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May 8, 2014

NFL Draft Day

Filed under: Draft,Football — Chas @ 7:42 am

I still miss the marathon weekend NFL Draft. Completely veg out on the couch. Drink some beer. Take an hour long nap and find out you have missed all of 3 picks. But it is hard to argue against the NFL and ESPN making more money when the demand supports a 2-night and 3d spread out of the draft. Heck, they are already talking about dragging it out to a 4th day. To say nothing of taking the draft on the road.

I would write of the ridiculousness of such a thing, but that would imply that the past 20 years or so of the draft extravaganzas have been considered restrained.

This year, there are reasons for Pitt fans to watch all three days of the draft. Tonight to see where Aaron Donald goes.

One day, it’s No. 14 to Chicago; the next, it’s 16 to Dallas. Sometimes, it goes as high as the No. 10 overall pick to the Detroit Lions.

And every time, Donald’s response is the same.

“Mom, it doesn’t matter,” he’ll say. “It doesn’t matter until they call me that day.”

“I’m the only one that pays attention that stuff,” Goggins said, with a laugh. “He doesn’t.”

Part of that might be because, while the NFL draft is notoriously difficult to predict, Donald’s stock is about as secure as it can be. Almost every mock draft has him going somewhere at or before the Cowboys at the 16th overall pick.

If and when Donald hears his name called Thursday night, he will break a two-year drought for Pitt players getting drafted and would be the first former Panthers player to go in the first round since wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin in 2011. If he goes off the board before the 18th overall pick, a fairly likely scenario, he would be the highest drafted Pitt player since wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald went third overall in 2004.

The Bears are a good possibility, so the Chicago Tribune had a great piece on Donald. A lot of it includes anecdotes and stories of Donald, that we Pitt fans have read over the years.

Friday night will be to see how early in the second round Tom Savage goes. Does he slip back to the third? It doesn’t seem likely at this point. Too many teams are too intrigued by him to let him slip too far. Savage’s story, is also familiar to Pitt fans. Others, only know that his road seems very odd.

As Savage was sitting out at Arizona due to NCAA transfer rules, the school fired coach Mike Stoops and hired Rich Rodriguez, known for his spread offense that often includes a running quarterback.

“I said, ‘Oh my God, I cannot believe this,’ ” said Dan Algeo, Savage’s high school coach. “It just couldn’t have turned out any worse for Tom, because there was no way that he was going to play that style offense.

“You thought to yourself, ‘How much can this kid take?’ You almost feel like there’s a black cat around him.”

Savage said the decision to leave Arizona had more to do with family issues, saying an aunt was ill and he wanted to be closer to home. But either way, he was on the move again. He appealed the NCAA to return to Rutgers, but was denied.

In the meantime, he returned to Springfield and worked construction with his dad, Tom Sr. He would run, lift weights and throw after nearly every shift, and he spent his spare time calling college coaches, begging for another chance.

Part of what has also helped Savage is him taking the responsibility in NFL team interviews for leaving Rutgers after his sophomore year.

Savage injured his throwing hand during the fourth game of the season against Tulane, and backup Chas Dodd rallied the team to victory.

Soon, Dodd took Savage’s place as the starter.

“I really think it was normal growing pains for a quarterback,” said Kirk Ciarrocca, Rutgers’ co-offensive coordinator at the time. “He was asked to shoulder more of the burden, and we weren’t nearly as good a football team.”

Furious and confused over the demotion, Savage transferred after the season. He says now he regrets the choice.

“I was a young, bitter kid, and I was entitled,” Savage said. “And patience wasn’t one of my virtues back then.”

Considering Greg Schiano declared Dodd was the full-time starter it wasn’t completely outrageous to transfer. I mean, Schiano’s handling of QBs with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers demonstrated for most that Schiano isn’t exactly a master of communications.

Then there is Devin Street. There is a chance for him to hear his name called on Friday before the end of the third round, but more likely it will be on Saturday in round four or five. It is a really, really deep draft for wide receivers.

He played in every game from 2010-2012, but shoulder and ankle injuries and a hematoma on his elbow forced him to miss three starts last season.

Predictably, here comes the scrutiny that’s as intense as anything he received from opposing secondaries.

“He’s got some skills,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said. “I’d like to see him get a little bit stronger. But he can run. He’s got size.

“If he could just beef up, get stronger, win some of those jump balls, I think he’s got a chance to play.”

Mayock’s prediction: “He’s probably going to go in about the fifth round.”

Gil Brandt, who rates prospects for NFL.com after a long career as a personnel man for the Dallas Cowboys, said Street deserves to hear his name called before the end of the draft.

“There are so many wide receivers that I hope he is drafted because he is a quality player,” Brandt said.

Street posted 40-yard times of 4.53 and 4.47 seconds at the NFL Combine that are considered average for his position, but he ran away from enough defenders to register 2,901 receiving yards, third in school history.

“He doesn’t have the great speed that you would like to have,” Brandt said, “but he catches the ball really well.”

Street was never a breakaway receiver. When he starts running, it is more of a stride. That gets faster, but he needs time to build it. He is not explosive off the line or after the catch.

Everyone else, we will hear about on Sunday and Monday with free agent opportunities.





Now you have to have an incredible lack of eye talent to perform that !

Comment by Emel 05.09.14 @ 11:55 am

Regarding the Steelers and recent Draft Picks… know this for a fact.

Every once in awhile the Head Coach likes to exercise his power and trump the other votes when it comes to taking a player he really wants.

But, hey… when you’re the HC… why not? Not a problem so long as it works.

The problem is… there have been some misses.

Comment by PittofDreams 05.09.14 @ 11:55 am

^^Carlton Williamson (all-pro Saftey SF 49’ers)

Comment by Emel 05.09.14 @ 11:57 am

He of course made the huge 4rth quarter inception at Creepy Valley in our 1979 win over the Pedophiles.

Comment by Emel 05.09.14 @ 11:58 am

The last Pitt 1st round pick the Steelers took was Tom Ricketts .. a total bust

They had little problem raiding Pitt’s coachng ranks though (T Lewis, John Fox, a couple more I can’t recall)

Comment by wbb 05.09.14 @ 12:00 pm

I guess it’s a compliment when pro teams raid your coaching ranks .. like the Steelers and Kentucky

Comment by wbb 05.09.14 @ 12:03 pm

Ricketts kid was a bust too. Must run in the family.

Hate to say !

Comment by Emel 05.09.14 @ 12:08 pm

Like to calculate how many Ped State players the Stillers have drafted since 1975.

Think that might have something to do with their success and our mediocrity (sans 1973-1984 & 2009) all these years ???

Comment by Emel 05.09.14 @ 12:10 pm

I think the Steelers get to know the Pitt players too well and as the old saying goes, “Familiarity breeds contempt”. Well maybe not contempt but certainly doubts. The other old saying, “The grass is always greener over there” (meaning other colleges’ players).

Comment by Frank MD 05.09.14 @ 1:34 pm

Wbb,

Pouncey hasn’t done much. He was a big name but never played in the Super Bowl (Hurt), injury prone, etc. Made a pro-bowl one year though I think. His brother is the one with the talent.

Comment by Upittbaseball 05.09.14 @ 2:20 pm

His brother is being associated with Aaron Hernandez.

Comment by wbb 05.09.14 @ 2:57 pm

The Steeler draft were incredible in the 1970’s when we had a heads up on the rest of the league with the incredible scouting talents of Jack Butler.

When Butler started Blesto those talents became available to more teams.

The 1980’s was a mediocre decade for the Steelers due to lots of draft busts.

Similar to what’s been going on for the last several years. Are some exceptions like Antonio Brown. But few and far between.

Comment by Emel 05.09.14 @ 2:58 pm

UPitt, Pouncey is a great talent, but he has been injury prone.

Steelers biggest blunders, Walter Abercrombie over Marcus Allen, Gabe Rivera over Dan Marino.

They make those two picks and they have four more Superbowls.

But all in all, they still have the most Superbowl victories. So recruiting hasn’t been all that bad.

Two best recent picks, Ben and Troy, Troy in the Hall for sure, Ben needs to win one more championship, considering the competition, Brady, Manning(2), Rogers and his off the field escapades.

Steelers do need to break out of their recent draft slump.

By the way Emel, most of the guys you list were already off the board when the Steelers picked. At least the great ones.

Sunseri had to be a favor.

Comment by gc 05.09.14 @ 3:00 pm

Also the cyclical effect is in play, imo

Comment by Emel 05.09.14 @ 3:00 pm

Most of the Pitt players worth drafting were off the board by the time the Steelers drafted. I guess they should have traded away the team to get them like Ditka did for Ricky Williams. You have to take the Pitt glasses off & look at the players for what they are.

Comment by Nick 05.09.14 @ 3:13 pm

Disgraced Jim Tressel to be president of YSU. Really! Sad day for that school.

Comment by alcofan 05.09.14 @ 3:16 pm

Come on Nick, take a look at a few Pitt great players I posted at 11:54. Don’t give me that !

Comment by Emel 05.09.14 @ 4:16 pm

YSU….lol alco

Tressel is as short as a Penguin. Must have been that !!! 🙂

Comment by Emel 05.09.14 @ 4:17 pm

Paul’s Grey Sweatshirt was just picked up by Houston in second round.

Comment by Upittbaseball 05.09.14 @ 4:44 pm

Off topic to basketball. CBS Sportsline has an article on a high school basketball coach who supposedly has 3 potential sons with McDonald’s all American talent.

He’s ready to become a D1 college assistant & guarantee his sons to his new employer.

Is this why Slice hasn’t bee replaced.

I would provide link but can’t figure out how to do it.

I would appreciate any help. I use Monzilla firefox

Comment by PITT-cocks fan 05.09.14 @ 5:27 pm

Emel, In addition to Butler, Steelers hired 1st black scout, Bill Nunn JR, who just died the other day. I suggest you look at his obit published in both Pgh Papers. 1st black to be accepted by MLB sportswriters, in black college FB HOF, BB captain at Westinghouse HS whose teammate (Chuck Cooper) was 1st black drafted in NBA and worked for Steelers for 46 years (6 SB rings.) Found in the small colleges … M Blount, D Shell, E Holmes, LC Greenwood, J Stallworth … and more.

His bio was stunning

Comment by wbb 05.09.14 @ 5:40 pm

Pitt-cocks here is the story

link to cbssports.com

Comment by wbb 05.09.14 @ 5:43 pm

wbb – thanks

Pretty refreshing to hear a high school coach come out and say he will use his sons for job advancement. I know it happens in non sports life but don’t see it so out right stated in sports

Comment by PITT-cocks fan 05.09.14 @ 5:58 pm

Sorry reread my comment. I didn’t mean it in a pedo state way.

Comment by PITT-cocks fan 05.09.14 @ 6:10 pm

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