Wexell: Daily Draft Report '06

Steel City Insider's Jim Wexell logs in with his daily draft report, which airs on Fox Sports Radio 970 every weekday at 7:57 a.m., 11:57 a.m. and 5:57 p.m. Keep up with this year's NFL Draft prospects, and which players might interest the Steelers, here at SteelCityInsider.com.

Click here to listen live!

FRIDAY, APRIL 28

There are three first-rounders who can help the Pittsburgh Steelers this year. That's why I believe they'll try to trade up for Donte Whitner, Santonio Holmes or LenDale White.

My prediction is they'll trade a third and a fourth to the Giants to draft White.

If they can't get safety Danieal Manning n the second round, look for one of two receivers: Demetrius Williams of Oregon or Greg Jennings of Western Michigan.

In the two picks at the bottom of the fourth, Penn State safety Calvin Lowry and any number of right tackles should be available.

Tweener linebacker Eric Henderson goes in the fifth, followed by quarterback Bruce Gradkowski.

Grab a kick returner late and an inside linebacker for the practice squad and the defense of their title is on.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



THURSDAY, APRIL 27

What would I do? Thanks for asking.

I just don't like this first round, so I'd trade down, pick up more picks and trade back up for guys like D'Qwell Jackson, Demetrius Williams, Greg Jennings, Andrew Whitworth and Parys Haralson in the second round.

I would get my safety in the third, someone like Anthony Smith of Syracuse or 6-foot-4 Pat Watkins of Florida State, and then Steve Largent-like receiver Mike Hass.

In the fourth I'd be happy with Kyle Williams or the crazed Dusty Dvoracek as defensive ends.

In the fifth, I'd target a kick returner: Willie Reid, Jeremy Bloom, maybe both.

In the sixth I'd grab Bruce Gradkowski to play quarterback and hope I don't have too many draft picks left over.

Tomorrow, what the Steelers will do.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26

The NFL allows 30 prospect visits per team, yet the Steelers brought in only one "tweener."

His name is Brent Hawkins and he's a defensive end from Illinois State. He's 6-2, 241, had 17 sacks last season and projects to linebacker in a 3-4.

Hawkins started at Purdue, made the All-Academic team, but transferred and played junior-college hoops in 2003. He surfaced at Illinois State and finished second in the 1-AA Player of the Year voting. He was also voted team MVP by coaches at the Hula Bowl.

He's been tabbed a third-rounder by one evaluator, so don't be surprised if the Steelers take a long look at this tweener if he makes it into the fourth.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



TUESDAY, APRIL 25

In their search to replace Antwaan Randle El, the Steelers hosted Olympic skier Jeremy Bloom last week.

Bloom is a World Cup champ who disappointed at the Olympics. The event cost him two years of college football, but in his first two years Bloom was one of the most dangerous return men in the game.

He returned his first punt 75 yards and made five plays of 75 yards or longer. On offense, he was a threat out of the slot for Colorado.

Bloom didn't blaze at the combine. Just off the slopes, the 5-9, 173-pounder ran a 4.5 40. He's since bulked up to 184, and those who've seen him play say he doesn't need to run again, that he'll be picked in the third round anyway.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



MONDAY, APRIL 24

The Steelers believe in LenDale White's character, and the MRI they took last week left them believing his hamstring injury is minor.

So now that they like him, will they get him? No way.

Too many teams at the bottom of the first round need running backs: The Panthers, picking 27th, need to replace Stephen Davis; the Jaguars, picking 28th, soon need to replace Fred Taylor; the Jets, picking 29th, must soon replace Curtis Martin; and the Colts, picking 30th, need to fill the hole left by Edgerrin James. The Broncos need a running back, too, but have traded down to draft Maurice Drew.

Maybe the Steelers need to come up with a plan to draft Michael Bush next year. Yep, there's always next year.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



FRIDAY, APRIL 21

The Steelers were one of eight teams at yesterday's workout of George Mason basketball center Jai Lewis. Today, the Steelers are at UConn to look at basketball player Ed Nelson. Someone will also be home on the South Side to welcome visitor Jeremy Bloom, the Olympic skier.

Yes, it's the final days of the workout season and the Steelers are leaving no stone unturned.

Lewis was measured at 6-5 7/8, 290 pounds. He ran 4.95 and 5.05 40s and worked out at tight end, offensive line and defensive end.

While Lewis was a well-regarded football prospect out of high school, Nelson, a 6-6, 265-pound UConn reserve, hasn't played since he was a high-school sophomore. He's also hoping to catch on as a tight end.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



THURSDAY, APRIL 20

The deepest position in the draft just might be tight end, and the Steelers have an opening.

Sure, Matt Cushing could fill it, but wouldn't 6-foot-8 Leonard Pope make the offense devastating in the red zone? How about H-back Garrett Mills (6-1, 241) of Tulsa? He caught 87 passes last season and is also working out at fullback. Another mid-round prospect is Texas' David Thomas (6-3, 252), the guy who wouldn't go down in the Rose Bowl. And there's Virginia Tech's Jeff King (6-5, 245), who also played ACC basketball.

My favorite sleeper is Owen Daniels (6-3½, 253) of Wisconsin. This tight end motions to fullback, plays fullback on the punt team, and was the Badgers' emergency quarterback. He's a perfect Steeler.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19

USC strong safety Darnell Bing visited the Steelers yesterday, and the word from his agent is that "Bill Cowher loves him."

Bing fits the profile of what the Steelers are looking for: He's a safety. Strong safety, free safety, they don't seem to care. Considering Dick LeBeau's extensive use of a 3-safety dime package last year, it makes sense that all safeties are welcome.

Bing is a unique prospect to be sure. He was a 6-2, 225-pound strong safety, but he's more ballhawk than hitter. He showed that at his pro day and ran a 4.5-plus 40.

While Cowher might be smitten, he'd better watch out for John Fox. The Carolina coach wooed Bing at an expensive restaurant recently.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



TUESDAY, APRIL 18

Word whipping around the rumor mill is that Tennessee defensive back Jason Allen has a serious problem. The dislocated hip he suffered at midseason, rumors allege, is a degenerative condition that's caused two teams to reject him medically.

Hogwash say the Steelers, who remain keen on a player who was considered a top 10 prospect before the injury.

At the combine, the 6-1, 209-pound Allen ran a 4.39 40. His outstanding shuttle (3.81) and 3-cone (6.75) times put to rest any questions about his change-of-direction skills.

He can run like a corner and hit like a safety. An injured Jason Allen will fit the Steelers' defense the way an injured Heath Miller fit the offense last year.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



MONDAY APRIL 17

Thank God for Ben Roethlisberger. Thank God the Steelers don't have to worry about the mess at the top of the quarterback draft board this spring.

Let's run them down: Matt Leinart doesn't have much mobility or a strong arm and films show he's not an accurate passer; Vince Young has serious questions about his motion and accuracy; Jay Cutler quarterbacked a losing football team and had the yips to prove it.

These guys are going to make fans in three cities very happy – for about four months. And then reality will set in, and the reality is that this crop of quarterbacks is the second rotten bunch in a row.

If a team was smart, it drafted its quarterback two years ago.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



FRIDAY, APRIL 14

It pays to take your own notes during bowl season. Some of mine surprised me:

Parys Haralson – agile, active, explosive.

DeAngelo Williams – Should've looked like Barry Sanders, not Julius Jones, against Akron.

Daniel Bullocks – plays high, a bit stiff.

Davin Joseph – A good holder.

Demetrius Williams – Thin but tough; runs hard after catch.

Kai Parham – Must stay in school.

Andrew Whitworth – Killing people again; picks up right blitzers.

Manny Lawson – Long legs, cut easily, on the ground a lot.

DeMeco Ryans – Sudden, smart, a standout.

Tamba Hali – Dwight Freeney.

Matt Leinart – big veteran; better mobility; overrated.

Darnell Bing – solid, smart, a free safety; not a great tackler.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



THURSDAY, APRIL 13

The Steelers recently brought Boise State left tackle Daryn Colledge in for a visit. He's from North Pole, Alaska, and is the same size as Jeff Hartings, and Colledge just might have the athletic ability to back up all five line positions.

Another versatile second-round prospect is Oklahoma center-guard Chris Chester. He moved in from tight end as a junior and has proven coachable, agile and strong enough to help beat Haloti Ngata to the sidelines in the Holiday Bowl.

In running a 4.88 40, Chester was the fastest offensive lineman at the combine. The knock is that he has only eight college starts. Chester sounds like a project with Dermontti Dawson-like potential.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12

For a draft alleged to be thin at wide receiver, there are some interesting mid-round prospects.

One of my favorites is Florida State's Willie Reid. He's the guy who tortured Penn State in the Orange Bowl as a receiver and kick returner. He's 5-10½, 188 and ran a 4.3 40 at the combine.

Maurice Stovall and Martin Nance are interesting big men. So is Brandon Marshall. He's a Pittsburgh native who played free safety as a junior and led Central Florida in tackles. The 6-4½, 230-pound Marshall moved to receiver last year and came on strong. He was MVP of the Hula Bowl and is drawing comparisons to Terrell Owens.

Problem is, they say Marshall like Owens off the field, too.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



TUESDAY, APRIL 11

The signing of Monroeville's Eugene Baker is another clue the Steelers aren't too confident about finding receivers in this draft.

They don't think Santonio Holmes or Chad Jackson will fall to them in the first round, so they brought in second-round prospect Demetrius Williams of Oregon for a visit.

Williams is a skinny deep threat in the John Stallworth mould. Williams is 6-foot-2 and weighs 197. He has soft hands, can highpoint the deep ball and is a fluid route-runner.

Williams will be downgraded for his 4.5-plus 40, but he plays faster. Come to think of it, so did Stallworth. He was clocked by Bill Nunn at 4.6 in a private do-over of the 4.8 Stallworth ran for everyone else.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



MONDAY, APRIL 10

The Steelers worked Stanford linebacker Jon Alston out as a safety, so the natural comparison is with Carnell Lake, a former Pac-10 linebacker who entered the league as a safety.

Both players are 6-foot-1 with 4.4 speed. Alston, though, weighs 13 more pounds than Lake weighed as the Steelers' great strong safety of the 1990s. So Pro Football Weekly made this comparison for Alston: "(He's) rocked up with muscle and looks similar to Greg Lloyd when he came out."

Lloyd was 6-2, 228 and Alston is 6-1, 223. He moves like a safety and hits like a linebacker. "He looked like a heat-seeking missile," says Pro Football Weekly.

Safety or linebacker, it might not matter. Just get this guy on the field.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



FRIDAY, APRIL 7

At 6-3, 306, Oklahoma star D-tackle Dusty Dvoracek (DUH-vor-uh-chek) looks like Kimo von Oelhoffen reincarnate. He ran a 4.8 40 at his pro day and should be drawing interest from the Steelers.

But Dvoracek has a checkered past. As a captain, he was kicked off the team in 2004 after beating a student unconscious. It wasn't the first time. As a freshman, Dvoracek allegedly beat three men who didn't appreciate Dvoracek crashing their party and walking out with the keg.

Dvoracek was reinstated last year and has stayed sober. Those close to the team swear he's a changed man. He also scored a 41 on his Wonderlic, which is the highest score of all draft prospects this spring.

He at least should draw consideration.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



THURSDAY, APRIL 6

When quarterback-slash-receiver Marques Hagans came out of high school, he signed with Indiana University, where he was shown around campus by one Antwaan Randle El.

I think you know where I'm going with this.

Yes, Hagans, who ended up at Virginia, is coming out for the draft as a slash. Like Randle El, he's 5-9, 195, and like Randle El he's a shifty quarterback who worked out as a receiver for scouts. Some of the slashes in this draft haven't been so willing to move.

Scouts say Hagans "has a cannon for an arm" and he recently ran an El-like 4.5 40 at his pro day. He also scored a 37 on his Wonderlic, so he can throw, run, catch and think. This sleeper can be had in the fourth round.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5

A couple high-profile running backs are visiting the Steelers today. One, Joseph Addai of LSU, is the perfect Steeler. He runs inside and outside, catches the ball and blocks. All of these facets stood out in LSU's upset bowl win over Miami, but the Colts are interested in him, too.

Maurice Drew of UCLA is only 5-6, but he is Joe Morris reincarnated. Drew is also the best punt returner on the board and could be used wide, a la Marshall Faulk. Drew is the most exciting player linked to the Steelers this year.

Then there's power back LenDale White. He was out of shape at his Pro Day and has yet to run his 40, so he could slip to 32, where it's looking like either running back or safety for the Steelers.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



TUESDAY, APRIL 4

The Steelers' draft plans come into focus this week with the visits of safeties Donte Whitner and Daniel Bullocks, and running backs Joseph Addai and Maurice Drew.

Today, we'll focus on Bullocks. He joins a growing list of late-first to mid-second round safeties the Steelers are studying closely. There's also Whitner, Jason Allen, Darnell Bing and converted linebacker Jon Alston.

Bullocks is a 6-1, 212-pounder from Nebraska who ran a 4.38 40 at the combine. He's similar to Chris Hope in that he's a strong safety who plays a bit high, but Bullocks is faster. He'd give the Steelers three physical 4.3 players in their secondary.

Bullocks is a possibility at pick 32 as it's becoming obvious the Steelers will draft a safety on the first day.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



MONDAY, APRIL 3

Jai Lewis has finally been beaten on the basketball court, but might be in Pittsburgh today playing football.

The 6-foot-7, 275-pound George Mason center is being looked at as a football player -- a tight end or a defensive end -- and the Steelers are interested. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported two weeks ago that the Steelers had invited Lewis to the South Side for a workout when his season ended.

Lewis last played football at Aberdeen High School in Maryland. He was recruited by Virginia Tech, but his low SAT score forced him to prep school where he focused on basketball.

George Mason coach Jim Larranaga calls Lewis "the most unique athlete I've ever been around." But can he take a hit over the middle?

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



FRIDAY, MARCH 31

Perhaps the Dave Wannstedt apologists in the media have a point about his dreadful first season. Perhaps he didn't have the right players to fit his schemes. But wouldn't it have been asking too much to move Charles Spencer from tackle to guard?

Spencer was a stud as a pulling guard at the Senior Bowl, and now he's considered a mid second-round draft pick. That's about as high as a player at that position can grade out. And Spencer's stock is only rising.

After weighing 352 at the combine, Spencer showed up for a workout with the 49ers last week at 337. He's big and can move and has all the promise of an NFL road-grader.

Pitt should've used him as such in their so-called power running schemes, but I'm sure someone in the media will offer up an excuse.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



THURSDAY, MARCH 30

The Steelers are spending plenty of time working out safeties this off-season. They love Donte Whitner of Ohio State and Jason Allen of Tennessee, but that was before Ryan Clark came along.

A better option would be USC's king-sized Darnell Bing, who wrote in his online journal that the Steelers are "very interested."

Bing replaced Troy Polamalu as the USC strong safety, but his ball skills make him a natural in the middle of the Steelers' base three-deep zone.

The Steelers traded up for Polamalu in the first round in 2003. Trading up in the second round to draft Bing this year has a certain symmetry to it.

He's 6-2, 227 and will run his 40 on Sunday. Check out SteelCityInsider.com for the results.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



WEDNESDAY, MARCH 29

In the last six drafts, the Steelers have picked, arguably, the top-rated player at his position. That case can be made for receiver Plax Burress, nose tackle Casey Hampton, guard Kendall Simmons, safety Troy Polamalu, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and tight end Heath Miller.

It could happen again if Ohio State center Nick Mangold falls to pick 32.

Jeff Hartings's contract restructuring tell us this is his last season. And Chukky Okobi hasn't proven anything yet. But do you keep three centers on the roster for the sake of Mangold's development?

So the question becomes: Could Mangold back up at guard? At his size – a mere 6-3½, 300 – perhaps not for any length of time, but considering how well Mangold plays center, he might be worth the risk.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



TUESDAY, MARCH 28

Verron Haynes fills a hole on the depth chart and saves the Steelers from further investigation into the character of USC tailback LenDale White.

White's running style fits the Steelers, who'd like a big back to complement Willie Parker. White is a 240-pounder who runs between the tackles and has enough pop to go the distance – kind of like a young Jerome Bettis. A better comparison would be Natrone Means.

But White's lifestyle doesn't fit the Steelers. It's the character questions that are causing scouts problems. He's one of the party guys from America's favorite party team. White once faked a suicide leap off a building to throw a charge into his teammates.

White's stock has fallen to where the Steelers must take a serious look, but Haynes makes it a moot point.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



MONDAY, MARCH 27

You want to dismiss the rumors about Eric Moulds. Why would the Steelers want a 33-year-old malcontent with slipping stats?

But look at who was throwing him the ball at Buffalo. And look at the upcoming draft class. Ugh.

The Steelers' one gaping hole is receiver. They have two with any real experience, and a potential third, Quincy Morgan, still can't pass a physical.

The draft prospects are said to be the worst in a quarter of a century: Those who can catch can't run and those who can run can't catch. And the guy rated in your drafting zone is 5-foot-8. Big Ben went to the front office to make a case for his college favorite, but Martin Nance has had a dreadful post-season.

Does anyone have Moulds's phone number?

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



FRIDAY, MARCH 24

We've been talking about the more overrated draft prospects this week, so why stop now? The subject today is an overrated Pac-10 player: Oregon defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (Ha-LOTE-ee NAH-ta).

At 6-4, 338 pounds, the guy's a monster who commands double teams – until he wears down. Some are projecting him as a nose tackle for the Cleveland Browns' new 3-4 defense, but Ngata doesn't play near low enough to handle that job. He's had problems with injuries throughout his college career because of it, and he has a rep for taking plays off to boot.

He looks like former Steelers nose tackle Gabe Rivera, but Rivera had short legs and could get low. Ngata can't play low, and if the Browns draft him before Brodrick Bunkley, someone's head should roll.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



THURSDAY, MARCH 23

Yesterday I ripped on Manny Lawson. Today it's Michael Huff's turn.

You've heard of Huff. He's the safety from Texas every draft expert is raving about. But I'll bet you've never seen much of Huff.

Oh, there was the horse-collar tackle in the Rose Bowl that set the TV boobs bobbing, but that was typical of Huff, who tackles like Chris Hope – everything's high.

Huff bounced off several tackles in the Rose Bowl, and when he jumped on a pile on fourth-and-2, he was credited with tackling LenDale White.

If you watched Huff against Ohio State, you saw the same thing: nothing. And with his poor angles and overaggressiveness, Huff almost cost Texas against Texas A&M.

Unless Huff proves he can play cornerback, he's not the top 15 player everyone's making him out to be.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22

When Parys Haralson talked about track men trying to play football last week, he must've been talking about Manny Lawson.

The 6-5½, 243-pound defensive end from N.C. State ran a 4.4 40 at the combine and had the best 3-cone time of linemen. He's become quite the rage among draftniks looking for a 3-4 outside linebacker.

I disagree.

Yes, Lawson's too light to play defensive end in a 4-3, but that doesn't mean he's a 3-4 outside linebacker. While Lawson runs like Jesse Owens on a track, he plays like Alonzo Jackson on a field. The guy just can't flip his hips.

So the next time you read about Lawson and how such a speedball could be ignored by scouts, there's a reason.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



TUESDAY, MARCH 21

Another one of my favorite defensive prospects worked out at Tennessee's Pro Day last week: Parys Haralson is a small defensive end who not only can stand up at the point of attack, he has the hips to drop into coverage as a linebacker.

That makes Haralson a 3-4 tweener, and word is he can be had in the second round.

Haralson is 6-1, 253 pounds. He ran a 4.8 40 but was not disappointed.

"I play football," he said. "I don't know how much of this stuff shows what kind of football player you are. You hope they turn on the tape and watch how I play. I don't run track."

Amen to that. Haralson is a football player, and some lucky team will wait till the second, maybe third, round to find that out.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



MONDAY, MARCH 20

Draft Daddy.com calls him the best special-teamer in the nation. Michael Robinson calls him a "freak of nature." Bill Cowher was at Penn State's Pro Day and he watched Ethan Kilmer steal the show.

Kilmer didn't play in high school, and he ran track at Shippensburg. At the urging of friends, Kilmer transferred to Penn State, where he became a special-teams demon while backing up at safety and receiver. In the Orange Bowl, Kilmer caught 6 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown.

At his Pro Day, the 5-11, 205-pounder ran a 4.35 40 and jumped out of the gym. He also benched 225 19 times, or one more than Tamba Hali.

Ethan Kilmer of Penn State is a sleeper to watch on the second day of the draft.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



FRIDAY, MARCH 17

Charles Spencer and Josh Lay are the marquee players at Pitt's Pro Day today, but also in attendance will be an interesting late-round prospect who didn't play for the Panthers.

Jeff Mroz, the 6-foot-5 quarterback from Greensburg, comes out of Yale as a sleeper at the position. The Dallas Cowboys have already worked him out, and today the rest of the scouts get an up-close look.

Mroz threw for 22 touchdowns and nearly 2,500 yards last season at Yale, where he was considered the best pocket passer in the Ivy League. He's big, has a strong arm and, we're guessing, is pretty smart. At least he was all that at Greensburg Central Catholic. Now he has a legitimate chance to find his way to a pro camp.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



THURSDAY, MARCH 16

Today's the day the Penn State kids will work out ... at last.

The secretive Penn State program guards its players with an unhealthy zeal, and their near boycott of combine workouts – on a fast surface by the way – only brought up more questions than answers.

So Tamba Hali, Matt Rice, Michael Robinson, Alan Zemaitis and Anwar Phillips have only one chance to prove their athletic ability to NFL scouts.

Safeties Calvin Lowry and Chris Harrell did work out at Indy, so you like them for their intelligence alone.

Of course, if Hali, Robinson, Zemaitis and Phillips run close to what they've shown on film, all will be forgotten. Zemaitis, a corner, is of particular interest to a team looking for a sleeper at safety.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



WEDNESDAY, MARCH 15

We in cyberspace only know him as Adam, but he's cracked the NFL's secret formula for awarding compensatory picks. In six years of work, Adam has predicted the exact picks for an average of 27 of 32 teams. That's good enough to quiet the doubters.

The key, he says, is not so much playing time and post-season honors, as the NFL would have us believe; it's the departed free agent's contract.

So Adam has deduced that the losses of Kendrell Bell, Plaxico Burress, Oliver Ross and Keydrick Vincent, when matched against the signing of Cedrick Wilson, will result in the NFL awarding the Steelers two extra fourth-round picks and an extra fifth-round pick. He believes one of the fourth-rounders could in fact be a third-rounder when the announcement is made in a few weeks.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



TUESDAY, MARCH 14

The loss of Antwaan Randle El left the Steelers with three receivers on their depth chart, and one didn't catch a regular-season pass. They also lost their targeted free agent when Andre Davis signed with the Bills.

That leaves the draft. Considering the Steelers' interest in Davis, we can deduce they're looking for speed instead of size. The speed merchants are Ohio State's Santonio Holmes, Florida's Chad Jackson and Miami's Sinorice Moss.

Of the three, Moss should be there at pick 32. The younger brother of Santana Moss has performed like him lately. Moss ran past Tye Hill to make a great touchdown catch in the Senior Bowl, and in workouts ran a 4.38 40 with a 42-inch vertical jump. That could make the 5-foot-8 smurf a first-rounder.

With your NFL Draft Report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



MONDAY, MARCH 13

Poor Vince Young. He scored a 6 on his Wonderlic test, but he was a victim.

Let's see, there's the culturally biased intelligence test, there's the poorly worded intelligence test, and there was the media informant who showed little regard for the word student in student-athlete.

College football was in an uproar, so the NFL gave Young another chance.

Poor Vince Young. But here's what really matters: Young pouted during the firestorm, and his withdrawal from football society is what bothered scouts most. A leader is supposed to cope with adversity, and leadership is the primary attribute in NFL quarterbacks.

Vince Young doesn't look like a leader. He looks like a Baltimore Raven. That's where personnel men figure he's headed. Poor Vince Young.

With your NFL draft report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



FRIDAY, MARCH 10

West Virginia went 11-1 last year, and they did it without much help from their seniors.

The Mountaineers are working out for scouts today, but it doesn't appear as if any of them are first-day prospects. Safety Jahmile Addae (juh-mall ah-DIE) and cornerback Dee McCann were the only combine invitees. Addae is a big hitter and McCann's a physical cover man, but both are second-day prospects.

Late-round prospects are big right tackle Garin Justice, active nose tackle Ernest Hunter and heady strong safety Mike Lorello. All three are considered to be sleepers with a solid chance to make rosters.

So it doesn't appear as if West Virginia's Pro Day will attract the crowd it has in the recent past, but look out next year. And the year after. And so on.

With your NFL draft report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports 970.



THURSDAY, MARCH 9

The Steelers are in Columbus today looking over one of the best draft classes in college football. We talked about their interest in Donte Whitner, and Nick Mangold is the right guy to continue the Steelers' tradition at center. But the most interesting Ohio Stater is outside linebacker Bobby Carpenter.

Carpenter broke his fibula against Michigan and couldn't work out at the combine. But he checked in at 6-2½, 256 and knocked everyone out in his interviews. Personnel men rave that Carpenter is a sure-fire future captain.

Bill Cowher has never drafted a linebacker in the first round, and, really, Carpenter would be the team's sixth backer, at best, next season. But they shouldn't pass on a great player who could fall their way because of an injury. That's how they landed Heath Miller.

With your NFL draft report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



WEDNESDAY, MARCH 8

Linebacker is the heart and soul of the Steelers' 3-4 defense, but as per the Bill Cowher-era norm they won't be skimming from the top of this year's deep crop.

This year's class of linebackers, according to Kevin Colbert, is "strong at the top, and strong in the middle."

So with other needs to fill, the middle rounds would appear to be the Steelers' target area once again.

A player to watch is N.C. State third-year junior Stephen Tulloch (TULL-uck). He weighed into the combine at 5-11, 241 and ran a 4.9 40. That pedestrian number will allow him to drop, but Tulloch can play. He led the Wolfpack with 150 tackles and won the Car Care Bowl MVP on the strength of three sacks.

If not Tulloch, there are plenty like him this year.

With your NFL draft report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



TUESDAY, MARCH 7

One publication lists Ohio State safety Donte Whitner as the draft's No. 70 prospect. Yesterday, we named him No. 32 and a favorite to land with the Steelers. Why?

Well, the Steelers like him, for one. The 20-year-old is 5-10, 204 pounds and ran a 4.40 40 at the combine, where expert analyst Mike Mayock had him ranked as the draft's top safety ahead of Jason Allen, Ko Simpson and Darnell Bing.

Whitner was the nation's top-ranked cornerback coming out of Cleveland's Glenville High, but moved to strong safety, where last year, as a true junior, he was third on the team in tackles and showed he could cover, tackle and blitz. Last week he showed he could run … fast. What's not to like?

With your NFL draft report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.



MONDAY, MARCH 6

Last week's combine kicked off the start of the 2006 draft season and the Super Bowl champion Steelers are picking 32nd. Here are their first-pick contenders prior to the start of free agency:

The Steelers will most likely need a free safety. Donte Whitner of Ohio State had a great combine and, after splitting time as a corner, proved to be a wrap-up tackler at safety last season. We haven't seen that here since Darren Perry.

At center, scouts say Ohio State's Nick Mangold is the best prospect in years. He just might become the next in the Steelers' long, great line at the position.

And since team depth is thin and draft depth is deep, let's throw Maryland inside backer D'Qwell Jackson in there as a longshot.

With your NFL draft report, I'm Jim Wexell for Fox Sports Radio 970.


Steel City Insider Top Stories