Saturday, May 10, 2014

Thumbs up on Rounds, Five, Six, Seven

Joey Porter's Pit Bulls are bullish on Shaquille Richardson, Wesley Johnson, Jordan Zumwalt, Daniel McCullers and Rob Blanchflower.

It will be interesting to see if Johnson, McCullers and Richardson challenge early for serious playing time. Opportunities are there for the taking for all three.

Would you rather have Louis Nix or Shamarko Thomas?

To select speedy scatback Dri Archer in the third round, the Steelers used the 97th overall selection, which was a pick that was essentially at the top of the fourth round as one of many compensatory picks the NFL tacked onto the end of the third round.

The Steelers didn't have a real third-round pick this year. They dealt this year's third-rounder, which turned out to be No. 83 overall, to Cleveland during last year's draft, for the right to select 5'9" safety Shamarko Thomas.

Louis Nix or Shamarko Thomas? Who would you rather have?

Let's hope last year's trade of this year's third-round pick (83rd overall in 2014) for the right to draft Shamarko Thomas in last year's fourth round (111th overall in 2013) was worth it.

That 83rd selection this year? It turned into Louis Nix, the Notre Dame nose tackle who many people projected early on as being a potential first-round pick this year for the Steelers, early in this draft season.

For Joey Porter's Pit Bulls, Thomas will merit as much scrutiny this season as any player in the 2014 draft. He is in his second year, so more is expected of him, but that trade ... we didn't like it at the time, and we like it even less today. Thomas is listed at 5'9", 217. There's no other way to say it: He's short. And he doesn't appear to be especially rangy, which is something you'd like to see in your safeties.

If you buy Kevin Colbert's assertion that this year's draft is so deep, that second-round picks equate to first-round picks, third-rounders to second round, etc., that particular 2014 third-round pick that Colbert traded last year turned out to be very expensive. By that logic, Thomas is a second-round talent. By that logic, Dri Archer is a late-second/early-third talent.

Thomas has much to prove.

Joey Porter's hope the best for all the Steelers' picks. We hope all turn into Pro Bowlers and Hall of Famers.

Knee-jerk reaction to the 4th-round pick ...

Thumbs down.

Martavis Bryant looks like a one-trick pony: Maybe he can highpoint the ball and be a red-zone target, eventually, in time. Maybe.

He's tall. He's got that going for him. However, he doesn't look like he gets off the line of scrimmage very cleanly. And he's been described as having "shaky hands." And there have been questions about focus. So, IF Mr. Throat Slash can get focused, get off the line of scrimmage, get open and actually catch the ball, maybe he'll help ... down the road at some point.

That sounds like a lot of "if."

Joey Porter's Pit Bulls would have taken cornerback Pierre Desir instead of Bryant with the 118th overall pick.

Another corner still on the board was Walt Aikens. After the Steelers selected Bryant, Cleveland took Desir; Miami selected Aikens.

If the Steelers were intent on taking a receiver, we would have rather seen them take 6'2" Kevin Norwood over Bryant. Seattle ended up taking Norwood at No. 123 overall.

Pitt's Devin Street was available, too, and we know what he can do. He gets open and catches everything.

Joey Porter's hope the best for all the Steelers' picks. We hope all turn into Pro Bowlers and Hall of Famers.

Dri Archer: Snap judgment, flash impression

Dri Archer is tiny. This pick has "Todd Haley" written all over it.

Did Archer get over-drafted? Guys like Archer may have a role in an NFL offense, but it's going to be limited. There's only so much he can do.

He's a scatback. When you bring somebody like that onto the field you're telling the defense pretty much what you plan to do. We presume the Steelers won't be counting on him to do much pass-protect blocking. If they do, he'll get run over.

Joey Porter's hope the best for all the Steelers' picks. We hope all turn into Pro Bowlers and Hall of Famers.

Going Vertical

Ryan Shazier's vertical jump: 42 inches. A 42-inch vertical?!! Let's hope he jumps in front of some passes and actually intercepts them, or at least blocks more than a few.

Nothing Tuitt but to do it

We assume at least one person on the Steelers staff watched every single play of Stephon Tuitt's career. He has a "pedigree," to use another of Mike Tomlin's favorite words.

To our untrained eye, however, Tuitt's first step looks slow. What kind of explosion does he have? Does he bring a heavy hammer? Does he play with impact? Is he relentless?

At this point, too, we'd be interested to go back and watch the 2013 Alabama-Notre Dame BCS championship game in which Tuitt played and collected five tackles during Alabama's 42-14 rout.

Everybody knows Alabama's offensive line blew out Notre Dame's front seven. Post-game, linebacker Manti Te'o was in the spotlight because he was already high-profile and because he got run over, repeatedly, in that game.

Now, we'd be interested to learn more about how Tuitt, specifically, played in front of Te'o. At that point, Tuitt wasn't on most people's draft radar because he was an underclassman. But he started and was part of the unit that got overwhelmed by the Crimson Tide. Then he had off-season surgery for a hernia and was slow to round into form for Notre Dame's 2013 season.

We will be watching closely the development of all the Steelers draft this year, as always. Tuitt, being a second-rounder, will be scrutinized closely. Let's hope he is an immediate improvement on Ziggy Hood. If not, why draft him?

Joey Porter's hope the best for all the Steelers' picks. We hope all turn into Pro Bowlers and Hall of Famers.