Thursday, April 4, 2013

Day Three of Prospect Visits

With less than a month until the NFL Draft, teams have begun to host players at their facilities for pre-draft visits. Teams use these pre-draft visits on players that are recovering from injury to monitor the player's recovery, players with character concerns or players that teams are unsure of how to rank on their draft boards, either because of lack of playing time or the system in which they played during college (such as a 4-3 DE that is potentially adjusting to a 3-4 OLB). Over the last four years, only one of the Steelers first round picks (Maurkice Pouncey) was brought in for a pre-draft visit. However, quite a few of their later round picks were brought in for visits. To give a sense of the caliber of the prospects, I included rankings from four of my favorite draft sites: Draft BreakdownOptimum ScoutingScarDraft, and Mocking The Draft.

Malliciah Goodman
OLB - Clemson
6'3" 276 lbs

Draft Breakdown Rank: #14 DE
Optimum Scouting Rank: #20 DE
ScarDraft Rank: #15 3-4 OLB, #64 overall
Mocking The Draft Rank: #12 DE, #113 overall

Goodman is another in the long line of defensive end prospects to come out of Clemson. Given his size and frame, he seems to project more as a 4-3 defensive end rather than a 3-4 outside linebacker. Since most of Goodman's college tape features him playing out of a three-point stance on the end of the line, the Steelers likely wanted to put him through drills as an outside linebacker to see how he would react to playing out of a standing position. He was not a highly productive player at Clemson, but got better as the season went on, recording at least one sack in 5 of the last 7 games. However, Goodman had only 11 total tackles during that time span, and 7 of them were sacks, leading one to question his ability to hold down the edge against the run.

Michael Mauti
ILB - Penn State
6'2" 232 lbs

Draft Breakdown Rank: #3 ILB
Optimum Scouting Rank: #6 ILB
ScarDraft Rank: #14 ILB, #225 overall
Mocking The Draft Rank: #14 ILB

Mauti is recovering from yet another knee injury that he suffered during his senior season at Penn State. There is no questioning Mauti's leadership abilities - his injury prompted Penn State to wear "42" decals on their helmets for their final game. Mauti has great instincts and always seems to be around the ball, but his knee injury and inability to run in the offseason leaves some questions if he will be capable of starting the season or ever returning to game speed. For a depth-challenged team like the Steelers, Mauti might not be worth the risk if he will be unable to see the field in his rookie year. However, it makes sense for the Steelers to bring him in and have their doctors check him out to see how his recovering is coming along.

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