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Galax Steeler
04-01-2009, 04:36 AM
The Steelers provided a few firsts yesterday. University of Arizona wide receiver Mike Thomas became the first college prospect from outside the area to visit their facility this year, and the team concluded March without signing an outside free agent.

It's the first time in 17 years they've gone the first month of free agency without signing anyone other than their own players to contracts, and unless something unforeseen develops, they won't sign one at least until after the April 25-26 draft.

The Steelers looked at only two unrestricted free agents from other teams at their facility, Chris Carr and Joey Galloway, who signed elsewhere. The club has since turned its attention to the draft.

"Right now as I look at it, it's less about what we need in terms of acquiring and more about the growth and development of the guys that we have here," coach Mike Tomlin said. "We've got to continue to make sure that our guys are on the rise. We've got some guys we're optimistic about what they're capable of doing.

"Optimism and potential are dangerous words. They've got to do it. I'm more excited about that maybe than I am looking at potential acquisitions from outside the team, whether it's through free agency or the draft."

The Steelers have curtailed their activity in free agency through the years. They've signed one player who became a starter in each of the past several years. Last year, it was center Justin Hartwig, although he did not qualify as a true unrestricted free agent because Carolina cut him. In 2007, it was another center, Sean Mahan, who was traded a year later. In 2006, it was safety Ryan Clark. In 2005, it was receiver Cedrick Wilson, although he became No. 3 and not a regular starter. And in 2004, it was halfback Duce Staley.

This year, nothing and it appears it will remain that way.

"Right now," Tomlin said, "I'm just excited about some guys that we believe have bright futures and that are capable of getting better."

The Steelers have begun their offseason workout program with mostly young players, and Tomlin will have two organized team activities for all his players before the draft, as he did last year.

Arizona's Thomas is the first of 30 college prospects the Steelers plan to bring in for closer inspection at their facility. The visits do not include workouts, but mostly longer interviews with players they either have not had a chance to spend much time with or those they want to further inspect.

Thomas, a stocky 5-8 1/2, 193-pounder, earned all-Pac-10 honors last season as a receiver and punt returner. He set the conference record with 259 career receptions and was timed at 4.30 seconds in the 40-yard sprint at the NFL combine in Indianapolis.

The Steelers, who lost No. 3 receiver Nate Washington in free agency, would like to draft a receiver with good speed who also could return punts and/or kickoffs.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09091/959676-66.stm

Kaeg
04-01-2009, 07:49 AM
I keep hearing about the need for a returner. We did sign that guy from Canada though, right? Logan, I believe the name was. Is he still here? Or maybe we just don't know if we have the confidence in him yet?

lamberts-lost-tooth
04-01-2009, 08:52 AM
Logan is still signed...but will have to earn a spot.

What I find interesting in the Steelers looking at Mike Thomas is that he is predicted to be drafted in the 4th-5th round. Dillard....Collie...and now Thomas. Three recievers we have showed interest in...and who grade out in those two rounds.

lilyoder6
04-01-2009, 09:31 AM
they are just tryin gto bring in competition and what not... i guess they realize they need a dynamic returner on both sides instead of having dif ppl return on both sides

SunshineMan21
04-02-2009, 01:30 AM
I like Thomas . . . he could be a solid possession receiver for us.

Texasteel
04-02-2009, 07:59 AM
Logan is still signed...but will have to earn a spot.

What I find interesting in the Steelers looking at Mike Thomas is that he is predicted to be drafted in the 4th-5th round. Dillard....Collie...and now Thomas. Three recievers we have showed interest in...and who grade out in those two rounds.

Unless someone shocking slides to us, those are the rounds I expected the Steelers to look at WR, And I think those are 3 good ones. I think they will probably bring in an UDFA or two as well.

steelerdave1969
04-02-2009, 11:54 AM
To be honest, I have never even heard of this Thomas guy, but whoever the Steelers draft at WR, if they even draft a WR, it should be someone that Can and Will Return Kickoffs and Punt Returns. I am just tired of seeing Davis back there returning kicks that absolutely gives us No Chance at a game changing return.... the Steelers really need to address this somewhere before the '09 season.

El-Gonzo Jackson
04-02-2009, 01:16 PM
If the Steelers draft a CB that can return kicks, there isnt a pressing need for a WR that can be a KR. So if Darris Butler is drafted, then they can look at a WR like Collie, but if they draft Mike Mickens at CB, then maybe they look at Thomas later.

I think they will keep the options open to either look at a WR or CB that can return kicks. But, we need a KR.

St33lersguy
04-02-2009, 05:58 PM
The Steelers should definetely look at a later round WR since the top 6 recievers will probably be gone by pick #32 except maybe Britt whomthe Steelers might not be too keen on getting. He is not a bad choice for the Steelers to draft