Dwyer goes to Pittsburgh Steelers — updated with Dwyer quotes

After a wait that he described as humbling, former Georgia Tech running back Jonathan Dwyer said he’s excited to be a Steeler.

At one time projected to be a first-round pick, a combination of factors saw Dwyer tumble all the way to the sixth round of the NFL Draft, where Pittsburgh made him the 188th player selected.

“It was very hard [ to wait],” Dwyer said. “It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. It made me think about a lot of things. I’ve got to come in and be ready to work and that’s what I’m going to do.”

He wasn’t supposed to last that long. After rushing for 1,395 yards as a sophomore to earn ACC player of the year honors, he rushed for 1,395 more as a junior last season to help the Yellow Jackets win the ACC. When he submitted his early-entry paperwork to the NFL in December, coach Paul Johnson said it came back with a first- or second-round pick projection.

Instead, Dwyer became a polarizing player, with some draft analysts slotting him high and others very low. It seemed the more that analysts looked at him, the more they found they didn’t like. They questioned his weight and speed. They didn’t like his pass-blocking and pass-catching skills, neither of which he was asked to do at Tech because of the nature of the run-focused offense. In the end, he was the 12th running back taken behind notables from Kentucky and Southern Illinois.

“It could have been a lot of things, but it’s over now,” Dwyer said. “As long as the team’s winning, I’m fine.”

Dwyer played at around 242 pounds in Tech’s spread-option. A toe injury sustained in the Orange Bowl hampered his training and conditioning in the weeks leading up to the NFL Combine. As a result, he weighed 229 pounds, four more than his target weight, and ran a relatively slow 40 time. But the toe healed and a slimmer Dwyer (225 pounds) bounced back at Tech’s pro day a month later to run a 4.52, seven-hundredths faster than his time at the Combine and within the top-10 times posted there. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said on Saturday that he never saw a burst from Dwyer during workouts. He had 15 plays of at least 20 yards or more last season, including a pass, an indication that he is fast enough to run away from tacklers.

Analysts also wondered whether Dwyer could transition from lining up close to the line of scrimmage, as he did in Tech’s spread-option, to the deeper start required in a pro-style offense. Dwyer pointed out after Tech’s pro day that he was used in that formation during his freshman season at Tech when Chan Gailey was coach.

Lastly, a week before the draft, foxsports.com reported that Dwyer flunked a drug test at the Combine. However, Dwyer had previously alerted the NFL that he has been taking prescription mediciation for ADD since he was in the 5th grade. Dwyer said one of the doctors who reviewed the drug tests mistakenly omitted him from the list of previously cleared patients. Dwyer’s agent, Adisa Bakari, said every NFL team knew about the medicine before the draft, calling it a “non-issue.”

As Dwyer said, it’s over now. He will report to Pittsburgh’s mini-camp next week. He said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin wants him to learn the playbook as quickly as possible. The team features one running back who dominates the snaps, Rashard Mendenhall. Dwyer said he can be a third-down back, if not more.

“I will do whatever it takes to get on the field,” he said.

Should he make the squad, Atlanta fans can watch him when the Falcons open against the Steelers on Sept. 12 at Heinz Field.

Dwyer is the fourth Yellow Jacket taken in this year’s draft, following defensive end Derrick Morgan to Tennessee with the 16th pick, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to Denver with the 22nd pick, and safety Morgan Burnett to Green Bay in the third round (71st overall) on Friday.

185 comments Add your comment

Chuck

April 24th, 2010
2:39 pm

JMB

April 24th, 2010
2:39 pm

JACKETfan12

April 24th, 2010
2:41 pm

It will be ironic when he turns out the starter in 2-3 years. Maybe even sooner

Devildog

April 24th, 2010
2:41 pm

Jason

April 24th, 2010
2:41 pm

Maybe he should have stayed. Someone gave him bad advise.. GOod luck.

The Dream

April 24th, 2010
2:42 pm

They got a good one in JD. I hope he is allowed to show what he can do and he proves the ones that over looked him that he is the real deal. Best of luck in your future.

Sam

April 24th, 2010
2:43 pm

Shocked by this to be honest. (And I am a Dawg). Pittsburgh seems like a good place for a RB.

HugoStiglitz

April 24th, 2010
2:44 pm

Dwyer deserved to go alot sooner but he can thrive in Pittsburgh. He will do great there.

Rodney Dangerfield

April 24th, 2010
2:44 pm

Too bad the falcons couldn’t pick him up and wasted a pick on some SS out of Montana that is smaller than I am. Everyone knows that Jerious Norwood will be injured again!

Stinger

April 24th, 2010
2:44 pm

I am now a Steelers fan. Dwyer will get a lot of playing time this year and show the rest of the league that they made a huge mistake.

crazy

April 24th, 2010
2:45 pm

think his drop in stock had anything to do with the good ‘ol hometown papers take on his “drug use”?
thanks fellas. we’ll repay you with canceled subscriptions, mines already done.

Tech Mom

April 24th, 2010
2:46 pm

Pittsburgh got a steal! Jonathan – show ‘em what you got!

JohnD

April 24th, 2010
2:46 pm

Wouldn’t be surprised if JD has the best career out of the four of them. Some “experts” questioned his toughness – laughable considering he never missed a game despite being hit on every play – because the thought he sometimes ran out of bounds. Must not have had the game film of the UVA game where he completely blew up the safety.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_Ms_cdT9u0

TechFan

April 24th, 2010
2:47 pm

The new BUS in Pittsburgh is DIESEL!

Let us compare

April 24th, 2010
2:47 pm

Dwyer is one of the greatest backs in Tech’s history. Heisman material. Right??

UGA’s Atkins, Owens and Reshad Jones are some of the most unsuccessful players in UGA history with only 3 or 4 wins vs a school like tech. Point is this:
The UGA men were taken well before Dwyer in the NFL draft. They will not even be remembered in three years ( Jones has already been forgotten for months ) and they were drafted ahead of Dwyer.

SEC RULES is why.

TheNumber34

April 24th, 2010
2:48 pm

Pittsburg got a steal with this pick. Dwyer is a heck of a running back, and I too am a UGA fan. I had always wished that Dwyer was wearing red and black. It’s a blessing to go to Pittsburg vs. a team like Oakland or Jacksonville.

Jacket Tractor

April 24th, 2010
2:48 pm

JD you are the man! Keep your head high and let him have it!!!

HugoStiglitz

April 24th, 2010
2:52 pm

Let us compare, you dont seem to think very highly of the players that come out of UGA. Thats kinda sad.

yellow snow

April 24th, 2010
2:53 pm

The problem was Dwyer thought the wonderlick test was a large over sized sucker and ordered a box full.

In all honesty I hope he has a long and productive pro career.

Go DAWGS! 30-24

hedgepruner

April 24th, 2010
2:53 pm

Big Jon your Heart & Soul will be missed on the flats we know you played thru injuries but the tech faithful will always be pulling for you in the NFL, go break all of Franco Harris’s records in Pittsburgh and let this late round draft inspire you to show them what your made of …God Bless you !!!!

Techmite

April 24th, 2010
2:58 pm

This overrated lunk won’t even make the Steelers roster. Then the local drumbeaters can start whining for the falcan’ts to pick him up.

bug crusher

April 24th, 2010
2:58 pm

HAHA!!!!!!!!! YOU GOT IT RIGHT LET US COMPARE!!!!!!!! THE SEC IS BEST CONFERANCE IN THE NATION!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND THEN SOME!!!!!!!!!!!!! WE WILL WIN THE NATION CHAMPONSHIP THIS YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DAWGS CAN”T GET BEAT!!!!!!! LOOK OUT FLA HERE COME DAWGS HAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MURRAY WILL WIN THE HIESMAN BEFORE HIS CAREAR IS OVER BANK IT!!!!!!!!!

Alphare

April 24th, 2010
3:00 pm

JD, you will be a great player in the pro. The upfront money may be less, but you will earn more thru-out your career.

Keep up your spirit. Go prove those experts are wrong.

jojatek

April 24th, 2010
3:03 pm

Pittsburgh is a perfect fit for Dwyer (”everything happens for a reason…”, as someone once said…). Tashard Choice shocked everyone in Dallas… Dwyer will do the same for the Steelers…

RamblinWreck

April 24th, 2010
3:15 pm

Hey Techmite: Who are the Falcan’s. Obviously, you must be a UGAG grad, as you cannot even spell. It’s the Falcon’s if you are smart enough to understand. THWG!

Bark bark barf

April 24th, 2010
3:16 pm

SEC RULES is why? The “best college football player ever!’ Tebow came out of the SEC and he has people trashing him left and right. You’re a goober who probably has no real college affiliation

RamblinWreck

April 24th, 2010
3:17 pm

Hey Bugcrusher: You were supposed to win the NC last year, the year before and the year before that. What happened? It’s the same old sorry azz excuses your sorry azz team has every year. It’s either a rebuilding year, or it’s next year is our year. You will be lucky if UGAG wins 8 games. THWG!

RamblinWreck

April 24th, 2010
3:23 pm

Hey Bugcrusher: I must admit, your baseball team is looking strong! LMFAO! You better stick with the Gym Mutts, as at least they are decent. LMFAO! Hey, who knows, maybe your almighty dawg crap football team will run the table! NOT! You cannot beat UF, even without Tebow. If I am not mistaken, your team has lost, what, the last 18 of 21. In addition, your last NC in football was during WWII with Herschel Walker. I believe GT won it in 1990 if I am not mistaken. Also, your basketaball team looked great this year. Your school, teams and fans all suck azz! Go back to your doublewide, report to your GT Grad boss on Monday, if you even have a job, and get a life. THWG! Woof Woof Woof, Barf Barf, Barf! Hey, Mettlenberger should do a great job for ya! Can’t wait to see him throw the ball this year. LMFAO! You all suck azz!

give it a rest

April 24th, 2010
3:26 pm

So sad the tools are now stuck touting baseball teams. Gee, wonder why that is???

nex

April 24th, 2010
3:26 pm

Hey tools, I thought CPJ was supposed to win the national title every year and beat UGA all the time? LOL!!!

James

April 24th, 2010
3:27 pm

I’m glad Dwyer ended up with a good team. It really should have happened sooner. You can make case for Spiller, Best, Gerhardt (maybe), etc. going ahead of him, but no way in heck was he the 12th best RB. He was top 3 for sure. Oh well, better picked late than picked early and ending up in Oakland or some other disaster area.

KJ

April 24th, 2010
3:28 pm

“Hey Techmite: Who are the Falcan’s. Obviously, you must be a UGAG grad, as you cannot even spell.”

Wow, you’re not very good at this sarcasm thing, are you?

“You were supposed to win the NC last year, the year before and the year before that.”

Nobody claims this. This is what’s known as a “strawman”. Hope this helps.

“You will be lucky if UGAG wins 8 games”

And the fewer games UGA wins, the worse NATS looks when UGA owns them for the umpteenth time. Amazing that you dorks haven’t figured this out yet.

“You cannot beat UF, even without Tebow. If I am not mistaken, your team has lost, what, the last 18 of 21.”

There you go, back to living vicariously through teams that matter. You should stick to that.

Big Stinger

April 24th, 2010
3:28 pm

bug crusher…you are in the wrong place. You should be on the UGA page checking to see which one of your players has gotten thrown in the pokie this week.

GTPhenom

April 24th, 2010
3:28 pm

Ok, how about we get back to the subject at hand. I was a Steelers fan for a long time before this pick, and now I am only happier for both Dwyer and Pittsburgh. This could easily be the steal of the draft for Pittsburgh, and it is a great place for Dwyer. Mendenhall is a good back, but he has issues near the goal-line for his size. If Dwyer shows them what we know he has, he will be a star there. Best of luck to all of the GT players who got drafted. I will be keeping up with their careers closely!!!

misterwax

April 24th, 2010
3:31 pm

If Dwyer has been on ritalin or other such Class II amphetamines since he was 5 years old, his heart is dangerously worn out. Long term side effects of such drugs actually do show up in those who are deliberately drugged by the government schools (over 80% boys). As they mature and pursue athletic endeavors..many of then have heart attacks in their teen age years. This is no joke. Dwyer having hurdled those risks for so long is amazing. I never heard this about him while he was at GT. Someone has been keeping this under wraps for a long long time. Many Doctors would say Dwyer is in a high risk group for heart failure.

Margolis, Stuart

April 24th, 2010
3:34 pm

Maybe the Dwyer, Reshad Jones and Rennie Curran situations will show players they are better off playing another year. Coming out this year proved a mistake for all three.

JG

April 24th, 2010
3:34 pm

Ask Chris Cook who the best back in the draft is,,,,Steelers made a great pick. Falcons suck because they blew it…I hope Deisel scores on them this season.

BobbyDodd 21/20

April 24th, 2010
3:45 pm

Damn, something got outta whack in the last 90 days, hopefully, he can lose 30 lbs, be in great shape, know the play book and be a winner…I am shocked that the stock went down…

Mr Charlie

April 24th, 2010
3:56 pm

The two players that will have the best NFL careers are Dwyer and Curran. They are football players who produce.

Mr Charlie

April 24th, 2010
3:57 pm

Curran did not make a mistake by coming out, his knock was his height, it was not going to change. All he did was lead the SEC in tackles two years in a row. What more could he do?

Dawg lvoer

April 24th, 2010
4:08 pm

I am a huge Dawg fan and was glad Dwyer left early. Cannot understand why he was not taken sooner. Thought he would have been ideal for the Falcons as a backup to Turner that could produce as opposed to Norwood. I wish him the best in Pittsburgh. A lot of Bulldawgs have done well up and there and I see no reason that he won’t as well.

I Hate UGAY

April 24th, 2010
4:12 pm

UGA: The worst team in the SEC….the worst…ever

Mr Charlie

April 24th, 2010
4:12 pm

We have Snelling, we don’t need a backup for the Burner.

Delbert D.

April 24th, 2010
4:13 pm

You’re not even sure what drug, and you know the effects? Sid Bream must be scared to learn this.

GA Tech Fan

April 24th, 2010
4:14 pm

Congrats to Dwyer! He’ll just have to prove himself. Bug Crusher, you make me laugh!

GT Alum

April 24th, 2010
4:14 pm

OK, so the knock on the triple option was no receiver would get credit from NFL scouts and wouldn’t be able to get drafted high. Yet our WR was the first receiver drafted and went in the first round (before one that racked up the numbers in a spread offense) and our star RB goes in the sixth round.

The good news for Dwyer is that he should get a chance to prove himself in Pittsburgh. Recent indications are that the Steelers are trying to get back to being a run first team, especially with Big Ben out.

Delbert D.

April 24th, 2010
4:15 pm

Mr Charlie – Maybe the rest of the SEC was unusually short last year? Just kidding. Curran will likely be a demon on special teams this year.

Delbert D.

April 24th, 2010
4:17 pm

The Steelers’ #2 RB contributed 118 yards last year. That’s a lot of opportunity. The Falcons’ #3 got more than that in one game.

Mr Charlie

April 24th, 2010
4:19 pm

Curran lead the HS in tackles his junior season when he weighted 160 pounds. He was not heavily recruited, Once he was the field at UGA, he never came off, and lead the SEC in tackles for the next two straight years. He is like Zach Thomas, and London Fletcher. Once he gets on the field in the NFL, he will never leave. Production speaks for itself.

Mr Charlie

April 24th, 2010
4:21 pm

Dwyer did go to a great place, he runs like the Steelers want to run the ball. “Gay Gay” will be a bust, and I don’t thing Morgan will cut it. Both are workout wonders.