Im so bored with the offseason, but training camp is around the corner so heres some offseason things weve been talking about and can talk about.
First off we can get Wallace out of the way, i am kinda thinking they will not be able to sign him long term before this season, but i do think that if he shows up to play this year under his tender he will be guaranteed a long term deal next season, similar to what happened to woodley. I understand his concern and i dont think its totally fair, but when it comes down to it they need him but cant really afford to lock him up right now. I think its definitely in his best interest to play, he would get a cheaper deal this year even if they do sign him just because of cap issues, if he comes out and plays well he will get a top dollar deal from the steelers because they will be able to afford it and if not he will make much more money next year than he would anywhere this year. I dont think saying things like "they have to be careful with wallace so they dont lose brown" is fair because brown needs wallace and wallace is a better player, but thats because everyone is so down on wallace for unofficially holding out...but i guarantee if this was holmes vs wallace you all would be hating on holmes and saying how wallace needs to be locked up ect.....just the nature of the business i suppose.
I fully expect wallace to dominate in haleys offense, 12+ TDs and 1300+ yards is very doable i believe. This should be his breakout year, all todd haley does is turn WRs into studs, thats his thing, just like arians thing was to throw it deep 10 times a game.
Im really interested in positional battles, i would love to make it to camp this year for a day or 2 i have never been there. this year is really a year of a youth movement on both sides of the ball
adams vs gilbert is going to be awesome, i hope scott isnt even in the conversation. I would imagine that starks is on speed dial should adams struggle, but i think even if he cant lock down the left side where hes penciled now, the right side should be where he would fall to which isnt a bad thing because im not opposed to gilbert on the left either, just on paper it looks like adams is the better LT
lewis vs brown vs allen is another one that ill monitor closely. Im interested to see who gets the start for clark week one, do they give it to mundy again? i like mundy as a backup strong, but not as a starting free. I anticipate Ike and Lewis starting at CB (should lewis struggle allen would slip right in and possibly give lewis a shot at FS) but i think cortez gets the week one start at FS and then he and lewis rotate at LCB until one os them locks it down. I think brown gets the NB spot and could quite possibly lead the team in picks this year, hes silky smooth in coverage and has some insane vertical and ball skills.
rainey vs redman vs batch vs dwyer screams mediocrity but should be fun lol, as much as i loathe redman as a starting back i think he will be serviceable behind this improved oline for a few weeks....as with lewis/allen id like him to split time evenly until one runs away with the right to the majority of the carries, which i think would be dwyer.
taamu vs mcclendon is a quiet battle, but i REALLY like what taamu offers, i think he could lock down NT from day one and run away with it, but the defensive coaches love vets and if mcclendon really is up to 325 (which seems unlikely to me as he was 280ish last year) and he can hold up at that weight it seems taamu might be a rotational player at best as a rookie, although i do not think hes a 2 down NT like many do when they see the "346 pounds" because hes not just a fat slob, hes a mammoth of a man but carries all that weight very well. Its also do or die for al woods, who ive always loved...hes gotta shake the raw label.
hood vs heyward both will play a lot, but with keisel still being our best Dlineman they will have to fight for a starter spot and a spot that spells both keisel and whoever wins the starter spot. We all know that OUTER LIMIT SPORTS IMPROVES YOUR EXPLOSIVENESS!!!!!! with evanders videos being whored around the internet, but heyward in year two should be something special to watch. the man stacks and sheds blockers like hes a boulder covered in butter and he brings down runners with one arm in traffic, hood gets washed out too much and bends around the corner like hes a 250 pound OLB jsut to get blocked out of the play
saunders vs pope is a crucial battle for saunders, saunders absoultely blocks his ass off and really looks like heath miller when he catches the ball, hes got sweet feet and soft hands for a big man, but pope follows haley and saunders is suspended for 4 games, he needs to shine in camp and preseason. Paulson i suppose could make a case as well, hes a decent recieving threat, im really on board with saunders though
quietly i think brown vs sanders could be very interesting too. Sanders is an excellent route runner and has excellent hands, brown is erratic in route running and has a knack for a big awkward catch. I think brown is a BEAST #2, but if sanders can work his way to the outside spot and stay healthy brown would go from beast #2 to the best slot WR in the league, hes got a certain feel for the zones and a quickness that is sporadic but super effective when hes allowed to roam. Ive always like brown more than sanders, but i wouldnt count sanders out just yet
foote vs spence vs sly is a wierd one to play next to timmons, i imagine foot wins it, sly is the primary backup, and spence is a special teamer and possible Nickel/Dime LB
I predict that decastro is a top 5 guard by mid season, and pouncey shakes the hype and overrated label hes been given after last year and locks himself down as a top 3 center again.
A guy that might not make it out of training camp that i think might warrant a look by the steelers is alex carringinton of the bills, who might be on his way out with them moving to a 43 and having mario, kyle williams, and marcel dareus. Carrington was among the top 34 defensive ends his year and could be good insurance at the position with keisel having bad calves and hoods return in question.
a quick mock draft for next season:
1. TJ Mcdonald, FS USCong
2. Chase Thomas, OLB Stanford
3. Dennard Robinson, WR/KR Michigan
4. EJ Manuel, QB FSU
5. Cierre Wood, RB Notre Dame
6. Partick Larrimore, MLB UCLA
7. Dustin Hopkins, K FSU