Tag:Pittsburgh Steelers
Posted on: September 21, 2010 1:43 pm

Impressive rookie Lions: Best, Suh tops this week

Each Tuesday I'll list two first year players -- one on offense, one from the defense -- as my official NFLDraftScout.com's Rookies of the Week.

Various rookies enjoyed strong performances in Week One. On offense, Denver wideout Demaryius Thomas had a strong first game to his NFL career against the Seahawks with 98 receiving yards and a touchdown. Dallas' Dez Bryant, who I recognized last week in this space as a "honorable mention" Rookie of the Week, enjoyed a strong second game as well, with 52 receiving yards and a 62-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Chicago Bears. I try to look beyond just the "skill" position players for these awards and I was mightily impressed with the drive blocking of San Francisco left guard Mike Iupati last night against the Saints, as well as that of Pittsburgh center Maurkice Pouncey in the Steelers' win over the Titans.

In the end, however, this week's Offensive Rookie of the Week was a no-brainer.  

Though his Detroit Lions lost to the Eagles Sunday, Jahvid Best was absolutely electric. He had 232 total yards from scrimmage (17 attempts for 78 rushing yards and nine receptions for 154 yards) and scored three more touchdowns. His five touchdowns over the first two weeks of the season lead the NFL. Some anticipated that an athletic and aggressive Philadelphia defense would tee off on Best considering the marginal downfield passing of Detroit backup quarterback Shaun Hill. With the Eagles crowding the line of scrimmage against the run, Hill simply found Best as an outlet receiver. Once in the open field, Best's agility and straight-line speed make him a matchup nightmare. Best is the first rookie to score five touchdowns in his first two NFL games since another Lion, Billy Simms, accomplished the feat 30 years ago.

On the defensive side of the ball, there were again several worthy candidates, though in my opinion this week's award was just as much a no-brainer. Sean Weatherspoon (Falcons), Koa Misi (Dolphins) and last week's honoree T.J. Ward (Browns) were impressive again. I was also impressed with the coverage supplied by Denver cornerback Perrish Cox. His coverage helped shut down the Seahawks reclamation project, Mike Williams, and his interception of Matt Hasselbeck ended any chance of a Seahawk comeback.

However, Ndamukong Suh proved to be every bit the dominant player against the Eagles we projected he'd be in the NFL. Suh posted eight tackles -- second most in the league by an interior defensive lineman -- and recorded his second sack in as many games. The Lions featured Suh and Best on the same play twice Sunday, with Suh lining up as Best's fullback.

Posted on: September 4, 2010 2:08 pm

Pouncey's errant snaps lead to Gator's O problems

I listed Mike Pouncey as one of the five seniors I was going to focus on today. I'm glad I did, as he's been one of the biggest stories of the early games.

Pouncey, taking over for his twin brother Maurkice (Steelers' first round pick in '10) as the Gators' starting center, looks every bit the part of a player who has switched positions.

He's started the last 28 games of his career -- earning Second Team All-American honors last year -- at right guard, but he's struggled mightily with shotgun snaps in the opener against Miami of Ohio. His poor snap led to fumbles in the first and third quarters and several other poorly-timed plays.

Pouncey has been consistently low and wide with his snaps, forcing new quarterback John Brantley to divert much more of his attention to securing the snap, rather than eyeing the defense.

Pouncey is far from the only Gator player to blame for the team's ugly first half performance on offense. The high-flying Gators were held to only 13 total yards of offense -- and remember, this is against Miami of Ohio. The RedHawks finished 70th in the country in Total Defense last year.

However, nothing on offense is going to work if the snap isn't completed successfully.

Pouncey is currently listed as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 2 rated senior center prospect for the 2011 draft.

Unless he shows remarkable improvement, he won't be for long.
Posted on: July 15, 2010 11:27 am
Edited on: July 15, 2010 12:28 pm

Supplemental "mock" draft -- my final predictions

Predicting the April draft is difficult enough, but I thought it would be fun to try an educated guess as to which NFL teams will take which of the four eligible players in today's Supplemental draft.

Today's draft, which begins at 1 pm EST, is expected to take 60-75 minutes, as each round is supposed to take 10 minutes. Unlike the April draft which features all of the hype, hoopla and grandiose parading on stage, this draft is done strictly via email between the league, itself, and each of the 32 teams.

The inherent risk in projecting which club will take which player is that I (or others) may be completely right in predicting Team X will take Player Y, but if another team with a higher selection takes the player, we'll never know. The NFL has never released the actual "results" of the supplemental draft in years past. Of course, they announce the "winners," but we'll never know, for example, if there were other teams that also wanted former Kentucky DE Jeremy Jarmon last year in the 3rd-7th rounds. Washington offered the highest pick -- a third rounder -- last July and, as such, was awarded Jarmon.

Here is what I've learned over the past 24 hours...

Two of the teams I'd previously heard were interested in BYU RB Harvey Unga are clearly not -- the St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks did not bring in Unga for a physical, I'm told, and let's face it, with Unga's history of injuries, no team is going to draft him that hasn't had their doctors check him over.

There does appear to be legitimate interest by the Eagles, Bucs, Steelers, Dolphins and Chiefs for Unga.

Detroit, New Orleans and Green Bay appear to be the most interested in defensive tackle Joshua Price-Brent.

My final predictions?

Both players go in the 6th round. Unga is taken by the Bucs or Chiefs; Price-Brent is taken by the Lions.

Care to try and beat me? I'd be interested to read your takes. You have two hours (or so) to weigh-in.

Posted on: April 26, 2010 11:50 pm

My all undrafted lineup -- offense

Each year there are players who slip through the cracks into undrafted free agency that, quite frankly, I'm stunned aren't drafted.

Here is my list of players who were undrafted but I feel could find a roster spot in the NFL.

Today I'm highlighting the offensive players (as well as their NFL franchise). Tomorrow I'll list the defensive players.

QB: Jarrett Brown, West Virginia (signed with San Francisco)
RB: Keiland Williams, LSU (signed with Washington)
FB: Rashawn Jackson, Virginia (signed with Carolina)
TE: Colin Peek, Alabama (signed with Atlanta)
WR: Blair White, Michigan State (signed with Indianapolis)
WR: Seyi Ajirotutu, Fresno State (signed with San Diego)
OT: Casey Knips, South Dakota State (signed with Arizona)
OG: Ciron Black, LSU (signed with Pittsburgh)
C: Kenny Alfred, Washington State (signed with Tennessee)
OG: Jeff Byers, USC (signed with Seattle)
OT: Levi Horn, Montana (signed with Chicago)
Posted on: April 23, 2010 2:50 pm

AFC North First Round Comments

Following the conclusion of the draft, I'll be providing grades for all 32 teams. I've begun the process of writing these grades up based on what transpired in the first round yesterday. I'll be posting comments for each team, by their division, in the blog over the next few hours.

Here is how I saw the action from the AFC North perspective:

Baltimore Ravens:
There will be players drafted in the middle rounds who surprise in the NFL and will one day be called “steals,” but the first theft of the 2010 draft came by the Baltimore Ravens who dropped out of the first round to allow Denver to pick Tim Tebow and in doing so, added second, third and fourth picks in a spectacularly deep draft. 

Cincinnati Bengals:
The Bengals invested a third round pick last April in tight end Chase Coffman but were disappointed with his inability to make any kind of impact as a rookie. Jermaine Gresham gives the club a big play threat down the seam that Carson Palmer can exploit when defenses attempt to load up in the box to stop the Bengals’ powerful running game.

Cleveland Browns:
The Browns got the top overall cornerback in the draft in Joe Haden, giving the team a talented secondary to compete against the underrated passing games of the AFC North division. Haden’s selection could push veteran cornerback Sheldon Brown to free safety or give the team one of the more athletic “starting” three corners in the AFC.

Pittsburgh Steelers:
To compete against the ultra physical defenses of the AFC North the Steelers had to get stouter in the middle of their offensive line and they did so, taking Florida’s Maurkice Pouncey. The reigning Rimington Award winner as the nation’s best center, Pouncey can step in as an immediate upgrade over Justin Hartwig or could be slid outside to guard.

Posted on: April 23, 2010 2:33 pm
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Posted on: April 23, 2010 2:33 pm
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Posted on: April 21, 2010 11:25 am
Edited on: April 21, 2010 1:22 pm

Big Ben among veterans who could be traded

Ben Roethlisberger is the biggest name in a list of high profile veterans that sources tell me could be traded over the course of this week's draft.

The Steelers have publicly expressed their displeasure with their 28 year-old, two-time winning Super Bowl quarterback for his poor off-field decisions, but talks before that he might be traded had been thought to be conjecture. However, according to an article in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Gerry Dulac and Ed Bouchette, the Steelers are gaining some "trade feelers" and while "not actively looking to trade" Roethlisberger, a source close to the team tells me Pittsburgh is acknowledging behind closed doors that if the right offer came through, they'd show Big Ben the door.

Though an established player like Roethlisberger would no doubt command a first round pick in a normal circumstance, the Steelers' quarterback is considered "quite the risk" according to one league source, who works for a team actively searching to add competition at the position. Roethlisberger is expected to be suspended for multiple games in the 2010 season for his latest brush with the law.

While it is difficult to imagine any team giving the Steelers enough value to actually pry Roethlisberger away, the flurry of veteran trades over the past few weeks is evidence that teams are taking advantage of the talent in this draft and the uncapped economic status of the league.

Roethlisberger is far from the only player being shopped, however.

Washington Redskins' defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth is on block. Another Redskin, outside linebacker Rocky McIntosh, is also thought to be available.

The New York Giants are shopping defensive end Osi Umenyiora for a middle round pick.

The Seattle Seahawks would accept a similar offer for outside linebacker Leroy Hill.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com