A Combine peek at Class of 2015


The picks are all in, but the analysis of those who have just become Steelers began long before last weekend's NFL Draft. Following is a look back at what was said about them at the NFL Combine in February, a further review of pre-draft opinions and observations on the NFL Network:

MIKE MAYOCK: "This guy was a 3-4 outside linebacker at Kentucky and because he's 6-foot-4 and 269 pounds he naturally has some length and size to him. His arms aren't that long, only 32-and-a-half inches. There's a lot of differing opinions on this guy. Some guys think he's a first-round pick. Some guys don't think he's consistent enough, but (vertical) jumping 42 inches is nuts and he has great size. Because of his size teams are going to love him, the fact that he's that athletic."

The NFL Network periodically offered computer-generated comparisons of prospects to current NFL players based on physical/statistical measurables (as opposed to playing styles). Dupree's comparisons were Calvin Pace of the Jets (height and weight), Ryan Kerrigan of the Redskins (arm length), Brian Orakpo of the Redskins (vertical jump) and Jadeveon Clowney of the Texans (40-yard dash).

DANIEL JEREMIAH: "For me (the comparison is to) Everson Griffen (of Minnesota). When he was coming out of USC you saw all the tools that he had, 6-4, 273 pounds, ran 4.66 (in the 40) but he never put it all together. The same can be said of Bud Dupree. He needs a little bit of a runway when he's rushing. You create some distance between him and the blocker, you can see the explosiveness. He can convert speed to power. He can win on the edge. He's just not very refined. You saw the same thing with Griffen when he was coming out. Obviously, we've seen (Griffen) blossom into a great player for the Vikings.

STEVE MARIUCCI: "I can see (Dupree) starting in a 3-4 defense as a rusher. Put your hand on the ground and attack the quarterback. This guy has 23.5 (career) sacks and he'll put his hand on the ground in nickel situations (initially) and rush the passer. This guy has some unbelievable measurables.

JEREMIAH: "He just needs to put it all together but you see all the individual tools in the box."

CHARLES DAVIS: "Just think if he takes that 270 (pounds), bends his knees and sets the edge on running plays, he'll be able to do everything."

MAYOCK: "This guy is so fun to watch. He had 10 picks this year and he tracks a ball like the center fielder that he was; that 4.46 (40) he just ran was important."

DEION SANDERS: "Baseball player, baby. He better be able to track it."

MAYOCK: "Short arms but tracks the ball in the air as well as any corner I've seen in the last five years. I like this Golson kid. And I know he's going to get knocked because of his height and all the rest of that but he has rare ball skills."

SANDERS: "There's a guy on this field helping out in these drills named Aaron Glenn, probably the same height (5-9, 183), that had a great career in the NFL (15 seasons)."

MAYOCK (voice-over analysis of Golson interceptions): "When you play zone and you get two verticals (deep routes) you gotta split the difference down the middle, get depth and get your eyes on the quarterback. What he does against Alabama, and this is game on the line, he tracks the football, catches it and keeps a foot in bounds. That ended the game, and that was beautiful.

"Here he is again (against LSU), watch him track the football, hip-to-hip, he becomes the receiver and he makes it look easy.

"Another pick (returned for a touchdown against Louisiana-Lafayette), 5-8-and-a-half, who cares? It's my football. He understands the game. He understands zone concepts and when the ball's in the air it's his."

SANDERS: "He's smooth with his ball skills."


MAYOCK: "This guy has a second gear. The knocks on him are drops and double-catches, does he have natural hands? But everybody knows he can run, he flies, different gear. Height, weight, speed, everybody (at the Combine) wants to see him catch the football and catch it without any double-catches or drops."

Coates' computer-generated player comparison was Sammy Watkins of Buffalo.

MAYOCK: "I think Watkins is a little more explosive and Coates a little more smooth. Watkins is a little more twitchy, Coates a little more of a long strider."


MAYOCK: "This is an interesting kid, and I think he's a little under-valued right now, a real solid football player. This guy does everything pretty well. People are going to hit him because he's not a 4.3 (in the 40) or anything. He ran in the 4.4s today, played for a national champion, didn't miss a game in two years, he tackles, he covers, he plays man, he plays zone."

MAYOCK: "The All-Name Team, great size, 6-7, 261, catches the ball pretty well (on) short and intermediate (routes), not really a speed guy. A little bit of a one-speed guy, didn't have another gear."

MAYOCK: "I thought he had an outstanding week at the East-West practices. He can play inside, outside. A little surprised by his movement skills, better than I expected at the East-West game; good football player. In short areas showed some quickness at the East-West game. Powerful guy, I see him somewhere around a fourth- or a fifth-round pick."

MAYOCK: "He had a great East-West week. He played inside, he played outside. He's more of a base 4-3 end in my opinion. He has a better get-off than people understand, and he has a great motor so he'll play at the next level."

Holliman only did the bench press at the combine and didn't get any TV time. But he met the media and addressed his tackling, which was characterized as "atrocious" in a pre-draft scouting report posted on NFL.com.

"Yes, that's an area where I want to improve," Holliman said. "A lot of teams have already asked me about it. I just have to improve my angles to the ball. I'm not afraid to tackle."

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