An occasional look at potential 2012 NFL Draft picks for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Previous installments featured Memphis DT Dontari Poe, Washington DT Alameda Ta'amu, Georgia OL Cordy Glenn, Alabama LB Dont'a Hightower, Ohio State OT Mike Adams, Stanford OT Jonathan Martin, Ole Miss OT Bobbie Massie, Iowa State OL Kelechi Osemele and Midwestern State OL Amini Silatolu, and Wisconson OG Kevin Zeitler and Miami (OH) OG Brandon Brooks.
Today: Alabama DT Josh Chapman
With the once coveted combine beast Dontari Poe's draft stock sliding a bit now that team's have actually seen his game film (and have come away un-impressed) the Steelers may have a real decision when picking at no 24 -- draft an heir apparent to Casey Hampton in need of heavy grooming, or address a more pressing need at OL and look for a nose in rounds two or three?
If they passed on an available Poe -- or if Poe is already gone -- a viable alternative for a nose man is 6-1, 310-pound fireplug Josh Chapman from Alabama.
Chapman is a fantastically strong -- a near 600-pound bench press! -- run stuffer There are concerns that Chapman isn't a great pass rusher, but Casey Hampton isn't either. In a 3-4 scheme you simply have to be a strong space eater that clogs up lanes and demands double-teams. Chapman seems to be that, and you can't possibly question his toughness -- he helped lead the 'Bama defense to a national championship while playing on a bum knee -- he had a torn ACL most of the season but postponed surgery until after.
Excerpts from the experts on Chapman:
National Football Post: "Impression: Has the making of a starting caliber nose at the next level in either a 3-4 and 4-3 front. Can consistently anchor on contact, is long armed and tough to move off the football. Also, is a better pass rusher than given credit for. Will likely fall because of medical concerns, but could be a real bargain because of it."
NFL.com: Chapman was a consistent two-down nose tackle at Alabama. His stats do not stand out, but he was the bowling ball that kept the defense rolling. He can stuff lanes inside and keep linebackers free to make plays. He doesn't flash anything special, but he will be a dependable inside presence on a 3-4 defense and will likely be selected in the second round.
CBS: "Intangibles: Has struggled with conditioning at times over his career. Possesses a good motor, however, and will pursue to the sideline and downfield. Possesses excellent weight room strength. Was the team's strongest player as early as his redshirt freshman season, owning a 480 pound bench press in 2008. He left Alabama benching closer to 580 pounds, according to the Alabama strength and conditioning staff and has a 630-pound squat when healthy. Played most of the 2011 season with a torn ACL which required postseason surgery."
Mocking the Draft: "Strengths: Is short and gets low and uses natural leverage, which helps him routinely beat offensive lineman. Gets most of his penetration on passing plays by pushing the offensive lineman backward into the pocket. Showed his toughness playing most of his senior season on a knee that required surgery. Weaknesses: Is mainly a space filler of a nose tackle. Chapman is hard to move off the blocks, but he's not a very agile lineman. Shouldn't be relied on as a pass rusher, which makes you think he may only be a two-down lineman at the next level."
Longer highlight clip:
Bleacher Report Interview: