Bryant McKinnie – comes back cheap
Anquan Boldin - Restructure
Casey Hampton | NT – Big vet who is always producing, the Steelers should have a hard time bringing him back with all their FA's, could also look at Terrance Knighton. Or go veteran with Vaughn Martin or Corey Williams type pickup. I really do not see us doing much.
Jamaal Jackson | C - Has been declining but should be a reliable backup to Gradkowski.
Obviously we cannot fill every hole, nor do we ever, so please do not say "X" position is still iffy. I will already state that I do not think we can address our LT concerns this offseason. FA wise we do not have the cap space for a big name (Long or Albert) and I am not sure other guys are an upgrade (Bushrod). Thus I say we stay with Oher, let his contract play out and make the hard decision next year. I think we should keep Mckinnie as he provides great depth and will likely be cheap. OL is a huge issue but we are set, imo, at C, RG, RT. We have a revolving door at LG and a questionable LT. I think we can solve our issue at LG some point, whether that is FA or draft - this is one way that may happen.
Defensively this draft is purely in the mindset that we are now and will be in the future a "situational" defense, guided by Pees. I really like Pees, he has been under some of the best coaches on defense in Nick Saban and Bilichek. The defense has looked great finishing the year and I would love to see what he will do when he has a fully healthy team where he can put in scheme specific packages that background suggests he excels at. We have been forced because of injuries to provide pretty bland looks. Thus I think for the future we draft defensive players who fit certain roles - a shift away from players who are always on the field. Making guys like Kruger, Upshaw, McPhee, Art Jones, etc. perfect for our defense as you do not ask too much. Our situational players that are missing, imo, are an inside rusher, a nose (Knighton or Hampton would be ideal - Nose's develop slowly so I am hoping Cody gets progressing), coverage LB (BA is pretty good but old, Ellerbe is a great blitzer, Mcclain the thumper), and a deep S (if Ed leaves as I have).
Here is my attempt at an option that will fill some of the holes
1) Jonathon Cooper | OG | North Carolina
- If interior OL were ever to be discussed as dynamic playmakers Jonathon Cooper would be in that category. His ability to pull, play in space and engage at the second level is truly rare for a lineman. It is hard to say that drafting an OG can make your offense more dynamic but having a guy like Cooper (if I were the coach) would force me to put in more screens and trap runs. He is also a great inline cut blocker, Baltimore has been known to do this against specific fronts (ala Pitt). I honestly think he could be better than Warmack in the long run – and for me it kinda feels like DeCastro and Zeitler, you cannot go wrong with either. I am surprised that no one talks about Cooper on the boards yet we hear a lot on Barrett Jones who I think is a step behind Cooper in many regards.
2) Sylvester Williams | DT | North Carolina
- We need an interior pass rush, Sylvester is one of the better interior guys at getting up field and disrupting. He started the year off really hot and cooled down a little near the end. He is a quick move type player who does not engage off the LOS – at times this is great as he blows plays up, but at other times he either runs himself out of a play or gets stonewalled in the process. For these reasons he is a second rounder and needs to work on strength and gap assignments. Lucky us though, we rarely start our rookies and Sylvester would be a perfect situational player on our DL who provides the inside rush we are desperately craving, and in time turn into a more complete player.
3) Bacarri Rambo | S | Georgia
- He is a playmaker. I think he will drop due to his suspension and some character concerns. Hos play on the field though is enough to warrant a first round pick, somehow he just gets takeaways and is always in the right place at the right time. His playmaking does get the best of him as he tackles extremely high trying to rip the ball out, in the NFL he may just get dragged along and give up big plays because of this.
4) Jonathon Bostic | ILB | Florida
- We need depth at ILB. I am not worried about finding a starter as I think we will use each of our LBs to specific packages. Bostic is a very well rounded player who did a lot better this year. I like him as a pass defender and think he could play a situational role for a couple of years before making a bigger contribution. In the run game he does a great job of engaging blocks and does not shy away from the physicality as he is always working to the LOS. But he can get washed by linemen and at this point it looks as if he is still just trying to get to his gap and holding put, he needs to diagnose and read plays more effectively to make big plays as the RB seems to run by him a lot as it looks like he is just trying to get into his correct position. Love his potential and progress this year though, seems to be on the upswing.
4) Quinton Patton | WR | Louisiana Tech.
- I wont say much here but I love Patton. He is smooth as a receiver, he is crafty and he just knows how to get open. There are not many options outside of him to worry about there yet he still manages to consistently put up amazing numbers. He dominated good competition (Terry Hawthorne) and is well respected. I read somewhere Jonathon Banks said that the best receiver he faced in college was Quinton Patton – pretty impressive from a SEC corner. Reminds me a lot of Marvin Harrison with how quick and well placed his feet are on his routes.
5) Gavin Escobar | TE | San Diego St.
- Probably should not have declared. There seems to be a TON of mid round TEs this year. I hope we grab one as we wont be able to keep both Dickson and Pitta next year. I really like Escobar he is an amazing receiver that can take over for Dickson next year. He has great hands and can line up anywhere. Looks to have the body type of Tony Gonzalez and has produced since early in his career. If he would of stayed for his senior year I think he would be a 2nd or 3rd rounder.
5) Tharold Simon | CB | LSU
- Again another player who probably should not have declared. He is a tall cover man. I was really impressed by Chykie Brown this year and Corey Graham looks to be a keeper also. Add back Webb and hopefully a fully healthy Jimmy and we are pretty loaded. Simon could battle Asa Jackson and others for the final spot.
6) James Ferentz | C | Iowa
- Not very impressive physically but a smart player. Hey maybe this would somehow lure Kirk Ferentz to Baltimore – he could coach the OL again – wishful thinking, I know. Ferentz though looks to be a good backup and he is a player you would not have to worry about if he came in on a pinch as he would know the entire playbook. In that regard he is very special.
7) David Bass | DE | Missouri Western St.
- Late round pick. Have never seen him play but his stats look pretty dominant and he has a huge frame at 6-5, 270s. Looks athletic, has production, why not.
thoughts and feelings?