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A Corner the Steelers Best Option for Round One?

James Walker of ESPN.com talked to Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. about the Steelers and the April draft. One question in particular was about the corner position. Here’s Williamson’s response:

If you look at all their corners right now, Ike Taylor, Deshea Townsend, the two guys they just drafted, they’re all mid-round guys. None of them came into the league with a huge pedigree or blow-you-away athleticism and natural skills. If they can add a first-rounder it might go a long way.

I personally think that corner is the position of need right now, and I would have to say spending a first round pick on one would be a good decision.

The rest of the article can be read HERE.

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Chet

    January 12, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Donovan Warren is my pick for the Steelers,over Mays or Thomas.

  2. DrGeorge

    January 12, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Mr. Williamson has correctly identified a position of need for the Steelers, but reached the wrong conclusion. The need for a CB is immediate; a rookie CB, even a first-rounder, will not develop fast enough to be of much help next year. I would prefer a top-notch veteran free agent for CB (if one is available), so we can use the draft pick for a player who can be immediately productive, perhaps a DE who can help us with the pass rush immediately or a Safety, depending on the talent available when we pick. The best CB in this year’s draft will be gone when we pick, especially if the salary cap goes away.

    • arrow

      January 12, 2010 at 1:44 pm

      While a top corner from the draft may not make an immediate impact, taking one in the 1st round really is a good idea. My reasons for thinking this are as follows.

      1. There is no way that the Steelers would ever sign a high priced “star” free agent corner. Top Corners are expensive. Last year, Nnamdi Asomugha signed with oakland for $45.3 million for just 3 years. If you don’t pay top dollar, you are likely to get someone of the same level as Deshea Townsend (who can contribute but shouldn’t start). Not to mention that the best free agent corners available this year are not very consistent —– Carlos Rogers, Washington Redskins (age 29) or Dunta Robinson, Houston Texans (age 28).

      2. As far as taking a safety in the 1st round, I believe that it may be a small waste. Troy is a “playmaker” who freelances a lot in the defence. In order to do this, he needs a counterpart at the other safety position who will “stay home” and play it safe (not going for the big play). I guess I worry that if we drafted another safety high, he may be “handcuffed” to play it safe in order to compliment Troy.

      3. While I do think that an injection of youth is needed on the defensive line; I do not think that we need to spend another first round pick there. Ziggy Hood will continue to grow. If Casey Hampton is not re-signed, Chris Hoke is very capable. I think the Steelers should be able to get someone (maybee several people) in the 2nd-4th rounds and slowly work them in over the next couple of years as they have in the past. Aaron Smith was a 4th round pick. Brett Keisel was a 7th round pick. Travis Kirschke was undrafted. Nick Eason was a 4th round pick.

      4. I think the defensive problems this past year were often the result of coverage problems. The breakdowns often occurred at the end of games (Always when the opponent was in the 2 minute – no huddle – shotgun offense). When opponents go to this offense, you usually have to play coverage. The quick passes and no huddle often nullifies your pass rush since they spread you out with multiple receivers and the quick timing doesn’t allow for complex blitzes to develop.

      • George H

        January 13, 2010 at 12:57 am

        Good post… but who do you think they should draft? Best Available?

      • chris

        January 13, 2010 at 7:02 pm

        Great job, Arrow. Except, I think if Hampton leaves and Hoke is inserted as a full time starter, then our depth chart on the DL becomes weaker. I don’t know if Hoke is up to the challege being a full time quality starter. I love his role as spelling a starter with a higher grade. If fact, I think he excells in that department but will only be a solid starter at best. Where we get a first rate NT is up for debate.

  3. mark

    January 12, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    I really believe that much hinges on what happens to Casey Hampton. If he goes, I can see the Steelers drafting the best NT in the draft. Like DrGeorge says, and I agree, a top corner may not be able to make an immediate impact for the team. The top pick for the Steelers almost HAS to get on the field and start.FA corner would be best,its a matter of who is there to offer a contract to. Its apparent the team needs a CB, but the last 2 that were taken hardly saw the field and I cant imagine either can make enough progress this summer to warrant starting.Is there a chance that with a new O-line coach, our first pick will be on the offensive line?

  4. George H

    January 12, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Well its clear the the Steelers need a CB, but the Steelers historically arent players in the FA Market. I would like to sign a FA CB and spend the first choice in the draft an another team need. My pick is still with NT Cody because I dont see Hampton being retained. Also I would like to see a Mays or Thomas to ehlp sure up the safety postition.

  5. thomas crowley

    January 12, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    Dr george are u actually a doctor?

  6. DrGeorge

    January 13, 2010 at 9:44 am

    One of the joys of this site is that the comments are generally well reasoned and civil, with a minimum of expletives and vituperation, unlike most other sports sites. My thanks to GeorgeH for his comment yesterday about keeping it this way.

    Arrow’s points above are well presented and well supported. I cannot speak to the FA CBs who will be available, but surely there will be more than two. Short coverage has been a problem since 2008 (see Arrow’s point 4), but the problem stems in part from the deep zone drops Taylor and Gay take, perhaps as LeBeau’s way of trying to hide Gay’s deficiencies. So we all agree better CB play is a high priority. My view is that the need can be filled with a solid veteran CB, without spending top dollar or a #1 pick. We’ve won two Super Bowls recently with average CBs, playing behind a superior D-line.

    I’m a big fan of C. Hoke, but given his age, I would be delighted with Cody at NG, as GeorgeH suggests, but I suspect he will go very early in the draft. Kirschke is aging, Eason is a capable backup at best, and the return of Hampton and A. Smith is questionable. For those reasons, I’d use the #1 pick on the best available D-line athlete for immediate impact. But I readily admit, Arrow, there are multiple valid solutions to what ails our defense and reasonable minds do differ. The draft is as much an art as a science.

    As for your question, Mark, about the new O-line coach lobbying for a #1 pick, I doubt it. Our defensive needs are simply too great. But he might be a pick in the mid-rounds. In truth, our O-line talent isn’t that bad, it was just not well coached last year and more than a little inexperienced and injury prone. Foster developed well, and we will get back Kemo and Stapleton. We have a lot of O-line talent. Better run blocking schemes and more reps will help with the rush. Jay suggested a few position changes using the same personnel, and I agree that would help, too. Ron Cook (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) reported yesterday that the Steelers have talked with several FBs and stated flatly that Tomlin is committed to improving the running game. I hope Cook is right, for strategic reasons, but a more balanced attack would also benefit Ben and our O-line, which is physically well-suited to the power game.

  7. arrow

    January 15, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Reply to: George H

    I’m thinking best available corner in the draft. They do need to add talent at this position even if it won’t contribute largely next year. I think it is the best “long term” move for the franchise. The Steelers may have to trade up or down a couple of picks to get value at this position depending on how the draft plays out, but I think that getting a top-notch CB will help them for years to come.

    Reply to: chris & DrGeorge

    First, thank for presenting civil, well-thought out arguments. I agree with Dr. George regarding William Gay, and the Steelers using deep zones a little too much. I do (as you both do) think that if Chris Hoke is made a starter, that the depth of the defensive line will take a serius hit. So, I do think that we will need to draft along the D-line. I just would like to get someone in the 2nd-4th rounds. As far as Hoke’s ability to be a full time starter: (I wasn’t, but….) …..a lot of people were worried when James Harrison took over for Joey Porter a couple years ago …… so I think we will not know unless he is given the chance. I do agree that it will be difficult to find a “first rate” NT in the draft, but I am not sure that this should be a priority over CB.

    My main reasoning is playability. A CB is on the field for many more plays. They play all 3 downs and are often “gunners” on special teams as well. The NT plays primarily on 1st down, short yardage, and sometimes 2nd down. I think that in previously years NT was a cornerstone, but that defenses now play a lot more nickel coverage due to the frequency of 3-wide receiver sets and tight ends that line up at receiver by offenses (think of how often the steelers went without a fullback and lined up Mike Wallace at receiver or used at extra tight end as a receiver last year).

    The Steelers nickel is usually a 2-4 alignment where the NT comes out and they blitz several of the linebackers. As far as getting a free agent CB, I think they will be overpriced and I really am not that impressed with the class of CBs available ( http://www.footballsfuture.com/2010/fa/db.html – If they are restricted, we would likely have to give up a 1st & 3rd round pick to get them ).

    As far as O-line is concerned (as it was mentioned above), the 3 concerns that I have are the blocking schemes, correctly identifying blitzers, and Max Starks’ poor footwork (Starks is decent with strength and arm usage). I think that the new offensive line coach will be given a chance to try to correct all 3 things before they spend high draft picks.

    Overall, I do agree with Dr. George that “there are multiple valid solutions to what ails our defense and reasonable minds do differ. The draft is as much an art as a science.” and that drafting a D-lineman may provide more of an immediate impact next year. I’m thinking more of 2,3,4,5,6 years from now when the passing game has become even more prevalent and even more rules have been added that prevent defenders from hitting a QB.

  8. robert

    January 17, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    as a oklahoma state fan lets draft perrish cox or russel okung

  9. Pingback: A Corner the Steelers Best Option for Round One? » Steelers Gab | NFL Topics Blog

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