Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Steelers

From: National Review Online

The Black & Gold had a great run last year and came up just short of their seventh Lombardi Trophy. That doesn’t mean there aren’t glaring weaknesses and holes that need to be addressed. Steelers’ drafts are usually uninspiring affairs. Rarely do fans get overly excited by the names that get called. But the team has been good at finding value picks after the first frame: Recent examples include WR Mike Wallace in 2009′s third round, and LB LaMarr Woodley in 2007′s second round.

Aaron Rodgers made the Steelers CBs look silly in the Super Bowl, and S Troy Polamalu has become injury prone. Look for the Steelers to make CB Aaron Williams from Texas their first-round pick. I would also expect them to take at least one other corner in the first four rounds. As a Virginia Tech alum, I’m crossing my fingers that Rashard Carmichael is that other corner.

Last year, the Steelers’ offensive line was held together with super glue and duct tape. Backup TE Matt Spaeth was even pressed into service as a tackle at one point. The Steelers love drafting linemen, so I wouldn’t be surprised if these were their second- and third-round picks. It would be great to see current starting center Maurkice Pouncey’s brother, Mike, still on the board for them to take in the first round, but that’s just not going to happen.

The D-line fared better last year, but Aaron Smith will be coming back from a torn rotator cuff in 2009 and a torn tricep in 2010. Casey Hampton will be entering his 11th year at nose tackle. Names I’m seeing on Steeler draft boards include nose tackle Kenrick Ellis from Hampton and defensive end Zach Clayton from Auburn.

I know this might sound like heresy, but the Steelers could stand to draft a guy who can be developed into a quality backup for Ben Roethlisberger. Given Big Ben’s taste for motorcycles and cocktail waitresses (not to mention the number of hits the guy takes on the field), they could use an insurance policy. I have no idea who that might be, especially in this draft that looks lean on QB talent.

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