Sunday, April 29, 2012

2012 Draft Shows Tomlin's Influence

The last and final day of the 2012 NFL Draft has come and gone and we all must now go back to the reality of not having actual football. The NFL Draft is to actual football what the Victoria's Secrets Fashion Show is to...well, a Victoria's Secrets model. It's really just a tease.

But we watch anyway, don't we?

That having been said, I personally was nearly glued to my television for over 48 hours. Watching each pick and each analysis thinking about how I would've liked to have seen this guy drafted by my team, or how thankful I am that my team didn't draft that guy. Not to mention watching Mel Kiper's hair not move for three solid days.

What I took pleasure in watching most was, of course, the picks by the Steelers, which this year were all about core strength and explosion. There were calculated picks and moves that addressed the here and now as well as the future.

Like has been said in the past, the Steelers don't rebuild, they reload. Well, there were clips and magazines picked up is the three days of the Draft that will tear much flesh in the years to come. And the man pulling the trigger was Mike Tomlin.



The Steelers head coach seems to have put his fingerprints all over this draft. As a coach, he wants to win now. Wait...not now, right now. And the draft picks this year showed that maybe more than I've seen in his tenure.

The core of a football team is always your offensive and defensive lines. Then you get after the other team's quarterback and after that you look to create splash plays, explosive plays. All of which was addressed during this draft.

Tomlin talks 2012 NFL Draft - http://t.co/PB21X83R 

We've already spoken in the two most recent blogs about the picks from days days one and two, so we won't repeat those discussions, which certainly addressed core needs. Though I do need to mention one thing, I was evidently wrong about Sean Spence possibly eventually moving to strong safety, a la Carnell Lake. I was told he doesn't have quite the quick twitch needed for such a position. He'll be in the Mack for a certainty, but, even within that, more of a hybrid. In some cases you simply make positions available for certain players' talents. Like Butler said, they'll cover him up. Swing and a miss...moving on.



The Steelers first pick of day three was via a trade with the Washington Redskins as they traded up to get Washington nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu. He's a beast. A nasty one at that. Core.

Ta'amu's measurables read like this: 5.30 in the 40; 4.72 20-yard Shuttle; 7.52 3-cone drill; 26-inch vertical jump; 8'7" broad jump; and he bench pressed 225 pounds 35 times.

Ta'amu had 30 tackles and four sacks during his senior year with the Huskies and was an honorable mention All Pac-12 selection. - http://t.co/eIysFAHY 

At the press conference following the pick, Steelers defensive line coach John Mitchell said that Ta'amu will work to get his weight down, but not so much that he can't play double-teams. Ta'amu has to double-team blockers to keep them of the linebackers.

"He did that very well at Washington", Mitchell said.

Mitchell did say, though, that weight is an issue. He weighed as much as 390 lbs at one point with the Huskies, which is an appropriate nickname now that I think about it. Mitchell says Garrett Giemont, the Steelers strength and conditioning coach, will determine at what weight he needs to play.

Really, Mitchell? Ta'amu looks like a light eater to me...as in, as soon as it get light out, he starts eating. Ta'amu can be a great player and the Steelers future at NT if he learns that the chairs to the training table slide out also. Hey, Ta'amu, put these two words into your vocabulary: "I'm full."

But, all jokes aside (no matter how bad they are), Mitchell did say that weight will be the biggest issue with Ta'amu initially, but that's where Giemont, as well as team nutritionist Lealie Ponci earn their paychecks.. Because, as Mitchell also said, young guys coming out of college don't always have the best nutrition. So, if Casey Hampton is "Big Snack", Ta'amu is "Four-Course Meal."

Speaking of Hampton, when asked about his health, Mitchell said he doesn't know if Hampton will be healthy enough to open the season on 53-man roster or not. "No one knows but Casey."

Ta'amu is a Washington native but says, "I was rooting for the Steelers when the Seahawks went to the Super Bowl." He  just became my favorite lineman.

Meet the Steelers' future starting nose tackle - http://t.co/yQYyr6BI 

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The Steelers 5th round draft pick was running back Chris Rainey out of the University of Florida.

Rainey's measurables and Combine numbers read this way: 5'8.5" 180 lbs.; 4.45 40-yard dash (4.39 at his Pro Day); 2.52 20-yard dash; 3.93 shuttle; 6.53 3-cone drill; 36 1/2 vertical jump; 10'0" broad jump; and benched 225 lbs. 16 times. Explosion.

Add to that the 6.2 yards per carry that he had at Florida and you have a real weapon. Go look at his game film. He's elusive, has great change of direction, has great balance and bounces off of and wiggles out of tackles. YAC! YAC! YAC! Oh, and he also blocked 6 punts. Serious weapon and a steal. - http://t.co/NGPhvBW7

Rainey may be listed as a running back but he's not a threat to replace Mendenhall. He's very versatile and can be used as a receiver and return man. A point that was made by Todd Haley.

Rainey was very productive just missed joining the Gators' 4,000-yard Club as he gained 3,948 all-purpose yards. Pure explosion.

Todd Haley spoke about Rainey on saturday night and said that he can catch and run as well as return kicks. Rainey, though, didn't have overwhelming numbers as a return man at Florida, as he averaged 25.2 yards per kickoff return but only 9.04 yards per punt return. Still, no more returning punts for Antonio Brown.

Rainey is a situational player on offense, says Haley, but that he is an explosive player and he's excited about Rainey's unique skills.

Todd Haley says the Steelers will use Rainey as a running back and as a wide receiver, and will use his speed to create matchup problems. In other words, don't pencil him into any specific position. Oh, about those six blocked punts I mentioned earlier: "Hopefully I can break that record in the NFL."

I'm not insinuating anything, but running back/halfback/kick returner/punt returner/wide receiver/punt blocker. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'. -  http://t.co/x5T744Hu 

As a side note, Rainey a teammate of Maurkice Pouncey's in high school and University of Florida. Two are extremely close. He also lived with the Pounceys for a while and even watched the NFL Draft at the Pouncey family home.

Rainey's older brother is former XFL running back and Philadelphia Eagle Rod Smart, a.k.a. He Hate Me.

Steelers fifth round http://t.co/ETWqYpQI 

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After being reticent in the sixth round because of the trade with the Redskins, the Steelers selected wide receiver Toney Clemons out of Colorado.

Toney Clemons' best "unofficial" 40-yard dash time was at Colorado's Pro Day, a time of 4.36. Steelers wide receivers coach Montgomery said he liked Clemons' size and speed. "I think he was a young man that was hungry for an opportunity." Clemons has big hands as well and really goes up for the ball. High points it well. Splash.

When asked about Clemons, Tomlin said that Clemons is great in blocking, especially for bubble screens. (Yeah, that's right, haters, bubble screens!)

Clemons is cousins with Steve Breaston who played under Todd Haley. Clemons is from Pittsburgh and played in the WPIAL.

Video highlights of Toney Clemons here: http://t.co/2dT6fdgM 

PG Plus Blog: Ed: WR Clemons Would be a Nice Fit http://t.co/669QspUd 

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With the 33rd pick in the 7th round they selected tight end David Paulson out of Oregon.

Steelers tight end coach James Daniel said of Paulson: "He's a guy that has some talent and has some position flexibility."

Paulson is 6'3 246 lbs. and scored six touchdowns last year. He's played H-Back and is supposedly very intelligent, a great character guy. They say he needs blocking work.

Steelers select David Paulson in seventh round - http://t.co/O1rcXLFg 

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The Steelers used their third seventh round pick on Texas A&M cornerback Terrence Frederick. He played both outside and in the slot in college. Purely a practice squad candidate, especially if Donovan Warren makes it to Camp again this year.

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The Steelers made SMU offensive guard Kelvin Beachum with their final pick of the draft. Beachum visited the Steelers facilities in April.

Beachum has position flexibility with guard size and center intelligence, per Colbert. He even supposedly filled in at long snapper at times in college. Whatever helps him make some noise.

Here is some game film of Beachum in an SMU vs. Pitt game - http://t.co/DyF2AwLz

That wraps up the Steelers 2012 NFL Draft. All things considered, a potentially excellent draft. One that addressed real needs and indicated a new direction for both the offense and defense. So, when the Steelers next hoist the Lombardi Trophy, before he ever gets to touch it, Tomlin's fingerprints will be all over it.



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UNDRAFTED FREE AGENT SIGNINGS:
I don't have a stable of writers and I don't sit at a computer 20 hours a day. It's just my lady and I. So, here's a link to Steelers.com and the Steelers complete 2012 NFL Draft and undrafed rookie free agents - http://bit.ly/IzrgNw