Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Getting Draft Ready:
Ourlads' Ratings

We've made no secret that Ourlads Scouting Services is one of our favorite sources for quality information on draft eligible college football players. Sure they still deliver their reports through the U.S. mail, but despite their rejection of a more modern delivery system it's tough to find fault in the work they do.

So as we look forward to the NFL combine we'll share some of what Ourlads has to say about the players available at the positions the Steelers are most likely looking at.

Offensive Tackles
Overall this group is rated as "average," with Jake Long (Michigan) identified as the best available prospect. As for players who might be available to the Steelers, Ourlads says of Gosder Cherilus (Boston College) that he is "more of a natural right tackle on the next level." And Oulads indicates that Jeff Otah (Pittsburgh) is "a work in progress."

Based upon those assessments it would seem unlikely that other would be a starter in 2008, much less an impact player.

Offensive Guard
While this group also has an overall rating of "average," the top two prosects -- Roy Schuening (Oregon State) and Drew Radovich (USC) -- both get high marks. Ourlads describes Mr. Schuening as "physical and explosive," while Mr. radovich is "aggressive and does a good job using his hands to control a defender."

With Alan Faneca all but out of town, and the drop-off from the #1 offensive tackle to those that follow rather steep, this might be a better option for Pittsburgh on draft day.

Cornerback
We have always called on the Steelers to choose more offensive linemen in the early rounds, so it is somewhat ironic that we now suggest that cornerback might be the best position for the Steelers in round one.

According to Ourlads #1 corner Antoine Cason (Arizona) "has always been matched up on the opponent's best receiver," #2 corner Terrell Thomas (USC) "is a big cover two type corner," and #3 corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Tennessee State) "is a lean cover corner."

Anyone of these players seems capable of challenging for playing time in 2008, and would likely be a special teams contributor immediately.

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