Saturday, April 28, 2012

Steelers Initiate Operation: PROTECT BIG BEN

At the press conference on Thursday for first round draft pick David DeCastro, Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said that drafting an offensive lineman didn't "preclude" drafting another the rest of the Draft or even the next day.

He was true to his word.

Day two of the 2012 NFL Draft saw the Steelers do just that as they took much maligned offensive tackle Mike Adams out of Ohio State. Adams is a Farrell, Pa., native and becomes the second half of the first Steelers back-to-back offensive line draft picks since 1968.

Mike Adams is 6'7" 323 lbs. He does have the requisite long arms you'd expect from a tackle, but he also unfortunately lacks the requisite core strength you'd expect from a tackle, as was evidenced by his 19 reps on the bench at the Combine.

He's a project who will require some work, but he's basically to be looked at as Willie Colon's replacement after the 2012 season.

Offensive line coach Sean Kugler spent a lot of time with Adams and feels comfortable with Adams. Great size and length says Kugler, but not a finished product. He will initially work on the right side, but he can play left tackle.

One reason the Steelers picked Adams and DeCastro consecutively is because they used a league-high 25 different offensive line combinations last season. So, Kugler says that they're adding two quality players.

Operation: Protect Big Ben is in full effect.

I referred to Adams earlier as "much maligned." Adams received a five-game suspension for receiving improper benefits at Ohio State and then also failed a drug test at the Combine. Because of this, many Steelers fans weren't exactly happy with this pick at first. Understandably so.

Not because I believe Marijuana is so evil and he has to be considered a bad risk. No, it isn't that at all. My own personal feelings or beliefs about marijuana won't enter into this. My issue is purely about stupidity. How do you fail a drug test *coughallegedlycough* at the NFL Combine when YOU KNOW THE TEST IS COMING? That really smacks at intelligence and raises a flag for me.

Given the only slightly-better-than-average second round selections during the Colbert era, bringing in someone whose past isn't exactly that of Heathcliff Huxtable is peculiar if not questionable.

Aside from that, I have no issues. I just want his play to be smokin'. I want him to burn up the field every Sunday. Light 'em up, Mike! If he needs help remembering plays, just tell him to think of the rotation. But instead of puff, puff, pass it's run, run, pass. Just make sure that if he sees some sticky, icky green with some purple mixed in, tell him it only means we're playing the Ravens.

Seriously, though, as long as he truly wants to get serious about his career and be a part of a great offensive line and of a great team, I'm willing to give him the second chance that Colbert and Tomlin have.

His being serious seems to be the case. Adams said the Steelers were only team he reached out to after learning of his positive drug test from the NFL Combine. Adams is a lifelong Steelers fan and wants nothing more than to be a part of this organization.

"I knew I screwed up, I [met] with them to show my remorse and let them know I love that organization and would do anything to be part of it", Adams said.

That's commendable, but Colbert made it clear in the press conference that the verdict is still out. The fact that Colbert addressed a second-round pick to the media in the first place shows that there is obviously still some concern with Mike Adams' background.

In the presser, Colbert said Adams sought them out for a face-to-face meeting. Colbert says that he told Adams he was off their board, but Adams was insistent and has since complied with stipulations set forth by the Steelers.

Colbert emphasized that there's a day-to-day working relationship with Adams and that they are comfortable with it. "We're comfortable in taking the risk...because he was forthcoming....Young people make mistakes." ~ Second Round Press Conference Transcript
Mike Adams Bio

Sounds basically like Tomlin and Colbert are cutting Adams a break. There is a lot of potential with this kid, after all. And the offensive line in the last few years hasn't exactly made ones think of the signature bruising lines of the past. Besides, it wouldn't be the first time the Steelers have taken a chance with a "troubled" athlete. Ernie Holmes, Najeh Davenport and some guy named Ben are a few who come to mind. So, let's hope he's worth the second chance.


The third pick in the Steelers 2012 draft was mostly outside linebacker, sometimes middle linebacker, possible future strong safety Sean Spence out of Miami (Fl).

Spence's Combine numbers and measurables were: 5'11 3/8" 231 lbs; 4.66 in the 40-yard dash; 1.55 10-yard dash; 2.57 20-yard dash; 4.28 20-yard shuttle; and 7.08 in the three-cone drill. Put those together with leading his team with 106 tackles (54 solo), having 3 sacks for negative 23 yards and a team-high 14 tackles for losses of 39 yards and you have one tough and quick tackling machine.

Spence started 39 at weak-side outside linebacker, but did play some inside. Inside is where he'll be with the Steelers also. The Mack position is where he'll be seen, along with mainly playing special teams.

Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler said Spence is a Mack linebacker for sure and will play special teams and provide depth behind Lawrence Timmons. Butler told Spence at the Combine that no rookies comes in for the Steelers and starts at linebacker. ~

Spence, though, has actually been referred to as a "classic" Mack 3-4 linebacker prospect. Miami linebackers coach Michael Barrow even went so far as to say of him, "Not only is he Peyton Manning-smart, but he also has the instincts to match."

We'll leave that to be determined. He's now with the Steelers, aka "Linebacker, Inc." We know linebackers.

That being said, the way Sean Spence flies around the field, one isn't hard pressed to think of another Steelers player, just not a linebacker. ~

I'm somewhat concerned that Colbert went this route before getting a true inside linebacker. Does it make sense that Spence would back up Timmons? A third round pick to be a backup? He's years away from starting and Stevenson Sylvester would be the actual backup if Timmons were to go down to injury.

In my humble opinion we have three Mack inside linebackers with this draft pick. Is something else in the works? There were after all A LOT of Steelers' representatives at Miami's pro day. I think even the water boy was there to watch some foosball. Might they see another position for Spence in the future? It's at least something to ponder as we prepare for the third and final day of the NFL Draft and upcoming season.

Speaking of the other linebackers, Butler said in the press conference that not having OTAs last year hurt Jason Worilds and Stevenson Sylvester. Worilds might get a shot at inside linebacker, he said, but right now he will play principally at his position at outside linebacker.

Larry Foote will be the starter at the Buck and Sylvester will back him up, per Butler, who also says that Sly has to convince him that he can start for them. Considering Sly has seen fewer than 75 career snaps, he has a lot to prove indeed.

Sean Spence Bio

Steelers select LB Sean Spence in third round