Timmons is the Florida State outside linebacker who played in a 4-3 scheme and is being projected as the Steelers's first-round pick by a throng of national journalists and a pack of locals, including those very close to the team.
I'd buy it, but for two things: One, I've seen him play, and, two, I can't figure out where he'd play in a 3-4 scheme.
No matter who believes what about the Steelers' future defense, the fact is this year they're playing a 3-4 and this year they've lost Joey Porter.
Of course, James Harrison will take Porter's place in the base defense. That's fine, and I'll even accept that Arnold Harrison can provide quality depth. Fine. But the big loss with Porter, right now, is his pass-rushing ability on passing downs. Who will replace Porter at right end in the Steelers' pass-downs front?
It'd be the perfect spot to put a player such as Jamaal Anderson, a pure 4-3 pass-rushing end from Arkansas. He'd help the Steelers this year in their dime and develop into one of their starting ends in the future 4-3.
Carriker and Anderson could help now and in the future, but both are expected to be gone before the Steelers draft.
So the word being leaked from the Steelers is that they want Timmons at 15. And, again, I ask this question: Why?
Timmons stands a fraction under 6-1 and weighs only 234 pounds. There is no way in the world this kid – he'll turn 21 in May – will be able to put his hand on the ground in a four-man line on pass downs and put any pressure on the quarterback. Heck, he had only five sacks and TWO quarterback pressure last season, his only season as a starter. His 40 time of 4.65 is nothing special.
I understand Kevin Colbert loves drafting juniors with upside, but the juniors he's chosen in the past (Plaxico Burress, Ben Roethlisberger, Heath Miller, Santonio Holmes) have at least done more than dominate their spring game.
Perhaps Mike Tomlin sees a future Derrick Brooks in Timmons, but a first-round pick should be more than an athlete who's flashed a few times and reminds you of your glory days at Tampa Bay. And the 15th pick should also help this year.
Timmons won't help on third down and he certainly won't hold the point on run downs as an outside backer in their 3-4.
Timmons instead projects to inside mack-backer behind Larry Foote, the youngest of the Steelers' championship linebackers and the one with the most time – three years – left on his contract.
So to make a long story short, Lawrence Timmons would be a mistake.
The other name the Steelers are leaking is Penn State offensive tackle Levi Brown (6-5½, 323). They love his hands. Hmmm. Many scouts are worried about Brown's feet and believe he'll be nothing more than a right tackle, and the Steelers already have Max Starks, Willie Colon and Trai Essex at that position. Some scouts also worry about Brown's knee problems. Others worry about his performance "on the boards" during interviews.
Regardless, the Steelers' bigger problem is their interior, where the good guard is fed up and the bad guard is in the last year of his contract. O-line coach Larry Zierlein also prefers a big center to handle the nose guards who've given the Steelers so much trouble the last few years, but Chukky Okobi can't handle nose guards and newcomer Sean Mahan is only 301 pounds.
The answer at center is not another little technician such as Ryan Kalil, but a 320-pounder such as Texas RT-RG-C Justin Blalock. He had the highest Wonderlic (37) and the most reps (40) at the combine, but the Steelers will likely stick with Mahan since they've already spent the money.
The ideal draft, for me, would be to trade down – perhaps using Darrelle Revis as bait – for a pass-rusher such as Purdue defensive end/outside linebacker Anthony Spencer, and then trade back up into the bottom of the first round for Blalock. Add a rugged running back such as Brian Leonard or Tony Hunt and they're on their way. That's the way to go. And if the Steelers are using Timmons as a smokescreen, I'll be the first to praise their unprecedented secrecy this draft season.
JIM WEXELL'S VALUE BOARD
ADAM CARRIKER, Nebraska, DE
JAMAAL ANDERSON, Arkansas, DE
DARRELLE REVIS, Pitt, CB
ANTHONY SPENCER, Purdue, DE/OLB
JUSTIN BLALOCK, Texas, RT-G-C
ARRON SEARS, Tennessee, LT-G
STEWART BRADLEY, Nebraska, ILB/OLB
DAVID HARRIS, Michigan, ILB
BRIAN LEONARD, Rutgers, RB/FB
LaMARR WOODLEY, Michigan, DE/OLB
IKAIKA ALAMA-FRANCIS, Hawaii, DE
TONY HUNT, Penn State, RB
BRIAN ROBISON, Texas, DE/OLB
JAY MOORE, Nebraska, DE/OLB
JUSTIN DURANT, Hampton, ILB
USAMA YOUNG, Kent State, CB
JACOBY JONES, Lane College, WR
COURTNEY TAYLOR, Auburn, WR
BRANDON JACKSON, Nebraska, RB
YAMON FIGURS, Kansas State, WR/RS
ANTWAN BARNES, Florida International, DE
RYAN McBEAN, Oklahoma State, DE-DT
ANDY ALLEMAN, Akron, OG
Le'RON McCLAIN, Alabama, FB
ADAM PODLESH, Maryland, P
DAN SEPULVEDA, Baylor, P
CAMERON STEPHENSON, Rutgers, OG
RAMZEE ROBINSON, Alabama, CB
DAVID PATTERSON, Ohio State, DE-DT
RONNIE McGILL, North Carolina, RB
NU'U TAFISI, Cal, DE/OLB
CODY BOYD, Washington State, TE
MATT MOORE, Oregon State, QB
STEVE VALLOS, Wake Forest, T-G-C
JEFF SAMARDZIJA, Notre Dame, WR