Back to square one

Today kicks off our two-week series on the Pittsburgh Steelers's draft that will sort through the pro-day workouts and official visits and get to the meat of the matter: Can the guy play?

The Steelers not only interviewed Jon Beason at his pro day, they talked to his mother. And they're bringing Beason in for another visit just in time to meet the vets as they report for minicamp at the end of the week.

More exclusive NFL Draft coverage from Jim Wexell:
  • Staley
  • Mid-round LBs
  • Jason Capizzi
  • Ikaika Alama-Francis
  • Jon Beason
  • Tony Hunt
  • Le'Ron McClain
  • Michael Bush
  • Daniel Sepulveda
  • Darrelle Revis
  • LaMarr Woodley
  • Lawrence Timmons
  • Chris Houston
  • Marshawn Lynch
  • Ben Grubbs
  • Leon Hall
  • Adam Carriker
  • Jarvis Moss
  • Anthony Spencer
  • The Odds
  • It looks like Beason might be their guy, but the word running through the agents' grapevine is that the Steelers want Lawrence Timmons.

    Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert hopped aboard Air Rooney to make it to Tallahassee in time for Timmons's pro day workout. Timmons ran an uninspiring 40, but his agent apologized to Tomlin and promised that his client would be in better shape for minicamp.

    It's little wonder the popular opinion is that the Steelers are hot for one of these 4-3 outside linebackers. The problem is: As hard as we in the media try to pound, those square pegs just aren't fitting into the round holes the Steelers have at 3-4 outside linebacker.

    So what are we to make of the developing news?

    "I wouldn't doubt it's a smokescreen," said Tom Marino. "Half of those things, those visits, are used as diversions."

    Marino would know. Before retiring to a life of luxury in the media, he was a scout … for 35 years. He's been around, seen some things.

    Marino's still looking at the players for Scout.com and gave us his opinion about Beason and Timmons, a pair of 4-3 outside linebackers from Miami and Florida State who are coming out after their junior seasons.

    "Both of them are good athletes, but neither of them are like what they've had come out of those schools in the past," Marino said. "I liked Rocky [McIntosh] better than Beason, but Beason's okay. Timmons is an enigma. He had a great spring last year and they thought he was [Ernie] Sims. He had two, three superior games and the rest of the time looked like a guy. So, for the Steelers at 15, I really don't think so."

    It's been that way at every turn this draft season. In fact, it's beginning to appear as if there's not a fit for the Steelers at pick 15, where the best value appears to be at cornerback.

    The Steelers already have six cornerbacks on their roster, to go along with a newly promoted secondary coach and a head coach, Tomlin, whose expertise is teaching defensive backs. It appears the Steelers will coach what they have as opposed to drafting a cornerback with pick 15. It's also unlikely the Steelers will draft a 4-3 linebacker.

    What does Marino think?

    "I think [Anthony] Spencer's a perfect fit for them," he said … again. "They have to replace [Joey] Porter and there's no way of getting around that."

    We asked Marino about Spencer on the first day of the combine and were met with hearty agreement. The next day we installed Spencer as the betting favorite to become the Steelers' first draft pick.

    But time hasn't been kind to the favorite. The Steelers passed on his pro day, and Spencer has yet to make his way to the South Side for a visit.

    "You guys in the media overrate those visits," Marino said. "A lot of guys they bring in they need physicals on to complete their grade. The second thing, it's a smokescreen. Obviously you want to bring in a guy you're going to get, since you bring in 30, but a lot of that is a smokescreen. One year in St. Louis, at least 15 of the 30 we had no interest in. We also brought in guys we had no chance at, since those guys were going to get drafted in the top 10. Last year, they brought in the guy from Clemson and they brought in a guy from Fresno that they didn't like and they had no intention of taking, but they did it to give people four or five corners to look at.

    "A lot of that is overrated. We bring them in because everyone else is doing it."

    If the Steelers don't take Spencer at 15, or trade down to take Spencer, Marino suggests they target offensive tackle Joe Staley, whom Marino rates higher than Penn State tackle Levi Brown.

    Marino is currently reviewing video cut-ups of the top prospects and is in the process of updating his draft list. He had plenty to say about Staley and Brown and the rest of the offensive line prospects, but those comments will be used in the offensive line section of our draft series.

    The series will conclude in two weeks with, we believe, an accurate prediction of the Steelers' draft. Until then, we'll keep an eye out for those smokescreens.


    Steel City Insider Top Stories

    \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe Steelers not only interviewed Jon Beason at his pro day, they talked to his mother. And they're bringing Beason in for another visit just in time to meet the vets as they report for minicamp at the end of the week. \r\n\r\n

    \r\n\r\n

    \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
    \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
    \r\n More exclusive NFL Draft coverage from Jim Wexell:
    \r\n
  • Staley
  • \r\n
  • Mid-round LBs
  • \r\n
  • Jason Capizzi
  • \r\n
  • Ikaika Alama-Francis
  • \r\n
  • Jon Beason
  • \r\n
  • Tony Hunt
  • \r\n
  • Le'Ron McClain
  • \r\n
  • Michael Bush
  • \r\n
  • Daniel Sepulveda
  • \r\n
  • Darrelle Revis
  • \r\n
  • LaMarr Woodley
  • \r\n
  • Lawrence Timmons
  • \r\n
  • Chris Houston
  • \r\n
  • Marshawn Lynch
  • \r\n
  • Ben Grubbs
  • \r\n
  • Leon Hall
  • \r\n
  • Adam Carriker
  • \r\n
  • Jarvis Moss
  • \r\n
  • Anthony Spencer
  • \r\n
  • The Odds
  • \r\n\r\n\r\nIt looks like Beason might be their guy, but the word running through the agents' grapevine is that the Steelers want Lawrence Timmons. \r\n\r\n

    Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert hopped aboard Air Rooney to make it to Tallahassee in time for Timmons's pro day workout. Timmons ran an uninspiring 40, but his agent apologized to Tomlin and promised that his client would be in better shape for minicamp. \r\n\r\n

    It's little wonder the popular opinion is that the Steelers are hot for one of these 4-3 outside linebackers. The problem is: As hard as we in the media try to pound, those square pegs just aren't fitting into the round holes the Steelers have at 3-4 outside linebacker. \r\n\r\n

    So what are we to make of the developing news? \r\n\r\n

    \"I wouldn't doubt it's a smokescreen,\" said Tom Marino. \"Half of those things, those visits, are used as diversions.\" \r\n\r\n

    Marino would know. Before retiring to a life of luxury in the media, he was a scout … for 35 years. He's been around, seen some things. \r\n\r\n

    Marino's still looking at the players for Scout.com and gave us his opinion about Beason and Timmons, a pair of 4-3 outside linebackers from Miami and Florida State who are coming out after their junior seasons. \r\n\r\n

    \"Both of them are good athletes, but neither of them are like what they've had come out of those schools in the past,\" Marino said. \"I liked Rocky [McIntosh] better than Beason, but Beason's okay. Timmons is an enigma. He had a great spring last year and they thought he was [Ernie] Sims. He had two, three superior games and the rest of the time looked like a guy. So, for the Steelers at 15, I really don't think so.\" \r\n\r\n

    It's been that way at every turn this draft season. In fact, it's beginning to appear as if there's not a fit for the Steelers at pick 15, where the best value appears to be at cornerback. \r\n\r\n

    The Steelers already have six cornerbacks on their roster, to go along with a newly promoted secondary coach and a head coach, Tomlin, whose expertise is teaching defensive backs. It appears the Steelers will coach what they have as opposed to drafting a cornerback with pick 15. It's also unlikely the Steelers will draft a 4-3 linebacker. \r\n\r\n

    What does Marino think? \r\n\r\n

    \"I think [Anthony] Spencer's a perfect fit for them,\" he said … again. \"They have to replace [Joey] Porter and there's no way of getting around that.\" \r\n\r\n

    We asked Marino about Spencer on the first day of the combine and were met with hearty agreement. The next day we installed Spencer as the betting favorite to become the Steelers' first draft pick. \r\n\r\n

    But time hasn't been kind to the favorite. The Steelers passed on his pro day, and Spencer has yet to make his way to the South Side for a visit. \r\n\r\n

    \"You guys in the media overrate those visits,\" Marino said. \"A lot of guys they bring in they need physicals on to complete their grade. The second thing, it's a smokescreen. Obviously you want to bring in a guy you're going to get, since you bring in 30, but a lot of that is a smokescreen. One year in St. Louis, at least 15 of the 30 we had no interest in. We also brought in guys we had no chance at, since those guys were going to get drafted in the top 10. Last year, they brought in the guy from Clemson and they brought in a guy from Fresno that they didn't like and they had no intention of taking, but they did it to give people four or five corners to look at. \r\n\r\n

    \"A lot of that is overrated. We bring them in because everyone else is doing it.\" \r\n\r\n

    If the Steelers don't take Spencer at 15, or trade down to take Spencer, Marino suggests they target offensive tackle Joe Staley, whom Marino rates higher than Penn State tackle Levi Brown. \r\n\r\n

    Marino is currently reviewing video cut-ups of the top prospects and is in the process of updating his draft list. He had plenty to say about Staley and Brown and the rest of the offensive line prospects, but those comments will be used in the offensive line section of our draft series. \r\n\r\n

    The series will conclude in two weeks with, we believe, an accurate prediction of the Steelers' draft. Until then, we'll keep an eye out for those smokescreens.\r\n","skipOnMobile":true,"skipOnMobileReason":"UnsupportedHtmlTable","unsupportedMarkup":"LackingResponsiveTableClass","media":[],"dateOverride":"2007-04-16T09:54:00","authorOverride":"Jim Wexell","role":"SteelCityInsider.com","isPremium":true,"isHotNews":false,"isRumor":false,"syndicationFlag":true,"isClassified":true,"hotNamesLinked":true,"storyImage":"[MEDIA:407499]","mainImage":{"url":"[MEDIA:407499]"},"thumbnailImage":"[THUMBNAIL:407499]","heroImage":{},"authorImage":"","tags":[{"id":"Draft","name":"Draft"},{"id":"345","name":"Florida State"},{"id":"9813","name":"Florida State - Football"},{"id":"497","name":"Central Michigan"},{"id":"423","name":"Purdue"},{"id":"9819","name":"Miami (Fl) - Football"},{"id":"9942","name":"Central Michigan - Football"},{"id":"9889","name":"Purdue - Football"},{"id":"348","name":"Miami (Fl)"},{"id":"182","name":"Pittsburgh 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