11. Pittsburgh - BEN ROETHLISBERGER, QB, MIAMI (OHIO)
The Steelers simply love the athleticism and huge arm quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has shown in drills during pre-training camp practice sessions. According to a member of the Pittsburgh organization, Roethlisberger is everything they expected upon selecting him with the eleventh selection in the first-round of the 2003 draft. Noting Roethlisberger has shown the ability to consistently make all the throws required of an NFL quarterback, he has also shown serious progress in recognizing and reacting to different defensive looks. Through early camp, Roethlisberger hasn't appeared to be overwhelmed by the professional experience, which should bode well for continued improvement. Discussions have recently begun regarding a contract for the Steelers quarterback of the future and within the walls of the Pittsburgh organization, the future may be sooner than they originally expected.
12. NY Jets - JONATHAN VILMA, ILB, MIAMI (FLA.)
Speed is one aspect the Jets sought following a 2003 season where this New York team appeared one-step behind the opposition. In Vilma, the Jets believe they have the player which will provide the team with improved speed, quickness, and athleticism that the team has been lacking for the past few seasons. Vilma has shown his athletic ability in practice sessions, but isn't completely up to speed in regards to his responsibilities and defensive terminology. According to one member of the Jets coaching staff, Vilma is still thinking a little too much, rather than reacting to the play. Additionally, the team is taking the progress in stride and expects Vilma to be a solid contributor in his rookie season. Some sporadic contract talks have taken place, but nothing substantial has progressed at this time.
13. Buffalo - LEE EVANS, WR, WISCONSIN
A deep-ball threat, a playmaker is the type of player the Lee Evans, fully recovered from knee injuries suffered at Wisconsin has been to this date a great addition for the Bills. Showing great speed and a tremendous burst off the ball, Evans has been simply a standout player and legitimate threat in passing camp. Thus far in practice and workout sessions, the Bills staff has modified some of the workout habits and strength/conditioning exercises of Evans. The change is expected to further develop the splendid athletic ability of the fleet of foot receiver. Initial contract talks have started with no progress to report at this time. If anything, Evans stock has soared with his very unordinary performances.
14. Chicago - TOMMIE HARRIS, DT, OKLAHOMA
New Chicago Bears head coach Tommie Harris from Oklahoma fits the bill of being a quick interior defensive lineman, in very good physical condition. Relatively lacking depth at the position, the Bears are counting on Harris to emerge as a force in the middle of the Chicago defense. Presently, some discussion on contract parameters have been tossed about, but there appears to be a significant amount of ground to be made up between the two parties. Right now, the smart money is on Harris not making it to training camp on time with his Bears' teammates.
15. Tampa Bay - MICHAEL CLAYTON, WR, LSU
Most teams did not rate this wide receiver from LSU nearly as highly as Jon Gruden has in Tampa. Not to disappoint, Clayton has done very well in practice sessions, even impressing the often-critical Gruden with his ability to body a defensive back. Using his hands and body to position himself for the reception, Clayton has shown the ability to separate from a defensive back better than expected and much quicker than the team anticipated with professional camp experience. During pre-draft timing drills, Clayton was basically a 4.55 guy, but with modified training and workout regiments, Clayton is believed to have knocked almost a full tenth off his time and has become quicker coming out of his breaks. Contract talks have been initialized, at this time there is no progress to report.
Rookies Entering Training Camp 11-15
Steel City Insider Top Stories
From The Notebook Of A Sportswriter ...Jim Wexell with many thoughts following the Steelers' dismal showing Sunday in Philadelphia
Steel City Insider2:51 AM
Steelers Make No Excuses After Butt-KickingDale Lolley found truth in the Steelers' locker room, and it wasn't pretty following 34-3 loss
Steel City Insider1:21 AM
Steelers Bludgeoned In PhillyAll downhill after dropped touchdown pass; here's breakdown, injury list, quotes
Steel City InsiderYesterday at 5:22 PM
Steelers-Eagles A To ZA history lesson, tape review, prediction, complete breakdown and much more in this Steelers-Eagles game day preview
Steel City InsiderSaturday at 9:03 PM