Sorry guys, a slightly abridged version of this one. Have an 8 AM flight out of Mobile. Only saving grace is that Mobile has probably the tiniest airport in the world. But going to be some tired eyes wheels up in a little bit.
Want to again thank you all for following along, and of course, our sponsor, Touring Plans, for their help funding this trip. Great people, great company. Seriously, check them out if you’re planning a trip to Disney to get away from the frigid cold I hear Pittsburgh is about to get. Or anywhere cold.
– Know we haven’t gotten into Pittsburgh Steelers’ talk a whole lot this week because frankly, there hasn’t been much. Apologize about that but these dudes are pretty much ghosts during the week. They’re here, no question, but definitely prefer to not be seen.
Finally, the scouts were visible today. And there was a large contigency in addition to Team President Art Rooney II and Kevin Colbert. I saw Colbert walking the field during player/team interviews after practice but he didn’t stop to talk to anyone.
Tons of other big wigs though. Phil Kreidler, the Director of College Scouting, Pro Scouting Coordinator Brandon Hunt, Player Personnel Coordinator Dan Rooney Jr, scouts Dan Colbert, Chidi Iwuoma, and Denzel Martin, who is in his first year as a scouting intern after coming over from Missouri. Dude, by the way, looks exactly like Javon Hargrave in the face.
– Bottom line here: they seem to have interest in both Illinois EDGE rushers, Dawuane Smoot and Carroll Phillips. One scout said “the one guy I want to talk to is Carroll Phillips.” He’s a more conventional 3-4 edge guy than Smoot though Smoot is the more refined prospect and was more consistent this week.
I talked to Minnesota safety Damarius Travis after practice to follow up on a tip you guys had said. He confirmed he talked to the Steelers East/West Shrine Game but hadn’t talked to them in Mobile yet (he expected to though) He did get here late as a call-up so he hadn’t had as much time to talk to teams.
So we are slowly building a list of possible interest though keep in mind, teams talk to pretty much everybody at this point. Can’t read anything too closely.
– WR Jamari Staples missed today’s practice with a concussion. Assuming he will miss Saturday’s game, though that was never explicitly stated, but it bums me out. Wednesday was a better day than Tuesday and I wanted to see him build on things.
– Took in some of the LB vs RB/TE drills though not a ton stood out. Tough drill for the defense to look remotely good in.
Haason Reddick again showed his coverage ability, staying step for step with FIU’s Jonnu Smith on a flag route and broke the throw up. Reddick would later break up a throw intended for TE Jeremy Sprinkle.
– Tarell Bashem and safety Lorenzo Jerome, a local product from St. Francis, had breakups in the drill.
– Michigan’s Ryan Glasgow has slowly improved each today. On one rep against Jordan Morgan, who showed heavy, violent hands with a strong punch and then finished the job by swimming over him for a clean win.
He also showed up in team drills, working with USC’s Steve Tu’ikolovatu to collapse a gap and bottle up Kareem Hunt. “I see you Glasgow!” someone called out.
– Tu’ikolovatu, who most of us just call “Stevie T” because that last name is way too difficult to pronounce, has been great against the run. One Tampa Bay Buccaneers scout raved about him, pointing out how much better USC’s run defense got with him in the lineup.
Don’t know his full backstory but think he’s older than most prospects. And went through some trying times, sleeping in his car at some point. Hard not to root for him now.
– As much as we’ve bashed Morgan this week, who has legitimately struggled, he had a nice rep and win against Iowa’s Jaleel Johnson, one of the better interior guys here. Coached called out “Nice hands!” to Morgan as the rep ended. So it’s not been all bad.
– Still not a fan of his game but Vince Biegel may have had the move of the week in the same drill. Sick spin and rip under past Eric Smith, another newbie, to beat him cleanly. Was really pretty and Biegel has tried that spin move before. This one finally worked.
– Charlotte DT Larry Ogunjobi has had a decent week though in one rep versus Dan Feeney, the coaches told him to stop “pitter pattering” his feet on his initial rush. Too much wasted movement and not enough power generated, I guess.
In team drills, he ate up zone schemes, chasing from the backside and not getting reached to the frontside, building his fence and keeping the runner down the line.
– Michigan’s Chris Wormley has one really nice move, heavy hands and a quick first step for his club/rip, but it’s sorta the only thin in his toolbelt. So when it fails, as it did against Taylor Moton, he’s totally lost. Got sealed down the line and the coached called to him “He washes you down, you gotta counter back!”
By the way, Moton has been by far the best offensive linemen here. Not that Pittsburgh needs one but he’s in everyone’s top five for best players in Mobile, period. As long as he doesn’t bomb his testing, the dude is going in the first round, somewhere probably in the 25-32 range. Everything from his anchor to his hip/ankle flexibility when taking a bucket step on a zone concept. Stud.
– Lindenwood’s Connor Harris continues to show up. BU on a skinny post intended for Smith and then closed quickly on a dump off for RB De’Veon Smith. Small school kid not getting too overwhelmed by the moment.
– Haven’t had many notes on him yet but Rasul Douglas stood out to me today. Two breakups, one on a deep shot for Zay Jones deep and he took a great angle on a slant a couple plays later, breaking up the throw again. Dude is wild, easily the loudest person – player or coach – on the field but he’s backing up his boisterous attitude.
– Pitt’s Nate Peterman probably forced a skinny post for Cooper Kupp and the ball glanced off his hands, picked by Nebraska’s Nate Gerry.
– Couple last things. CB Desmond King has to do a better job maintaining leverage in press alignment. Cover 2 with outside shape pre-snap and still let the receiver have the outside release without much resistance. Not a terrible week but not a great one for him.
– Hadn’t paid attention to Michigan’s Kyle Kalis all week but he’s a strong dude. And able to mirror and maintain his base in pass pro.
– Heard Indiana’s Dan Feeney struggles in pass protection but the dude has a baseline level of overall athleticism (not that is directly translates) and he is nasty in the run game. Pulled on a trap block once today and buried Harris into the ground. Welcome to the Big Show, Mr. Lindenwood.
– Injury bug hit this group pretty hard today. No TE Gerald Everett, OLB Ryan Anderson (hand), S Justin Evans, CB Tre White (ankle, out for Saturday’s game), and S Rudy Ford (ankle, out for Saturday’s game).
Several replacements traveling in for those guys.
– Florida State cornerback Marquez White is high cut but he has ball skills. Tracks the ball and plays it at its highest point with physicality, breaking up a couple throws.
– One receiver not enough people are talking about is Grambling State’s Chad Williams. All he did was catch nine routes but man, he can do it well. In a one-on-one rep, he stemmed his route to separate away from Corn Elder and tracked the ball over his shoulder for a TD.
Averaged nearly 15 yards per catch and 96 grabs overall last year. Steelers were at his Jackson State game, apparently, where he hauled in seven passes for 131 yards and a score. There are off the field concerns, however.
– Speaking of Elder, little disappointed in his week. Came in light at 179 pounds and never stood out this week. Trouble staying in-phase in man coverage. Couple other potential nickel guys (Jourdan Lewis, Cameron Sutton) I like more.
– Damontae Kazee again mixes it up well in press. Breakup against Fred Ross on a slant. Little dude but he’s physical. He’s apparently run a “fast” time recorded by Catapult Sports, who tracks these guys, but I’m still interested in that 40 time.
Ross, to his credit because we’ve beat him up this week, made a sick one-handed grab in the back right corner of the end zone for the final play of the day. Offense went nuts and rightfully so.
– Another receiver who had a solid day was Texas A&M’s Josh Reynolds. Inconsistent catching the ball this week but he made some tough grabs today, including a slant working on Ezra Robinson, who was draped all over him.
– Tennessee’s Cameron Sutton was back in the slot today. He’s a versatile piece. Really interested in him and think he fits Pittsburgh well.
– To the offensive linemen: first blurb on Tennessee State’s Jess Dunker all week and it isn’t a good one, unfortunately. After one rep in OL/DL work, the Browns’ coach yelled out to him, “You keep catching the [DL]! Your QB is going to hate you.”
– Consensus today is Will Holden, another call-up had a really good today. Strong base and ability to anchor. Watch for him, an offensive linemen from Vanderbilt, in Saturday’s game.
– Villanova’s Tanoh Kpassagnon ripped through Robert Leff today in OL/DL. Steelers scout seemed impressed, saying “nice move.” Not that it means much. But taking what I can get.
– Inside linebacker Duke Riley showed sideline-to-sideline range in team drills, coming across the field to grab BYU’s Jamaal Williams around the neck and wrestle him to the ground on one play. He’s showed athleticism throughout the week and by the metrics, has run well.
– WKU’s Taywan Taylor got a lot of buzz going into this week but he never stood out to me. Middle of the pack, at best. Two drops today, including being unable to track a flag route in the end zone after getting open from a defensive breakdown. Not fast. Not twitchy. Average hands. How is this dude going to produce?
– Throw of the day, and maybe the week, was a bullet in the back of the end zone, right underneath the field goal posts, to Reynolds. Aimed it between two defenders, including Elder. Window could not have been any tighter. The QB, Davis Webb, has a live arm, but wasn’t very impressive until that play.