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Draft 2001
April 21-22
Molding the Future
Post us your predictions, comments, & analysis about the 2001 draft on our message board! Whether your message is a simple "Draft a QB" statement or detailed, in-depth analysis, tell us what you think!
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Will the most highly touted LB in the draft still be on the board by the 16th pick? If he is, Dan Morgan could be great fit on the Steelers.
Is Dan the Man?
Will Dan Morgan Fill the Void?
Article by McMillen & Wife

As always, the NFL Draft is a tough nut to crack. The shocking exodus of ILB Levon Kirkland has changed the draft landscape dramatically for the Steelers. The majority of mock drafts have dropped QB Drew Brees like a bad habit and are now projecting Dan Morgan (LB, Miami) as the Steelers' #1 pick (16th overall). Not surprisingly, Pittsburgh fans tend to agree, especially considering that the likelihood of any marquee defensive linemen being left on the board so late in the draft is slim to none (although Marcus Stroud (DT, Georgia) is also receiving significant attention as a potential pick... but we'll disuss him later in the article).

The question is, can Morgan really be expected to fill the massive void left by Kirkland? And is he the kind of impact player the Steelers so desperately need?

Quite simply, the answer is "yes."

Rather than piecing together our own makeshift bio of Morgan, we decided to compile reviews from the league's top draft analysts.

Mel Kiper says: After three outstanding years as an OLB with the Hurricanes, Morgan moved to the MLB spot out of necessity after Nate Webster moved on to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The results again were top-drawer. The super-intense and focused 6-foot-2, 249-pounder delivered a number of superior performances, with his 17 tackles (14 solos) against Florida State the real headliner. He should be off the board between the 11th and 16th spots in round one.

The Sporting News says: Even though Morgan is a bit of a "tweener" (he could play inside or outside linebacker), there is no doubt he will be a star. He has rare instincts and all of the intangibles to be a franchise-type player. He could slip a bit in the first round because some teams will fret over his lack of size. That said, Morgan is an impact player.

NFLDraft Digest says: Morgan has the quickness and instincts to become a solid linebacker at the pro level. He plays with a sense of passion and intensity that can set the tone for a defense. He really loves the game and will work hard to become the best he can be. He also will play through a lot of pain. He will become a leader at the next level and is someone who I would want to go into battle with.

Dan Pompei says: Is a big, tough, old-fashioned linebacker who can run. Plays with power. Can whip the block and get to the ball. Diagnoses plays well. Can play in space. Shows good instincts and intangibles. Lives for football. Never stops hustling. Can play any linebacker position.

Obviously, the skinny on Morgan is that he's pretty darn good and I think he'd be an excellent choice for the Steelers. But this nagging little voice inside me keeps whispering "D-Lineman... D-lineman..."

He's far from the top of the list, but Stroud is a 321-lb LOAD who can clog running lanes, and in the Steelers' 3-4 scheme, that's exactly what the doctor ordered.
Now, if we had our druthers, the Steelers use their #1 pick on one of two players: 1) Richard Seymour (DT, Georgia, 6-6, 295 lbs) or, 2) Gerard Warren (DT, Florida, 6-3, 308 lbs). Both players pass rush well, particularly Seymour, who I could definitely see playing end in the Steelers' scheme. But more importantly, both men are excellent run-stoppers. Seymour seems to be the more focused, complete player, but Warren is a MONSTER against the run. His ability to clog things up is incredible, and to me that would make him a more desirable pick if not for the rumors about his questionable work ethic. Drafting either player would make me about as happy as a Browns fan shooting at rats in the city dump from the comfort of his El Camino.

Back to reality... barring a minor miracle, neither Seymour nor Warren figure to still be on the board when the Steelers finally take their turn. This is where Marcus Stroud (DT, Georgia, 6-6, 321 lbs) comes thundering meatilly (is that a word?) into the picture.

Other Possibilities
Below are alphabetical links to info on other various draft prospects who may end up in a Steeler uniform.

Drew Brees, QB, Purdue, 6-0, 218

Jamar Fletcher, CB, Wisconsin, 5-10, 171

Derrick Gibson, S, Florida St, 6-1, 211

Santana Moss, WR, Miami, 5-10, 175

Fred Smoot, CB, Mississippi St, 5-11, 180
The guy weighs 321 pounds, folks. 321 pounds!!! Think about it! I mean, how much does a piano weigh? 450 pounds? If I'm an opposing O-lineman, I'm not looking forward to lugging three quarters of a piano around the gridiron for three friggin' hours on Sunday.

Another thing that makes Stroud such a real possibility is the fact that he'll probably still be on the board when the Steeler's turn finally rolls around (Morgan is considerably more "if-y" in that respect). A lot of teams may shy away from Stroud because his mediocre pass rushing skills. But in Pittsburgh's 3-4 scheme, the nose tackle simply needs to clog running lanes & create a bit of dispruption rather than tally huge sack totals. Stroud certainly appears capable of that.

Here's what the NFL draft gurus have to say abot Stroud:

Mel Kiper says: With the great success of the Baltimore Ravens huge DT tandem of Tony Siragusa2 and Sam Adams, you can rest assured that Stroud will be expected by a number of clubs to have a similar impact. The physically gifted 6-6, 321-pounder can really clog the middle, creating a disturbance with his ability to utilize his straight-ahead power as a bull rusher. In the NFL, he'll need to work on redirecting his charge and closing with a rush. Stroud figures in the middle portion of round one.

The Sporting News says: Stroud's potential is sky high -- he just has to work to reach it. He could be the most gifted lineman in this draft, but he gets lazy and takes plays off. He has all the tools to dominate against the run and pass. Despite marginal work ethic, Stroud should get drafted in the first round on potential.

NFLDraft Digest says: Stroud is an enigma. He has the size and the tools to develop into a solid player, but it just isn't there at this point. He needs work on technique and must play harder on a consistent basis. If he has any chance to develop into the player his potential suggests, he needs to work a lot harder and approach the game better. He just doesn't have the natural desire to become the player he needs to be. If the right coach can get to him, it will be interesting to see what happens. In terms of intelligence, its there, but he needs to apply it.

Dan Pompei says: Has rare size and strength. Is a powerful player with cat-like quickness. Reminds some of Chester McGlockton. Is too much for a single blocker to handle in most circumstances. Is a thick run stuffer, but is an inconsistent underachiever. Is not a great pass rusher. Needs to be more consistent with his technique. Helped himself at the Senior Bowl.

Prospects like QB Drew Brees & WR Santana Moss are possible, I guess, but at this stage I'd rate the as highly unlikely. On the other hand, players like Jamar Fletcher (CB, Wisconsin, 5-10, 171 lbs, 4.46-40) and Fred Smoot (CB, Mississippi State, 5-11, 180 lbs, 4.54-40) may serously tempt the Steelers if on the board, especailly considering that our top four CBs will ALL be unrestricted free agents next year. For the record, we'd like to remind everyone that WAAAY back in early January, we boldly predicted the Steelers would draft a CB and everyone laughed at us. We'll see...

Bank on this: our first round pick is definitely going to be a defensive player. Did I say definitely? What I meant to say was probably. On second thought, make that maybe. Or probably. Or just kinda. Hey, that's the thing about the draft, my bruthas... 'ya can never REALLY predict what's gonna happen beyond about the first 3 or 4 overall picks, because trades can change the landscape so quickly. But for now, this is our story and we're sticking to it. Send us YOUR comments!

Tim McMillen
Webmaster, McMillen & Wife

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