Thursday, February 16, 2012

The NFL Draft, Roethlisberger, Haley and Wallace.

To correct a recent blog post, the Steelers have until Mar 13th, not 1st to be Rule of 51 compliant with the highest contracts. So, considering this, it's time we address a few issues. One of which is the April 26-28 NFL Draft.

Mike Mayock was interviewed recently regarding the NFL Draft and the Steelers and he said that the 2012 draft is "very deep" at DT and is also a good one for interior OL. Mayock says this regarding the upcoming NFL Draft: "I think for the first three rounds you can get a lot of quality at center or guard."

That sets up well for the Steelers who need to seriously upgrade at one or both guard positions. A possible consideration for the position is Wisconsin's OL Peter Konz who has the ability to play both center and guard at the next level and gives the Steelers a real upgrade inside if picked at 24.

Mayock went on to say that he has 1st-round grades on 5-7 defensive tackles. PSU's Devon Still is among that group; Mayock says he could play DT or NT in NFL. Considering the Steelers' biggest needs going into the draft are OL, NT, ILB, S, WR and maybe RB, such a player fits right into what's needed.

Steelers need to address the safety position as well, as both starting safeties are aging, but, unfortunately, it is not a good draft for safeties.

Some guy named Ben did an interview this morning and spoke on not yet having spoken to new offensive coordinator, Todd Haley.

Ben did say, though, that he has a desire to be approached a certain way.

Ben said "The quarterback position is not one where you want to do a lot of screaming to, because he's kind of your leader and the guy that has to be clear-minded," Ben said. "So, I've been yelled at. It's not fun to be yelled at. I don't think anyone likes it. But you get as much if not more out of me if you just talk to me, whether I screw up or do good. Just talk to me so we can work through my reasoning instead of getting yelled at."

Roethlisberger did address Haley's vocal coaching style. "If he's as good of a coach as we've all heard, then I think he'll learn how to coach each guy individually and get the best out of each guy," he said.

Good. Because we've seen both approaches to Ben, and a mix of each might be needed to cajole the absolute best out of his game. Rooney II's saying that he'd like to see Ben's game "tweaked" just refers to his not taking as many unneeded hits. As he approaches 30, this is going to be essential.

Mike Wallace is a Pro Bowl player who hasn't yet reached his ultimate potential. His drop off in the second half of the season, where his numbers were literally cut in half, is a concern. This just may be where Haley is needed most.

From 1999 to 2000 Haley was the Jets' wide receivers coach, helping Keyshawn Johnson make his second Pro Bowl appearance.

In 2001, Haley joined the Chicago Bears as wide receivers coach and served in the position until 2003. In 2002, he helped Marty Booker become the first Bears Pro Bowl wide receiver since 1971.

From 2004 to 2006, Haley was the wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys. Haley helped develop quarterback Tony Romo and the Cowboys' passing offense, which centered around wide receivers Terry Glenn and Terrell Owens.

Mike Wallace has the abilities that could propel him to be better than any wide receiver, save maybe Larry Fitzgerald, that Haley has ever coached. Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders play into this as well, but I'm saving them for another blog.

I'm focusing on Wallace primarily because of his decline after the Arizona game this year. Let's face it, Wallace has "Oh, sh*t!" speed, but sometimes gets lost. It's almost as if he becomes disinterested if he isn't involved very early and often thereafter.

Haley will need to correct that tendency and make him realize just how good he can be. If Wallace can be more than a one-trick pony and develop his skills to match his world class speed, he'll have defenders saying "Oh, sh*t!" all the time.