Wilson: Let's go to the video tape ...

Blogger Ryan Wilson has even more thoughts on the 2006 draft class, and this time there's video!

One of the biggest challenges this time of year is finding interesting stuff to talk about. Since I have about as much chance of breaking a story as Rupert Pupkin has of getting his own show, I'm relegated to scouring the interweb for Pittsburgh Steelers-related material. (And yes, it's really hard to "break a story" when you (a) don't have any sources, and (b) only leave your house for special occasions like beer runs and, well, beer runs.) Enough with the inanity, here's what I was able to scare up:

... If you haven't had your fill of draft-related silliness, then you've come to the right place. Yahoo! has college highlights for every player Pittsburgh drafted last month who didn't attend Hofstra. (To start the video – and you probably already know this –click the little camera icon next to the players' name. It took me about ten minutes to figure this out.)

I know the usual caveats apply when talking about highlights -- I mean, after watching Fred Gibson's reel last year I was all ready to pencil him in as my rookie of the year -- so just try and keep everything in perspective. Or don't. It's May and it's okay to think big thoughts. Either way, here are a couple of things to note as you waste time at work watching football videos:

1. Santonio Holmes doesn't look to have much trouble beating the jam at the line of scrimmage, at least against college cornerbacks, and the touchdown reception against Texas CB Cedric Griffin was one of the sweetest catches of the season.

2. Anthony Smith knocks the crap out of people. And given that his team won one game last season, I'm guessing he got plenty of practice. (Thank god for Buffalo). You know, a lot is made of guys needing time to learn the safety position in the NFL, but think about it this way: Syracuse's defense spent so much time on the field it's basically like Smith squeezed 1.5 seasons into 1l games. Using this logic, he should be starting by Week 8.

3. The fact that 99 percent of Willie Reid's highlights are as a returner should give us some indication of what he'll be doing in Pittsburgh next season. And after seeing this video, I can't wait.

4. Orien Harris looked great. Of course most of the highlights were against Rutgers and Georgia Tech, so that's important to keep in mind. The rest of the highlights were of him tackling Virginia Tech's Cedric Humes on various plays for minimal gains. That's Steelers' seventh-round draft pick Cedric Humes. I don't know how to feel about that one.

5. For all the talk about Omar Jacobs' funky throwing motion, he shows a surprisingly strong arm and more surprisingly, a soft touch. He's also very mobile and has the ability to stand in the pocket and take a hit while delivering strikes downfield. You know, all the things the Steelers' third-string QB struggled with last season.

6. Charles Davis gets my vote for having the worst highlight film ever made. Nothing like a bunch of seven yard gains that end in pile-driver tackles to make you look really mediocre. The first thing I noticed about Davis is that he's a giant. The very next thing I noticed is that he goes down pretty easily. Heath Miller has an amazing knack for running people over and that's part of what makes him so good. If Davis can't break tackles in his highlight video, then I hate to think what he'll look like in a real game. Yikes.

7. Marvin Philip is a tough dude … at least when he was manhandling his cousin Haloti Ngata. If Philip doesn't amount to anything other than the designated guy to dominate Ngata when the Steelers play the Ravens, that's fine by me. Nothing like a sixth-rounder whooping up on your rivals' number one pick.

8. Speaking of Cedric Humes, he was surprisingly nimble for a big guy (well, except when playing Miami). He also seemed to outrun a lot of defensive backs once he got seven or eight yards past the line of scrimmage. He'll never be mistaken for the Bus in terms of his fancy footwork, but he looked a lot quicker than I expected.

... I don't play a lot of Madden football primarily because I have about a million other things going on. (And here, "a million other things..." refers to stuff like sleeping and watching "Battlestar Galactica.") My gaming habits aside, the Madden phenomenon rolls on. Madden07 will be released this August, but here's a sneak peek at the Steelers' roster and rankings. A couple of things worth noting:

1. Willie Parker's overall rating is now 90, up 15 points from last season.

2. Jeff Reed is ranked higher than Brett Keisel, Santonio Holmes and Bryant McFadden. Maybe Dale or Wex can ask B-Mac how he feels about that.

3. Max Starks must've pissed somebody off at EA Sports. Starks' overall ranking is 73. Barrett Brooks' overall ranking: 73.

4. Lee Mays is five points better than Sean Morey (Mays' ranking: 68; Morey's ranking: 63). I don't think Mays is five points better than Morey if they're playing one-on-one basketball and Morey spots him five points.

5. It looks like the guys at EA Sports forgot about Nate. His overall ranking is 62.

... For maximum effect, re-read Wex's interviews with Jack Lambert (here and here) while watching this, preferably at high volume.

... The USA Today has hired some joke writers:

Question: How many Pittsburgh Steelers fans does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: Four — One to change the bulb and three to stand around and talk about how great the Steelers were in the 1970s.

Yuk-yuk. Actually, it's a pretty good piece that talks about the latest Steelers Super Bowl, how things are different now than they were in the '70s, and a few minicamp tidbits.

… In other news, the Ravens are still waiting on Steve McNair, but in the meantime they signed the fourth overall pick in the draft … the CFL draft, that is. I wonder if Baltimore ever regrets cutting James Harrison.


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