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03-27-2009, 10:15 PM
Pittsburgh Steelers, 2009 Draft Countdown
By Paul Myerberg
Pittsburg Steelers

The defending Super Bowl champions may not be in the same position as, say, the Lions, but will find great use with the 32nd overall pick — the final selection in the first round — whether they opt to bolster their offensive line or secondary.

2008 Record
12-4 (First in the A.F.C. North)

Head Coach
Mike Tomlin (25-11 in two years with the Steelers; 25-11 over all)

2008 Draft Recap
Round 1 (23rd over all): RB Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois
Round 2 (53rd): WR Limas Sweed, Texas
Round 3 (88th): LB Bruce Davis, U.C.L.A.
Round 4 (130th): OL Tony Hills, Texas
Round 5 (156th): QB Dennis Dixon, Oregon
Round 6 (188th): LB Mike Humpal, Iowa
Round 6 (194th): DB Ryan Mundy, West Virginia

Key Players Entering Free Agency
QB Charlie Batch
QB Byron Leftwich
CB Bryant McFadden (signed with Arizona)
S Anthony Smith (signed with Green Bay)
WR Nate Washington (signed with Tennessee)

Players Added (2008 Team)
No players added, but Pittsburgh re-signed OT Willie Colon, OT Trai Essex, LB Andre Frazier, G Chris Kemoeatu and TE Sean McHugh after they reached free agency. The team also applied the franchise tag on OT Max Starks.

Team Needs
It would be easy to point to the offensive line, but it was strong enough to lead the Steelers to a Super Bowl victory, so it’s not exactly in need for an overhaul. Still, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Steelers address their interior line with their first-round pick, nor would it be surprising to see the team look to improve their secondary. One thing is certain: the Steelers are set at all their offensive skill positions, so don’t expect them to add another wide receiver or running back until the second round or later.

Scott Wright’s Take
Scott Wright is the founder and president of Draft Countdown.com. He has been scouting players and evaluating the N.F.L. Draft since 1993. Here’s his view on the Steelers:

The Super Bowl champs are in pretty good shape, but they could use some depth along the offensive line. One good fit could be Oregon’s Max Unger, who has the ability to play center, guard or tackle. The Steelers will also be on the lookout for a cornerback to replace free-agent defection Bryant McFadden. Alphonso Smith of Wake Forest and Darius Butler of Connecticut will be possibilities as well.

A Fan’s Take
“Boss” Shawn Kennedy is the Director of Operations for the Steel City Mafia, a networking site dedicated to bringing together Steelers fans from across the nation. With membership topping 5,000, this Mafia is only slightly smaller and less powerful than the Cosa Nostra. But they have fewer RICO convictions, which is good.

It wouldn’t be a surprise for the Steelers to move up to snag a “particular” player. Alex Mack, G Duke Robinson, OT William Beatty or CB Darius Butler are possible factors and potential difference makers. All are great fits for the Steeler system and very intriguing. However, the pick is the San Jose State DE Jarron Gilbert, a “shocker pick” and small school prospect/question mark. A raw talent, physical specimen and a bit similar to Mean Joe Greene!!!

Worst Steelers First-Round Pick of the Last 15 Years
WR Troy Edwards, taken 13th over all in 1999, gets a solid look here. But despite his underwhelming career, Edwards finishes second to OT Jamain Stephens, who was taken 29th out of tiny North Carolina A&T in 1996. Stephens’s most memorable moment came on the opening day of training camp in 1999, when the third-year pro was unable to complete a series of sprints, leading the team to cut him mere hours after practice.