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Steelers Daily Links: Tomlin ‘More Than a Coach,’ Early 2023 Re-Draft



Steelers Villanueva Tomlin
Heinz Field, June 30, 2022. -- Alan Saunders / Steelers Now

Former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva praised Mike Tomlin on the “New Heights” podcast with Jason and Travis Kelce.

“Mike Tomlin is one of a kind. I think sometimes I get a little pissed off when I see him because I know he can have a much bigger role in society than being a head coach. He’s got incredible leadership skills, incredible charisma. He’s 100 percent selling himself short,” Villanueva said.

“I had an incredible relationship with him. He helped me out tremendously. He wants to be a part of your dreams and the vision you have for yourself. So, for me, it was an amazing time to be able to spend time with somebody as remarkable and fascinating as coach Tomlin.”

🏈  Bleacher Report conducted an exercise where they re-drafted the 2023 NFL Draft based on early offseason buzz. For the Pittsburgh Steelers, they had Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez going to the Steelers at 17th overall. Gonzalez was selected by the New England Patriots at 17th overall in the 2023 NFL Draft.

“Heading into the real draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers had two glaring needs; offensive tackle and cornerback. Hence why they spent their first pick on Broderick Jones and second on Joey Porter Jr. However, in this exercise, Jones is off the board so Pittsburgh flips their strategy and addresses their defensive backfield with the 17th overall selection,” Matt Holder of Bleacher Report wrote. “At roughly 6’2″ and 200 pounds, Christian Gonzalez fits the size profile the Steelers were looking for at the position, much more so than the very lean 6’1″ and 166-pound Emmanuel Forbes who was drafted one spot ahead of Gonzalez.”

Gonzalez has also turned heads so far with the Patriots and got praise from Bill Belichick, according to the The Athletic’s Chad Graff.

“We’ll work him at a number of positions,” Belichick said. “… I think there are other situations where he could play inside or could play in the deeper part of the field depending on what you know, what the call is or how things present themselves from a game plan structure from time to time.”

🏈 Second-year Steelers wide receiver Calvin Austin III reportedly looked “terrific” at OTAs, according to NFL insider Adam Caplan. Austin suffered a Lisfranc injury in training camp last year and missed the entire season.

“With all the issues they had last season, with their receiver corps, their offensive line, well, guess what? They’ve addressed their offensive line in a significant way. They addressed their receiver corps, they have depth now: Allen Robinson and Calvin Austin, who I’m told was terrific in OTA’s,” Caplan said on the Ferrall Coast To Coast podcast.

🏈 July 9th was declared Damar Hamlin Day in Pittsburgh. Hamlin is a Pittsburgh native and starred at Pittsburgh Central Catholic and Pitt.

🎂 Happy Birthday to former Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, born on July 10, 1988 in Miami, Florida. Brown put up Hall of Fame caliber numbers with the Steelers, but his tenure and legacy was derailed by a serious of off the field issues. The downfall of his career in Pittsburgh came in 2018 when he had a falling out with Ben Roethlisberger and the organization. Despite the legal issues and bizarre behavior, which is still present to this day, there’s no doubt that Brown was one of the best players ever to don the Black and Gold. He arguably had the best six-year stretch (2013-2018) for a wide receiver in NFL history. In that span, Brown recorded 686 receptions for 9,145 yards and 67 touchdowns. That’s more total receptions than Mike Evans in his entire career, more yards than Stefon Diggs in his entire career, and more touchdowns than Julio Jones in his entire career. Brown won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020, but given his lengthy off the field issues, his Hall of Fame candidacy is certainly in question.

🎥 With training camp just over two weeks away, Diontae Johnson continues to train with the “Route God” in Florida.

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