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Old 12-15-2007, 12:35 AM    (permalink
Mr. Stiller
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Default Stillers big post season writeup (Part 1)

Preface:

I really thought out this entire thing and wanted to do it right. Big thanks go out to Ian for Cap help. So without further adu.

Chapter I: Grading the coaches.

Mike Tomlin, Head Coach: B+. He says all the right things, seems to be a great motivator. The players seem to be happy, and he has us at 9-4. Most analysts picked us for a sub .500 season and 3rd place in the AFCN. He doesn't get an A because, some of his coach hirings are questionable.

Bruce Arians, Offensive Coordinator: C. Some of his playcalling leaves you questioning all that is holy. On the flipside, a lot of the time his players just aren't executing.

Dick LeBeau, Defensive Coordinator: A-. His defense is the top of the league, but he still seems to over-do it sometime.

Ken Anderson, Quarterbacks Coach: B+. Ben is looking his best yet and is probably a top 3 QB in the league. He's doing better with Checkdowns, scanning the field. There is room for improvement on his broken play etiquette. Kenny, tell Ben it's ok to throw the ball away sometimes.

Keith Butler, Linebackers Coach: A. James Harrison is putting himself in the running for Defensive Player of the Year, Foote is solid, Farrior got a career high in sacks and is playing possessed, Haggans sucks.

James Daniel, Tight Ends Coach: B+. His tight ends are looking good. Spaeth is improving as a ST blocker and Line blocking. His guys seem to be responding.

Randy Fichtner, Wide Receivers Coach: C+ Injuries and such has made it hard to judge the WR's. They play 1 game possessed always making plays, the next they get blanketed by mediocre corners. Theres an issue somewhere and some of it has to fall on coaching.

Ray Horton, Defensive Backs Coach: A- This is the best the secondary has looked in years.

Amos Jones, Asst. Special Teams Coach: D ST's are horrendous, but he's only the assistant.

Bob Ligashesky, Special Teams Coach: F He's failed miserably everywhere he's gone, he's a terrible ST coach.

John Mitchell, Asst. Head Coch/Defensive Line: A- Injuries along the front have caused some issues but they're a large part of the reason we have the #1 defense in the league.

Kirby Wilson, Running Backs Coach: B- He needs to help Willie notice the cutback lanes. If Willie had Ladanian Tomlinson's field vision, he could be a top 2 RB. He has trouble holding on to the ball at times and seems to not see cutback lanes.

Larry Zierlein, Offensive Line Coach: B. This should draw some criticism. Why do I think Zierlein deserves a B? Here's why. Someone said that Grimm was a "Just do whatever works best for you" coach. Zierlein is a tactician and technician. The line played horribly at the beginning of the season, but frankly I think they've been improving. He can only coach the talent he has, and frankly there's room for improvement talent wise. I think with 2-3 years he could continue to develop the day 2 and raw players that Coaches of the past couldn't.

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Chapter II: Free Agency... I tried to follow the model that The Steelers Front office uses... Solid, blue collar and fairly cheap Free agents that fill a role. We tend to not sign big time guys, but those consistent role players. I think Ian would be a better guy for the cost of the Three (3) Signings I had. After consulting with Ian, we have some numbers and ideas worked out so, lets see how this works.

Losses:

* Alan Faneca (3rd Round Comp 2009 Draft)
* Max Starks (4th Round Comp 2009 Draft)
* Clark Haggans (6th Round Comp 2009 Draft)
* Dan Kreider (Retirement)
* Travis Kirschke (Retirement)
* Nick Eason (Cya Later)
* Trai Essex (Forget the Tender, not worth it)
* Jerame Tuman (Cap casualty)
* Brian St. Pierre ( out of PS eligibility and isn't worth keeping around)
* Bob Ligashesky/Amos Jones ~ Special Teams coaches (Fired)

Re-Signs:

* Chris Kemoeatu, RFA: 2nd round tender
* Ben Roethlisberger, Extension: Have the same cap hit anyways
* Marvel Smith, Extension: Same Cap hit
* Bryant McFadden, Extension: Between Starter and Nickel money.
* Greg Warren, RFA
* Nate Washington, RFA
* Andre Frazier, RFA
* Arnold Harrison, ERFA


Additions:

* Tom Osborne, Special Teams Coach/ TE coach, Arizona State
Osborne is one of the, if not, the best Special teams coordinator in the NCAA. His teams constantly have great returners and even better coverage teams. Bringing him in would give us a huge advantage in the 3rd facet of the game and would be an instant upgrade.

* Jake Scott, RG/RT, Indianapolis ~ 6'5 295 Age: 26

With Colon not looking like a true RT and Simmons sliding over to LG. That leaves us with unproven and unathletic Chris Kemoeatu at RG. Scott has the Size and athleticism to deal with the Vrabels and Burgess' that have plagued us the last two seasons. Playing RG in Indy's scheme. Could play either RG/RT in ours (Replaces Essex who we cut.)

* Randy Starks, DT/DE, Tennessee ~ 6'3 312lbs Age: 23

Tennessee has arguably the most cap room this offseason. However I think a fairly large portion of it goes to Albert Haynesworth. Starks wants to leave because he wants an opportunity to start. Starks was part of the Maryland 3-4 that Featured Shawne Merriman, Charles Hill, EJ Henderson, Madeiu Williams... Starks was what Dre Moore is now.. a DE/NT tweener. He played both and well enough to have a 1st-2nd round grade. He fell to round 3. Starks hasn't had an opportunity to crack the starting lineup of the Titans, though I think he's better built for the strongside DE position in a 3-4. He has good size at 6'3 310-320lbs, and coming out he was one of the fastest DT's in the class. He has great agility. I think adding him will go a long way in improving our run defense and our base package. I think Woodley will love having this guy in front of him. He's a stay at home, hold the point type, just like Aaron Smith. He can penetrate and push the pocket as well.

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Chapter III: The Draft

1) James Hardy, WR, Indiana ~ 6'6 220 4.52

We need WR's. Thats it. Period. End of story. The New York Jets game of 2007 was all on the WR's. Wasn't it the OL? No, That game rest solely on the WR's. Why you ask? Because, they got no seperation adn were covered. We got shut down in the passing game by a team thats toting HANK POTEAT as one of their starters. Hines Ward is Slowing down, he never had breakaway speed and with the WR game needing about 3 years to get it down, might as well get a premier guy now. Looking at our history, there was one guy that Ben loved. Plaxico Burress. He was big, could get seperation, had solid speed for downfield, and great body control. We let him go because he would get lazy and quit on routes. Well here's our redemption. I'd love Malcolm Kelly but I can't see him falling past the top 20 where he and DeSean Jackson are this years main attractions at WR. The next guy is likely Hardy. Hardy has great hands, can be very physical, knows how to use his body, runs solid routes, isn't lazy, and best of all, he's got great size. He's one of the more agile and smooth receivers in this draft, he was also very solid playing for Indiana on the Bball court. He may not have Randy Moss's top gear or speed, but he has a lot of similar traits. His smoothness it's hard to tell when he's going to cut and how fast he's going.

I think they'll put him at #4 WR to open the season with either Nate Washington or Cedrick Wilson starting ahead of him. Then by seasons end he'll have worked into the #3 spot and Red Zone offense. Miller at 6'5, Hardy at 6'6 and Spaeth at 6'8 will give us a tremendous advantage for Jump balls.

2) Tracy Porter, CB/KR/PR, Indiana ~ 5'11 185 4.32

Tracy Porter has everything you want in a CB/ST's demon. He'll likely be a gunner as a rookie, probably could play his way into the Dime packages, would immediately upgrade Rossum as a Kick Return and Punt Return specialist. He's the perfect Slot Corner. Guys like Stokely and Welker will not have great days again Porter. Porter even shut down some of the bigger, more physical WR's this season. He's not afraid to be physical, he has been used as a blitzer. And his 14 INT's in his career at IU is 2nd all time. It'll be nice to have another guy in the secondary with Hands. Likely the #2 when DeShea leaves.. which IMO.. DeShea Leaves... McFadden is the Nickel.. but in Nickel Situations McFadden covers the #2 and Porter shifts to the Slot.

3) John Greco, LT/LG/RG/RT, Toledo ~ 6'5 320 5.22

Greco is a physical guy. A left tackle in college he lacks the lateral speed to play there permanently in the pros, though in an emergency, could fill the position. Great upper and lower body strength development, and is well known as being a tactician with a great and powerful initial hand punch. Solid off the snap. 4 year starter (3 at LT, 1 at RT) that has never missed a game. Plays to the whistle, and though he doesn't possess great speed to the second level, will stalk/attack downfield. Is extremely dedicated to the weight and film rooms. With OL Depth being an issue (Whether we like it or not, Simmons will be the LG, Colon, Kemo, Scott and Greco will battle for the right side of the OL)

4) Titus Brown, ROLB, Mississippi State ~ 6'3 248 4.69

Titus is another hardworking guy I like. With the amount of Juniors on the DL likely coming out, and the fact that Titus almost has to move back to OLB in the pro's, he should be here in the 4th round. He reminds me of James Harrison. He plays with a Nasty Demeanor, is built thick, and is tough to block. With him giving depth at ROLB, Andre Frazier likely slides over to backup LOLB. With our lack of pass rush it will be good to add some fresh legs, hopefully the coaches start cycling the young legs in and out of pass rushing situations.

5) Peyton Hillis, FB/RB/H-back, Arkansas ~ 6'2 248 4.57

I imagine him to be the harder hitting, better blocking, tad bit slower, not as good receiving, but better in short yardage version of Brian Leonard who, if I recall correctly a large portion of this board had a man crush on (I was part of it). Hillis to me reminds me of Leonard in the FB that could be a Running back. He doesn't get to tote the rock much because he has two solid (1st round locks) RB's ahead of him in Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. He is probably one of the quicker FB/H-backs in the draft, and is probably the best blocker. He has the size, nasty demeanor and power to finish blocks like Dan Kreider.. but unlike Carey Davis and Dan Kreider, he can catch too. With his hands, and his versatility, he could shore up the #3 TE, #1 FB and #2 RB spot. Imagine him running in front of Carey Davis, Gary Russell or even Willie Parker. Imagine him running behind Carey Davis. The power rushing and guarenteed short yardage run game is back.

6) Barry Richardson, LT/RT, Clemson ~ 6'7 338lbs 5.24

Richardson falls because of the "Lazy" label and for having a slow start. The fact remains he's a 4 year starter at LT on an offensive line that graded out pretty solid all year. At this point it's a little risk, great reward type pick. He has great lateral speed for his size and speed rushers aren't a problem. Could play RT for a few seasons and move to LT or, could stay at RT and draft a Premium LT in 2009. With Marvels age, I believe he'll take a fairly average contract and stay in Pittsburgh, So we'll have him 2-3 years. We'll let Richardson play LT some in pre-season and on the scout offensive team, see how he progresses. If he does well, LT isn't the top priority next year, he doesn't.. LT is the top priority next year.

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Chapter IV: Undrafted Free Agents.

The hours after the draft and 2 days following keep the draftnik and draft fan in just as much suspense as the regular draft. Why? Because it's almost barbaric. The draft is organized and elegant. UDFA Session is every team for itself fighting over who they want to sign. Here's Who I could see us making a run for after the draft.

Offense:

*Adam Tafralis, QB, San Jose State ~ 6'2 230 4.86
Tafralis is a solid QB with an above average arm but amazing accuracy. He had James Jones last year, but outside of him SJSU isn't exactly stacke with Talent. A year or two of tutelage under Kenny Anderson will get us a solid diamond in the rough here.

*Tony Burks, WR, Mississippi State ~ 6'4 219 4.56
Burks is suffering from what is known as Freshman QB Syndrome. Mississippi State doesn't have much talent on the offensive side of the ball past Burks and their RB, Anthony Dixon. When Wesley Carroll isn't to busy overthrowing, underthrowing or flat out missing Burks, he's looked good. He looks like a bigger Ward. Willing and able to block at anytime, Has solid hands and runs good routes. Isn't afraid to take a hit and understands angles. With some time spent here (Preseason and PS) he could be very very good.

*Kolo Kapanui, TE, West Texas A&M ~ 6'3 268 4.69
Kapanui is a great combination of Size speed and power. With Hillis taking over the 3rd TE spot in the 3 TE ~ 1 Back set, we need to groom a possible 3rd TE. Kapanui is a guy that has the talent, but playing at a Small school will drop him. He's got solid hands and body control. His strength is the first thing you notice. I want to see him more in the Hula bowl blocking D1 DE's because he easily handled the D2 ones. I figure a year on the PS and we're set at TE for a while.

* Akim Millington, LT, Illinois ~ 6'5 312lbs 5.24
After transferring to Illinois from Oklahoma he became the LT at Illinois. They are primarily a running team, but Millington has the agility to fan out and play the edge. Another Practice Squader who will be reassessed after the pre-season.

*Walter Walker, RG/RT, South Florida ~ 6'5 318 5.29
With Walker you'll notice that he's a road grader. He's tough to get around but he doesn't have the footwork to stay outside in the pro's. With his size and strength, he'll Practice Squad for a season and see how the 2009 Season looks.

*Hercules Satele, LG/C, Hawaii ~ 6'2 312 5.19
Satele is a mobile and pass blocking LG from Hawaii. He's squat and understands leverage. He's not "Chubby" for his size. I bring him in to challenge at Center. I'd like to see the winner of the Mahan/Stapleton/Satele battle. He's had tons of experience pass blocking at Hawaii and he's got some quicks.

Defense:

*Johnny Dingle, WDE/Rover, West Virginia ~ 6'3 273lbs 4.80
Dingle plays in a 3-3-5 which is basically a 3 Defensive lineman scheme. Essentially he plays in a scheme that we run here. He could stand to add about another 8-17lbs. He's got the speed however to be used in that 3-4 RDE Rover role that LeBeau was cooking up for Brett Keisel. He also did a great job passrushing when needed to, racking up 8 sacks on the year. He could play RDE/UT in a 4-3 Scheme and RDE/Rover in that 3-4 we run.

*Chris Norwell, LDE, Illinois ~ 6'5 305lbs 5.18
Norwell was a staple inside Illinois' defensive line. He's a large reason for keeping the OL off the linebackers and being able to collapse the pocket. I think he would be a solid guy to work up behind Aaron Smith.

*Josh Thompson, NT, Auburn ~ 6'0 305lbs 5.19
Thompsons been a productive guy while at Auburn. He is bull strong, but he gets overshadowed. He's a 3-4 NT through and through. He can occupy 2 blockers at a time and he can push the pocket back. I think he could be a Hokie like pickup. He's also a great leader and is well loved by Auburn players.

*Trevor Scott, ROLB, Buffalo ~ 6'5 262lbs 4.62
Scott is a MAC passrushing Terror. He was a Tight end his freshman and sophmore years.. Then his junior year they moved him to DE and he provided 9 sacks. His senior year he managed to grab 10 Sacks and 15 Tackles for loss. I think he could be in the line of James Harrison. A UDFA for a few years on ST's (Demon) and work his way on the starting squad.

*Martail Burnett, LOLB, Utah ~ 6'3 262lbs 4.75
Burnett is a very athletic and raw DE for the Utah Utes. He's played in some 3-4 this year as a Strongside OLB. I think we could bring him in and coach him up and get a very solid OLB behind LaMarr Woodley.

*Gian Villante, RILB, Hofstra ~ 6'2 234lbs, 4.64
Villante plays MLB at Hofstra. He has top notch speed and coverage skills. If he has the same quick twitch fiber as Timmons, he could be a very good coverage ILB to backup Timmons. 2 LB's with similar coverage skills which means we can do a lot of things.. in Nickel Defense setups we could have Timmons and Villante out there in coverage and that would make it extremely difficult for teams to pass on us.

*Kroy Biermann, LILB, Montana ~ 6'3 249lbs 4.70
Biermann is a downhill player. At Montana he's played ILB/OLB and DE. With that kind of versatility he could be our Utility backer like Harrison was the last few years. He was a sack artist and downhill ILB. He can blitz from the interior of the second level, stop plays behind the line.

*Glenn Sharp, CB, Miami(FL) ~ 6'0 190lbs 4.42
Sharp has the talent and athleticism to be a good corner, I just think that the U's coaching has gone so far downhill they can't develop some of their talent anymore. Tomlin was said to be a mastermind of DB's. I don't know if it's just coincidence or coaching, but I've heard that Ike, Anthony Smith and DeShea have said that he knows what he's talking about when it comes to the secondary. We also have the #1 pass unit on defense. I think it's too coincidental to have him not be the reason.. perhaps he can develop this kid who was a top recruit and considered by many to be a great Corner, but just started tumbling downhill at Miami.

*Tyvon Branch, CB/FS/KR/PR, Connecticut ~ 6'0 202lbs 4.39
Branch has all-world speed. He also is a safety valve on special teams. He's one of those guys that you could probably plug anywhere in the secondary and as a KR/PR on Special Teams and he would come through. He's just a guy that played for a perennial loser and doesn't have much talent around him. If we're going to stymie the Patriots and Colts, adding some solid Corners can't hurt. Adding Porter in the draft, then Sharp/Branch in UDFA would give us some guys to coach up. Having 4 corners with sub 4.43 speed would certainly give us an edge if they stick with the team. 4 Corners that can run with any WR's. Not to mention that gives us 3 CB's 6'0+, 4 that can run with the fastest WR's, 2 that can return kicks on Special teams, 3 that for fact have shown can handle physical WR's.

*David Roach, FS/SS, TCU ~ 6'1 215lbs 4.44
Roach is a big physical Safety, but he excels in coverage. With some work he could be a solid rotational and Special teams guy.


************************************************** ***********************************************

Chapter V: Depth Chart (First game, as I hope they work the rookies in)

QB: Ben Roethlisberger -> Charlie Batch
RB: Willie Parker -> Najeh Davenport -> Gary Russell
FB: Carey Davis -> Peyton Hillis
WR1: Hines Ward -> James Hardy
WR2: Santonio Holmes -> Cedrick Wilson
WR3: Nate Washington -> Willie Reid
TE: Heath Miller -> Matt Spaeth -> Peyton Hillis
LT: Marvel Smith -> John Greco
LG: Kendall Simmons -> John Greco
OC: Sean Mahan -> Darnell Stapleton
RG: Chris Kemoeatu/Willie Colon
RT: Jake Scott -> Barry Richardson

LDE: Aaron Smith -> Randy Starks
NT: Casey Hampton -> Chris Hoke
RDE: Brett Keisel -> Ryan McBean

LOLB: LaMarr Woodley -> Andre Frazier
LILB: James Farrior -> Clint Kreidwaldt
RILB: Lawrence Timmons -> Larry Foote
ROLB: James Harrison -> Titus Brown

CB1: Ike Taylor -> Tracy Porter -> William ***
CB2: DeShea Townsend -> Bryant McFadden
NB: Bryant McFadden (Beginning of season) -> Tracy Porter (#1 NB at end of season)

FS: Ryan Clark/Anthony Smith
SS: Troy Polamalu -> Tyrone Carter

************************************************** ***********************************************

Chapter VI: Issues with Depth/Age/Talent Level of the post 2008 draft depth Chart:

Najeh Davenport ~ Who replaces him? He's a solid KR and a good "Fast big guy" but he's not a Thunder to Willies lightning

Hines Ward ~ We got Holmes who gives us that elite deep threat and a threat to take it to the house, and we have Wards replacement in Hardy once he gets acclemated, but Slot receivers are just important.. who is our future #3 when Hardy takes over at #1 and Ward leaves? Reid? Washington? We'll see who's around in 2009.

Marvel Smith ~ Do we go LT rd 1 depends on Barry Richardson (To be safe I'll stick to the idea he's a RT)

Sean Mahan ~ Do we go C early? round 2-3? There's potential there

James Farrior ~ His last fountain of youth potion has to be used up soon.. who's there to replace him?

Andre Frazier ~ I'd like to see more of him pass rushing, but to this point, I don't think he'll provide much help on defense as a backup. I want a Eagles like Passrush attack.. 4 guys (2 starters, 2 backups) that can passrush.

DeShea Townsend ~ with NE's passing attack we'll need another corner when he retires (I'm thinking after the 2008 season). Porter will be a solid #2 and slot guy, McFadden and *** could both be solid Nickels/Dimes.. but frankly.. I'd like to add 1 more Corner for depth. Ne can go 5 Wides.. I'd like to go 5 CB's (2 DL, 2 LB, 7 DB's) Make them beat us when we have the guys to man up on them.

Tyrone Carter ~ Solid Vet, I think he'll still be fine, but with an extra pick, it wouldn't be a bad idea to bring in a backup SS for some competition.

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Old 12-15-2007, 12:27 PM    (permalink
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Good writeup as always. I agree with most of it as always, but one thing bothers me but its more preferential to my tastes than anything else. I definitely like Hardy and would love to have him on the Steelers, but I think we need to go O-line in at least one of the first 2 rounds, if not the very first. We just need better talent, especially with the loss of Faneca. We cant keep throwing late round picks at these "possibles" and need to pick up a "definite". Someone who can fill in and anchor the line for the next couple years.

I really like Hardy, but I'd wait to see if we could get him in the second and take a guy like Otah in the first.
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Old 12-15-2007, 01:17 PM    (permalink
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First of all, thanks for all the effort put in (it must of took ages!)

- I think you are about right on the money with your coach ranking's...i think B+ is about perfect for Tomlin...if we win any postseason games, i would knock that up to A-. I think you were abit generous to Bob Ligashity...he deserves a Z-. Also i have a request (this writeup, or your next) ... i like how you have ranked the coaches and explained why...but i think it would be even cooler if you ranked the players aswell... i.e. Big ben A ... Nate Washington D- etc etc.

- If we were willing to drop some money for Jake Scott, i think it would be a better idea to resign Max Starks. I really like Willie Colon, but i dont think he should have been given the RT job over Starks...Starks had a down year last year (although he did stonewall Julius Peppers) but he did come back lighter and faster this past offseason, and he had obviously made an effort to improve his game. I think with Faneca as good as gone, Simmons is the most ideal replacement at LG, and i still believe Colon could be a better RG than Kemoeatu would be.

- Love the Randy Starks idea.

- I like the mock as a whole ... i obviously love Hardy (he was the pick in my last mock) ... I really like Tracy Porter, but i think with a draft so deep at corner we can wait another round, and still get a great player ... Greco seems like a solid pick (from a versitility standpoint) ... Titus Brown would give us some good depth, and would also allow us to run an awsome 4 man front ... Peyton Hillis seems like a Steelers kind of pick, but the only time the FB gets any real playing time is in the preseason (i.e. it would be abit of a wasted pick). But if you think that he can be a multitasker, play FB/RB/TE/H-Back etc...it would be a godd pick, but i'm just not sure the Steelers (even with Arians) would take full advantage of him ... Richardson would be a great pick at that point, he would be a hell of an upgrade over Trai Essex (i still cant understand why we drafted him where we did???).

-
Quote:
James Farrior ~ His last fountain of youth potion has to be used up soon.. who's there to replace him?
If Beau Bell was on the board in the 2nd...i would draft him in an instant, and get a CB later on. I think Bell has 1st round potential...and if he learnt a year behind Farior, he has all the upside in the world. I know ILB isnt a major need at the minute , with Farrior and Foote playing lights out...but Farrior is pretty old now, and bell has a hell of alot more upside and potential than Foote. I think Timmons and Bell would form a monster pair of ILB's (that IMHO would be unrivaled in the league).

- If we landed Bell in the 2nd, i would look to draft Charles Godfrey (iowa) in the 3rd. Keep your eye on this kid...he's gonna be a riser!

- Great writup for the UDFA's as usual...they all sound promising.

- Stiller, i know this is prolly an impossible question to answer...but hell...is there any players that could fall to the later rounds (and be a potential steal) i.e like Brandon Siler was touted as a 2nd rounder, but fall all the way to the 7th??? Any help would be cool. Thanks bro
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Old 12-15-2007, 03:31 PM    (permalink
steelersfan43
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Great write up.. why do you think timmons will move to RILB?
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Old 12-15-2007, 10:07 PM    (permalink
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Really good write up.

But if we can use Heath Miller to his full potential do we really need a first round wide out?
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Old 12-16-2007, 03:39 PM    (permalink
TerribleEd
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Randy Starks is a great call! We definitely need some D-Line depth.

I love some of these picks, especially 2 and 3. Your strategy is well thought out as a whole, however I too think we need to go O-line very early.

Barry Richardson may fall, but I don't think that far.

If we go O-line in Rd 1, we could take Jordy in Rd 4. I think the guy is gonna be a steal.
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Old 12-16-2007, 07:19 PM    (permalink
Mr. Stiller
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I'll answer these tomorrow guys.
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