Wednesday, April 25, 2012

2012 Steelers Draft Preview: Special Teams

It's getting late and the Draft is less than 24 hours away. This time tomorrow we'll know who the newest member of the Pittsburgh Steelers is.

For reference, here's some of our favorite draft sites from around the web:

Draft Breakdown - best video gallery out there. If you're looking for tape on a prospect, chances are that they have it.
ScarDraft - best rankings that we've found. Breaks down rankings by scheme (3-4 NT, 4-3 DT, 4-3 DE, 3-4 OLB, etc).
Optimum Scouting - these guys have one of the best scouting staffs on the web. They personally went to all of the collegiate all-star games and combine. You can get a free 120-page scouting report by e-mailing their webmaster.
Mocking the Draft - some of the best scouting reports on the web. Really in-depth work.

We also put together a twitter list of our favorite NFL Draft folks. Some just talk draft, some offer scouting insights. Some throw around rumors. This time of year, rumors are all over the place and you can't put too much stock in them, but we'll leave it up to you as to how much you want to believe. You don't need a twitter account to follow the list, it will automatically update itself.

While Specialists don't often get drafted, the Steelers did use a 4th round pick on punter Daniel Sepulveda a few years ago, so we figured we should at least touch on it briefly.


On Roster: Shaun Suisham

The Steelers might decide to take a look at drafting a kicker on the 3rd day of the draft after the year Suisham had last year. Suisham finished an appalling 32nd in the league last year in field goal percentage at 74%. The only kicker in the league that had at least 15 field goal attempts and was worse than Suisham was Dave Rayner. It wasn't like he was asked to kick a lot of long field goals either - he had only 2 attempts from over 50 yards. Suisham's faults came in the 40-49 yard range where he was only 6 for 11 on the year, which prompted hesitation from the coaching staff at key moments in games (specifically, the Baltimore game where Tomlin took a delay of game rather than attempting a 46-yard field goal. As you know, we punted back to the Ravens and they drove 90 yards to win the game in the final seconds).

Likelihood of the Steelers Drafting a Kicker: Moderate
Players Who Fit What the Steelers Need: Blair Walsh (Georgia)


On Roster: Jeremy Kapinos

After Daniel Sepulveda suffered another season-ending injury last year, the Steelers turned once again to Jeremy Kapinos. Kapinos had a solid season, averaging 45 yards per punt. It's highly unlikely that the Steelers will draft a punter as Kapinos is a known commodity and they probably won't want to spend two draft picks on kickers. If they're going to draft a specialist, it will be a place kicker to challenge Suisham. Kapinos should enter the season as the starting punter.

Likelihood of the Steelers Drafting a Punter: Almost Zero

Long Snapper

On Roster: Greg Warren

Greg Warren all day every day. We haven't had a bobbled snap on a kick in ages. You don't know how good he is until you see other teams mess up kicks. No way he goes anywhere.

Likelihood the Steelers Draft a Long Snapper: Yeah right

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