Monday, February 26, 2007

The Draft Starts Now ... and More Sci-Fi Nerd Stuff

Okay, before we get going here, I'll just add one more thought to the hardcore sci-fi nerd-off: I kind of agree with naguszed's comments on BSG -- in fact, I read them to my wife and she got a good laugh ... or maybe she was just laughing at me -- but other than the "Very Special..." episode, I can't really complain too much. Yeah, Baltar should be long dead -- and I have no idea why Six is now seeing him (is Baltar a Cylon?) -- but I liken his character to that of Dr. Smith in the old school "Lost in Space" series: the guy you can hate ... and blame for everything. Oh, it's only a matter of before Adam and Roslin move in together and speaking of people who should be dead, how about Starbuck? I mean, she's slept with everybody in the fleet and she's about to break up Lee's marriage. (I actually turned to my wife a few weeks ago and said, "you know, it's too bad Billy died. He was really good for Dualla.)

All that said, it's still better than almost everything else on television. [/end hardcore sci-fi nerd-off]


FTID leaves this link to John Harris' look at the available free agents, but this is basically a thought experiment since the Steelers are currently $2 million under the salary cap. We'll find out very shortly if Joey Porter will help mitigate that problem, though I really can't imagine the team would release him (but what do I know).

Anyway, here are some of the guys who could possibly help the Steelers (and I say "possibly'" in the most liberal sense; I'm not interested in any of the guys, but just for the sake of discussion I'll list them here):

Running Backs
He'll want too much money and since the Steelers are interested in Dookie Davenport, this makes zero sense. Chris Brown will be more affordable but the guy runs too upright and that's why he's always hurt.

Wide Receivers
Drew Bennett: No; Kevin Curtis: No; Bobby Engram: No; Dennan McCardell: Hell No (he's what, 50?); Donte' Stallworth: No (only because he'll be too expensive).

Harris suggests Cincy's Kelley Washington because he's tall and a playmaker. Just in case I haven't made this clear in the past: TALL WIDEOUTS ARE OVERRATED. And if Washington was such a playmaker, why has he been on the bench during his Bengals career? I'll pass.

Tight Ends
You know, I'd be fine with the Steelers drafting a tight end on the first day or signing one during free agent. And I don't mean a Jerame Tuman-type guy. Despite what Harris writes, the team isn't strong at tight end. And if anybody suggests the team could sign Jon Dekker off the practice squad, please take a minute to punch yourself in the face ... hard.

Don't get me wrong, Tuman's good at his job, but isn't it realistic to think a tight end can both block and catch passes? I mean, more than just Heath Miller? I know Bruce Arians wants more four-wide sets, but he also wants to run the ball. Both the Patriots and Cowboys have had success with two good pass-catching tight ends, and in New England's case, both Daniel Graham and Ben Watson are good blockers (although Graham will probably be a free agent later this week).

Therefore, I'd love for the Steelers to sign Jerramy Stevens, and then let Joey Porter beat the crap out of him. Otherwise, unless Pittsburgh can lure Graham to town for the veteran minimum with no signing bonus, I'd see who was around in the third round or so (like this guy, for example).

Offensive Linemen
Bleh. Nothing here worth wasting money on. Plus, if Levi Brown's in a first-round free fall, the Steelers could find him available at 1.15.

By the way, PFT posted this on Saturday:
Though the workouts at the scouting combine won't be aired on the NFL Network until 11:00 a.m. EST on Saturday, a source in Indy tells us that the running of the offensive linemen has begun, and that one of the presumed first-round prospects put up a sssssslow time.

Penn State tackle Levi Brown posted a 5.39 in the 40.

For a lineman, that's bad. Real bad.

Another potential first-rounder who put up a slow time was Texas guard Justin Blalock, who posted a 5.31.
Um, yeah, I'm gonna call bullshit on that one. If any NFL GM, coach or scout downgrades Brown or Blalock because of their 40 times they should lose their jobs. Effective immediately. Mike Mayock and Dick Vermeil were discussing why the hell fat guys run the 40 anyway and Vermeil pointed out that coaches are most interested in the first 10 yards or so. There is never, ever an occasion for an offensive linemen to run 40 yards, in a straight line, no less, during a game. The first ten yards gives a sense of how explosive a player is, but the other 30 yards is just a waste of everybody's time.

Oh, and one more thing: Robert Gallery ran a 4.9-something in 2004. I'm just sayin'...

Harris does mention the Steelers might be interested in a player like Redskins guard Derrick Dockery, and I only point this out because I picked up Dockery on my Steelers' Madden team just the other day. Spooky, I know.

Defensive Line
Again, more bleh. Hollis Thomas is the most intriguing guy available but Pittsburgh can't afford him. And given their current cap situation, they can't afford any of them ... even the crappy ones.

Obviously, Adalius Thomas would be great but that ain't happening. Cato June is decent in the 4-3, but he's too small, and misses too many tackles, to do much in the 3-4.

Phillip Buchanon is what happens when Hank Poteat, Chad Scott and DeWayne Washington make a baby. Harris suggests the Steelers should sign a veteran CB for little or nothing. I'm not sure how you sign a player for nothing, but I'd prefer the team stay away from the free talent.

This is no-brainer. Sign Tyrone Carter and nobody dies. Harris thinks Carter is out because the team is solid at safety, but unless I missed something, it's Troy, Anthony Smith and Ryan Clark. Mike Logan might be under contract (he is, isn't he?) but I'm not convinced he's better than Carter. And he's certainly injured more often.

Unlike last year, Max Starks is the team's only free agent, and he's restricted. I suspect this will be a boring free agency for the Steelers, but I'm fine with that. More time to think about all the compensatory picks the team will get for Antwaan Randle El and Chris Hope.


You know, I'm not really surprised by this, but at least Whisenhunt had the common decency to say Ben looked great during training camp and it wasn't until after the season that he realized maybe rushing him back wasn't such a good idea. I don't like to dwell stuff I can't do anything about (like I have a say in future Steelers' moves), but yeah, if Charlie Batch starts three or four more games, Pittsburgh's in the playoffs. But trust me, when the team takes Levi Brown, you'll forget all about last season.

And one more thing, Whisenhunt-related: this is interesting.