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Midweek Mock Draft Roundup 9.0: A look at the Steelers latest mock draft projections

Behind the Steel Curtain - 5 hours 34 min ago

We take a look at 10 of the latest mock draft offerings from some of the more notable names in the game.

With the initial wave of free agency behind them, the mock draft experts have been forced to re-evaluate their projections in the wake of some notable free agent signings. And for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the additions of cornerback Steven Nelson, wide receiver Donte Moncrief and linebacker Mark Barron are sure to impact the prospects connected to them as we get closer to draft day.

Each and every Wednesday for the next five weeks, we will bring you a selection of the latest mock draft projections from around the NFL draft community in an effort to help identify some of the players Pittsburgh could be interested in come April. So far, we have looked at 80 contrasting offerings from some of the more well-known names in the business, with five different defensive players standing out from the pack as the most popular names to project to the Steelers over the past eight weeks.

This week we have 10 more mock drafts worthy of review:

Bucky Brooks, NFL Network - CB, Byron Murphy, Washington

“The Steelers could use a high IQ cover corner with superb instincts and a diverse skill set. Murphy is a perfect candidate to excel as a CB1 in a defense that mixes man and zone concepts.”

(Previous pick - CB, Byron Murphy, Washington)

Charles Davis, NFL Network - WR, Marquise Brown, Oklahoma

“Amidst all the hand wringing after the loss of All-Pro WR Antonio Brown, the man they call “Hollywood” -- who happens to be Antonio’s cousin -- steps into the breach, and provides instant big-play ability. He wasn’t able to work out at the combine or Oklahoma’s pro day due to a Lisfranc (foot) injury, but he’s expected to be ready for training camp.”

(Previous pick - first mock)

Conor Orr, Sports Illustrated - CB, Greedy Williams, LSU

“I’ll go back to Andy Benoit’s stellar offseason needs post, in which he wrote Pittsburgh is in desperate need of a “true perimeter cover artist opposite star Joe Haden,” who would “let them play less pure zone and more of the matchup coverages.” Williams has 35 pass breakups over the last two seasons, and has allowed an average QB rating on balls thrown in his direction of 26.”

(Previous pick - first mock)

Nate Davis, USA Today - LB, Devin Bush, Michigan

“All of their recent drama on the offensive side — yes, Kevin Colbert, drama — has overshadowed the ongoing need for a defensive playmaker in the middle of the field post-Ryan Shazier.”

(Previous pick - CB, Byron Murphy, Washington)

Chris Trapasso, CBS Sports - LB, Devin Bush, Michigan

“Bush is a twitchy, super-charged linebacker, exactly the type of player the Steelers need at that position.”

(Previous pick - LB, Devin Bush, Michigan)

Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports - WR, Hakeem Butler, Iowa State

“Butler flew under the national radar last season but he had 60 catches for 1,318 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2018. At 6-5, he’s not only a huge target, but his 4.48 40 at the combine confirms that he can run by just about anybody too. And while the Steelers have other needs -- mostly on defense -- Butler would make life easier for Ben Roethlisberger and JuJu Smith-Schuster in a post-Antonio Brown world.”

(Previous pick - LB, Devin Bush, Michigan)

Brent Sobleski, Bleacher Report - CB, Greedy Williams, LSU

“Cornerback Bradley Roby spurned the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers to sign a one-year deal with the Houston Texans, per 9News’ Mike Klis. However, Pittsburgh did sign Steven Nelson to bolster its porous secondary.”

“But Nelson has been better covering the slot, and the Steelers could use quality depth, especially if they finally decide to move on from Artie Burns. Furthermore, Joe Haden just entered the final year of his contract.”

“A cornerback selection becomes even more interesting if the Steelers have their choice of top prospects.”

“LSU’s Greedy Williams can replace Burns or Haden as a long-term starter at outside corner. The 6’2”, 185-pound defensive back is extremely fluid in his hips and shows strong footwork. His short-area burst and willingness to tackle are suspect, but the Steelers need someone to cover receivers such as A.J. Green and Odell Beckham Jr. in the AFC North.”

(Previous pick - CB, Deandre Baker, Georgia)

Doug Farrar, Touchdown Wire - LB, Devin Bush, Michigan

“Antonio Brown is gone. Le’Veon Bell is gone. And still, the most sobering personnel issue for the Steelers is that they don’t have anyone to replace Ryan Shazier’s speed and flexibility at the linebacker position. It’s easy to do an macro with the 20th overall pick, but replacing Brown isn’t done overnight, and the ways in which Bush could shore up a linebacker corps in desperate need makes him (or someone like him) the more important positional selection.”

(Previous pick - LB, Devin White, LSU)

Benjamin Solak, Draft Network - LB, Devin Bush, Michigan

“The Steelers just added Mark Barron in free agency. Now imagine if they could add Mark Barron, but actually good at football, in the draft. What a win that would be.”

Even with the addition of Barron and my light-hearted take on it, the Steelers need a long-term, three-down answer at linebacker; nobody thinks Barron is that player any longer. Bush tested himself into Round 1 consideration, but the film does illustrate a linebacker with an ideal profile for the modern NFL.”

(Previous pick - LB, Devin White, LSU)

Luke Easterling, DraftWire - CB, Byron Murphy, Washington

“It’s no secret corner is the Steelers’ biggest need, so it won’t be a surprise to see them grab the best one available at this pick. They luck out in this scenario, landing my top cover man in this year’s class. Murphy may not have elite physical traits, but his instincts, intelligence and ball skills set him apart.”

(Previous pick - LB, Devin Bush, Michigan)

Michigan linebacker Devin Bush is once again our consensus winner for the third week in a row, projected to the Steelers by four out of our 10 experts. Wide receiver Hakeem Butler from Iowa State is our only new name this time around, but a wide receiver in the first-round seems unlikely in light of the signing of Moncrief.

We will add more mock drafts to our weekly roundup as they appear and we encourage you to let us know which experts you think we should be highlighting over the coming weeks.

Le’Veon Bell highlights his fragile ego in softball interview with SI

Behind the Steel Curtain - 7 hours 33 min ago

The former Steelers running back aired his grievances with Pittsburgh in s 25 minute interview with Sports Illustrated, complaining that he was not treated like a human in the Steel City

If fans had hoped to get some answers about what had really happened between Le’Veon Bell and Pittsburgh Steelers from his interview with Jenny Vrentas of Sports Illustrated, those who watched the full 25-minute conversation that was released on Wednesday were likely to have been bitterly disappointed.

Much like the much anticipated interview with Antonio Brown with Jeff Darlington of the ESPN a few weeks ago, the piece was simply a chance for the player to make a series of unsubstantiated and frankly ridiculous claims in the face of a reporter with no interest in talking about the truth.

Softball question after softball question encouraged Bell to spin his own tale of sadness, with the running back making the most of the opportunity to let the world know just how mean the Steelers had been to him during his time in Pittsburgh.

Despite repeated suggestions over the years that he would never play for the New York Jets, not even for $100 million, Bell did his best to convince Vrentas that they were actually the team he had wanted to play for all along. Citing the love the fans in New York had shown him ahead of his signing, as well as the level of respect he felt from head coach Adam Gase and GM Mike Maccagan, Bell left no doubt that he believed he had not been held in the same regard in Pittsburgh.

Ignore the tweet below, Bell must have been talking about a different Mike Tomlin.

"juice is in the building" love coach T to death, wouldn't wanna play for no other coach or play in any other city..

— Le'Veon Bell (@LeVeonBell) February 17, 2016

Blaming Ben Roethlisberger in part for his desire to leave, as well as the fans, Bell would go on to say - “They don’t treat you like a human” in Pittsburgh.

Initially claiming he had intended to play last season all along, Bell told Vrentas that it was the public comments of his teammates ahead of Week 1 that ultimately caused him to change his mind. Admitting that neither him nor his agent had any understanding of the actual rules that would dictate his status in 2019, Bell would acknowledge that “new information” around the bye week changed his mind about returning at all in 2018.

“That’s when I got to the point, if I don’t got to come back, then I’m not going to come back, unless I was literally feeling welcomed.”

Despite pointing out how much he did not like being in Pittsburgh, Bell would go on to claim that he would have reluctantly signed the Steelers deal last year if the team had guaranteed his salary in year-two. But while an article that accompanies the video written by Vrentas acknowledges that Pittsburgh never cut players in their second season who have signed contracts like the one offered to Bell, she strangely chose not to broach the subject with him during the interview.

Appearing visibly sad for the poor running back as he told his take of woe, Vrentas came across as more of a sympathetic parent listening to a child than a reporter interested in what really happened.

Optimistic that he has now found the right home with the Jets, Bell appears to believe that he will be more involved in game planning than he ever was with the Steelers, something he clearly wished he could have done in Pittsburgh.

For those that can stomach it, the full interview can be seen below. Hopefully, this is the last piece I will ever have to write about him.

The 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers have absolutely nothing to do with the Josh Harris drama

Behind the Steel Curtain - 8 hours 28 min ago

Nothing a running back says who played just five games for the Steelers—Josh Harris—and did so in 2014 means anything in 2019.

As someone who has watched him for the past 15 years, I’d be disingenuous if I told you that I didn’t think Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was a little, well, disingenuous when it comes to forging relationships with teammates, coaches, fans, etc.

Let’s face it, he’s just not very good at it. He’s never going to be Mr. Steeler. His time in Pittsburgh will always be remembered fondly—much more than that, actually—but can’t you just see him moving away when his career is complete? Can’t you see him kind of distancing himself from all things Steelers? It wouldn’t be unprecedented. It wouldn’t even be an egregious act—lots of ex-Steelers (beloved and not so much) have done the same.

When it comes to Roethlisberger, it’s no secret he’s never exactly been a universally popular teammate. As far as we know, he’s not hosting picnics on a regular basis—and even if he is, he’s certainly not including all 52 teammates on his Facebook invite list.

With that in mind, I can certainly see why Josh Harris, a running back who spent one season in the NFL—2014—and shared the same locker room with Roethlisberger, doesn’t exactly have warm and fuzzy feelings when thinking about the only franchise quarterback he ever played with.

But it’s one thing to spend the very definition of a cup of coffee in the NFL—five games, nine carries and 16 yards—and not have fond memories of the one player on the team that obviously didn’t have much time for you given his importance and status—not to mention your status as someone who was about five degrees below Le’Veon Bell in 2014. It’s quite another to assassinate the man’s character.

But assassinate Roethlisberger’s character, Harris did, last week, by flat out saying in a Tweet that the veteran quarterback intentionally fumbled at the tail-end of a Week 17 game against the Bengals at Heinz Field that season.

“Todd Haley called a run play with very little time left in the game. Ben wanted to kneel. He rolled his eyes in the huddle. He then purposely fumbles the ball. I had to recover it. At that moment I knew what kinda person he was.”

As far as accusations go, it was a very safe one for Harris to make, given that the Bengals were down by two scores with little time remaining, Harris recovered the fumble, and the the Steelers won the game.

It was also a half-decade ago, and Harris is nothing but a distant memory—if even that—who doesn’t have to personally answer to his former teammate about said accusation.

You know what else it was? A very unfair thing to say, given that there is no way anyone can prove the fumble was intentional.

The only thing Harris’s accusation did do was pile on more drama to an organization that’s certainly had its fair share.

But you know what? The Steelers have nothing to do with this latest bit of drama. This was a former player that certainly lacks the credibility to judge the character of anyone he played with, considering the limited amount of time he spent with most of the people on that squad—especially Roethlisberger. Secondly, it’s a baseless accusation that would be irresponsible for some nobody writer like me to make, let alone an athlete who played even a minute of professional sports.

Again, Ben Roethlisberger was probably never Harris’s buddy during his short stay in Pittsburgh. To reiterate, he’s probably never had very many in that locker room over the years—in that regard, he’s like another blond, multi-time Super Bowl winning quarterback with a Double B nickname who used to play for the Steelers. But to assassinate his character by making such an outlandish accusation? That says more about the running back than it does the quarterback.

Josh Harris left a long time ago, and much like his career with the team, his accusation has little relevance and nothing to do with the 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers.

Le'Veon Bell's gamble certainly didn’t pay off, but you can’t label him a loser

Behind the Steel Curtain - 10 hours 20 min ago

Former Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell walked away from a lot of guaranteed money just to make guaranteed money he likely would have gotten anyway. Does this make him a loser? Yes, but we should all be such losers.

If you’re anything like me, you jumped for joy last week when it was revealed that Le’Veon Bell, the former Steelers’ all-everything running back, inked a deal with the Jets that wasn’t worth more money than he would have gotten had he just went ahead and signed a multi-year contract with Pittsburgh—in either 2017 or 2018.

Actually, if you’re anything like me, you cursed the gene gods for not blessing you with the ability to do something—anything—valuable enough to convince a corporation to guarantee you $25 million.

That’s what the New York Jets decided to fully guarantee Bell, last week, when they signed him to a four-year contract that could be worth as much as $62 million with incentives.

As for the Steelers deal—at least the one offered last year (2017 was too long ago to worry about)—the guaranteed money wasn’t worth as much, but if you consider the fact that Pittsburgh wasn’t going to just up and cut Bell even after a gruesome injury, he was all-but assured to make more than the Jets are guaranteeing him.

Maybe the deal he just signed with New York—one that could average $15.5 million per year (or $1.5 million more annually than Pittsburgh offered)—will ultimately pay Bell more than he would have earned had he remained with the Steelers.

We will never know for sure. But what we do know is that Bell came out a loser in the end—again, as much as a person who was just guaranteed $25 million could be categorized as a “loser.”

Why do I say this? Because Bell walked away from $14.5 million in 2018 just so he could get the $25 million he was likely going to get anyway. You might say, “Yeah, but what if he got hurt last year?” Yes, what if he got hurt? No doubt, a torn ACL in the fall of 2018 would have severely limited Bell’s earning potential in the spring of 2019. But unless you or he has a crystal ball that can see into the future (and I don’t even think $25 million can buy one of those gadgets just yet), we will never know if he would have gotten hurt in 2018.

All we know is he didn’t get hurt. And even though I don’t have a crystal ball, I can confidently assume that Bell, coming off of a season in-which he didn’t tear a ligament vital to a star running back, would have been able to procure a contract that included at least $25 million in guaranteed money.

Therefore, knowing what we do know—Bell entered the 2019 free agency period sans serious injury—he sacrificed $14.5 million in-order to make $25 million.

In other words, he walked away from at least—at least—$10.5 million.

That’s a lot of money to walk away from.

Does this mean you, the fan, are justified in mocking Bell on social media? If it makes you feel better, I guess.

As for me, I’m going to continue to curse those gene gods for not making me talented enough in something—anything—to give some nobody writer an idea to craft an article about walking away from $14.5 million just to make a point.

Steelers continue to meet draft prospects at pro days, beginning to arrange pre-draft visits

Behind the Steel Curtain - 11 hours 33 min ago

The college pro day schedule is not even at the halfway point and news of pre-draft meetings the Steelers will hold later in the offseason are already starting to emerge.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are allowed to host as many as 30 out-of-town players for pre-draft visits in 2019, and it appears we may already know the name of at least one of those prospects if a report from Jared Tokarz is to be believed.

Notre Dame WR Miles Boykin destroyed the combine:

6’4 220lbs 4.42 forty 43.5 vert (no typo)

He has a top 30 visit with:#Steelers
And private workouts set with:#Texans#Cardinals

— Jared Tokarz (@NFLDraftInsider) March 19, 2019

And with Notre Dame set to hold their pro day on Wednesday, it will be interesting to see which members of the Steelers organization are on hand to watch wide receiver Miles Boykin workout.

Pittsburgh also look set to meet with Kentucky defensive back Mike Edwards for what could be either a private workout or a pre-draft visit, according to a report from Justin Melo os SB Nation.

Kentucky DB Mike Edwards has private visits or workouts set up with the following: #Patriots, #Steelers, #Dolphins, #Titans, #Raiders & #Giants.

— Justin M (@JustinM_NFL) March 19, 2019

Tuesday saw Alabama open their doors to the NFL for their pro day event, with Steelers GM Kevin Colbert among a host of notable names in attendance.

Alabama Pro Day is the place to be today:

Patriots HC Bill Belichick
Bengals HC Zac Taylor
Raiders GM Mike Mayock
49ers GM John Lynch
Steelers GM Kevin Colbert
Lions GM Bob Quinn
Titans GM Jon Robinson
Bills GM Brandon Beane
Saints GM Mickey Loomis
Panthers GM Marty Hurney

— Andrew Groover (@APGroover) March 19, 2019

As was defensive line coach Karl Dunbar.

Former Alabama DL coach and current Pittsburgh Steelers DL coach Karl Dunbar is here.

— James Ogletree (@jameslogletree) March 18, 2019

Pittsburgh were one of 28 NFL teams with a representative at Temple’s pro day on Monday.

Temple pro day: 28 NFL teams in attendance: confirmed ARZ; ATL; BAL; BUF; CHI; CIN; CLE; DET; GB; IND; JAX; LAC; MIA; NE; NO; NYG; NYJ; OAK; PHI; PIT; SEA. Make sure you follow our contributor @drewschweitz for updates. #TempeTuff

— NFL Draft Bible (@NFLDraftBible) March 18, 2019

As per Tony Pauline of Draft Analyst, the Steelers wide receiver coach was on hand for the Toledo pro day on Tuesday.

“The Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Bucs, New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers were four of the teams who had wide receiver coaches on hand for the workout. The receiver workout was run by Nick Caserio of the New England Patriots.”

And also reported that a Pittsburgh representative met with Louisiana Tech defensive lineman Immanuel Turner on Monday. As reported by Pauline.

“The team’s other defensive lineman, Immanuel Turner, also performed well, timing the 40 between 4.97 to 5.01 after weighing in at 309 pounds. Turner, who has 14 official pre-draft visits, met with the New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders today.”

According to veteran beat writer Jim Wexell of Steel City Insider, new defensive coach Teryl Austin workout out defensive backs Justin Layne, Khari Willis and Trayvon Mullen at the Michigan State Pro Day on Monday. Also reporting that Layne had met with Mike Tomlin at the NFL Scouting Combine a few weeks earlier. Willis apparently met Tomlin at the Senior Bowl and defensive backs coach Tom Bradley at the combine as well.

Wednesday should be a busy day for the Steelers with pro days events set to be held at Ohio State, Notre Dame, Georgia, USC and Pittsburgh among others.

Podcast: Ben Roethlisberger isn’t a leader, but he is a winner

Behind the Steel Curtain - 12 hours 43 min ago

In a brand new show titled ‘Yeah, I said it’, we talk about some burning topics surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, as a whole, have been through some of the most turbulent months in recent memory the past few years. Whether it was Le’Veon Bell’s first holdout prior to Week 1 in 2017. Or him sitting out the entire 2018 regular season before hitting free agency. Then came the Antonio Brown saga, I’ll just leave it at that.

Everywhere you turned, negative comments were being made about the black-and-gold, and this trend continues. Who is the target now?

Ben Roethlisberger.

Roethlisberger has been called out for being a lousy teammate, someone who fumbles on purpose and a horrible leader.

Multiple times, by multiple people.

Regardless of how you might view Roethlisberger as a leader/teammate, you can’t deny he is a winner. And for some, being a winner trumps being a good leader.

This is where the newest BTSC podcast “Yeah, I Said It” comes in. My co-host on ‘The Standard is the Standard’, Lance Williams, talks about why Ben Roethlisberger being a winner is far more important than him being a good leader.

Lance is the perfect man for the job, and delivers the goods in the latest show.

Check out the audio below:

Feel free to give us your thoughts on the topic in the comment section below, and don’t forget to follow us on all our audio platforms by following the links below:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Google Play: CLICK HERE

Black and Gold Links: Steven Nelson brings a toughness, and tenacity, to the Steelers secondary

Behind the Steel Curtain - 13 hours 43 min ago

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season is over, but if you think the news surrounding the black-and-gold is over — think again. For the drama-filled Steelers, things are just heating up, and this is where the daily links article comes in. You might have missed some key news, and we fill you in and give you the latest, and sometimes greatest, news surrounding the Steelers.

Today in the Black-and-gold links article we take a look at how Steven Nelson brings a toughness, or a tenacity, to the Steelers’ secondary which could really use such characteristics.

Let’s get to the news:

  • The Pittsburgh Steelers’ secondary gets bashed repeatedly at every turn. People point to failed draft picks, a lack of depth and an overall inability to piece together a respectable unit. Newly acquired cornerback Steven Nelson might not be the answer to all those questions, but he is certainly as tough as they come, and that could rub off on others.

New Steelers cornerback Steven Nelson brings ‘toughness’ to secondary

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Nelson thinks he has the skill set required to provide more interceptions for the Steelers this season. He also had 15 passes defensed last season.

“My toughness,” Nelson said when asked to describe the skills the Steelers found attractive in him. “I feel like my toughness, my relentlessness, my work ethic.”

Nelson was one of the most targeted cornerbacks last year while playing for a Chiefs pass defense that was among the worst in the NFL.

“Just being on the outside, you’re going to get more targets,” he said. “That ball is going to come your way more. You just have more opportunities. If you’re a playmaker and you have a knack for the ball, you’re just able to make more plays on the ball that way.”

To read the full article, click HERE

  • There has been a ton of shake up up in the AFC North division. What will the Steelers, Browns, Bengals and Ravens look like?

Tim Benz: How the new AFC North might look

By: Tim Benz, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

I bet the Brownies are two to three wins better. And two to three wins — especially if a few of them are against AFC North foes — gets them up to nine or 10.

Last year, 10 was good enough to win the division. Which, shockingly, I think the Dawg Pound might do. Force me to make a pick right now in the AFC North? Yes, I’d choose Cleveland.

Again, prisoner-of-the-moment stuff? Maybe. Check back with me in September. But the acquisitions of Odell Beckham Jr. and Kareem Hunt (depending on a potential suspension), coupled with a full year of Baker Mayfield as the quarterback lead me to believe the Browns will live up to the frothing expectations in Northeast Ohio.

To read the full article, click HERE

  • Who are some players who might still be out there in free agency the Steelers could target?

A look at remaining free-agent field for Steelers

By: Dale Lolley, DKPittsburghSports

As we head into the second week of free agency in the NFL, teams take a step back and reassess things. There’s been a lot of money spent thus far, with contracts handed out in excess of $750 million.

But that hardly means the cupboard is bare of good players. In fact, now is the time teams can add a player at a bargain price -- at least that’s the idea.

There are still some teams that have big money available. The Colts, for example, have been relatively quiet, despite still having $95 million in cap space according to

To read the full article, click HERE

  • Tweets and stuff

#OTD in 1952, Hall of Fame C Mike Webster was born.

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) March 19, 2019

Pennsylvania's new tallest roller coaster gets its crowning piece.#SteelCurtain | @Kenny_Kangaroo

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) March 19, 2019

Joe Haden is headed to Abu Dhabi for the Special Olympics World Games with his brother, Jacob.

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) March 12, 2019

The Carolina Panthers are on the clock, but who will they take?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 2:26pm

It’s time to make a pick for the Carolina Panthers in our 2019 Community Mock

...the pick is in...

With the 15th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins select D.K. Metcalf WR Mississippi

The Carolina Panthers are now on the clock...

Team Needs: OT/ Edge/ Safety/ IOL/ WR/ LB/ IDL

2018 NFL Draft Selections

1 (24) DJ Moore, wr, Maryland

2 (55) Donte Jackson, cb, LSU.

3 (85) Rashaan Gaulden, db, Tennessee.

4 (101) Ian Thomas, te, Indiana.

4 (136) Marquis Haynes, de, Mississippi.

5 (161) Jermaine Carter, lb, Maryland.

7 (234) Andre Smith, lb, North Carolina.

7 (242) Kendrick Norton, dt, Miami.

2019 NFL Draft Selections and Order

Pick 1 - Arizona Cardinal Nick Bosa Edge Ohio State

Pick 2 - San Francisco 49er’s Josh Allen Edge Kentucky

Pick 3 - New York Jets Jonah Williams OT Alabama

Pick 4 - Oakland Raiders Quinnen Williams IDL Alabama

Pick 5 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers Greedy Williams CB LSU

Pick 6 - New York Giants Dwayne Haskins QB Ohio State

Pick 7 - Jacksonville Jaguars Drew Lock QB Missouri

Pick 8 - Detroit Lions Clelin Ferrell Edge Clemson

Pick 9 - Buffalo Bills Ed Oliver IDL Houston

Pick 10 - Denver Broncos Devin White ILB LSU

Pick 11 - Cincinnati Bengals Cody Ford OT Oklahoma

Pick 12 - Green Bay Packers Jachai Polite Edge Florida

Pick 13 - Miami Dolphins Kyler Murray QB Oklahoma

Pick 14 - Atlanta Falcons Montez Sweat Edge Mississippi St.

Pick 15 - Washington Redskins D.K. Metcalf WR Mississippi

Note: For those that may vote “other”, let us know who you would have picked. If its a trade scenario fill us in on what you are thinking.

New contract details for Donte Moncrief show a salary cap charge of $3.25M in 2019

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 12:00pm

The contract details for the 2-year deal Donte Moncrief signed last week indicate another backloaded by the Steelers.

The new contract details for one of the Pittsburgh Steelers more notable free agents signing this offseason finally emerged on Tuesday, with the numbers indicating another backloaded deal this is relatively cap friendly in year-one.

As per the figures released by Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle and Steelers salary cap expert Ian Whetstone, the $9 million contract Donte Moncrief has signed with Pittsburgh will only cost $3.25 million against the salary cap space in 2019.

Donte Moncrief (Steelers) $9M, $3.5M signing bonus, $3.5M gtd, salaries $1.5, $3.5M; $500K rosterbonus

— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 19, 2019

To flesh this out a little, the contract for new Steelers WR Donte Moncrief consists of a signing bonus of $3.5M, plus base salaries of $1.5M this year and $3.5M next year. There’s also a $500,000 roster bonus next year. It’s a total of $9M over two years.

— Ian Whetstone (@IanWhetstone) March 19, 2019

After displacement, this deal will only have used up $2.755 million of the cap space currently available, while a signing bonus of just $3.5 million offers Moncrief only limited guarantees he will still be with the team in 2020. The former third-round pick is also due a roster bonus of $500,000 next season.


  • Base salary - $1.5 million
  • Prorated signing bonus - $1.75 million
  • Salary cap charge - $3.25 million


  • Base salary - $3.5 million
  • Roster bonus - $500,000
  • Prorated signing bonus - $1.75 million
  • Salary cap hit - $5.75 million

If the Steelers do not like what they saw in Moncrief after year-one of his contract, the receiver could be released by absorbing a dead money charge of $1.75 million next year, a move that would also create $4 million in salary cap savings. In terms of actual cash flow, Moncrief will earn $5 million in 2019 and $4 million in 2020.

Having played on a one-year deal worth $9.6 million with the Indianapolis Colts in 2018, it would be fair to say that Moncrief has accepted considerably less to join Pittsburgh this season. Still, more than enough to feed Moncrief for at least a year ...

Steelers create over $2.8M of salary cap space by restructuring contract of Vince Williams

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 10:55am

The Steelers have made a move to create some additional salary cap space in 2019 by restructuring the contract of linebacker Vince Williams

With less salary cap space than most NFL teams this offseason, it would appear that the Pittsburgh Steelers have opted to restructure the contract of linebacker Vince Williams to give them some extra cap room to work with in 2019.

Once again, Steelers salary cap expert Ian Whetstone was the first to note the change on the NFLPA contract database, revealing a salary cap saving of $2,863,334 this year.

Looks like the Steelers have restructured the contract of LB Vince Williams to clear a bit a salary cap space. Looks like they've turn Williams' $2.9M roster bonus and $1.395M of his $2.2M base salary into signing bonus, freeing $2,863,334 in the process.

— Ian Whetstone (@IanWhetstone) March 19, 2019

Originally set to cost Pittsburgh $6.7 million against the cap in 2019, Williams was due a base salary of $2.2 million and a roster bonus of $2.9 million. The Steelers have effectively turned that roster bonus into a signing bonus, along with $1.395 million of his base salary, and spread that out of the remaining length of his contract as part of his prorated bonus. A move that will have added $1,431,666 to his cap charge in 2020 and $1,431,668 in 2021.

This is how his contract will look going forward


  • Base salary - $805,000
  • Prorated signing bonus - $3,031,666
  • Salary cap charge - $3,836,666


  • Base salary - $4 million
  • Prorated signing bonus - $3,031,666
  • Salary cap hit - $7,031,666


  • Base salary - $4 million
  • Prorated signing bonus - $3,031,668
  • Salary cap hit - $7,031,668

And how it looked before the restructure.

As with any restructure, the move does not pay Williams any more money over, but simply changes the way the contract is accounted for. And as most Pittsburgh fans are more than aware, restructuring is a tool the Steelers have frequently used over the years as a way of creating additional cap space.

While Williams may be the first to have this done to his deal in 2019, he is unlikely to be the last, with the contract of Stephon Tuitt offering the highest potential savings. Due a base salary of $6 million and a roster bonus of $3 million, a restructure of Tuitt’s deal could create around $6 million in cap savings this season and would add $2 million to his cap charge in each of his remaining years under contract.

Predicting how many Compensatory Draft Picks the Steelers will receive in the 2020 NFL Draft

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 9:22am

Are the Steelers still in position to receive a third round pick for Le’Veon Bell?

With the initial frenzy from the start of free agency coming to a close, the Pittsburgh Steelers are currently in a position to where they could gain a compensatory draft pick in 2020. Ever since last summer when it appeared Le’Veon Bell would not be returning to the Steelers in a long-term deal, Steeler fans have been patiently awaiting a third round compensatory pick as compensation. But do the numbers show the Steelers are still in line to get such a pick?

There is an actual formula used in calculating compensatory value using factors such as yearly salary, playing time, and postseason accomplishments. Unfortunately, the NFL does not release the exact formula, so the only way to precisely calculate players compensatory value is based on estimates from previous years.

As stated in a 2017 article from, “The formula used to award compensatory draft picks, developed by the NFL Management Council, has never been publicly revealed. However, in the years since 1994 outside observers have been able to determine much of how the formula works, and have created projections in an effort to demystify how compensatory picks work, a process that has confused many an NFL fan.”

How it Works

While the formula to calculate compensatory value is unknown, the process of awarding picks is clearly defined. Once the players compensatory value is calculated, they are given a “round designation” which determines their value. This is done for every free-agent player and affects both the team who gained the player and the team who lost the player. Free agents who sign for (or close to) the league minimum do not qualify in the compensatory process and are designated “non-qualifying unrestricted free agents.” Players who were released by a team also do not qualify as a compensatory player, such as newly signed Steeler Mark Barron Who was released by the Los Angeles Rams. Since the Rams cannot benefit from Barron’s loss, the Steelers are not penalized by signing him.

At the conclusion of the season, a team’s qualifying players both gained and lost since the beginning of the league year through the second Tuesday after the NFL draft are sorted according to what round they were designated. Players signed after the eligible time period do not factor into compensatory selections. To determine the round, the average yearly salary for the entire contract which the player signed is the starting point. This number will then be multiplied by an unknown factor based on playing time. If applicable, the number will be multiplied again by another factor based on postseason awards such as Defensive Player of the Year, All Pro, etc. Once these factors have been applied, the final number will determine the round designation.

First and foremost, a team is only eligible for a compensatory draft pick if they have lost a greater number of qualifying players then they have gained, regardless of the round designation. If a team loses a third round free-agent and signs a seventh round free agent, they still are not eligible for a compensatory draft pick. There must be more players lost than players gained who qualify.

When a greater number of players have been lost in free agency than what a team gained, the next step is to determine which round the team can receive any compensatory picks. If a team gains and loses a player with the same round designation, they are canceled out. For example, in 2017 the Steelers lost Steve McClendon with a sixth round designation, but gained Ladarius Green as a six round designation. Those two players cancel each other out where they no longer factor into any compensatory picks.

If a player gained does not have a player lost with an equal round designation, the next player in the next lowest round will be who is canceled out. For example, if Steve McClendon would have been valued as a fifth round compensatory value, Ladarius Green would not have canceled him out. Instead, Green would have canceled out a seventh round loss in the same year such as Will Johnson.

Any player departures who were not canceled out by a player gain would then award the team a compensatory pick for the round they were designated. Only 32 picks are awarded, so all seventh round selections may not make the cut. This situation occurred for the Steelers in 2017 when both Will Johnson and Valentino (Antwon) Blake were eligible for a seventh round selection but we’re not high enough on the list before the number of total picks had run out.

Looking at 2020

So far for the 2019 league year, the Steelers have had three players who will qualify under departures (Bell, James, and Fort) and two players who they have signed as qualifying free agents (Nelson and Moncrief). As stated earlier, Mark Barron does not count due to him being released by his previous team. If there are no additional qualifying gains or losses, the Steelers would be in line for one compensatory draft pick.

To estimate the round of the Steelers would receive the pick, multiple sources (such as have been used in order to attempt designating a round for each player. Please remember these round designations could change based on the multiplication factors which will be determined after the 2019 season. But as of right now, the following round designations have been approximated for the Steelers free agents:


Le’Veon Bell (3)

Jesse James (5)

L.J. Fort (7)


Steven Nelson (4)

Donte Moncrief (?)

With the financials of Moncrief’s salary still undisclosed, his round designation cannot be determined. Personally, I believe it will be most likely a sixth rounder (EDIT: as predicted, Moncrief’s 2-year contract for $9 million should equate to a sixth round designation). Regardless, unless it goes all the way up to the third round, it will not cancel out Le’Veon Bell. So the following cancellations would be as follows:

Nelson (4) cancels James (5)

Moncrief (6?) cancels Fort (7)

Under this scenario, the Steelers would receive a third round compensatory pick for Le’Veon Bell.

Other Factors

The most obvious change to the situation would be if the Steelers signed another qualifying free agent without losing any. Even if the new player had a seventh round designation, they would still cancel out Le’Veon Bell due to the total number of players lost versus the total number of players gained.

Another important factor would be Le’Veon Bell continuing to qualify as a third round player. If Bell suffers an injury early in the season and ends up not playing many snaps for the Jets, the multiplication factor could knock him down to a fourth round selection. If so, the Steelers would not even receive a fourth round pick because Steven Nelson’s fourth round designation would cancel Le’Veon Bell. The Steelers will then be left with the fifth round pick from Jesse James instead.

Subsequently, if Steven Nelson‘s snaps played along with him receiving any awards for the season would cause him to have a larger multiplying factor, he could move up to a third round designation which would then cancel Bell. Oh, what a problem it would be for the Steelers to have their newly signed cornerback become an All Pro player which made them lose the value of a compensatory picks. How could the Steelers ever handle such a situation? Obviously, if Nelson is having such a successful season, compensatory draft position should be the last thing Steelers Nation should worry about.


It is estimated that the Steelers are currently set up to receive one compensatory draft pick in the third round of the 2020 draft. If the Steelers sign another qualifying free agent without also losing one as well, they will lose any compensatory draft picks. If the multiplying factors of playing time and postseason awards cause any players to change their round designation, it could significantly change which players cancel out in, affecting the pick the Steelers would receive.

How do the Steelers stack up against other organizations when drafting secondary players?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 7:53am

Taking a look at how the Steelers stack up against other NFL teams when it comes to drafting in the secondary.

With the addition of free agent cornerback Steven Nelson and two young starting safeties, the Pittsburgh Steelers may not have a pressing need to draft a secondary player early. Joe Haden, the other starting corner, is entering the final year of his contract and may or may not be extended. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert get berated for poor drafting and development of secondary defenders. Steelers fans all know the Steelers have had issues with drafting secondary players who have not panned out. But where is the comparison to others around the league? Are the Steelers the only team in the league bad at drafting and developing cornerbacks and safeties?

Sample size matters in this context, as a head coach that has been with his team for three or four years just does not have enough numbers under his belt to be relevant. People often talk about how the NFL really stands for “Not for long” and that is true with head coaches. Of the 32 current NFL head coaches, 24 of them have been hired since 2014.

The span used here will be from 2010 to 2018, so a couple more head coaches have been tossed out and one is without a head coaching job added in because of his long tenure. Bill Belichick, Sean Payton, John Harbaugh, Jason Garrett, Pete Carroll, and the recently departed Marvin Lewis are yardsticks when comparing to the Steelers organization.

Pro Football Reference is being used with their draft finder. The parameters that are being used is the span in years, individual teams, every draft round, and CB, S, and DB as the draft positions. All-Pro and Pro Bowl are by the number of years total.

Mike Tomlin

16 secondary defenders drafted


1: 2

2: 2

3: 2

4: 3

5: 5

6: 0

7: 2

Years as the primary starter and the number of players.

0: 13

1: 2

2: 1


Pro Bowl-0

The Steelers have little to show for their draft picks but one thing to note is that no player was drafted in the first two rounds until Senquez Goulston in 2015 and six of those draft picks have come in the past three drafts and their stories are far from finished. As of now, the Steelers top the list of futility but there is hope with Sean Davis (Second rounder) and Terrell Edmunds (First rounder).

Bill Belichick

14 secondary defenders drafted


1: 1

2: 5

3: 2

4: 0

5: 0

6: 2

7: 4

Years as the primary starter and the number of players.

0: 10

1: 2

2: 1

4: 1

9: 1


Pro Bowl-2

Belichick has had a mixed bag of success with his lone home run with Devin McCourty (First rounder) and his long productive career. Logan Ryan (Third rounder) had two quality years with New England before leaving to the Tennessee Titans where he has been the main starter for two more seasons. Tavon Wilson (Second rounder) is the other player to have limited success but that was with the Detroit Lions in his two seasons as a starter. One or two starters out of 14 is hardly an impressive success rate.

Sean Payton

13 secondary defenders drafted


1: 3

2: 3

3: 2

4: 0

5: 4

6: 1

7: 0

Years as the primary starter and the number of players.

0: 9

2: 3

6: 1


Pro Bowl-1

Kenny Vaccaro (First rounder) was the longest tenured secondary defender with the Saints. That tenure ended with free agency in 2019. Marshon Lattimore (First rounder) is the lone Pro Bowl selection and appears to be headed for a productive career but the success Peyton has shown is limited.

John Harbaugh

14 secondary defenders drafted


1: 3

2: 0

3: 1

4: 4

5: 2

6: 3

7: 1

Years as the primary starter and the number of players.

0: 10

1: 2

2: 1

5: 1


Pro Bowl-0

Harbaugh has been known for stout defenses but those accolades are not due to the success of secondary players he drafted since 2010. Jimmy Smith (First rounder) has seen the greatest amount of success but has never made a Pro Bowl mainly due to health issues. Besides the success with Smith, Harbaugh runs neck and neck with Tomlin in futility.

Jason Garrett

16 secondary defenders drafted


1: 2

2: 1

3: 2

4: 3

5: 1

6: 5

7: 2

Years as the primary starter and the number of players.

0: 9

1: 3

2: 2

3: 1

4: 1

All-Pro: 0

Pro Bowl: 1

Seemingly on the hot seat the past few seasons, Garrett has little success finding players to man the secondary. Morris Claiborne (First rounder) never lived up to his first-round selection partially because of never playing a full 16 games. Byron Jones (First rounder) finally lived up to his draft status in 2018 with a Pro Bowl selection. Like many of the coaches on this list, his success has been limited.

Pete Carroll

17 secondary defenders drafted


1: 1

2: 0

3: 2

4: 2

5: 6

6: 5

7: 1

Years as the primary starter and the number of players.

0: 9

1: 3

2: 1

3: 1

7: 1

8: 2

All-Pro: 6

Pro Bowl: 14

Pete Carroll blows the rest of the coaching out of the water with Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman. His drafts are even more impressive when taken into account that Sherman and Chancellor were both fifth-round selections. During the span, Carroll has only utilized one draft choice on a defensive back in the first two rounds. (Thomas)

Marvin Lewis

16 secondary defenders drafted


1: 3

2: 1

3: 2

4: 1

5: 5

6: 1

7: 3

Years as the primary starter and the number of players.

0: 10

1: 3

3: 1

4: 1

5: 1


Pro Bowl-0

Marvin Lewis’ tenure with the Cincinnati Bengals has ended for a myriad of reasons. Not only did he flounder in the playoffs but he could not extract the level of talent that was expected out of his secondary players.


For the Steelers to get their seventh Super Bowl ring, Colbert and Tomlin have to succeed with their draft picks. The team can’t draft the next Artie Burns or Doran Grant but landing the next Rod Woodson or Ike Taylor. While the success rates for drafting secondary players in the NFL is low, Tomlin and Colbert come in at the bottom of the list. Steelers fans will keep their collective fingers crossed that history doesn’t repeat itself in six weeks.

Bruce Gradkowski refutes suggestion Ben Roethlisberger intentionally fumbled in 2014 game

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 6:45am

The Steelers former backup quarterback attempted to add some clarity to one of the more ridiculous stories of the offseason on Monday.

The Pittsburgh Steelers may have waved goodbye to two of the more dramatic players on their roster in the past few weeks, but that has not kept them out of the media after a tweet from a former player claiming Ben Roethlisberger once intentionally fumbled in a game in 2014.

Given the absurd nature of the accusation from Joshua Harris, one the former running back admits he is not even sure of himself, we have largely ignored the story at BTSC. Judging by the media storm that erupted on Monday, we were in the minority.

But despite the debates on the national sports talks shows and the continual condemnation of Roethlisberger in the press, no one was able to provide a single shred of evidence to support the claim, no matter how the video of the play is interpretation. For those with an axe to grind with the Steelers star quarterback, this latest tale only added fuel to their fire, and Big Ben is a punching bag once again for the hot take crowd.

However, there was one person with more intimate knowledge of what happened in that Week 17 matchup who was able to provide some insight, painting a rather different picture than the one Harris suggested. Presumably tired of the accusations surrounding his former teammate, Bruce Gradkowski shared a social media post of his own in an effort to end the conversation about the supposed fumble.

FACTS #intentionalfumblegate@ShannonSharpe @TheHerd @ColinCowherd @undisputed @FTFonFS1 @getnickwright@profootballtalk @MMQB @ConorOrr @GolicAndWingo

— Bruce Gradkowski (@bgradkowski5) March 18, 2019

The purpose of writing this post is not to add more commentary to a topic that has already received far more attention than it ever deserved, but to provide balance by sharing a video that the national media will likely not mention at all in the coming days.

We will leave it up to the readers to decide if a future Hall of Fame quarterback intentionally fumbled in a dying moments of a critical game Pittsburgh had needed to win to clinch the division title over their closest rival for that crown, or if a running back who spent five games on an NFL active roster has his a flawed perspective of what happened on that play.

— The Bishop (@JoshHarris25) March 18, 2019

I swear I was done man. Smh

— The Bishop (@JoshHarris25) March 19, 2019


It would appear that Maurkice Pouncey and Marcus Gilbert have also added their name to the list of current and former players who dispute the claims of Harris.

Judging by the comments on the Instagram post of the video by former #Steelers QB Bruce Gradkowski, players like Maurkice Pouncey and Marcus Gilbert believe Josh Harris is making the fumble story up ➡

— Simon Chester (@SimonAChester) March 19, 2019

Podcast: Steelers addressing needs in free agency, but did they do enough in the suddenly star-studded AFC North?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 5:34am

Discuss all things Steelers and beyond as BTSC’s Bryan Anthony Davis and Tony Defeo comment on the latest news of the Steeler Nation,

The Steelers have added CB Steven Nelson, WR Donte Moncrief and ILB Mark Barron in the last week. However, the Ravens and Browns have made bigger moves. Are the transactions that Colbert and company have made big enough to keep up in the suddenly potent division? Join Bryan Davis and Anthony Defeo from BTSC for the extravaganza known as “Steelers Hangover”. They will discuss this burning question and much more. As always, Tony and Bryan have plenty to discuss with help from Steeler Nation.

Check out a rundown of the show:

  • Fact or Fiction
  • Steelers addressing needs in free agency, but is this more of a reload or a rebuild?
  • Latest Steeler Drama
  • Looking ahead
  • and MUCH MORE!

You can get all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Google Play: CLICK HERE

Black and Gold Links: What will Mike Tomlin do as he gets his team back?

Behind the Steel Curtain - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 4:37am

Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ season is over, but if you think the news surrounding the black-and-gold is over — think again. For the drama-filled Steelers, things are just heating up, and this is where the daily links article comes in. You might have missed some key news, and we fill you in and give you the latest, and sometimes greatest, news surrounding the Steelers.

Today in the Black-and-gold links article we take a look at what the future might hold for Mike Tomlin and company as he now faces a team without Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell in house to provide distractions?

Let’s get to the news:

  • Does Mike Tomlin wake up and wonder what he will talk about now that Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell are officially members of another NFL franchise? Does he sit back and grin, or does he hate that things came to this? Either way, he has his team back...the next move is up to him.

Ron Cook: Mike Tomlin gets chance to take back his team

By: Ron cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Coaching can be so challenging.

I asked one former coach, whom I greatly respect, how he dealt with his superstars. I loved his response:

“I told them they get their perks in their checks. They get paid more than the other players. That’s fine, they earned it. But don’t disrespect me or your teammates by showing up late. You don’t treat every player the same way, but there has to be certain rules for everybody.”

I think back to something Mike Sullivan said in 2016 when his Penguins were on their way to the first of two consecutive Stanley Cups:

“For me, the biggest challenge of coaching in this league is your ability to build relationships with those guys, your ability to sell them on your message. Today’s athletes are very prepared. They’re very smart. You can’t just come in and bang it over their head and try to force it down their throat. It’s a cooperative effort. The balancing act is trying to inspire them and, at the same time, holding them accountable to a certain standard.”

To read the full article, click HERE

  • Does Ben Roethlisberger really need to be a better leader? Or can the Steelers manage with him the way he is?

Kevin Gorman: Steelers need Ben Roethlisberger to be better leader

By: Kevin Gorman, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

When it comes to taking ownership and leadership of that locker room, there’s no question Roethlisberger needs to be better. That’s not to blame Big Ben for all of the Steelers’ troubles but rather to suggest he becomes a bigger part of the solution this season.

It’s going to take more than a “follow me.”

If winning the Super Bowl is still the standard, the Steelers have fallen short for more than a decade. Their hopes of claiming a seventh Lombardi Trophy start squarely with the 37-year-old franchise quarterback who is their only active player with a championship ring.

That’s not to put all of this on Big Ben. A Steelers veteran told me center Maurkice Pouncey is the player whose words command the most respect in the locker room, but that he doesn’t speak up often enough. Defensive end Cam Heyward is a stand-up spokesman, win or lose, but he needs to hold the defense more accountable.

To read the full article, click HERE

  • The Vontaze Burfict era is officially over in Cincinnati, but where will he go from here? He certainly has talent, but will a team like the Patriots or Raiders take a flier on him?

Bengals releasing Vontaze Burfict after seven seasons

By: Kevin Patra,

Burfict’s suspension-filled run in Cincy ends after seven seasons. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport added the team shopped the linebacker before ultimately cutting the veteran.

A staple of the Marvin Lewis era, Burfict brought bone-crushing talent to the middle of the Bengals defense. Ultimately, the team couldn’t trust the linebacker to toe the line and remain healthy. Burfict hasn’t appeared in more than 11 games in any season since 2013 due to suspensions and injury.

To read the full article, click HERE

  • Social Media Posts

Joshua Harris explains his tweet about Ben Roethlisberger Fumbling

— The Bishop (@JoshHarris25) March 18, 2019

Always good to hear from Ramon Foster

Ramon Foster talks about his new contract, the importance of staying in Pittsburgh, welcoming the new additions to the team and the continued goal of bringing another championship to the city.

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) March 18, 2019

Report: Steelers host TE James O’Shaughnessy in free agent visit

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 03/18/2019 - 7:10pm

The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to add to their tight end depth chart as they hosted former Jaguars TE James O’Shaughnessy.

The Pittsburgh Steelers only have two tight ends on their roster with real NFL experience. After losing Jesse James in free agency to the Detroit Lions, the Steelers were hoping to add a tight end to go along with Vance McDonald and Xavier Grimble.

According to ESPN’s Field Yates, the team started the process by hosting former Jaguars tight end James O’Shaughnessy Monday.

Source: former Jaguars TE James O'Shaughnessy visited the Steelers today. Pittsburgh lost Jesse James in free agency, could be eyeing depth behind Vance McDonald.

— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 18, 2019

O’Shaughnessy started his career with the Kansas City Chiefs, spending his first two years there. Afterwards, he spent two seasons with the Jaguars. In both locations he never caught over 250 yards in a season, but he is coming off arguably his best season of his career.

Last year, with Blake Bortles as his quarterback, O’Shaughnessy caught 24 passes on 38 targets for 214 yards. While he only has one career touchdown, his role has never been as a premier pass catcher.

The kicker for this scenario for Pittsburgh is about salary cap space. The team is making deals and has all but exhausted their remaining salary cap space. There are moves which can be made to create more cap space, like giving Ben Roethlisberger a new contract, and the team will have some time to get that number right this summer.

Stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they continue to press on through the offseason.

AAF Week 6 Review: Former Steelers WR L’Damien Washington among standout performers

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 03/18/2019 - 2:47pm

We take a look back at the sixth week of action from the Alliance of American Football and check in with some former members of the Black and Gold.

The inaugural season of the Alliance of American Football crossed the halfway mark over the weekend, but while the action on the field should have been the headline in Week 6, it was the inexplicable signing of Johnny Manziel by the Memphis Express on Saturday that grabbed all the attention.

Barred from signing with anyone in the CFL after he was released by the Montreal Alouettes only a few weeks ago, the quarterback who could lay claim to being arguably the worst first-round pick at his position since JaMarcus Russell in 2007, might actual become the starter in Week 7 after former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Zach Mettenberger was injured on the first snap of game against the Salt Lake Stallions.

Week 6 results:

Arizona Hotshots 22 @ Orlando Apollos 17

Memphis Express 9 @ Salt Lake Stallions 22

Birmingham Iron 32 @ San Diego Fleet 29

San Antonio Commanders 37 @ Atlanta Legends 6

The Orlando Apollos were the final team to lose their undefeated tag this season, losing as 9.5-point favorites to the Arizona Hotshots at home, while the Birmingham Iron stopped a two game skid with a last second field goal to beat the San Diego Fleet on the road. The San Antonio Commanders continue to improve as division leaders, recording a convincing away win over the Atlanta Legends.

Former Pittsburgh linebacker Steven Johnson was once again leading the way for the Hotshots in their surprising win over the Apollos, recording eight tackles and an impressive interception in a four-point victory.

What a pick! @SMJ2852 | #AZvsORL

— The Alliance (@TheAAF) March 17, 2019

L’Damian Washington was only ever on the Steelers’ roster for five months in 2015 and never made it to training camp after injuring himself in May of that year, but he showed fans the sort of potential that drew Pittsburgh to him in the first place on Sunday night with a dominant performance for the Iron against the Fleet. Washington would finish the game with 158 yards from 10 receptions and score two touchdowns, a stat line that included an 83-yard score midway through the second quarter.

.@MizzouMonstar2 darts through the D on his way to a 83 yard TD!@aafiron | #BIRvsSD

— The Alliance (@TheAAF) March 18, 2019

This is fun, y'all. @PerezLuisQB@MizzouMonstar2 #BIRvsSD

— Birmingham Iron (@aafiron) March 18, 2019

Teammate Jamar Summers, another AAF player with links to the Steelers, once again demonstrated why he deserves another shot in the NFL with another strong showing that included his third interception of the season.

Jamar Summers coming up with the clutch @aafiron INT!

34.2 passer rating allowed in coverage coming into Week 6 (3rd among CBs)#BIRvsSD

— PFF_AAF (@PFF_AAF) March 18, 2019

Running back Terrell Watson had a better day against the Iron that he did against the Stallions in Week 5, but his modest total of 38 yards from eight carries and a touchdown was still not enough for San Diego against Birmingham. Watson would also have a receiving touchdown in the game.

San Diego punches it in for 6, and converts the 2 pt. conversion, narrowing the deficit, 21-17. @AAFFleet | #BIRvsSD

— The Alliance (@TheAAF) March 18, 2019

Terrell Watson TD x2 in the third quarter and the @AAFFleet lead!#BIRvsSD

— PFF_AAF (@PFF_AAF) March 18, 2019

Fellow former Steelers running back Trey Williams would finish the day with 32 yards on six attempts for San Antonio, a far better game than his efforts the weekend before. And another familiar name for Pittsburgh fans in tight end Cameron Clear led the Commanders in receiving yards and receptions against Atlanta for the first time this year, recording five catches for 45 yards in the team's 37-6 win.

Darnell Leslie, signed by the Steelers to a futures contract in 2018, also led San Antonio in tackles against the Legends with six and recorded his first forced fumble of the season.

Darnell Leslie forces a Brandon Radcliffe fumble, Duke Thomas recovers

— Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) March 17, 2019

Highlights from all the weekend’s action can be found below.

Week 6 Highlights:

Arizona Hotshots 22 @ Orlando Apollos 17

Memphis Express 9 @ Salt Lake Stallions 22

Birmingham Iron 32 @ San Diego Fleet 29

San Antonio Commanders 37 @ Atlanta Legends 6

Steelers March Madness: The Best of the Rest featuring No. 2 seed 2001 vs. No. 15 seed 2015

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 03/18/2019 - 1:30pm

Bracketing the best teams in the past 50 years of Pittsburgh Steelers history never to win a title. Who do you consider the “Best of the Rest” between the 2015 Steelers and the 2001 version?

BTSC continues to search for the best and most-memorable Steeler team to not win a title. Last time around, you voted the 2004 featuring the rookie phenom Ben Roethlisberger over the magical 1989 Cinderella Steelers.

No. 1 - 2004: The 15-1 Ben-ginning of a new era - 87% No. 16 - 1989: Chuck Noll’s Cinderellas dance in the postseason - 13%

This time around we pit the top vote-getter from the play-in round (2015 Steelers) against the team that earned an AFC Title Game in the debut season record of Heinz Field (2001). Be sure to vote for the team that remains the most memorable to you or the one you feel is simply the “best of the rest”. Your choice. Be sure to wax poetically in the comment section below.

No. 2 Seed: 2001 (13-3)

After three-straight years out of the playoffs, the Steelers christened the newly-opened, Heinz Field with their best record in 13 seasons. The season started out rocky with a 21-3 loss in Jacksonville. After two weeks off due to 9/11 and a scheduled bye, Kordell Stewart and Jerome Bettis led the way to wins in 13 of the next 15 regular-season games. Hines Ward and Plaxico Burress each went over 1,000 receiving yards. The signature win came in Week 14 at Baltimore. After beating the Ravens in the Divisional Playoffs at home, the Steelers fell to the Patriots at home in the AFCCG 21-17

Pro Bowlers: Kendrell Bell, Jerome Bettis, Alan Faneca, Jason Gildon, Kordell Stewart, Hines Ward

First-Team All Pros: Alan Faneca, Jason Gildon

Second-Team All Pros: Kendrell Bell, Jeff Hartings

Team MVP: Kordell Stewart

First Round Selection: Casey Hampton

Rookie of the Year: Kendrell Bell

No. 2 Seed: 2015 (13-3)

Due to his retirement, this season was the first for the Steelers sans Troy Polamalu since his being drafted by the Steelers in 2003. It would also be the final season of Heath Millers career in “the burgh”. After starting the year without the services of Martavis Bryant and Le’Veon Bell due to suspensions, the Steelers lost another key player. Ben Roethlisberger suffered an injury in Week 3 in St.Louis that kept him on the shelf for four games, but No. 7 still threw for nearly 4,000 yards. Michael Vick and Landry Jones led the team to a 2-2 record doing Big Ben’s absence. Another player that missed a significant amount of time was Bell, who suffered a season ending knee injury in Week 8 against Cincinnati. DeAngelo Williams filled in enormously with 970 yards on the ground and 11 touchdowns. But the greatest performance from 2015 came from Antonio Brown. AB caught a team record of 136 balls and amassed 1,834 yards. In weeks 13 and 14, the Steelers are in pivotal and signature wins over Cincinnati in Denver respectively. In the wildcard game, the Steelers (without Deangelo) survived with great performances by Martavis Bryant and Ryan Shazier in an improbable last second win in Cincinnati. However, Ben Roethlisberger was banged up and Brown was brutally attacked by Vontaze Burfict and was lost for the next week. Despite playing without key players, the Steelers were in position to win in Denver and advance to the AFC Championship. However, a Fitzgerald Toussaint fumble late and a errant call of not marking Peyton Manning down on a third-down stop, ended the impossible dream.

Pro Bowlers: Antonio Brown, David DeCastro, Ben Roethlisberger

First-Team All Pros: Antonio Brown, David DeCastro

Team MVP: Antonio Brown

First Round Selection: Alvin “Bud” Dupree

Rookie of the Year: Alvin “Bud” Dupree

Bengals release infamous linebacker Vontaze Burfict

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 03/18/2019 - 11:49am

It is the end of an era in Cincinnati, as well as in Pittsburgh, with the release of linebacker Vontaze Burfict on Monday.

With the Pittsburgh Steelers having officially parted ways with both Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown this offseason, it would appear that the Cincinnati Bengals no longer feel the need to employ the man whose job it was to injure them after news of the release of Vontaze Burfict emerged on Monday.

BREAKING: @Bengals release LB Vontaze Burfict. (via @TomPelissero)

— NFL (@NFL) March 18, 2019

Signed by the Bengals as an undrafted free agent in 2012, Burfict would quickly go on to establish himself as one of the league most undisciplined repeat violent offenders. From spitting in players faces to twisting knees and ankles, while the Cincinnati linebacker would become synonymous with the words “dirty player,” he would also become something of a folk hero to Bengals fans for his borderline criminal behavior in games against Pittsburgh.

Fined more than $4.2 million for his illegal play and drug taking, Burfict was also suspended three times over the course of his career. Twice serving three games bans for hits on Antonio Brown and Anthony Sherman of the Kansas City Chiefs, and also a four game suspension for PED use.

However, as much as he will be remembered by fans around the league for his disgraceful style of play that should have resulted in a life ban years ago, many Steelers fans will likely best remember him as the player who was laid out by JuJu Smith-Schuster during his rookie season.

After Marvin Lewis was fired at the end last year, the writing always seemed to be on the wall for the uncontrollable linebacker, with the former head coach his most ardent supporter. But given the Cleveland Browns interest in wayward players as of late, it would not be a complete surprise to see them sign him in the coming days.

Mock Draft Monday: 7 Round Mock Draft has the Steelers addressing many needs

Behind the Steel Curtain - Mon, 03/18/2019 - 9:35am

Taking a look at a full 7-round mock draft where the Steelers go ILB first, and follow it up by filling out a very solid draft.

The 2019 NFL Draft is just around the corner, and as the NFL world turns their focus to individual workouts at team Pro Days, fans’ attention typically begins the process of trying to predict who their favorite team will select.

For the Pittsburgh Steelers, they have now gained 10 total draft picks throughout the three day, 7 round process. Most websites simply consist of showing who they think the team will take in the first round, and maybe a two-round mock draft, but there are a few rare media personalities who will take a stab at a full 7-round prediction.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ray Fittipaldo is one of those rogue journalists, and put out his second full mock draft of the year recently. At this point these predictions are just stabs in the dark. Great for conversation and debate, but that is about it. Once the teams start hosting pre-draft visits, then you will start to see the focus narrow on these type of prediction articles.

For the record, Fittipaldo goes into great detail on all of his selections, you can read them all HERE, but out of respect to the work he did I will show his explanation of just his first round pick.

At this point, check out the full mock draft below, and feel free to let us know what you think of the haul in the comment section below!

1. ILB Devin Bush of Michigan (5-11, 234) – In mock draft 1.0, I had the Steelers taking Bush with the No. 36 overall pick after they made a hypothetical trade to the 49ers for Antonio Brown. After a great performance at the combine, where he ran a 4.43 and tested extremely well in the other areas, Bush is now solidly in the first round and is not expected to fall past the Steelers at No. 20. In fact, there is some fear he could go before they pick. Bush is exactly what the Steelers need at inside linebacker – a three-down player that can play the pass as well as the run. It’s rare for a linebacker to run that fast. The only hope for the Steelers is teams that select before them won’t want an inside linebacker that comes in at under 6 feet.

2. WR Hakeem Butler of Iowa State (6-6, 228)

3.a. CB Justin Layne of Michigan State (6-2, 192)

3. DL Isaiah Buggs of Alabama (6-3, 306)

4. TE Josh Oliver of San Jose State (6-5, 253)

5. S Sheldrick Redwine of Miami (6-0, 196)

6.a. OLB Porter Gustin of USC (6-4, 255)

6.b. ILB Ty Summers of TCU (6-2, 235)

6.c. CB Hamp Cheevers of Boston College (5-9, 169)

7. RB Qadree Ollison of Pitt


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