After a brief hiatus, “Three Questions With…” is back with a great friend of SCB, Shane Hallam of draftTV.com. Shane is a member of the Football Writers of America and the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.
You can (and should) follow Shane on Twitter @ShanePHallam and follow his site @DraftTV.
1. As we get closer to the draft it seems that Darqueze Dennard is the front-runner for the Steelers’ pick at #15. What does he bring to the table that a guy like Justin Gilbert might not?
SH: Dennard is more physical and has a higher football IQ than a guy like Justin Gilbert. Though Gilbert is more athletic (and I would imagine still the preference for the Steelers,) Dennard seems to have a better feel for the position. If Dennard learns to channel his aggressiveness and hand usage (often grabbing opponents which will be a penalty in the NFL,) he should be an excellent press or off cover CB. He definitely fits the old “Steeler way” of physical play that should endear him to Steeler fans if he is drafted. Add in a great back pedal and experience against top competition, Dennard is a Top 20 pick.
2. Assuming the Steelers go with a cornerback in round one, who are some second round wide receivers we should be keeping an eye on?
SH: There should be plenty of options for Pittsburgh in Round 2. If they want a taller developmental WR to compliment Antonio Brown and Markus Wheaton, Brandon Coleman from Rutgers gives that option. Playing with subpar QB play, Coleman’s upside is unknown, but he has the physical talent to be a top notch WR with some development (which the Steelers have generally liked to do with rookie WRs). If they want a WR who has some size but also can be physical at the point of attack, Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews or Penn State’s Allen Robinson fit the bill. Matthews, the cousin of Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, brings top notch work ethic with long arm length and solid speed. Robinson was extremely productive at Penn State and flashed top ability to not only use his big hands as a possession WR but be a threat after the catch. Finally, one of my favorites is Ole Miss WR Donte Moncrief. One of the best at the size-speed metrics and also bailed out poor QB play at Ole Miss often. He could give a great compliment to Antonio Brown while adding a new element with his size. Don’t discount the Steelers sticking with their favorable type of WR (small and fast in short space,) with a player like South Carolina’s Bruce Ellington.
3. Who are some defensive linemen we should be watching for in the mid-to later rounds of the draft?
SH: Alabama’s Ed Stinson already has some experience in the 3-4 defense and could be an instant plug and play to get at the end of the 3rd round with the Steelers compensatory selection. More 3rd day possibilities for 3-4 DE would be UConn’s Shamar Stephen who has great upper body strength and some developmental upside, Syracuse’s Jay Bromley who gives a bit more pass rush ability than the others, or Alabama’s Jeoffrey Pagan who is a bit young and underdeveloped but has a lot of upside. A good NT in the later rounds would be Louisiana Tech’s Justin Ellis. I’ve rarely ever seen him get pushed back off the snap and he provides the run stuffing presence the Steelers need. Finally, Delaware’s Zach Kerr is big and athletic & could definitely fit with the direction the Steelers have gone at NT. He would be an intriguing selection late.