2012 NFL Combine: 5 Prospects Pittsburgh Steelers Coaches Will Be Watching
Once the Super Bowl concludes, the next big event for NFL fans will be the Scouting Combine held in February where all of the top draft talent is showcased.
In some cases, this will be the final big impression a player can make on all 32 teams before the draft takes place in April.
Here's a look at five players the Pittsburgh Steelers coaches will be watching in February's combine.
Chris Polk, RB
The Steelers seem set to recommit to the run to honor Art Rooney II's wishes. If that's the case, they could use another tough runner to team with Isaac Redman and/or Rashard Mendenhall.
Polk is built a little like Redman but has more speed. He combines a bullish inside style with the ability to get to the edge and turn the corner.
He'd give the team the speed complement they've been lacking since Willie Parker left the team.
Fletcher Cox, DT
Casey Hampton isn't getting younger and may have to be sent packing to get the Steelers under the cap for 2012. They need a young player at the tackle position anyway so that they can groom Hampton's eventual replacement.
Cox is a nice prospect who needs a bit of work before he steps on the field to take over an NFL defensive line's center. He does use his body well to get off blocks and get into the backfield.
He could be more of a playmaker for a team like Pittsburgh that has brutal linebackers to worry about.
Mike Adams, OT
Max Starks damaged his ACL in the Denver game. Willie Colon hasn't been healthy in two years and plays dumb when he plays.
Marcus Gilbert is a great option, but he's only one guy. The Steelers need another tackle.
Adams was dominant in the Senior Bowl and he's a great technique player that I believe could start, at least on the right side, from day one. He's got excellent technique and has the ability to hold blocks and handle edge rushers well.
Alfonzo Dennard, CB
The Steelers will have some tough choices to make at corner in 2012. Opposite Ike Taylor, they need to figure out what to do between bringing back William Gay and/or Keenan Lewis or starting Cortez Allen or Curtis Brown, second-year guys coming off injuries.
They could use another developmental guy with upside.
He's raw, but he's a playmaker. He needs a good combine after a lousy Senior Bowl showing. His coverage skills need work, but he could benefit from working with Carnell Lake.
The big asset is his ability to make splash plays, something Ike Taylor doesn't do much of and something the secondary needs.
Vontaze Burfict, LB
James Farrior is just about done and may be gone in a cap purge. The team hasn't found a successor it likes and could use some youth on the inside where Larry Foote and Stevenson Sylvester fill the depth chart.
Sylvester is Farrior's likely heir but he could use some real competition. Foote may or may not be back.
Burfict is a head case but he plays a mean linebacker. He reminds me a bit of James Harrison or Ray Lewis. He has the talent to start right away, but may need time to mature before he's really ready to take off.
He could sit for a year and learn and push Sylvester or he could work his way in immediately if he proves ready.