Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Taking A Look At The Steelers Pre-Draft Visits

"Draft visits: OLB Jarvis Jones, Ga; OLB Jamie Collins, S. Miss; LB Khaseem Greene, Rutgers; S Jonathan Meeks, Clem; S Phillip Thomas, FresSt" - Tweet from Bob Labriola from his Twitter feed.

Labriola revealed Tuesday morning the draft visits the Steelers have welcomed, including Jarvis Jones of the University of Georgia.

Mike Tomlin was at the Georgia Pro Day on March 21, with Jarvis Jones being center stage. Reportedly, he had an unimpressive showing with a 4.9/40. The 6'3", 240-pound Jones didn't do well in the linebacker drills, either. His draft stock has dropped because of the spinal stenosis with which he was diagnosed, though he has since claimed that he was misdiagnosed. If so, good for now. - http://tinyurl.com/cpetcqy

But even if not, NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt says he has glaring weaknesses. - http://tinyurl.com/bvjvuja

As for the other college players who'll be wandering around the South Side on Tuesday, all were defensive players and some of whom were ones If It Ain't Steel has highlighted before. Let's run them down.

JAMIE COLLINS - OLB:
6'4", 250 lbs., 4.64/40-yard dash (best unofficial time being 4.59) and bench pressed 225 pounds 19 times. Collins has good flexibility when rushing the edge, and turns hips well when changing direction in pass coverage. Knows how to use his length to his advantage. - http://tinyurl.com/c9a9645

KHASEEM GREENE - OLB:
6'1", 241 lbs., 4.71/40-yard dash, and bench pressed 225 pounds 17 times. The safety-turned-wheel outside linebacker has had 25 tackles for a loss, including nine sacks, in his last two seasons. - http://tinyurl.com/d3ap2jf

JONATHAN MEEKS - SS:
6'1", 210 lbs., 4.55/40-yard dash and bench pressed 225 pounds 23 times. The strong safety had 62 tackles, one tackle for loss, two interceptions (one for a touchdown) and five passes defended. - http://tinyurl.com/cu9tnuz



PHILLIP THOMAS - FS:
6'1", 215 lbs., 4.53/40-yard dash and bench pressed 225 pounds 14 times. Thomas would be a great pick up in the third round and is a walking triple threat: he is a good blitzer who had 12 tackles for losses and four sacks, a hard hitter who forced four fumbles, and a ballhawk who had eight interceptions.

He has his drawbacks too, though. He needs to learn read offenses better, misses tackles at times because he sometimes takes bad angles and doesn't have the best instincts in coverage - all of which can be learned with the right teacher. - http://www.nfl.com/draft/2013/profiles/phillip-thomas?id=2539667

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Wednesday arrived and so did more players, both free agents and draft hopefuls. According to several beat writers, UFA visitors were guard Antoine Caldwell, inside linebacker Tavares Gooden and running back LaRod Stephens-Howling.

"@McClain_on_NFL: Texans G Antoine Caldwell is visiting the Steelers." - John McClain of the Houston Chronicle had reported this information on Tuesday.

Caldwell has played in 39 games since drafted in 2009, and has started 19 of them. He can play both guard and center, and the Steelers need depth on the offensive line at both positions if guard/center Doug Legursky leaves as an unrestricted free agent.

Gooden, entering his sixth season, was originally drafted by the Baltimore Ravens and played his last two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. The 6'1" 240-pound ILB is a special teamer and reserve linebacker who could fill a vital role for the Steelers. It is less likely now, though, since Stevenson Sylvester was just signed Wednesday morning to a minimal contract.

Stephens-Howling is a 5'7" 185-pound running back who provides a pop and spark the running game needs. While the Steelers are still interested in Ahmad Bradshaw, he's still healing from his surgery and the team is doing their free agent doe diligence. Last season, Stephens-Howling accumulated 405 yards on kickoff returns, ran for 357 yards on 111 carries as a running back and also caught 17 balls for 106 yards. LSH would be a good fit in the Black and Gold. - http://tinyurl.com/cm683bp

Malliciah Goodman - DE/OLB
6'4", 273 lbs., 4.70/40-yard dash and bench pressed 225 pounds 26 times. The defensive end/outside linebacker out of Clemson, according to CBSSports.com "isn't the quickest or most explosive rusher off the edge, but he works hard to the pocket and has the strength to handle blockers in one-on-one situations." - http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1664260

Another who is visiting the Steelers Wednesday is Penn State inside linebacker Michael Mauti. Mauti was on 93.7 The Fan on Sunday and talked about what he's doing and what he'd like to see happen.

"I've been in a different city every weekend for the last five or six weekends, he said. "It's been hectic, but you only go through this process once. I'm just rehabbing and getting my leg right after that surgery. It's been going well. I'm ahead of schedule right now. I went to the Combine and did that process, and now I'm visiting with some teams."

Which teams?

"I think I would look great in a Pittsburgh Steelers uniform," Mauti said. - http://tinyurl.com/col7fv9

Because of multiple knee surgeries, the Steelers would have to be careful when considering Mauti. If his rehabilitation is completely successful and he is able to perform near to where he was, the Steelers would have a steal in the fifth or sixth round and would have found their Buck linebacker to be groomed by and to replace Larry Foote.

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TIDBITS: STEELERS NUMBER CHANGES: DVD changes from #30 to #23;
Matt Spaeth takes #87;
Bruce Gradkowski will wear #5; and
John Parker Wilson gets #3.

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RT @BobLabriola: Draft visitors {Thursday}: UCLA RB Johnathan Franklin; TCU WR Josh Boyce