Thaddeus Gibson

2010 Draft Grades: Steelers

Its been assumed for months that the Steelers would address their interior line with their 1st-round pick, and that decision was made easier by the suspension of Ben Roethlisberger. Without their franchise quarterback, the Steelers will become more of a power running team and Maurkice Pouncey will be a key piece of the equation to make that work. He should start from day one at right guard and eventually move to center to replace Justin Hartwig.

I thought they reached a little for Jason Worilds. They needed to add depth at outside linebacker, but there were better players on the board in the 2nd round.

I also felt that Emmanuel Sanders was a reach. I’m wary of any receiver that comes from a June Jones offense. He’s undersized and just seems a little too similar to Mike Wallace. If the Steelers were going to add a receiver in this draft I would have liked to see them add a bigger possession receiver. Limas Sweed has been a huge disappointment and its time for the to move on and find someone else to fill that role.

I love the pick of Thaddeus Gibson in the 4th round. I gave him a 2nd-round grade and him rated ahead of Worilds. He’s more raw than Worilds but has a more upside, especially as a pass rusher. He likely won’t see much immediate playing time, but I love his chances of turning out to be the gem of this draft class for the Steelers.

Chris Scott is an unspectacular pick in the 5th round, but adds some necessary depth. He isn’t a future starter, but he can play guard and tackle and should have a long career as a backup for that reason.

Crezdon Butler fills an obvious need, but I was surprised that the Steelers didn’t grab a cornerback until the 5th round. They did trade for Bryant McFadden on draft day, but he isn’t the answer to their problems either.

Stevenson Sylvester was a tremendously productive college linebacker who will likely play inside in the Steelers 3-4 scheme. However, I don’t see him as anything more than a special teams contributor in the NFL. There were better players on the board at that spot.

I want to love the selection of Jonathan Dwyer, but I have reservations about declaring it a slam dunk pick. I graded Dwyer as a 2nd-round selection. I knew at the time that most had him graded lower that that, but I never envisioned a situation in which a player with his size and speed would fall to the 6th round. When a player with that much talent falls that far without an obvious explanation, I start to wonder if there’s something that only the teams who interviewed him are aware of.

I really like the selection of Antonio Brown. In fact, I had him rated a few spots higher than Emmanuel Sanders. They’re similar players, but Brown had much more value in the 6th round than Sanders in the 3rd.

Doug Worthington could also turn out to be a late-round steal for the Steelers. He’s a prototypical 3-4 defensive end. He has the size for the position and the athleticism to make some plays as well.

This was a solid draft for the Steelers, but they only landed one player who will contribute immediately (Pouncey). Their other picks are more developmental prospects who will be brought along slowly. Worilds and Gibson could be come cornerstones of their defense in a few years, but the Steelers really needed to land some players who can contribute now.

The biggest thing missing from this draft was an impact cornerback. There were plenty of guys on the board in the 2nd and 3rd round who could have added immediate depth to the position. Overall, this draft was filled with a few too many reaches and not enough players who projects as potential starters.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2010, Steelers Comments Off

All-Underrated Draft Prospects Team

QB – Sean Canfield, Oregon State
Possesses legitimate NFL size and can make all the throws. Only a full-time starter for one year, but he has plenty of upside.

RB – James Starks, Buffalo
Missed the entire 2009 season with a shoulder injury, but could prove to be a steal if he’s fully recovered.

RB – Lonyae Miller, Fresno State
Played in the shadow Ryan Mathews. A Big, physical downhill runner. Prototypical size and athleticism for a workhorse running back.

WR – Eric Decker, Minnesota
Flying under the radar due to a foot injury. He’ll fall because of durability issues, but could be a steal.

WR – Kerry Meier, Kansas
Converted quarterback became an elite possession receiver over the past two seasons. Limited upside, but has the skills to find a role in an NFL offense.

TE – Colin Peek, Alabama
One of the better blocking tight ends in this year’s class. Nothing special as a receiver, but will make plays from time to time.

OT – Charles Brown, USC
Nearly as athletic as Bruce Campbell, yet for more productive. Could be a steal if the falls to the 2nd round.

OT – Kyle Calloway, Iowa
Doesn’t wow you in anything that he does, but is as solid as they come. Projects as a quality right tackle.

OG – John Jerry, Mississippi
Has Larry Allen-like size and surprising athleticism to go with it. Could potential play right tackle as well.

OG – Zane Beadles, Utah
Versatile enough to play all five positions. May never be a star, but will be a valued backup at the worst.

C – Matt Tennant, Boston College
Maurkice Pouncey is getting all the attention, but Tennant isn’t far behind in terms of talent.

DE – Corey Wootton, Northwestern
Lack of athleticism means he doesn’t get the attention he deserves. Could anchor a 3-4 team at defensive end.

DE – Lindsey Witten, Connecticut
Impressive athlete who could be an instant-impact pass rusher.

DT – Cam Thomas, North Carolina
Perfect fit at nose tackle; rated higher than Terrence Cody in my book.

DT – Tyson Alualu, California
Would be a 1st-round pick in most other years. A three-technique tackle with similar skills to Gerald McCoy.

OLB – Larry Hart, Central Arkansas
Late-round sleeper with huge upside. Lacks ideal height, but has impressive athleticism.

OLB – Thaddeus Gibson, Ohio State
Collegiate defensive end replaced Vernon Gholston at Ohio State. Comparisons inevitably hurt his stock.

ILB – Donald Butler, Washington
Impressive athlete didn’t get the attention he deserved on a talent-starved unit in Washington.

CB – Walter Thurmond, Oregon
Athletically gifted corner coming back off an injury. Can make an instant-impact on special teams.

CB – David Pender, Purdue
Workout numbers are off the charts. Undersized, but has the speed and leaping ability to make up for it.

S – Chad Jones, LSU
The differences between him and Taylor Mays are minimal. Better ball skills than Mays.

S – Morgan Burnett , Georgia Tech
Has the size and athleticism to play either safety position.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft Comments Off

Rising Stock: Thaddeus Gibson

Some of the most sought after players on draft day are 3-4 outside linebackers. Teams routinely reach for players who project well in that scheme due to the fact that there are only so many athletes out there with the size/speed combination to excel at a high level in the NFL.

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl Texas vs Ohio State JAN 5Players such as Larry English (Chargers ’09), Bobby Carpenter (Cowboys ’06) and Jason Babin (Texans ’04) are often drafted in the 1st round based purely on potential, despite limited experience at the position. As a result, the players frequently fail to live up to their 1st-round status.

This year, however, the draft is filled with ‘tweeners and teams may still find great value at the position later in the draft. One player which could draw significant attention in the 2nd or 3rd round is Ohio State’s Thaddeus Gibson.

Gibson, who played defensive end with the Buckeyes, was impressive at the combine and further helped his stock on Ohio State’s Pro Day on Friday.

He was timed somewhere in the 4.5 range in the 40-yard dash, but take that with a grain of salt – OSU’s turf is notorious for churning out some ridiculous times. Even so, his 4.72 at the combine was more than enough to convince teams that he has the athleticism to play standing up at the next level.

Regardless of the legitimacy of the time, a 4.5 from a man who weighs in at 243 pounds is sure to catch the eye of NFL decision makers.

Among those decision makers watching Gibson in person were Steelers’ GM Kevin Colbert and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. The Steelers are known for addressing needs before they develop, and may be in the market for an outside linebacker to backup and eventually replace 31-year-old James Harrison.

As previously mentioned, its a deep class, so its hard to imagine Gibson coming off the board any earlier than the mid 2nd round. However, he’s certainly made an impression and should have solidified his place within the top 75 picks today.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Steelers Comments Off