is no doubt that the draft is teeming with BIG-time talent.
And with the departure of wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders being imminent,
the need to get a reliable and, as we quoted Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's
Gerry Dulac as saying, a "big" or at least a "big-play" receiver.
the weeks since writing that, though, I've fallen out of love with
Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin, but only with regard to the Steelers.
"A rare combination of size (6'5", 240 LBs, 4% body fat) and speed
(4.61/40)....(who is) a physical mismatch vs. defensive backs and
linebackers" is someone who'll still likely go in the first round.
Just not for the Steelers.
say that partly because if the Steelers' plethora of needs on defense -
so if a WR is drafted first, he'd better be game-ready.
we say it mainly because of the raw aspect of his game, including his
propensity for drops, that lends itself to more of a bottom of the
1st-round selection. We in no way think he'll be a bust (Jerry Rice had a
problem with drops in college too), just that he may not be the best
fit for the Steelers.
Antonio Brown and soon-to-be re-signed Jerricho Cotchery being the only
wide receivers to be counted on, and Heath Miller being the only true
tight end receiving option, who do the Steelers turn to as those
potential game-ready candidates come May?
Evans, WR, Texas A&M: 6'5", 231 LBs, 4.53/40, 37" vertical jump, 65
receptions, 1,322 yards, 12 touchdowns (1st round) - On March 5, Brian
T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle tweeted (@ChronBrianSmith) that he
hears that Evans hears he's a top-five guy: "#Texas A&M's Mike Evans
said he's hearing more and more he could be a top-10 pick in #NFL
draft. Met with 20 teams at combine."
so, that's bad for the Steelers. If It Ain't Steel has thought this all
along, however. Thus our initial push for Benjamin. Clemson's Sammy
Watkins will be (long) off the board by the time the Steelers select,
but Evans just might be around still. Playing the type of offense he did
with the type of quarterback that he did, he is the most likely
candidate should the Steelers go that route in round one. - http://youtu.be/wl2OfgKbEBs
Ebron, TE, North Carolina: 6'4", 250 LBs, 4.60/40, 24 reps/225-LB Bench
Press, 62 rec, 973 yds, three TDs (1st round) - I know, Ebron isn't a
WR, but he is both a "big" target and capable of the "big play." Just as
importantly, he can block...and Heath isn't getting any younger.
Evans is already gone by the 15th pick, don't be surprised if the
Steelers feel the best player available is a versatile, mismatch-making
tight end. - http://youtu.be/LfznL8SqDkA
Robinson, WR, Penn State: 6'2 1/2", 220 LBs, 4.60/40, 39" VJ, 97 rec.,
1,432 yds, 6 TDs (2nd round) - Per Frank Cooney of The Sport Exchange,
Robinson is a "fluid athlete for his size with room to get stronger.
Deceptive acceleration with sharp cuts to be a dangerous catch-and-go
pass catcher. Physical ball carrier with balance and body strength to
shake off defenders and pick up chunks of yards after contact." The
biggest question surrounding him is if he has enough speed (4.60/40) to
separate from NFL defensive backs. - http://youtu.be/hrV19HYDCnk
Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt: 6'3", 212 LBs, 4.46/40, 35.5 VJ, 112 rec,
1,477 yds, 7 TDs, (2nd round) - Matthews' final two seasons with Vandy
were prolific. He finished as the SEC's all-time leader with 262 catches
and 3,759 yards. Per CBSSports.com, Matthews has a "chiseled frame
(and)...size/speed combination along with his hand/eye coordination and
body control makes him an attractive prospect, showing the ability to
make plays at all levels of the field and do damage after the catch."
cousin of NFL legend Jerry Rice, who shined at the Senior Bowl, is
strong (21 reps of the 225-pound bench press), has a long stride and can
take a quick swing pass and go the distance. According to NFL.com's
Chase Goodbread, "he's a big-time prospect." - http://youtu.be/pZhNot3CIl0
Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss: 6'2", 221 LBs, 4.4/40, 39.5 VJ, 59 rec, 938
yds, 6 TDs (2nd-3rd round) - Between game play and highlights, what
jumps off the screen (no pun intended) and what tips the scale for me
with Moncrief is his hops, his vertical leap. His ball-tracking ability
and catching apex make him dangerous and highly desirable. Then when
doing research on him, one word used often in describing his play was
"sudden." - http://youtu.be/XpOHRPmhErw
while this won't be the only piece we do on possible WR draft picks, it
covers the ones we expect we might see taken at the top of the draft.
To then sum up, the one we would most like to see in Black and Gold
Bryant (pictured), WR, Clemson: 6'4", 211 LBs, 4.42/40, 39" VJ, 42 rec, 828 yds, 7
TDs, (2nd-3rd round) - "He is a terrific athlete with the speed/size
combination to create mismatches at all levels of the field." - Dane
was overshadowed all season by teammate Watkins, but he made the most
of his opportunities late in the year, including in the Orange Bowl
victory over Ohio State when he scored two red-zone touchdowns.
blank, Bryan is tall, lithe, has long arms (32 5/8"), is flat out fast
(had unofficial 4.34/40) and can jump out of the building. He has
short-area burst for short and intermediate routes, but also has the
body control and long strides to take the tops off of defenses. Needs to
learn to catch better with his hands instead of his body to overcome
his drops, but that's pretty much the worst that can be said about him.
Addendum ~ There are certainly other top-flight possibilities. Ones
such as USC's Marqise Lee (6'0", 192 LBs, 4.52/40, 38" vertical jump),
LSU's Odell Beckham, jr. (5'11", 198, 4.43/40, 38.5 VJ), Oregon State's
Brandin Cooks (5'9 3/4", 189, 4.33/40, 36" VJ) and Fresno State's
Devante Adams (6'1" 212 LBs, 4.56/40, 39.5) are all smooth, shifty,
speedy athletes with burst and separation ability for the big play.
(They all are also possibilities, we just don't feel they're
probabilities.) In other words, they're each another Antonio Brown and
potentially Markus Wheaton. We believe the Steelers will look to go away
form that in this draft and look toward a little more size.
of Antonio Brown... Let's get one thing straight: players are neither
in any way doing anything special, in any way magnanimous, nor
especially loyal to their teams when they restructure. This is just as
true with AB. All he did was take a check. Albeit one that now has the
Steelers at approximately $3 million under the Salary Cap.
restructure, for want of a lengthy explanation, is mainly an accounting
measure. The team is allowed to turn a certain percentage (I believe up
to approximately 90%) of the earnings a player would get for a season
into a bonus that is paid as a lump sum.
team's Salary Cap issues are eased and the player gets a new Escalade
and matching suit. That's it. Nothing more (on the players' parts),
nothing less (on the teams' parts).
So stop deifying the players when all they're doing is lining their pockets.