TribLIVE
Blogs | Sports | News
The Steel Mill

May 24, 2016
by Chris Adamski


No comments yet - you should start the discussion!

Adamski: More from Le’Veon Bell on the Bengals, dirty play and his rehab from knee injury

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

 

922bell

 

The first day of organized team activities, by its very nature, is always packed storylines – if for no other reason than the vast majority of the players haven’t talked to the media for a few months. Tied to that is the progress that any injured players who might have been injured made in their rehab over the prior 4-5 months.

 

Tuesday was no different. Ben Roethlisberger held court with the media. Maurkice Pouncey was back to work and even dropped a “I don’t know what that was for, no chance at all” when it was noted that he was placed on an IR list that could have allowed him to return last season. Alan Faneca was there. James Harrison wore a full sweatsuit on a day when the temperature approached 80 (as always).

 

Then there was Le’Veon Bell. He was back at practice, as expected, after missing the final eight games (plus playoffs) of last season. This was expected. Us media spoke to him, as expected, afterward. He said he felt good. Also expected. He said he intends to play in the season opener. Not unexpected. He said he wasn’t cleared for contact yet just as a precaution but that he “for sure” will be cleared by training camp.

 

All pretty much standard stuff.

 

But, that’s not all Bell said. Multiple times, he implied – heck, not even implied; he actually said – that some teams/players (cough, cough, Bengals/Burfict) try to take him out of the game. Injure him. And injure the other Steelers’ stars. Much of that is in the handy link you’ll go to by clicking on (touching) this paragraph.

 

But that is only part of what Bell said. The Bengals/intent-to-injure/I-have-learned-to-protect-myself stuff overshadowed his thoughts on other things, in particular his recovery from injury and his contract status. Here is more of his nine-minute session with the media after the first OTA on Tuesday—

 

 

On what it felt like to be back in a practice-like setting: “It felt amazing to just be back out here with my teammates, just being out here in practice, in the huddle. I felt good. I’m just glad to be back out here, for real.”

 

On if he was given any physical limitations by the medical staff: “No. right now I’m just doing what the coaches tell me to do. They’re trying to protect me from myself. So I’m just trying to listen to those people who are telling me what to do and taking care of my body and doing what I can.”

 

On if there is a timetable for when he can cut loose: “No, not really; just getting me back into it slowly. Right now, I feel like I can do everything. But obviously they are going to protect me from myself and really take it slow with me.”

 

On how his rehab from right knee surgery (MCL tear) was handled: “I had to take steps, a little process, throughout the course of the offseason, rather than me doing everything at once, I had to take steps, at first I had to start running, and then I started doing a little cutting, then I started doing other things like and make sure I go to rehab everyday. So it’s been a little different, but I feel like this is the strongest I have been in my lower body just because I had to do all the extra things in my legs. And I feel good.”

 

On if the fact that each of his three NFL seasons has featured a significant lower-body injury implies that he is injury-prone: “Some people are going to look at it like I’m injury-prone or whatever. (But) it’s not like I’m out here tweaking my hamstrings or spraining my ankles or stuff like that. Obviously it was just two nasty tackle that I had and even when I hurt my foot my rookie year, I felt it was just unfortunate injuries because before these last three years I never been injured in football so I feel like my luck probably – hopefully – should change this year and I’ll be on the field. Obviously nothing freaky, and I take care of my body and do the little things right and I feel like I will be OK.”

 

On if he will be cleared for contact in time for training camp: “For sure. Yes, for sure.”

 

On if notoriously-protective coach Mike Tomlin will let him partake in the contact drills: (laughs) “W e will see. Coach Tomlin is always saying he just wants to get me ready for in the stadiums when they count. So I’m pretty sure I will do some stuff with contact just so I can get hit and things like that. We will see.”

 

On a percentage he projects himself playing at for the season opener Sept. 12 at the Redskins: “I think I’ll be 100 percent. That’s what I’m anticipating, that’s my goal, so we will see where it goes.”

 

On if he will be back to his old self this time because last season following an injury-recovery he acknowledged he wasn’t: “I definitely think so. The last injury I didn’t have surgery so I just feel like.. and I didn’t rehab either, I just kind of let it happen and let it go how it went. But this year I had the surgery, I obviously had the rehab, I have been doing a lot of things so I feel like once it is actually time to go I will be 100 percent; I feel great, I’m out here with no knee brace on or anything, I’m out here with no knee sleeves and I have just been training my knee for everything it is about to go through, so when September actually gets here I will be even better than I am now. It’s kind of crazy to even think about it. I’m excited.”

 

On if there was a “turning point” in his rehab: “I think maybe about a month ago. I felt like when I was training in Miami… it used to take me a real long time when I had to get warmed  up with my knee – and then there was a point in time I felt like when I went out there for warm-ups, I just felt normal one day and I wasn’t even thinking about, ‘oh, can I do this or can I do that?’I think that’s when I just started feeling like myself and now it’s really just taking care of it and make sure I do all the little things, make sure I keep getting stronger and things like that. So I feel great.”

 

On if there’s any apprehension on his part that his repaired knee won’t be able to handle its workload: “Not really, obviously when I come back out here my first time cutting and my first time doing things you kind of think about it, it’s more mental because I know my knee is strong enough to do everything, it’s kind of mental because I haven’t done it in a long time and things like that. So I think once I get over that mental part I will be just fine. But first it is just all mental.”

 

On if there was any movement to extend his contract, which expires after the coming season ends: “We (Bell, his agent, nor the Steelers) haven’t had that discussion or anything yet. I will kind of let that thing take care of itself and see where it goes from there.”

 

On how good the Steelers offense can be this year after it led the AFC in yardage and was second in points last season (largely) without him: “I think we should be even better this year. Obviously we got playmakers all over the field and we should continue to get better. We use OTAs as a leverage point; we know where we were last year so right now we have to pick up from what we did last year and get better. Obviously, we know we’re a good offense but we have got to continue to get better – teams are going to pick up on things we do, so we’ve got to continue to detail everything.”

 

On if he has any lingering ill will over the tackle — or the reaction afterwards — by Vontaze Burfict that ended Bell’s 2015 season: “When I looked at it, it obviously looked like they were happy about it. But I obviously know teams are out to… I take the liberty that everyone just plays football just to love the game, but there are people out here who are not playing like that. People out here trying to really take people out, so obviously I know that now. I wish I wasn’t ignorant to the fact of it before, but now I just know I have to take extra precaution of, you know, getting down or protecting myself because people are (out to) take me out of the game. I’ll just make sure I take care of myself.”

 

On if the Bengals are doing these kinds of things more than other teams: “Not just Cincinnati, I’ll be aware of everybody. I feel like I have got to protect myself. I feel like a lot of teams will feel like it’s easier to take me out or AB or Ben, whatever, so we obviously have to be precautious. I didn’t think people played football like that – but it’s real. I guess people really do. So obviously have to take care of myself.”

 

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

May 13, 2016
by Chris Adamski


No comments yet - you should start the discussion!

Adamski: WR Severin goes from ‘How did I not (get drafted)?’ to relishing chance to ‘prove to people’ he can excel for Steelers

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

 

CS

Canaan Severin has already scored a touchdown at Heinz Field.

 

 

 

He stands 6 feet 2 and weighs 205 pounds. He runs a 40 in less than 4.6 seconds, was a second-team all-conference honoree in a Power 5 league after a productive, highlight-reel like season, and he has impeccable character and leadership bona fides.

 

Sounds like quite the NFL draft prospect. Unless you’re Canaan Severin – then, you fly off all the draftniks radars and find yourself without a team after the seven rounds were complete late last month.

 

“For me, 11 catches for (153 yards) against Notre Dame, three touchdowns against Louisville, a one-handed catch against Miami. Go down and play Florida State, (top-five draft pick cornerback Jalen) Ramsey’s guarding me the whole game, five catches for (56) yards and a touchdown there,” Severin said, listing his résumé after a Steelers rookie minicamp practice session last week.

 

“And you sit there saying, ‘How do you not (get drafted)?’ But there was not really a buzz about me. So I just took that and was like, ‘All right,’ and I looked at the worst-case scenario and then realized, ‘OK, I can pick my options.’ So everything works out the way it’s supposed to in my eyes.”

 

By “picking his options,” Severin was realizing he could sign with any team that wanted him of his choosing if he wasn’t  going to get drafted. This is the primary reason why, in some ways, going undrafted is almost preferred to being a seventh-round pick.

 

The Steelers are hoping to reap the benefits. Although they are, at first glance, very strong at wide receiver, the future at the position is murky. After All-world Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant is suspended at least for 2016 for repeated violations of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Then, Markus Wheaton is a pending unrestricted free agent after the coming season. Next on the depth chart is Sammie Coates – a player who has shown immense promise, but still as of yet just one with a mere one career regular-season catch. After Coates is a player about to hit his 30s who’s better known for his special-teams prowess (Darrius Heyward-Bey) and then just players who have no professional regular-season experience.

 

What that means is that there’s a potential opening for a wide receiver – if not in 2016, then much more likely so in 2017 and ’18. Severin is just one candidate to help solve these future questions, but he’s an intriguing one.

 

Aside from the impressive height/weight and decent (for the aforementioned size) speed measurables that could raise an eyebrow is good production (96 catches, 1,337 yards, 13 touchdowns over his final two seasons) and a pair of widely-respected hands (sometimes, “hand,” as in singular) as part of a package that includes a player who needed just 3 ½ years to graduate from a good school and leadership skills that had him as a senior captain.

 

“I kind of feel prepared coming from pro-style offenses,” Severin said. “I’ve had two NFL coordinators – Steve Fairchild (Virginia’s coordinator from 2013-15, who previously worked for the Chargers) and  Bill Lazor (at Virginia in 2012, the Dolphins’ coordinator 2014-15 and now the Bengals QB coach). So it’s all just the terminology is just a little different but it’s the same concept coming from a pro-style offense though. So yeah, just go catch the ball.”

 

Severin has the same agent as former Steelers safety Ryan Clark – and that’s not a coincidence. The two also share the sickle-cell trait that can fatigue athletes more quickly and can even become life-threatening if not managed properly.

 

Clark, of course, had a long and productive NFL career and was one of the leaders on some of the best NFL defenses of the past two decades (the Steelers of 2008-2010 vintage). Severin has a long way to go to get there, but he’s got a path that began as being arguably the most prominent Steelers undrafted free agent.

 

“Not being drafted definitely puts a chip on my shoulder,” Severin said, “so I’ve just got to work to improve my whole game and prove to people that I can play in this league and make plays in this league.”

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

May 4, 2016
by Chris Adamski


3 comments so far - add yours!

Adamski: Getting to know the Steelers undrafted free agents (Part II)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

 

(Post prologue:  Check out Mark Kaboly, Ralph Paulk and I in Thursday’s episode of the Steelers Roundtable on TribLive Radio. Listen via the TribLive Radio app or by, more simply and directly, by clicking on this link. We review and breakdown the Steelers’ draft).

 

 

 

If you saw the wildly popular Part I looking at half of the 10 undrafted free agents the Steelers signed in the hours after the draft ended Saturday, here are small breakdowns of the other half.

 

Looking at the past, you can expect maybe 2-3 of these 10 to appear in an NFL regular-season game, with maybe one sticking as a significant contributor. Not everyone is a James Harrison or a Willie Parker – but that doesn’t mean there can’t be a couple camp darlings who work their way into a regular-season role at some point.

 

 

DAVID REEVES, TE, Duke

What to know: Fifth-year senior made 35 starts in 53 games, catching 47 passes with seven touchdowns. Never had more than three receptions in a game, but at 6-5, 255, has NFL size.

Quotable from scouting report: “He does a better job blocking from the tight end position than from lining up at receiver.” – thedraftster.com

Chances of making the team: It’s a whole new (post-Heath Miller) world for the Steelers at tight end – but there’s enough in front of Reeves on the depth chart (Ladarius Green, Jesse James, Matt Spaeth and the intriguing Xavier Grimble) that the practice squad is his ceiling in 2016.

 

 

JAY ROME, TE, Georgia

What to know: Rome’s so good, he was signed by TWO teams! Anyway, he was a highly-coveted prospect coming out of high school who – production-wise – underachieved at Georgia (five starts, 38 catches in four seasons).

Quotable from scouting report: “Rome’s career has not met expectations… However, his NFL frame (6-6, 250) and athleticism are obvious, as he is a mismatch nightmare when he escapes down the seam, and he also has the short-area quickness to exploit second-level defenses.” – NFL.com

Chances of making the team: Barring injury, it’s likely the best Rome and Reeves can hope for this year is to scale Grimble on the depth chart and make it onto the practice squad. Rome and Grimble, at face value, appear to be clones.

 

 

QUINTON SCHOOLEY, C, North Carolina State

What to know: Schooley was a three-year starter for the Wolf Pack after spending a year in junior college. The numbers he reportedly posted in drills at his Pro Day weren’t out of line with what the interior linemen invited to the combine showed in Indianapolis.

Quotable from scouting report: “He’s been real tough… leader by example at center. He’s a guy who handles himself very professionally off the field… a father.” — N.C. State coach Dave Doeren (OK, not a scout, but the best I could find)

Chances of making the team: B.J. Finney was the only of a host of guards and centers the Steelers brought in last summer who stuck with the team. Like Finney last year, Schooley would be happy to stick on the practice squad.

 

 

CANAAN SEVERIN, WR, Virginia

What to know: Severin has good size (6-2, 205) and his reported 40 times (in the 4.5-4.6 range) aren’t terrible for a man his size. He also
CSwas productive in college (second-team all-ACC as a senior) with 95 catches for 1,325 yards and 13 touchdowns over his final 24 games.

Quotable from scouting report: “He’s super intriguing, a big body WR with good hands and he dominates the catch point.” –Draftbreakdown.com

Chances of making the team: Severin might be the most highly-regarded of all the Steelers’ undrafted free agents, having been seen by many as a legitimate “sleeper” who could have been taken on Day 3 of the draft. With Demarcus Ayers viewed more as a pure returner (at least initially), Severin will join Eli Rogers and Shakim Phillips as those jockeying to be the No. 5 receiver option – a spot that likely carries with it a practice squad designation (assuming an Ayers or a Levi Norwood makes the team as a return specialist).

 

 

DEVAUNTE SIGLER, DL, Jacksonville State

What to know: A transfer from Auburn after being kicked off the team, Sigler (6-3, 290) was the Ohio Valley Conference’s defensive player of the year in 2014. But injuries marred most of last season.

Quotable from scouting report: “Sigler couldn’t stay on the field due to various injuries the past two seasons and although he put impressive flashes on tape, he wasn’t a consistent playmaker – projects as a potential NFL back-up who can round out a rotation.” –CBS’ NFLdaftscout

Chances of making the team: A lot was made about the lack of depth along the Steelers’ defensive line last season. Like all of his undrafted rookie brethren, Sigler faces long odds. But if L.T. Walton and Caushaud Lyons don’t show they made progress heading into their second years, who knows?

 

 

 

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

May 4, 2016
by Chris Adamski


2 comments so far - add yours!

Adamski: Getting to know the Steelers undrafted free agents (Part I)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Foster

Ramon Foster, the Steelers’ best undrafted free agent of the Tomlin tenure

 

 

The jury remains out on whether B.J. Finney or Eli Rogers can carve out an NFL career for himself… but barring that, the past two crops of Steelers undrafted free agents has largely been a dud.

 

Of the 22 players the Steelers signed immediately after the drafts in 2014 and 2015, none have appeared in an NFL regular-season game for the Steelers. Just Finney, a guard, and Rogers, a wide receiver, remain property of the Steelers. (Though one could argue that receiver Shakim Phillips also qualifies – his signing was announced 10 days following the completion of the draft last season).

 

THAT SAID… the Steelers under Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin have a rich history of collecting talent immediately after the draft ends. Colbert signed an eventual starter among five of his first six drafts in Dan Kreider (2000), Chris Hoke (2001), James Harrison (2002), Willie Parker (2004) and Nate Washington (2005) – something of a remarkable achievement.

 

Since Tomlin arrived in 2007, the Steelers have unearthed seven starting-caliber players (of varying degrees) as rookies after the draft ended: Darnell Stapleton (OK, it wasn’t even a full season he started… but it was for a Super Bowl-winning team he was starting), Doug Legursky, Ramon Foster, Steve McLendon, Isaac Redman, Corbin Bryant (although not for the Steelers; Bryant started 10 games for Buffalo last season) and Robert Golden (pegged to start at strong safety in 2016).

 

Over the seven (after-)drafts of 2007-13, the Steelers found 15 players who contributed in some way to their team (OK, OK, I went back and forth on whether to include John Clay and his 10 carries in 2011… fine – make it 14 players. Still, that’s an average of two per year): RB Gary Russel, LS Jared Retskofsky, LB Patrick Bailey (the 2008 Steelers rookie of the year), TE Weslye Saunders, P Drew Butler, LB Adrian Robinson, G Chris Hubbard and the seven listed above.

 

Three players signed by the Steelers undrafted free agents were starters last season (McLendon, Harrison and Foster), and three project to be this season (Harrison, Foster and Golden).

 

This all brings us to the current crop of undrafted free agents the Steelers signed Saturday night following the completion of Round 7. In that group of 10 players are three defensive linemen and two players from Duke. A quick look half of at the newest Steelers (five undrafted free agents profiled today, the other five tomorrow), and their potential impacts:

 

 

JOHNNY MAXEY, DL, Mars Hill Univ.

What to know: Maxey was listed at 305 pounds by Mars Hill (but this is also the sports information department that announced he signed with the “Pittsburg” Steelers, so take their words with a grain of proverbial salt; the Steelers list him at 283) – and he reportedly has 4.9 speed in the 40.

Quotable from scouting report: “Johnny has the size, talent, and work ethic to be successful at the next level.” – Mars Hill coach Tim Clifton (OK, he’s not a scout… but it’s hard to find info on this guy he’s so far off the radar)

Chances of making the team: He has the size, and there’s a roster spot to be made by SOMEBODY on the defensive line… but, at very best, Maxey is probably more of a project whose best chance to make the 53-man roster is in 2017. Or 2018. Or never.

 

 

TYRIQ MCCORD, OLB, Miami (Fla.)

What to know: The Steelers love to stockpile edge rushers, and McCord is a high-pedigree athlete (four-star recruit) who has plenty of experience (appeared in 51 games over four years) at a big-time program. He posted 3-4 sacks each season.

Quotable from scouting report: “McCord’s stats dropped from his junior year to his senior year but he still made the big plays on tape. McCord is a durable player who has flexibility in regard to his position.” – NFLmocks.com

Chances of making the team: From the mostly-forgettable likes of Howard Jones and Shawn Lemon in recent years to the success story of Harrison in the past, the Steelers seem to always have an outside linebacker on their practice squad – although this year, that would figure to be sixth-round pick Travis Feeney’s domain.

 

 

WILL MONDAY, P, Duke

What to know: Monday was  first-, second- or third-team ACC during all four of his seasons with the Blue Devils, averaging 43.5 yards on 260 punts in 53 games. None were blocked, and 34 percent resulted in the opponent taking over inside its 20.

Quotable from scouting report: “Long­-limbed punter who showed off more consistent power in his foot earlier in his career than later. Monday can get the ball out quickly and has improved with consistency of his hang time.” – NFL.com

Chances of making the team: Normally, I’d say that incumbent Jordan Berry’s job is relatively safe… but the Tomlin’s cursed history at the position makes you wonder if the revolving door of punters continues. Monday was considered one of the top five punters in this draft class, so he presumably has a shot at making a roster.

 

 

GIORGIO NEWBERRY, DL, Florida State

What to know: It wasn’t until his fourth year on campus that the former four-star recruit made any impact on the Seminoles’ defensive line (a redshirt, a year spent at tight end and strong competition stood in his way). He never started a game on defense – but his length and pure athleticism are of NFL quality.

Quotable from scouting report: “Gives up leverage off the snap with high pads and doesn’t understand how to use his hands to shed or free himself from blockers – long-term NFL project.” – CBS’ NFLdraftscout.com

Chances of making the team: John Mitchell has his work cut out for him, but the veteran respected defensive line coach has what Tomlin would call “good clay to work with.” Newberry will need to impress just to be a practice-squad candidate.

 

 

CHRISTIAN POWELL, FB, Colorado

Christian PowellWhat to know: Recruited as a fullback, Powell three times led the Buffaloes in rushing as its featured ballcarrier… but his production slipped during each of his four seasons.

Quotable from scouting report: “Coming straight from fullback, that’s all you know to do is run downhill. I can’t let that leave my game, but at the same time trying to learn different fundamentals as a running back and develop a little more. It’s just a different game to learn, from being a blocker to being a ball carrier. Each and every year I’ve been able to develop.” – Powell on himself, courtesy of the Denver Post

Chances of making the team: The Steelers always have a fullback – and they’re never players they draft. And with Will Johnson a free agency departure, at first glance Powell has a chance to succeed him. But there’s The Roosevelt Nix Phenomenon standing in his way, making it seem to be a longshot.

 

 

We’ll break down the other five undrafted free agents tomorrow…

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

April 28, 2016
by Chris Adamski


One comment so far - add yours!

Adamski: Live blog from draft night at the Steelers facility

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

 

12:14 a.m.: Highlights from GM Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin comments to the media after taking Artie Burns in the first round-

  • Colbert: “He put himself as one of the top corners in this draft class. We’re really starting to see this draft class with the corners coming together… We started to get a feel this was a really strong corner class.”
  • Tomlin: “He has a lot of growth potential. We’re excited about the upsides. He’s a natural at bump corner… He’s good at the ball, he’s good with the ball down the field… He has elite speed… He can get things going for us in 2016.”
  • KC: “This is one kid that when you really started to study him, he was as natural in bump-and-run coverage as any of the corners in this draft.”
  • KC: “In the NFL right now, there are bug receivers. When you look for the corner and you can find someone with that kind of length and that kind of athleticism — and you couple that with the six interceptions (last season), that was very, very impressive.”
  • KC: “It was a really easy (pick to make). It was breaking pretty tight, quite honestly. We really felt that we had a good chance to get a corner. It was quality from top to bottom. There is still quality left at that position… We were fortunate that he made it to us.”

 

 

12:07 a. m.: Highlights from Artie Burns’ first comments as a Steeler, to the Pittsburgh media over the phone-

  • “(The Steelers) are the team I wanted to go to… Tomlin was one of the coolest coaches I met. Players wanna play for him.”
  • “I known about the Steelers defense since I was young. I’ve known the whole Steelers team since I was young. I always idolized them.”
  • On losing his mother this past year: “It was difficult at first… It hurt, but it’s just something you’ve got to deal with, and make you stronger.”
  • “The Steelers are known as a tough, bend-but-don’t-break defense — and I’m that kind of guy.”
  • On Mike Tomlin: “He’s just got so much swag to him that that’s just something you wanna have in a head coach.”

 

 

11:49 p.m.: Artie Burns college highlights-

 

 

Artie Burns high school highlights-

 

11:42 p.m.: We’ve heard from Colbert and Tomlin and are awaiting to talk to newest Steeler CB Artie Burns over the phone. Colbert talked up the depth of the secondary in this year’s draft and lauded the character, size, speed and ball skills (ACC-high 6 INTs last season) of Burns.

Highlights from the NFL.com official draft page for Burns include: “Premium athlete with long, angular build and preferred blend of size and speed… natural ball skills to flip the field… Will bait quarterbacks into trap throws… Possesses brash, cocky demeanor. Length and physicality from press can be extremely disruptive. Burst on the throw is NFL-worthy… Usually finishes when he makes contact as tackler.”

Negatives from his NFL official draft bio: “Tape isn’t his best friend. Extremely raw and undisciplined. Leggy and grabby in routes…  Turns motor off and on from game to game, and play can be lackadaisical… Would like to see him attack blockers rather than waiting for running back before disengaging.”

 

 

10:57 p.m.: The Steelers pick is in. Miami (Fla.) CB Artie Burns.

His draft profiles: CBS/NFLDraftScout, NFL, ESPN

Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin at the podium now. Updates to come…

 

10:41 p.m.: A run on wide receivers has left the Steelers within striking distance of Houston CB William Jackson III being on the board — that’s a player they liked enough on tape to go out to dinner with during a visit to his Pro Day.

Now that I said that, I’m sure they’ll now go another direction with their pick (if he’s still there)…

 

10:14 p.m.: After Paulk and Adamski took a break for ribs and wings (the Penguins game was on one of the TVs in the cafe)… the Steelers’ mock first round pick in Adamski’s  mock draft was taken well before the Steelers picked.

Overall, five defensive backs were taken among the first 17 picks (including something of a surprise in Keanu Neal going at No. 17 to Atlanta).

That leaves just William Jackson III, Artie Burns, Mackensie Alexander (and, perhaps Vonn Bell) as DB’s who could possibly make sense at No. 25. Otherwise, The Streak continues…

 

9:38 p.m.: It’s of little secret that the Steelers haven’t taken a cornerback in the first round in a long, long time… And many are predicting that they will this year. But part of those predictions are based in the fact that there are up to six first-round-worthy cornerbacks (if you count Jalen Ramsey). But with Eli Apple surprisingly going to the Giants at No. 10, it has meant that three cornerbacks (if you count Ramsey as one and not a safety) are off the board over the first 11 picks. That leaves only William Jackson III, Artie Burns and Mackensie Alexander as possible CB options for the Steelers at No. 25…. with 13 picks to go to get there.

 

 

9:10 p.m.: After making a trade with the Titans, the Browns (a division rival of the Steelers, remember — and one that won’t be a laughingstock forever, so at some point Cleveland’s move indeed do affect the Steelers) now have 15 picks in this year’s draft, plus extra first- and second-rounders next year and an extra fourth-rounder the year after that…

 

 

8:44 p.m.: Ohio State players go both No. 3 and No. 4 overall. Many more will have their name called both tonight and this weekend. The NFL’s official site lists 15 players, and five (or six) could/should be drafted in the first round.

Anyway, the Cowboys taking Buckeyes RB Ezekiel Elliott opened up the player who in my humble opinion is the best overall in this draft — FSU S/CB Jalen Ramsey – to fall to the home-state Jaguars at No. 5.

 

 

8:32: Well, any thoughts that Kaboly and Adamski were going to toss the perfect game in terms of mocking the first round are gone at Pick No. 3. The Chargers take Ohio State edge rusher Joey Bosa over our projected Jalen Ramsey. The first of many, many Buckeyes to have their name be called tonight and this weekend…

 

 

8:15 p.m.:  The Rams announced they had traded for the top pick in the draft on the morning of April 14. They leaked later that day that they agreed to the deal the night before but did not announce it out of respect fro Kobe Bryant’s final game. Anyway, that was approximately 21,600 minutes prior to the draft starting. They had that much time to debate — if they hadn’t already — who they were going to take. And yet they needed almost the full 10 minutes allotted tonight to make their pick: JARED GOFF.

 

 

 

7:48 p.m.: Legendary Bill Hillgrove about to go on the air live from the facility along with Steelers Nation Radio producer Ryan Tobin. You’ll notice they are watching the hockey game…

20160428_195445

 

 

7:42 p.m.: I’d be remiss if I didn’t get everyone ready by linking to today’s exhaustive draft coverage in the Trib.

 

 

Shameless reminder to follow Adamski, Kaboly and Paulk on Twitter.

 

 

7:19 p.m.:

20160428_191435

Welcome to tonight’s LIVE BLOG of NFL Draft Night here at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Pittsburgh’s South Side. Media types from myriad of outlets are here (rumor had it the free meal ended at 7 p.m., after all), and so are little-seen Steelers scouts. Team general manager Kevin Colbert is dressed in a shirt and tie (he sort of laughed and turned away when I asked him if it was because he will candidly be on TV tonight for the first time). So are media relations czars Burt Lauten, Ryan Scarpino and Dom Rinelli, though that is hardly out of character for them. There’s already been some discussions among the media if the Penguins-Capitals game will make it on a TV somewhere. (It won’t). And as we’ve been reminded, this is 2016, so any hockey fans here will deal.

 

Anyway, I honestly don’t know if I should be ashamed or proud to say this… but I have never actually executed a **live blog** of an event. So bear with me. We’ll (I say, “we,” because the great Mark Kaboly is alongside) will break down some picks, provide commentary of how a particular pick or draft development might affect the Steelers, perhaps do some scene-setting of what’s going here at team headquarters (no, we’re not allowed in the draft so-called “war room” — and team official media policy bans photos of anything outside the media room or even on-the-record conversations with team personnel). But most of all, we’ll try to have some fun. So read along…

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

April 28, 2016
by Mark Kaboly


No comments yet - you should start the discussion!

Kaboly: Steelers/NFL Draft Q & A (Transcript)

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

OK, thanks for participating. We will jump right into this chat/ Q&A session.

_____________________________________________________

Absolutely. Harrison just wanted to make sure his body didn’t break down preparing for the season. He still has a couple of days to go before his self-imposed six week training regimen is up, but everybody pretty much know the answer. What you need to keep an eye on is what happened last year during the spring and summer — nothing. Don’t look for Harrison to participate at all during OTAs and likely the first week or so of the preseason.

_________________________________________________________________________

I am assuming you are talking about the Steelers’ safeties and the short answer is no. Mike Mitchell had a solid and healthy year and Robert Golden is more than serviceable until they find a long-term solution. Who knows, that solution might be Shamarko Thomas? What a lot of people don’t realize is that Will Allen struggled as much as he played well a year ago. He had some stinkers of games, but also had some good ones. I do believe they will address the safety position during the second day of the draft.

——————————————————————————————————————————

Evan, I like Joseph and the Steelers like him, too. I just think 25th is just a little too soon for him and he will be long gone by the second round. As for Cash, he is an in-the-box guy who could probably help out immediately in sub-package football, but is he a long-term answer at safety? Could be, but I want more of a sure thing if I am taking somebody in the second round like Cash will likely go.

__________________________________________________________________________

In theory, it is a wonderful idea. Well, maybe not out of the first but I would dump down a couple picks in order to pick up another third-rounder. But there are issues doing that. First, you better be darn well sure a guy you want will be there when you fall back. And second, you got to find a dancing partner. That just may be hard to do. I am sure plenty of teams in the middle of the second would love to get up to 25, but do you want to do that and waste a potential starter by moving out of the first? Also, look at history. Colbert has moved down only once in 16 years and that was only 3 spots backs to get the Big Snack in 2001. I don’t see any movement by the Steelers on Thursday.

________________________________________________________________________

No and for a pretty good reason. The Steelers don’t have a fifth-round pick and actually don’t pick until late in the sixth. Nobody worth a darn will be there then. You would have to take a QB within the first four rounds and that, to me, is just a waste. You need corner and safety help, defensive line, guard and possible wide receivers so you can toss away somebody you hope doesn’t play until 2020. Saying that, I think Cardale Jones would be a wonderful project type for the Steelers, but he will go way too early for the Steelers to even contemplate that.

_________________________________________________________________________

I will give you two answers here. What I would do is take Billy Jackson and pair him with Golson and you might have a decent duo. You can’t go wrong with Joseph. Billings, I believe, would be a luxury pick. Now, if this scenario plays out for the Steelers, I can easily see them taking Noah Spence. Forget the drug fails and getting kicked out of a CONFERENCE. Remember, pressure the quarterback is much more important that defending the quarterback. So, in summary — I would take the corner, the Steelers would take the OLB.

_________________________________________________________________________

Just was talking about that. Spence, I believe, would be very enticing to the Steelers if he is there at 25. Problem is, I don’t think he will. However, who knows with this draft. You might have 3 ho-hum QBs going into the top seven picks, which is absurd to me. I don’t think you can totally rule out an edge rusher. Although I think it is going to be a corner, but I’ve thought it was going to be a corner the past three years.

_________________________________________________________________________

That’s probably the starting point. Shady McCoy got 5 for $40 million last year and he is three years older the Le’Veon Bell. The five years seems like something the Steelers wouldn’t want. That would bring him to near 30 years old. I don’t know if you want to do that if you are the Steelers. But I guess we will find out soon enough.

__________________________________________________________________________

I don’t really recall any. I know Troy Polamalu had some concussion concerns when they drafted him. That’s the best I can do. I am assuming you are referring to Kendall Fuller and Karl Joseph. I don’t think those guys  are long-term risks that would prevent the Steelers from taking them. In reality, who cares about a couple weeks if the guys is going to play 10 years, right? Now, Jaylon Smith, that’s a different story just because you don’t know if he ever will be back to his collegiate level of play.

_________________________________________________________________________

Good question. What I have been told is that you would love to have three who are every day contributors out of a draft class. That’s probably on the high end. Of course, the first rounder has to be a slam-dunk, every down starter. When you do the math, that means that more than 50 percent of all picks are going to be bit players if at all. For the most part, the Steelers have been pretty good hitting on three — except for 2008, of course.

________________________________________________________________________

I think they are pretty committed to taking a cornerback in the first round. So, Jackson would be the pick. I mocked Jackson to the Steelers, but it could easily be Apple as well. Billings is intriguing, but the crazy depth of DL in this draft affords them to wait a little bit to address the defensive line.

_________________________________________________________________________

No, not at all. They had enough faith in him to give him a shot last year. I didn’t work out, so let’s see what happens this year. Thomas is still a talented player who needs to get his head on straight in terms of the playbook. The Steelers, or any team, can’t afford to give up big plays and a mistake by a safety results in big plays. That’s why he sat last year. I think he has a shot to contribute this year. I am not rubber-stamping Golden as the starter yet.

_________________________________________________________________________

Nah, I don’t think you can take a chance on him that early. Somebody will. As for Jarvis Jones, I don’t anticipate them picking up his 5th year option, but that doesn’t mean they won’t try to sign him. That 5th year option is $8.5 million for 2017. That is a lot of money for him. Just let the contract play out and then try to re-sign him if they want. It is a rise though. If Jones has a big year this year then he can go get some free agent money somewhere else next year. I would keep him. I would also play a little more than the Steelers have played him in the past as well.

 

OK, thanks for participating. Maybe we will do it again some time.

 

Kaboly

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

April 26, 2016
by Chris Adamski


No comments yet - you should start the discussion!

Trib’s NFL draft coverage, all in one place

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

 

Screenshot_2016-04-26-17-28-51-1Screenshot_2016-04-26-17-28-56-1

 

 

Depending on when, exactly, you’re reading this, this year’s NFL draft is all but upon us. For many football fans, that’s akin to Christmas Eve.

 

For the first time (that I’m aware of, anyway), we’ll be live-blogging the first round from the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, providing reaction about the draft and how it affects the Steelers – and from the Steelers themselves, too (or at least from Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin after their pick is made).

 

Leading into that, however, in case you missed any of the run-up, here’s a handy and comprehensive compilation of all things Trib/draft.

 

 

TRIBLIVE RADIO SHOWS:

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRIB DRAFT ANALYSIS/PREDICTIONS

 

 

 

 

TRIB DRAFT POSITION PREVIEWS (by Adamski) – COMPLETE WITH TOP-10 CHECKLISTS:

(Feature on Braxton Miller — Kaboly)

 

(Feature on Hunter Henry — by Ralph Paulk)

 

(Feature on Nick Martin — Kaboly)

 

(Feature on Jack Conlkin — Paulk)

 

(Feature on Ezekiel Elliott — Kaboly)

 

(Feature on Joshua Perry — Paulk)

 

(Feature on Myles Jack — Kaboly)

 

(Feature on A’Shawn Robinson — Paulk)

 

(Feature on Christian Hackenberg — Kaboly)

 

(Feature on Vernon Hargreaves — Paulk)

 

(Feature on Jalen Ramsey — Paulk)

 

 

TRIB DRAFT NEWS STORIES:

 

 

 

TRIB DRAFT FEATURES:

 

 

 

 

TRIB TRACKS THE STEELERS PRE-DRAFT VISTORS:

(Bonus: neat and informative graphical list of EVERY prospect whom reportedly met with Steelers brass, courtesy USA Today Draftwire

 

 

 

 

We’ll chat Thursday night.

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

April 7, 2016
by Chris Adamski


No comments yet - you should start the discussion!

Adamski: Running tally of Steelers pre-draft visits

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
AShawn

A’Shawn Robinson is one of the best in what is a bumper crop for defensive linemen this year.

 

PTR-PSUfb22-102614

Vonn Bell of Ohio State has elite coverage skills for a safety.

 

 

The entrance and lobby area to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex are undergoing extensive renovations this spring. That hasn’t meant the (temporary side) doors haven’t been open to NFL draft prospects.

 

Through Thursday, the Steelers have hosted 14 players for pre-draft official visits. That’s almost half of the 30 they are permitted. Whom the team chooses to meet with can, in some ways, provide a glimpse into what players – or what kind of players and at what positions – the Steelers are investigating drafting.

 

As our Mark Kaboly has noted, predraft visitors have been a strong indication recently of whom the Steelers are targeting. Over the past three years, 15 of the Steelers’ 26 draft picks were predraft visitors, including four last year with Senquez Golson, Doran Grant, Jesse James (unofficial – as a local native visits such as James do not count toward the 30 limit) and Sammie Coates. Also, three predraft visitors last year ended up as undrafted free agents: Tyler Murphy, Cam Clear and Devin Gardner.

 

Of course, these visitors are not the lone indicator of Steelers’ interest. Teams are allotted 60 interviews with prospects (15 minutes each) at the combine in Indianapolis in February. Coaches and personnel executives also can meet with prospects at, during or after their respective “Pro Day” workouts on campus. These actually can often provide the most one-on-one time (coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert took a couple high-end prospects in the state of Texas out to dinner in University of Houston CB William Jackson III and Baylor defensive tackle Andrew Billings, for example).

 

Predraft visits to the team facility also usually include breaking bread with a position coach or coordinator. Not unlike the rest of us, it’s a “job interview” on-site at the place of possible future employment.

 

 

Here is a list of the visitors, broken down by date and including school, position, size and projected round they’ll be selected in (via NFLdraftscout.com via CBS Sports). Click on the player’s name for the NFL’s official draft profile of the player and on the date of the visit for a recap of that day’s visits.

 

 

Friday April 1: (4)

S Deon Bush (Miami), 7th rd/undrafted free agent

S Jeremy Cash (Duke), 2nd rd

OL Jerald Hawkins (LSU), 2nd-3rd rd

CB David (D.J.) White (Georgia Tech), 3rd-4th rd

 

Saturday-Monday April 2-4:
NONE

 

Tuesday April 5: (1)

DT A’Shawn Robinson (Alabama), 1st rd

 

Wednesday April 6: (4)

OT Caleb Benenoch (UCLA), 7th rd/UDFA

S Keanu Neal (Florida), 2nd rd

S Darian Thompson (Boise State), 4th-5th rd

CB Tavon Young (Temple), 5th rd

 

Thursday April 7: (5)

S Vonn Bell (Ohio State), 2nd rd

LB Jatavis Brown (Akron), 4th-5th rd (HIS APPEARANCE INTERVIEWED ON TRIBLIVE RADIO)

S T.J. Green (Clemson), 3rd rd

CB Jonathan Jones (Auburn), 4th rd

CB Ryan Smith (NC Central), 7th rd/UDFA

 

Friday April 8: (4)

DE Quinton Jefferson (Maryland), 7th rd/UDFA (**Woodland Hills HS alum**)

DT Javon Hargrave (South Carolina State), 3rd rd

DE Dean Lowry (Northwestern), 7th rd-UDFA

S Trae Elston (Ole Miss), 7th-UDFA

 

Monday, April 11: (8)

WR Pharoh Cooper (South Carolina), 2nd rd

CB Ken Crawley (Colorado), 5th-6th rd

S Sean Davis (Maryland), 5th rd 

CB Cyrus Jones (Alabama), 3rd-4th rd

S Karl Joseph (West Virginia), 2nd-3rd rd 

LB Dadi Nicholas (Virginia Tech), 6th rd

DE Robert Nkemdeche (Mississippi), 1st rd 

S Justin Simmons (Boston College), 6th  rd

 

Tuesday, April 12: (1)

WR Sterling Shepard (Oklahoma), 2nd-3rd rd

 

Tuesday, April 19: (3)

RB Devontae Booker (Utah), 2nd rd

CB Brandon Williams (Texas A&M), 7th rd-UDFA

S  Jarrod Wilson (Michigan), unrated

 

Unofficial visit, week of March 28-April 1: (1)

WR Tyler Boyd (Pitt), 2nd rd (HIS APPEARANCE ON TRIBLIVE RADIO)

 

Official reported visit, unknown exact date: (1)

S Jayron Kearse (Clemson), 6th rd

 

 

Running tally of *official* visits by position (updated 4/19/16):

  • 12 safeties
  • 7 cornerbacks
  • 2 offensive tackles
  • 2 defensive tackles
  • 2 defensive ends
  • 2 wide receivers
  • 2 linebackers
  • 1 running back

(25 defensive players; five offensive players)

 

 

(**Note: players who are local natives or go to a local college can meet with the Steelers and not count toward their allotment limit of 30).

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

April 1, 2016
by Chris Adamski


No comments yet - you should start the discussion!

Adamski: 99 minutes of April Fool’s Day, Le’Veon Bell style

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

 

Screenshot_2016-04-01-15-30-42-1

Poor Josh Lever. (Courtesy @L_Bell26 Twitter account)

 

 

Le’Veon Bell’s name made the rounds at all the national outlet NFL websites Friday. Apparently, some of their writers were compelled to do some digging. Some fans were startled. Even his agent, Adisa Bakari, apparently was concerned.

 

But alas, it was merely a simple, almost-comically clichéd April Fool’s prank:

 

The star athlete “announces” he’ll no longer be playing for Team X. Some momentary panic ensues. Then people look at the calendar.

 

Well, “momentary” isn’t the best way of putting the 99 minutes that Bell waited between his initial tweet and the one that, officially, told of the April 1 joke.

 

 

The above got, within its first six hours public, more than 3,800 retweets (and 3,500 “likes” – although no breakdown is available of how many people “liked” the joke and how many “liked” the fact he was “moving on” from the Steelers).

 

Sure enough, by 11:03 Friday morning Bell at last relented on his torture of those out there who take their Steelers fandom much more seriously than their grasp of the obvious:

 

https://twitter.com/L_Bell26/status/715917557845389312

 

Some 20 retweets of fans that had reacted to Bell’s news were posted on his timeline. Followed by one final Bell basking in it all:

 

 

Personally, Bell “announcing” a contract extension – now THAT would have gotten me. It would have been quite plausible (though I’m not sure how funny).

 

Simply put, there really wasn’t any way he would leave the Steelers, being under contract and all. And there was no way the team would cut a player considered to be one of the best in the league at his position who is scheduled to make a mere $966,900 this year with a cap hit of about $1.3 million.

 

Oh well, it wouldn’t be April 1 without such stories.

 

In the meantime, check out Friday’s TribLive Radio podcast of Josh Taylor, Guy Junker and I discussing the Steelers (and some Penguins, too).

 

Also in the Trib’s Steelers coverage Friday:

The team welcomed its first four official draft visitors to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side

Additionally, the team announced its spring schedule for rookie camp, offseason training activities and minicamp.  This makes Mark Kaboly unreasonably happy.

 

 

Enjoy the weekend.

 

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

March 24, 2016
by Chris Adamski


No comments yet - you should start the discussion!

TribLive Radio Steelers Roundtable offseason episode: Martavis absence impact, who’ll play CB?

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

 

TLR

 

We’re not weekly during the offseason on the Steelers Roundtable, the show Mark Kaboly contends is the most-downloaded show in TribLive Radio history. So Thursday’s show was the first time we have convened since four days post-Super Bowl.

 

During this episode, Ralph Paulk hosts while he, Chris Adamski and Kaboly (fresh back just hours earlier from the NFL annual meetings in Boca Raton, Fla.) discuss such wide-ranging Steelers topics as:

 

  • The impact on the offense of Martavis Bryant’s yearlong suspension
  • Who will man cornerback once the regular season starts in September?
  • Should the Steelers consider drafting a quarterback next month?
  • Was it a mistake to let Kelvin Beachum and/or Steve McLendon walk in free agency?
  • What will Ladarius Green’s impact be? And what is Jesse James’ future here now?
  • What are the chances Will Allen ends up back with the team at some point?
  • Will Kaboly ever stop complaining?

 

 

Give it a listen by with one click by clicking right here.

 

The next episode will preview the draft on Day One of the event April 28 (that means that draft is only about a month away!).

 

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
 
Other blogs
Sports:Steel Mill | Chipped Ice | Bucco Blog | iPreps | Pitt Locker Room | Penn State Sports
News: Backstory | Doug Oster on Gardening | Off-Road Politics | Flowback | ICycle  


» Top TribLIVE.com Sports
» Top TribLIVE.com News
» Top TribLIVE.com Breaking News