Apr 18

SteelCityBlitz.com 2014 First Round Mock Draft (Picks 13-16)

Chris and I are back with selections 13-16 of the 2014 Mock First Round Draft. Chris has the odd numbers and I have the even.

See Picks 9-12

13. St. Louis Rams – Haha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama

This Rams need help in their secondary and Dennard and the top two safeties are still on the board…. However I think their bigger need is at safety. TJ McDonald is more of an in the box defender, which is why Clinton-Dix is a better compliment than Calvin Pryor.

14. Chicago Bears – Timmy Jernigan, NT, Florida State

The Bears gave up a lot of yardage in the running game last year and Jernigan will help shore that up. Aaron Donald is a possibility here but I think his lack of height worries some. Jernigan is probably better suited to play nose in a 3-4, but Chicago is primarily a 4-3 team. That said, the Bears expect to use multiple fronts this season and Jernigan’s two-gap ability should come in handy. He has incredible strength and good feet and should compliment the additions on the outside of the D-line.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

Let me start by saying I’m predicting the direction the Steelers would go. If I’m in the war room, I’m advocating Eric Ebron here. Dennard playing off-man and getting a lot of flags in the NFL still worries me, but I think that’s the direction the Steelers go. Dennard does fit the range here though. The best case scenario would be to drop down a few spots and see if Ebron or Dennard is still on the board. If not, Roby, Fuller, Beckham Jr, Hageman, Benjamin, etc. wouldn’t be a bad second option.

16. Dallas Cowboys – Calvin Pryor, S, Louisville

With Anthony Barr off the board, the Cowboys decide to add to the secondary in this first round rather than address the pass rusher spot. Pryor is a big-time hitter and is willing to throw his body around. His attitude and swagger will be welcome in Big D by a fan base and defense that has lacked both. While he can sometimes get out of control, with proper coaching he should be a day one starter for the Cowboys.

Apr 16

SteelCityBlitz.com 2014 First Round Mock Draft (Picks 9-12)

Chris and I are back with selections 9-12 of the 2014 Mock First Round Draft. Chris has the odd numbers and I have the even.

See Picks 5-8

9. Buffalo Bills – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M

I was really close to going with Eric Ebron here. The Bills went outside the box in 2013 selecting quarterback EJ Manuel. Their number one priority should be turning him into a franchise signal caller. Ebron would certainly help out Manuel but Matthews is a steal at this point and a safer pick. He still helps out Manuel, and with the Bills adding Mike Williams to go along with Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods, and Marquis Goodwin, he has plenty of pass catchers to throw to.

 

10. Detroit Lions – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State

The Lions have desperately needed upgrades in their secondary for some time now and the fast and athletic Gilbert will accomplish that. He isn’t as physical as Darqueze Dennard, but he has better speed and good ball skills which translates well to the NFC North. With receivers like Alshon Jeffrey, Brandon Marshall and Jordy Nelson, Gilbert’s skills are a must. He will will also provide upgrades in their return game as well.

 

11. Tennessee Titans – Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

Ray Horton’s taken over the Titans defense and needs parts to implement his scheme. Horton worked under Dick Lebeau for 5+ years so Steelers fans should be familiar with what the Titans want to do. In his scheme, pressure from the edge is the straw that stirs the drink. Barr is raw, and isn’t going to be an immediate pro bowler but the potential is there to be very good.

 

12. New York Giants – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

It’s very possible the Giants could with tight end Eric Ebron here but I think the offensive line desperately needs to be rebuilt. Lewan offers the scrappy, tenacious attitude that Tom Coughlin likes and he could be a plug and play starter from day one. Last year, the G-Men struggled to protect Eli Manning and that resulted in hurried throws and turnovers. Lewan is a great start in terms of getting the Giants back to dominating the line of scrimmage.

Apr 16

Don’t Dismiss Importance of Podlesh Signing With the Steelers

PodleshWe as football fans love to poke fun at the kickers and punters but they really are as vital to the success of a team as just about any other position.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have played musical chairs at the punter position for the last few years but they may have taken a step towards finally solidifying it.

Pittsburgh signed former Chicago Bears’ punter Adam Podlesh today and he will now compete with another free agent signee Brad Wing.

While Podlesh averaged a very pedestrian 40.6 yards per punt last year, it’s a couple of other areas where the Steelers are very intrigued. In 2013, Podlesh punted the ball 68 times but only had 15 of those kicks returned. Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 15

Quarterbacks Will Affect Steelers’ Draft

083113-CFB-AGGIES-JOHNNY-MANZIEL-DC-PI2_20130831161114867_640_480The NFL draft process can be a little exhausting with the amount of time we have to scrutinize every possible angle.

The great, and not-so-great thing about the draft is the domino effect.

With the quarterback position being the most important on a roster, they get most of the press.

While most Steelers fan aren’t probably interested in the top quarterbacks in the draft, they should be interested in their draft stock; for two reasons.

I think that the best we can hope for is four quarterbacks going in the top 14. Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, and Derek Carr are all possibilities to be off the board by the time the Steelers pick.

Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 15

If Dennard is Gone, Then What for the Steelers?

Darqueze DennardThe vast majority of mock drafts currently have the Pittsburgh Steelers taking Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard with pick number 15 in the first round.

Personally I enjoy looking at mock drafts but I also realize they are worth as much as the paper they are printed on.

That said; let’s assume the Steelers do in fact have Dennard targeted as their first round pick but surprise! Someone unexpectedly takes him ahead of the Steelers. What happens then?

Based on the same mock drafts I’ve seen, Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans won’t be an option. I’ve seen him going anywhere from five through ten so forget him.

The other top corner in the draft is Justin Gilbert of Oklahoma State. While not as aggressive as Dennard, he’s very athletic, fast and returns kicks as well. He’s a possibility but I’ve seen him mocked many times to the Detroit Lions at number ten. Read the rest of this entry »

Apr 14

SteelCityBlitz.com 2014 First Round Mock Draft (Picks 5-8)

Chris and I are back with selections 5-8 of the 2014 Mock First Round Draft. Chris has the odd numbers and I have the even.

See Picks 1-4

5. Oakland Raiders – Derek Carr, QB, Fresno St.

This time last year rumors were that the Raiders loved cornerback D.J. Hayden and were prepared to take him with the number 3 pick. This year I’m starting to hear they’re smitten over Derek Carr. I think that Oakland will try to trade down like they did last year, but we’re not predicting trades here, and unlike last year, I think the Raiders could actually lose out on their guy by moving down. Carr is a more traditional passer than probably any other first round caliber QB in this draft, and has the biggest arm, so him going this high is definitely plausible.

6. Atlanta Falcons – Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

The Falcons would love to get Clowney for their pathetic pass rush but that isn’t going to happen. Atlanta is thrilled though to get Robinson who is a tremendous athlete and potential anchor of the offensive line.

While both Jake Matthews and Taylor Lewan are available, Robinson is head and shoulders above them in terms of both ability and potential and adds to that great size.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M

Tampa just traded away Mike Williams. That means the 31 year old Vincent Jackson is the only real threat at receiver on the roster. Mike Evans has drawn a lot of comparisons to Jackson, so this could be a great fit for him to learn from the veteran. Manizel or Bridgewater are possible here, but Josh McCown will get the keys to the offense for at least one season, and the Bucs desperately need some weapons around him.

8. Minnesota Vikings – Johnny Manziel, QB Texas A&M

Few teams have had more instability at the quarterback position in recent years than the Vikings. While there will be a lot of sentiment to take the more ‘NFL ready’ Teddy Bridgewater, Manziel brings too much excitement and potential. Minnesota will be opening a new stadium in two years and who better to fill it than Manziel? With a solid running attack the pressure won’t be as great on the former Heisman Trophy winner.

Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard weekly on Trib-Live Radio talking Steelers and is a blogger for ESPN 970 in Pittsburgh.

Apr 12

Is Maurkice Pouncey Worth the Money He’s Going to Want?

PounceyOne of the more highly regarded centers in the National Football League is Alex Mack of the Cleveland Browns.

He signed a restricted free agent offer sheet with Jacksonville yesterday worth $42 million over five years.

The Browns quickly matched the offer.

Why does this affect the Pittsburgh Steelers? Because they have a pretty good center in Maurkice Pouncey who is entering the final year of his original contract.

The question is… Is Maurkice Pouncey worth the type of money that Mack will be getting? Read the rest of this entry »

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