Originally Posted by TOP GUN
Last season pass coverage (CB play) was a major problem. Ike Taylor took a giant step backwards. McFadden is a solid starter, but Townsend has seen his day. Townsend will be fine as the starter next season, but beyond that he'll be more suitable as a nickleback. Behind Townsend is Colclough and Iuwoma...no thanks. Usually it takes a rookie CB a full season to get acclimated and suitible to start. Revis and McFadden in '08. A hole Revis could immediatly fill is punt returner. Holmes showed flashes of brilliance at times, but also put the ball on the ground alot.
Leonard is not your typical RB. He's a HB/FB/3rd down back. He would back-up Kreider and be his evenyual replacement. Kreider has been beating up his body for a while now. 2-3 more years will be it for him. He could be a great 3rd down, short yardage and change of pace back. Davenport is a FA, so he may be gone.
Dallas Baker is an excellent WR. He would be a good #3 for alot of teams. For the Steelers he would be #3. I don't care for Cedric "throw the flag" Wilson or Nate Washington.
OL has alot of young depth that for some reason people are unaware of. Essex, Colon, Kemouatu, and Phillips. All were impressive in camp and in spot duty.
I like the Leonard pick, but I think we could get him in the 3rd round. I just don't see him going that high.
For CB, you make a good point, but that's not our most pressing need on defense. Yeah, we should start looking for Townsend's replacement, but that's alot less crucial than looking for Porter's or Haggans's or Farrior's replacement. We absolutely NEED to take a LB early, probably the 1st or 2nd pick. I'd really like Revis, and if he's avaliable after we've filled our LB needs, I'd definitely take him. But right now LB is the more important need. I'd like Posluzny and/or Blades, because I've seen them play, but I'm sure there are alot of other good choices that will become huge players for us for a long time.
For WR, I don't think we have to draft one necessarily. At least not in the early rounds. I'm sure we could find a guy like Quincy Morgan who we could sign to be our #4 guy.
Leonard is a top 50 prospect. He may not even be an option in round 2. At LB, We have James Harrison and Rian Wallace. Also Porter and Haggans will be FA's after next season, but I would expect them both to be a priority to re-sign. Larry Foote and James Farrior are also guys I expect to see for several more years. You don't spend a first round pick on a guy pay him first round money and put him on the sideline for 3 years. There is a guy from Washington State Mkristro Bruce (OLB) who would be a great 4th round pick, and the Steelers will also be given atleast 2 compensatory picks as well. I would expect to see the OL and ILB addressed there. In the 5th, 6th and 7th rounds I expect to see a QB taken, a TE (seems like they take one every year), BPA with the 7th.
1. Darrelle Revis, CB, Pitt
2. Brian Leonard, FB/HB, Rutgers
3. Dallas Baker, WR, Florida
4. Mkristro Bruce, DE/OLB, Washington State
4b. Tala Esera, OG, Hawaii
5. Jeff Rowe, QB, Nevada
5b. Brock Stratton, ILB, Texas Tech
6. Tyler Ecker, TE, Michigan
But there's a difference between still playing and still playing well. This year we saw our LBs start to lose a step, next year will be worse. Either Porter or Haggans won't be a starter next year. Or at least shouldn't. Harrison will start for whichever one is gone/demoted, and we'll need a young LB to groom for a season and become a star.
And Leonard, I really don't think he'll go that high. Who drafts a fullback that high? And that's what teams will see him as, a fullback. And at HB there are alot of better players. Most teams will be looking for a feature back in the early rounds, not a fullback/short yardage/3rd down running back. He's the classic steal the Steelers are great at getting, but I'm sure he won't go in the 1st round, guaranteed, and even in the 2nd, he'd be a pretty late pick. I think there's a very good chance he falls to the 3rd.
I'm not sure what you were watching this past season. Haggans led the team in sacks and Joey Porter was dominant once he got over his knee injury. Porter will be playing in Hawaii in 3 weeks ya know. Leonard will not be there in round 3. Haynes is not a solid backup, and there is not much depth at the RB position. Davenport may or may not be gone, but they need some options if Parker gets hurt. Leonard is versatile, and the Steelers like players like that.
But their sack totals were inflated against bad teams or teams that had bad O-lines. Against the good teams we played, Porter and Haggans were non-factors. They simply could not get to the QB. Look at 05 when we were all over Manning in the playoffs. There is no way our LBs would have been able to do that in 06. The Ravens twice, Broncos, and Chargers manhandled Porter and Haggans. They're both in their 30s. They have to be replaced. We may be able to get another year or 2 of decent football from them, but then what? We NEED to reload at LB, something the Steelers have been known to do successfully. Our whole defense depends on the LBs. This year we need to reload there, and next year we'll have to draft a DE early on too, to be Aaron Smith's eventual replacement.
And I totally agree that Leonard would be a great pick. He's one of the guys I most want us to draft. But I don't think he'll get picked that high. Maybe late 2nd round, maybe. If so we could get him easily in the 2nd, or he could fall to the 3rd round.
I can't remember the Steelers ever getting a LB in round 1 or 2. Porter, Haggans, Foote, and Wallace were all Steelers draft picks. I', not 100% certain, but I think ther were all 3rd rounders. Greg Lloyd wasn't a high pick, I think Levon Kirkland was a 3rd rounder. Earl Holmes I believe was a 3rd round pick. James Farrior was a first round pick...by the Jets. Kevin Greene was a FA, those are just some of the more recent LB's off the top of my head.
Some more LB prospects
LaMarr Woodley DE/OLB Michigan 6-2 268 Sr.
Anthony Spencer DE Purdue 6-3 261 Sr.
Prescott Burgess OLB Michigan 6-3 246 Sr.
Mkristo Bruce DE/OLB Washington State 6-6 255 Sr.
KaMichael Hall OLB/ILB Georgia Tech 6-0 225 Sr.
Justin Warren OLB Texas A&M 6-3 245 Sr.
Ameer Ismail OLB/S Western Michigan 6-2 225 Sr.
Antwan Applewhite DE/OLB San Diego St. 6-4 245 Jr.
Marquies Gunn DE/OLB Auburn 6-4 254 Sr.
Larry Birdline DE/OLB Oklahoma 6-4 258 Sr.
Larry McSwain DE/OLB Alabama Birmingham 6-1 255 Sr.
C.J. Ah You DE/OLB Oklahoma 6-4 265 Sr.
Jon Abbate ILB Wake Forest 5-11 245 Sr.
David Harris ILB Michigan 6-2 242 Sr.
Tony Taylor ILB Georgia 6-1 237 Sr.
Anthony Waters ILB Clemson 6-3 245 Sr.
Oscar Lua ILB Southern California 6-1 240 Sr.
Matt Muncy ILB Ohio 6-2 231 Sr.
Dedrick Harrington ILB/OLB Missouri 6-4 240 Sr.
Michael McFadden DE/LB Grand Valley State 6-1 255 Sr.
True, the Steelers have been able to get some good players late in the draft. But still, LB should be our top priority.