest known as the 2012 NFL Combine, Ken Laird and Scott Brown of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review continue to provide great coverage and interviews.
The covering of various topics and players with Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was a previous consideration, which I'll touch on again, and now there is also the highlighting of some players who may be in the Steelers crosshairs.
When Colbert was asked about nose tackle Casey Hampton's and the ACL recovery. He simply said: "It's a different position [than RB], so you don't have to worry about speed." Basically meaning the Steelers do want to keep him for next year and believe he can recover and should be ready for most of season.
This is definitely true. As long as he agrees to a restructure, (and there is incentive to do this before June 1st per a previous blog write-up of mine) I can only see the Steelers wanting to keep Hampton. I thought he was still fairly solid last year. Plus, there isn't much else at nose tackle besides McLendon.
As a side point, the subject of moving to Hood to nose tackle eventually to solve such issues in the future. According to Mark Kaboly, also of the Trib and @MarkKaboly_Trib on Twitter, there's little-to-no chance of moving Hood to NT. Regarding the subject he tweeted, "All he will play there is sub packages, but not base." The more I think about it, the more I agree. Let's just let him be the next Aaron Smith, those are big enough shoes to fill.
Colbert was also spoke on Pouncey and his offseason ankle surgery by saying, "The reports we got and the last time we saw him he was progressing just fine."
That's good news. Pouncey was still maturing physically when he was drafted, so healing and settling 'into his body', as it were, is potentially a very good thing. He could be the next in a very long line of Super Bowl winning and Hall of Fame Steelers centers that spans some 48 years.
Ken Laird, @Ken_Laird on his Twitter account, told us that Day 4 of the Combine featured 59 defensive linemen and 33 linebackers chatting with media. Included was Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe, @bigpoe74 on Twitter, a possible Steelers first round pick at nose tackle.
Dontari Poe, according to Scott Brown, said Casey Hampton is one of his favorite players. At 6' 4" and 346 lbs, Poe would be one of mine if the Steelers do draft him.
Dontari Poe said that "he's aggressive, one of the more aggressive defensive tackles this league has ever seen, that's what I admire most."
Poe also said, "I've always followed him. Being one of the best as he is, I've followed him for a long time."
Brown, @ScottBrown_Trib on Twitter said Poe is a big into lifting, and that it looks like it. Brown said it didn't look like he had a lot of flab on him, but also that Poe has not gone through any of the interview process yet.
For more on Poe, read the article from the Post Gazette Blog: Prospect Watch: Dontari Poe http://t.co/rrIqPTV1
Scott Brown said that the Steelers have scheduled an interview with Alabama LB Dont'a Hightower. He has, in fact, already talked with LB coach Keith Butler.
Some very encouraging words were heard from Ken Laird regarding Hightower when he tweeted, "Ok, I'm pretty much sold. Alabama LB Dont'a Hightower very impressive in his chat with the media. #steelers 1st Rd pick? Hightower or Poe?" So far, it seems we can't go wrong.
Regarding the then upcoming meeting, Hightower said, "Talked to a couple of [Steelers] scouts since I've been here. They're interested in me, looking forward to talking to coach Tomlin."
Scott Brown said that Hightower is hoping to run a 4.6 in 40-yard dash Monday. Speed may be one of few questions teams have about Hightower. He had major reconstructive knee surgery in 2009, but he said he's "as fast as I've ever felt." He's at 265 lbs though, and is trying to get to 255 lbs.
Among the linebackers Hightower said he listed as the guys he looks up to in the NFL were, "Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley." Not bad company.
Regarding the meeting the Dont'a Hightower with the Steelers, read this article: http://t.co/rVpHrwR3
On a personal note:
I had a known Mendenhall hater, based on the injury situation, ask me, "Is there any chance the Steelers cut Mendenhall?" I responded, "No, absolutely not. Can't any time soon anyway because of the injury, so he will be back next year. Deal with it and get over it." It was fun dashing his dreams...