Monday, April 28, 2008

More and more ...

Some interesting new Steelers (Rucker, Legursky, Bryant and Woods are undrafted free agents who just might have a chance, and a half-decent one at that) ...
  • Another tall receiver for Big Ben: At his school's pro day earlier this spring, wide receiver Micah Rucker of Eastern Illinois had an excellent workout: At 6-6, 221 pounds, he ran a 4.47 40, had a vertical jump of 39 inches and performed 20 bench press repetitions at 225 pounds. Rucker finished the 2007 season with 777 receiving yards and nine touchdowns on 55 receptions. A third-team All-American, Rucker had 104 receptions, 22 touchdowns and 1,743 yards during his two-year Eastern Illinois career after transferring from the University of Minnesota. Here are some comparisons with higher-profile receivers:
  1. Plaxico Burress: Height: 6.5.06, Weight: 233, 40 time on MSU pro day: 4.56, Vert: 33inch, Broad Jump: 9’7”
  2. Limas Sweed: Height: 6.4.06, Weight: 212, 40 time at the Combine: 4.48 (4.5 at his pro day), Vert: 35inch at combine (37.5inch at his pro day), Broad Jump: 10’8"
  3. Micah Rucker: Height: 6'6". Weight: 221. 40 time on EIU pro day: 4.47. Vertical leap: 39 inches. 20 bench press reps at 225 pounds.
  • Marshall center Doug Legursky, who was on the JPPB pre-draft radar, says the Steelers plan to work him at guard, along with center, his position at Marshall. "Pittsburgh has been in contact a lot and I've watched a lot of their film all through college. I think their line fits my style well. It's the best fit and it was the best offer. Everything fell right in." The "right fit" includes shifting Legursky to guard from center. He played both with the Thundering Herd, but primarily was a center and was an All Conference USA selection at the position. At 6-foot-3 and 300-plus pounds, Legursky's athleticism best will be utilized at guard at the next level. "Right now they're looking at me more as a guard and a backup center going in," Legursky said. "I'm going to be working hard to earn the respect of the veterans and coaches and find my way to the top."
  • Donovan Woods, a linebacker who led Oklahoma State in tackles last season with 82 total, six tackles for loss, two sacks, an interception, and two forced fumbles, and also was the Defensive MVP in Oklahoma State's 49-33 win over Indiana in the Insight Bowl. Woods, who is 6-2, 235 pounds, also played quarterback and safety during his Cowboy career. Several teams had shown interest in Woods who tested well on the OSU Pro Day, but it was the Steelers that employ a 3-4 defense that made the strong move to sign the former Millwood High School star from Oklahoma City.

Over at, here is what they had to say about Limas Sweed and Tony Hills, both of whom are from the University of Texas.

"Anyone who's heard me on the Audible or stood within 50 feet of me at any bar in Austin knows I consider Sweed an overrated wideout who tends to fade from the ball, plays mechanically, seldom gets separation, and can get pushed around for a player his size."

"But at the end of the 2nd? He's well worth it. By all accounts, he's a great kid who works hard and wants to be great. And he got better every season at Texas. Combine his physical talent with that work ethic and you've got someone to build on. I didn't feel Sweed merited the first round pick status most folks wanted to bestow upon him, but this is value for the Steelers. He's the jump-ball red zone threat they lack and will learn the craft from Hines Ward."

"Tony Hills was tremendously undervalued in this draft. He only allowed a single sack in 2007 despite his QB's struggles with quick passes, and he thumped opponents for 68 pancakes. Is he a tear-your-face-off guy like Lichtensteiger? Heck no. But is he *that* much different from Bears' first-rounder Chris Williams? Not at all. He's also very active in children's charities and should be one of the team's finest public citizens. The Steelers' draft has to be graded as at least an A- so far."

At least.