Friday, April 8, 2011

More Draft Prospects

As the days tick down the the NFL Draft on April 28, each team is permitted to bring in 30 prospects for interviews, workouts, and to get a better perspective of the player's personality. In the past, the players the Steelers brought in weren't a great indicator of their draft strategy. Two years ago, the Steelers picked Ziggy Hood in the first round and he was not one of the 30 players that visited. If you really want to get the inside scoop on what's going on with the draft, check out some of our favorite sites: Draft BreakdownScarDraftMocking The Draft, and Optimum Scouting

Denarius Moore (WR-Tennessee)
6'1" 194 lbs
Draft Breakdown: #32 WR
ScarDraft: #184 overall, #22 WR
Mocking The Draft: #140 overall, #18 WR
Optimum Scouting: #166 overall, #20 WR

Moore is a burner that can take the top off the coverage, much in the same mold as Mike Wallace. He has blazing speed and at 6'1" would be the tallest receiver on the team that can actually catch (ie not Limas Sweed). Tennessee's offense kind of blew last year, so Moore didn't get a ton of exposure, but he has the speed and athleticism to develop into a big-time receiver in the NFL.

Austin Pettis (WR-Boise St)
6'2" 209 lbs
Draft Breakdown: #95 overall, #12 WR
ScarDraft: #116 overall, #14 WR
Mocking The Draft: #119 overall, #15 WR
Optimum Scouting: #153 overall, #18 WR

If you weren't impressed when you watched Austin Pettis play this year, you haven't watched much football. Pettis is a big receiver with great hands that will go across the middle and make the tough catches. He reminds me a LOT of Anquan Boldin with his size and hands. Pettis is a strong receiver with the potential to be a long-term starter in the NFL. He could be one of the steals of the draft in the 3rd or 4th round if he lasts that long. I'm not going to lie, I have a big draft-crush on Austin Pettis and I really like his potential. He was beastly in the red zone for Boise State's offense last year, averaging about 13.5 yards per catch the last 2 years and reeling in 24 Touchdowns in the last 2 seasons.

Da'Rel Scott (RB-Maryland)
5'11" 211 lbs
Draft Breakdown: #10 RB
ScarDraft: #188 overall, #18 RB
Mocking The Draft: #26 RB
Optimum Scouting: #135 overall, #15 RB

With Mewelde Moore's contract expired, the Steelers might need to add a 3rd down back. Scott has good speed and athleticism, posting a 4.3 40-yard dash at the Combine. Scott needs to improve his pass-blocking and route-running to be a truly effective 3rd down back. However, his speed definitely makes him a weapon that NFL teams can utilize. He had a big bowl game which helped his draft stock. He'll probably get chosen in the mid rounds of the draft and could be very useful for a team that needs a change-of-pace back.

Ras-I Dowling (CB-Virginia)
6'1" 198 lbs
Draft Breakdown: #61 overall, #6 CB
ScarDraft: #72 overall, #10 CB
Mocking The Draft: #68 overall, #9 CB
Optimum Scouting: #57 overall, #4 CB

Dowling is a tall, physical cornerback that would be a great fit in the Steelers system that demands corners to tackle well and support in run defense. Dowling looked like a sure-fire 1st round prospect before last season started, but he missed over half the games due to injury, which has hurt his draft stock a bit. Dowling is a beast in run defense and has great ball skills. He would be a great fit for the Steelers and probably could be considered a steal if they can get him in the second round. Plus, his name kinda reminds you of Ra's al Ghul, which is pretty badass.

Cortez Allen (CB-Citadel)
6'1" 197 lbs
Draft Breakdown: #25 CB
ScarDraft: #149 overall, #22 CB
Mocking The Draft: #29 CB
Optimum Scouting: #184 overall, #21 CB

Allen is a small-school prospect with a ton of athleticism and good size, but he is still very raw as a prospect. He could be a good late-round choice for a team that has the luxury of developing a corner. Assuming the Steelers re-sign Ike Taylor, we would be in that situation as we wouldn't need a corner to step in and play right away. Allen has the size and ball skills to make tough interceptions in jump ball situations but lacks the top-end speed to keep up with faster receivers downfield. As a small school prospect, Allen hasn't had as much experience playing against top talent as other corners. He would be worth the risk of a later round pick to give him the chance to develop into a pro corner.

Johnny Patrick (CB-Louisville)
5'10" 191 lbs
Draft Breakdown: #99 overall, #13 CB
ScarDraft: #71 overall, #9 CB
Mocking The Draft: #35 overall, #6 CB
Optimum Scouting: #163 overall, #18 CB

Patrick is a physical corner that has developed well during his time at Louisville. He was arrested last summer which is definitely a negative point on his resume. As you can see from the rankings above, the scouting world is split on him, with some ranking him as high as a Top-40 pick and others projecting him as low as the 5th round. He has drawn some comparisons to Willie Gay, and given his size, that comparison might not be far off. His weakness is definitely in man coverage, but he has great closing speed when playing in a zone. He ran a 4.59 40-yard dash at the combine and lacks the over-the-top speed to stick with fast receivers down the field, which also hurt his draft stock.

Kenrick Ellis (NT-Hampton)
6'5" 346 lbs
Draft Breakdown: #89 overall, #3 NT
ScarDraft: #91 overall, #3 NT
Mocking The Draft: #92 overall, #13 DT
Optimum Scouting: #26 overall, #4 DT

Ellis is a mammoth of a man at 6'5" and close to 350 pounds. His size just screams "3-4 Nose Tackle" and he definitely fits the bill of "run-stuffer." He is a strong player but he was dismissed from South Carolina two years ago, and the Steelers bringing him in means they wanted to investigate his character issues and see if he has changed his attitude since leaving South Carolina. This is exactly the type of thing these prospect visits should be used for, much in the same way the Steelers brought in Dez Bryant last year and other players with character issues. Going into the draft, you need to know if there are players you absolutely don't want on your team and you don't want to waste a draft pick on them, which is why you need to bring them in and talk to them.

Frank Kearse (NT-Alabama A&M)
 6'4" 300 lbs
Optimum Scouting: #327 overall, #30 DT

Another small school prospect that is a strong player, but he needs a lot of work on his technique. He's probably a 6th or 7th round pick at best and possibly won't get drafted. That said, the Steelers usually bring in a few prospects that they think they will have the opportunity to pick up as undrafted free agents. If there is no CBA by the draft there will be no undrafted free agency, but undrafted players should be able to sign with teams after a new CBA is signed, so the Steelers are saving their scouts some work by bringing in these edge prospects now.

No comments: