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 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.

@upittbaseball. You’re argument is completely false.

No one here has said anything about Savage is the second coming of Marino. No one has said they want to crown him anything.

He has a cannon for an arm. The pros always take kids with cannons regardless of their lack of other skills.

These are two indisputable facts.

Along with reports and blurbs from the media and people in the NFL saying that he’ll get a shot.

That’s the only kind of stuff I’ve seen people saying.

NOW, to the the biggest indisputable thing…..

You would have much more credibility, if you ever said anything positive about Pitt. If you do, those comments are very seldom, and very few and far between.

Above poster was correct. Don’t see you for weeks, then when you show up, it’s always negative.

To each their own certainly, I myself get a kick out of your comments and get a good chuckle when I see you post.

Just can’t be taken seriously.

Another ind

Comment by Dan 05.09.14 @ 9:03 am

“Another ind”, ha ha, beginning of me typing a report out on another screen!! LOL

I imagine I’ve probably accidentily sent reports to clients talking about Pitt script too!!!!!! LOL

Comment by Dan 05.09.14 @ 9:09 am

just ignore upittbaseball/joeD, this is why he posts, to get attention. I bet he’s a lot of fun to be around, eh?

My opinion on Savage is that he has all the right measurables, size, arm strength, long pass accuracy. In fairness to him, he displayed a lot of courage, and needed to given our oline’s performance last year. I would be surprised if he were successful at the next level though, due to his lack of short term passing accuracy/touch, and in my estimation, his iffy decision making. I think those weaknesses will hold him back. I hope I’m wrong, I will be rooting for him.

Comment by 1618mt 05.09.14 @ 9:12 am

Hey, maybe he won’t even get drafted. He’ll certainly be invited to a camp as a free agent.

Some said last fall, that he wouldn’t even be invited to a camp.

None the less, the disappearing for weeks, only to show up with negativity is puzzling.

Funny, but puzzling.

Comment by Dan 05.09.14 @ 9:30 am

GC – Donald is all class and a stud. Couldn’t be happier for him and to get us back in the limelight in a positive way.

Emel – Steelers always draft bad. Glaring needs but let’s take someone that doesn’t fit and let’s pass on the kid that played at Bama or the CB. Big 10 sucks….

Negative??? I said he isn’t a good QB in my opinion for the NFL. You guys talking about he could go to Minny in first round and all that I had to say my opinion. He is probably a great kid but I don’t think he goes before the 6th round. You can call it negative, I choose to call it reality.

Comment by Upittbaseball 05.09.14 @ 9:49 am

Steelers ALWAYS draft bad … seriously!! Six SB rings. more than anyone else!

1974 Draft: 1. Swann (HOF) 2. Lambert (HOF) 4. Stallworth (HOF) 5. Webster (HOF)

Comment by wbb 05.09.14 @ 10:12 am

I just don’t get the busting on Savage. He was at Pitt for 2 years btw. Had to sit in Year 1 due to transfer. Believe he paid his own way that year.

Hadn’t played a down of real football for 3 years.
I don’ care how good you are, that is something right there. And then in only his 3rd game he throws for 424 yards and 6 TD’s, that is incredible. And against the same team Savage’s stats were better than Johnny Football put up against the same team. And he was a 1rst round pick.

So again I don’t get the hate directed toward him.

Comment by Emel 05.09.14 @ 10:22 am

Wbb- I’m talking the last 15 or so years…. Not speaking literally when I say always…

Emel – I never said never played a down of real football. I said he played one season in 3 years. I’m just not impressed with him. You don’t have a few good games and just pop up in the 1st or 2nd round like many said he was climbing into off the words of a 80 year old prior gm.

Comment by Upittbaseball 05.09.14 @ 10:32 am

WBB – That was 40 years ago.. Name good picks we made or passed up over last 10 years. Did great getting Ben… You do remember passing on Sean Lee for Mr. Worilds????

Comment by Upittbaseball 05.09.14 @ 10:34 am

The Steelers have played in 3 of the last 9 Super Bowls, winning 2.

Polamalu. Pouncey, Taylor, Holmes, Ward, Harrison (free agent), Wallace, Faneca, Miller,… all ths millennium

Comment by wbb 05.09.14 @ 10:47 am

Being a Pitt man, I find it just incredulous the Steelers passed on most all of PITT’s great players.

Of who many to numerous to list went on to All-Pro careers and even the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

You want an inside pass rush, they could have moved up a spot or two to grab Donald.

Instead they pick another Suckeye from Ohio Fake.

They are mediocre because of their love of Big Joke players.

Comment by Emel 05.09.14 @ 10:54 am

Colbert could not recognize the talent of one LeSean McCoy who was only practicing on a field adjoining the Stillers practice facility and one who shared Heinz Field.

No wonder the Stillers went from being the best rushing team to the worst in a couple seasons.

The putz should be run out of town on a rail

The Pittsburgh Lions of Kevin Colbert.

Comment by Emel 05.09.14 @ 10:57 am

There were signs along Houston freeways telling the Texans to draft Manziel. Oh, the sweet irony:
link to

Aaron Donald is class all the way.

ESPN is working hard to make Franklin the new big thing, obviously tapping into the vast Penn State alumni pool to increase readership….but we do have four games coming up and are they really going to be all that?

Comment by TonyinHouston 05.09.14 @ 10:59 am

@ TonyH

Sounds like Charlatan is a nutcase as well.

Franklin’s a germaphobe: One of the more light-hearted exchanges occurred when the head coach grabbed a nearby water bottle and questioned whether it had already been opened — and then reiterated his concern when the cap was loose.”OK, I’m a germaphobe,” he admitted. “I am. I have been stuck in a bathroom before. You know, the hand-dryers are really cool — but then I don’t have a towel to open the door. I will stand there for 15-20 minutes until someone comes in to get out.”

Although I think we already knew he was a sociopath.

Comment by Emel 05.09.14 @ 11:11 am

Who was it that projected Manziel going to the Vikings?

I think it was me.

My Bad.

Comment by PittofDreams 05.09.14 @ 11:18 am

“Franklin has already visited three Pennsylvania towns — State College, York and Hershey — and here are the highlights of what he’s said so far:”

Um… does someone who’s coach at Creepy Valley visit State College.

And what kind of reception did the Charlatan get there ? lol

Epicenter of The Cult !

Comment by Emel 05.09.14 @ 11:24 am

However, it does seem I may have been right about the Browns and Bortels.

When Jacksonville SHOCKED the Draft and plucked Bortels off the Board, the Browns were out of there at “4.”

With all the talk about Manziel POSSIBLY going to the Vikings at “8” or the Titans at “11” or the Cowboys at “16”… there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY the Browns had their HEART set on Manziel when they fell back all the way to “22.”

It WAS Bortels for the Browns.

After Bortels it seems the Browns were willing to gamble on getting ANY ONE of the THREE QBs… Manziel, Carr or Bridgewater… obviously with Manziel being their first choice from that group.

As much as I like Manziel and feel that he will be a STAR… going to the Browns at “22” just DRAMATICALLY INCREASED the DEGREE of DIFFICULTY.

Comment by PittofDreams 05.09.14 @ 11:29 am

Emel, I really think that there is something to the fact that the Steelers have not drafted a Pitt player since they started to share the practce facility. They have signed some free agents but not drafted anyone. Not sure, if they consider it tampering or a conflict, or something.

Comment by wbb 05.09.14 @ 11:30 am

Living here in Cleveland and being stuck with all of their games on TV (which I rarely watch), I am thrilled the Browns drafted Manziel. I might actually watch them more often … it should be fun.

Comment by wbb 05.09.14 @ 11:33 am

NFL scouts and PPD’s think Savage will be a 2nd or 3rd round pick. It’s been reported all over every sports media outlet for 2 months. That story didn’t originate on Pitt Blather with one of us talking out his ass. So if anyone is drinking the koolaid it is the NFL experts, not Blatherites.

Even if Savage is a total sham and becomes the next Ryan Leaf, all of the discussion about Savage pre-draft is a big win for Pitt. If he gets drafted today, another win. If he actually turns out to be a legit NFL QB, another win. Savage appears to be a great kid, a hard worker, and is hungry for success. How can you not at least root for him? Why go negative on this story???

Comment by Iron Duke 05.09.14 @ 11:36 am

From a Pitt Perspective… what will be VERY INTERESTING today is if all the talk about Tom Savage SHOOTING UP the Draft Board was really true.

The Vikings jumping ahead of Houston to grab Bridgewater tells you that they’re convinced the Texans are grabbing a Quarterback at the Top of the Second Round.

Who is it going to be… Savage… or Carr or Mettenberger… or someone else?

One thing I do know is that Bill O’Brien personally attended the Pitt Pro Day… and it wasn’t to scout Aaron Donald.

Don’t think it’ll be Savage… not that HIGH.

Hope I’m wrong… again.

Comment by PittofDreams 05.09.14 @ 11:38 am

IF… I had to say… given Mettenberger’s injury and testing issues… it’s going to be the Second Coming of Carr to Texas.

Betting on TWO with the hope that ONE succeeds… is a pretty good bet.

Comment by PittofDreams 05.09.14 @ 11:44 am

Just like the rating services (Rivals, Scout, etc), the NFL draft selects based on physical characteristics. This large OL from Baldwin Jenkins has hardly made an impact in high school as yet on the field but has all of the tools (Shayne Hale and TJ Clemmings were similar).

If there was ever a protypical drop-back Pro QB, it is Savage. 6’5, cannon arm, etc … what’s not to like?

Comment by wbb 05.09.14 @ 11:47 am

Draft is fun to watch as teams surprise us. Steelers seem to have bad luck in their picks and no outstanding trades to get playmakers. Pro game changing and lack of speed now kills.
We NEED to start recruiting now.

Comment by Frank MD 05.09.14 @ 11:47 am

@ wbb….it’s more than that.

They also didn’t draft Tony Dorsett, Mark May, Hugh Green, Bill Fralic, Matt Cavanaugh, Gordon Jones, Dan Marino, Rueben Brown, Jimbo Covert, Russ Grimm, Mark Stepnowski, Carlton Williams, Tim Lewis, Jerry Boyarsky, Al Romano, Elliot Walker, Bob Jury, Larry Fitzgerald, HB Blades, Clint Sessions, Ricky Jackson, Tony Siragusa, etc., etc.

But they did somehow draft (albeit in the 12th round), the incredibly talented, one and only Sal Sunseri.

Comment by Emel 05.09.14 @ 11:54 am

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


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

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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