Insider Only Steelers draft buzz on Weighing Risks, Trade down opportunities, NHL picks, Mike Babcock chatter, Gerrit Cole & more in Today’s TIOPSDailyFive


*Rumblings, Musings, Opinions*

peters1. The Steelers are likely to be pressed with a situation tonight where a top-10 talent like Randy Gregory, Marcus Peters or Shane Ray is available at No. 22. When you have a franchise quarterback closer to 35 then 30 that you committed another $100 million contract to, one of the NFL’s premier wide receivers and a great running back, you’re a win-now team.
That’s one argument being made for the Steelers to make a bold move and go for a risk in taking a talent like Gregory, Peters, or Ray if they fall into the 20’s.
There’s a very good chance that Peters will be there.  Maybe Gregory. Both are on the Steelers board.
The Steelers in 2006 drafted a problem child in Santonio Holmes. He ended up being a huge problem off the field which fit his draft profile and was hated by teammates, but the Steelers got three really good years out of him and won them a Super Bowl before Holmes tenure reached a boiling point where the team felt they had to part ways with him after the 2009 season.
It doesn’t always work out like that. Wasn’t in the first round but the Steelers took Mike Adams, Chris Rainey and Alameda Ta’amu all in the 2012 draft and look how that played out. All three had character concerns coming in.
Gregory’s psychological and anxiety issues where he’s admitted to teams, even the Steelers that he has a problem in turning to weed during stressful situations has made many believing he’s going to fall out of the first round but that’s not expected to be the case. Someone probably jumps on him at somepoint tonight.
Doing more homework on Peters and Ray, there should be a bit more of a comfort level for the Steelers in taking them and Tomlin is said to love Ray, even with Rays incident on Monday.
Tomlin believes he can coach anybody.
However, I’d still lean in the direction of going with a safer player. Where the Steelers needed to take more risks was in free agency over the draft.

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2. The Steelers have to come out of this draft with an NFL ready cornerback in the first two rounds and there’s going to be options there at 22, Marcus Peters, Eric Rowe, maybe Byron Jones, among them, Kevin Johnston projects to be gone, but what should be enticing to the Steelers is moving down. The prospects in this draft are so closely rated from 20-55 many evaluators say.
On a standard NFL trade chart that all teams use, the value of the 22nd pick is 780 points.
Tampa Bay for instance is reportedly shopping the No. 34 overall selection to move into the late first round, according to ESPN’s Ed Werder. The 34th pick is valued at 560 points. For the move to be worth it for the Steelers, they’d demand the Bucs 2nd round pick (34th, 560 points) and their 3rd round pick (65th, 265 points) as Tampa Bay’s 4th round pick (109 overall) is only worth 76 points.
The Steelers moving down from 22 to 34 would give the Steelers the 34th overall pick, 56, 65, and 87. Four picks among the top-87.

Rangers3. Second Round NHL Playoff Picks
Rangers over Capitals in six games
The winner of this series will represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Final. Love how Washington is built to win a seven game series but feel their grueling first round series comes back to hurt them. This is the Rangers year.
Canadiens over Lightning in seven games
The Lightning are the better overall team but can’t find myself to pick Ben Bishop beating Carey Price four times. Montreal is just one of those teams that has flaws but are tough to bear four out of seven times.
Ducks over Flames in five games
The one first round series I used analytics to influence my pick was Vancouver over Calgary. The Flames are a tremendous story and so much fun to watch with the youth they have but they will actually be overmatched in this one.
Blackhawks over Wild in six games
The Minnesota Wild are a legitimate Stanley Cup contender that are going to be a handful for the Blackhawks this series but the Hawks are hitting their stride just at the right time.

pavel-datsyuill4. Mike Babcock has one foot out the door in Detroit and that’s been clear for months. Babcock lives in reality that the Red Wings window is over with this older core. They remain competitive but they’re going to continue to struggle to win a couple rounds. Babcock in fact has only won three series since reaching the Stanley Cup in 2009.
“Our team is not as good as it was,” Babcock reporters in Tampa after their Game 7 loss. “We battled our butt off just to get in the playoffs … Three of our best players are 34, 35 and 37… nobody on the outside picked us to be a Stanley Cup contender.”
Babcock did a phenomenal coaching job against Tampa Bay. That series should have never been that close.
Edmonton winning the McDavid sweepstakes and the hiring of Peter Chiarelli only adds another team that will be willing to break the bank for Babcock and a team he’s going to consider. Babcock eyes a team with a young core, one reason Philadelphia with Claude Giroux, Jacob Voracek are expected to get strong consideration from Babcock.

DHP_48075. The Pirates 12-10 record after 22 games is a bit of an uneven record where they’ve beat up on the Milwaukee Brewers but also have some key contributors struggling in McCutchen, Harrison.
The two key developments is Gerrit Cole transforming into a No. 1 ace where every time he takes the mound you believe you’re going to win and Starling Marte’s progression to being a game changer with his bat.
Marte showing the patience yesterday with a bases loaded walk is another difference in the type of player he’s on his way to becoming.
For the Pirates they have something special in Cole.
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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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