Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Prospect Visits: Day 6

Every year, each team gets to bring in 30 draft prospects for individual meetings and workouts with the team. For an insider's look at what goes on during these Player Visits, check out this podcast from former Ravens & Browns scout Daniel Jeremiah at Move The Sticks. (Here's a full list of his podcasts -- you can also find them on iTunes under "Move The Sticks"). To try to give you all the most information possible about the prospects the Steelers are bringing in for workouts, we compiled rankings from four different scouting websites: Draft Breakdown,Mocking the Draft, NFL House, and Scar Draft. We highly recommend all of them as a go-to sources for draft information. You can find quick-links to all of our recommended draft sites under the "Draft Resources" tab at the far right of the menu bar at the top of the page. You can also find a log of all the draft prospects the Steelers have brought in under the "NFL Draft Preview" tab.

The Steelers personnel staff really earned their money today. Two players with a history of personal issues, Dez Bryant (WR-Oklahoma State) and LaGarrette Blount (RB-Oregon) were both in town today. Most of you will remember Blount from his sucker-punch of a Boise St player in the first game of the year. Despite what you might hear elsewhere on the internet, these are exactly the type of guys you want to see the Steelers bringing in for visits. Why is that? Because you want to give your scouts and personnel people to have a chance to meet with them, talk with them, and get a good grasp of what types of men they are. Are they a-holes that you definitely don't want on your team? Are they good guys that over-reacted or made a few mistakes? These are the types of questions you can't get answered by talking to their agent or by reading articles about them or by watching tape. You need to bring them in, sit them down, and talk to them. Bringing them in doesn't necessarily mean the Steelers are going to draft them (though you wouldn't see us complain if they did), but that the Steelers want to get a better read on the types of players that they are. So for those out there who are saying that just by bringing them in makes the Steelers reputation worse? Get a grip.

Dez Bryant (WR-Oklahoma St)
6'2" 225 lbs
Draft Breakdown: #13 overall, #1 WR
Mocking the Draft: #9 overall, #1 WR
NFL House: #5 overall, #1 WR
Scar Draft: #7 overall, #1 WR

Projected Round: First

Bryant is the most skilled receiver in the draft. There are teams out there that need a big-play receiver and if Bryant gets the approval from their personnel people, he could be off the board int the top 10. However, if teams feel concerned about his work ethic and off-field issues, he may not be picked until the 20s. The Steelers aren't in the market for a #1 receiver right now, but as we said, they needed to bring in Bryant to get a good sense of where he should be placed on their draft board. You can't doubt his talent, but his maturity and off-field issues are something that the team needed to investigate. If we had to make a guess, we wouldn't be shocked to see a team like New England trades up into the top 15 to take Bryant. Just a hunch. New England has a boatload of picks and needs help at WR.

LaGarrette Blount (RB-Oregon)
6'0" 241 lbs
Draft Breakdown: #11 RB
Mocking the Draft: #113 overall, #11 RB
NFL House: #15 RB
Scar Draft: #101 overall, #8 RB

Projected Round: 3rd-5th

When you look at a guy like Blount, the first thing that stands out is his size. At 241 he's the biggest RB in the draft. The Steelers have struggled in short-yardage situations, and a guy like Blount, assuming that his personal issues are cleared up, could step in and be a big contributor as a short-yardage pounder. He is light on his feet, but isn't going to juke anyone out of their shoes. More likely, he'll just plow them over. If Blount is still there in the late 5th round, we really wouldn't mind taking a shot at him.

Golden Tate (WR-Notre Dame)
5'10" 199 lbs
Draft Breakdown: #36 overall, #4 WR
Mocking the Draft: #24 overall, #2 WR
NFL House: #25 overall, #4 WR
Scar Draft: #46 overall, #4 WR

Projected Round: late 1st-2nd

When we watched Golden Tate play, we couldn't help but think of Hines Ward. In our opinion, Tate is the only WR worth taking before Round 4. The only way we see us taking Tate is if he is still available by our pick in the second round. We don't think he will be, but it doesn't hurt to hope. Tate doesn't have game-breaking speed, but neither does Hines Ward. Tate has that X-factor of just making big plays at big times.

Koa Misi (LB-Utah)
6'3" 251 lbs
Draft Breakdown: #79 overall, #7 OLB
Mocking the Draft: #86 overall, #8 OLB
NFL House: #26 DE
Scar Draft: #54 overall, #5 3-4 OLB

Projected Round: 2nd-4th

Misi is well-regarded as a good pass rushing prospect that should excel in a 3-4 scheme as an outside linebacker. As we have documented, the Steelers need to add depth at OLB, and will likely look to do so in the middle rounds of the draft. The number of teams running 3-4 schemes in increasing every year, and the value of 3-4 OLBs keeps increasing. The Steelers have been able to do a good job to this point of finding some of their best pass rushers later in the draft.

Adrian Tracy (William & Mary)
6'3" 248 lbs
Draft Breakdown: unranked
Mocking the Draft: unranked
NFL House: unranked
Scar Draft: #19 3-4 OLB

Projected Round: 6th-undrafted

Coming out of Mike Tomlin's alma mater, Tracy probably isn't on the radar of a lot of teams. He would be a project player for the Steelers, but he's one of those guys that could be a diamond in the rough. Coming from a small school like W&M, it was a good move for the Steelers to bring him in to have their scouts see what he can do. If they like what they see, don't be shocked to see him getting a look at the end of the draft or in free agency.

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