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mesaSteeler
05-14-2009, 11:57 PM
Pittsburgh Steelers report: Steelers hoping third round picks parlay into success
May 15, 12:26 AM

Matt Pawlikowski
Pittsburgh Sports Examiner

http://www.examiner.com/x-2703-Pittsburgh-Sports-Examiner~y2009m5d15-Pittsburgh-Steelers-report-Steelers-hoping-third-round-picks-parlay-into-success


PITTSBURGH - During the 2009 NFL Draft, the Steelers made a trade. It didn't involve a player, but instead was with the Denver Broncos for its two third round picks.

It gave the team three picks in the third round, and they selected a receiver in Mike Wallace, a lineman in Keith Urbik and a cornerback in Keenen Lewis.

While it may have sounded strange at the time; giving up a second and fourth round pick- over the years there have been some very good players to have come out of that round.

Pittsburgh native Jason Taylor of the Dolphins, Philadelphia’s Michael Westbrook, the Cowboys Jason Witten and San Francisco's Frank Gore are just a few recent examples of third round picks who have flourished in the league.

Starting with HOF Mel Blount, who was taken with the third pick in the 1970 draft, the Steelers also have has some decent success in that round with the late 1990's perhaps being the most fruitful. The final three picks of the millennium all are potential future Hall-of-Famers.

In 1997, they took Mike Vrabel out of Ohio State with the 91st pick. He played well for the Black and Gold, but his 51 games where mostly on special teams and as a situational pass rusher. He really flourished when he left via free-agency for the Patriots.

The 6-foot-4-inch, 261-pound linebacker served as a team captain for four seasons from 2005-08, and in 2007 earned Pro Bowl honors and a spot on the Associated Press All-Pro First Team.

Vrabel who is now with the Chiefs, played in 125 regular-season games for the Patriots with 110 starts, recording 638 tackles (422 solo), 11 interceptions for 73 yards and a touchdown, 34 passes defensed, 13 forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and 24 special teams tackles. He recorded 48.0 sacks in a Patriots uniform.

Vrabel also caught 10 passes, all for touchdowns, including eight in the regular season, one in Super Bowl XXXVIII and one in Super Bowl XXXIX.

"When Mike arrived in 2001, we knew we were adding a solid outside linebacker,” said Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick. “But where Mike took it from there exceeded our highest hopes. Mike Vrabel epitomizes everything a coach could seek in a professional football player: toughness, intelligence, playmaking, leadership, versatility and consistency at the highest level.

The Steelers followed up the Vrabel pick with Hines Ward in 1998. Ward epitomizes Pittsburgh football with his blue collar work ethic and is the franchise leader in career receptions (800), receiving yards (9,780), touchdown receptions (72), 1,000-yard seasons (five) and consecutive games with a reception (162).

"You have love Hines," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "He embodies what's important to us in terms of how he approaches the game. He's a football player first and a wide receiver second. He's got a passion for the game, a desire to win and compete. He's Hines."

1999 also proved to be a great pick as the team took the oft outspoken but beloved Joey Porter

Porter, who has 83 career sacks, thrived as a Steeler having been selected to the Pro Bowl three times, and was the team's defensive co-captain in 2006 and 2007. After being released by the Steelers he signed with the Dolphins, and in 2008 led the league with 17.5 sacks.

Kevin Colbert took over as director of football operations in 2000, and while the team has selected guys such as safety Chris Hope, who in 2008 was an All-Pro with the Titans and tackle Max Starks since 2005, not one has become a starter.

Tackle Trai Essex was taken with the third pick in 2005. He’s been a reliable backup but never cracked the starting lineup.

In 2006, the Steelers had two third round picks. - Safety Anthony Smith and wide receiver/kick return specialist Willie Reid.

Reid who was drafted for his kick return skills proved to be a bust, and was cut last year at training camp. Smith still has promise with the Green Bay Packers, but his mouth performed better than his skills with the Steelers, and he was cut after the 2008 season.

In 2007, the Steelers took tight end Matt Spaeth. Spaeth was the top tight end in the country as a senior, but has pretty much been relegated to backup duties behind Heath Miller.

And last year the team took linebacker Bruce Davis. He played in five games as a rookie, but didn't see action after November.

This year the Steelers got three important needs in the third round. They got a speedster, a very good cornerback and an offensive lineman who can play multiple positions.

The question now, will one become the next Ward and flourish, or be the next Lifort Hobley who was taken in 1985.

Steelers & I
05-15-2009, 05:43 AM
I won't fault the Steelers for the Liffort Hobley pick in the 3rd round of the 1985 draft. How could you, the Steelers foulded up that entire draft. That may be the worst collection of college football players ever. It was amazing to see players like Herschel Walker and Kevin Greene being drafted in the 5th round. I realize that the USFL played a big part in the draft but still yet, simply amazing. If anyone cares to take a look, here's the link.

http://espndb.go.com/nfl/draft/year/players/_/year/1985/round/0/1985-nfl-draft

El-Gonzo Jackson
05-15-2009, 07:20 AM
I hate reporters who cant get simple facts correct. :chair:

Who is this Keith Urbik the author speaks of?? :noidea:

GBMelBlount
05-15-2009, 07:41 AM
Isn't he a country singer? :huh:

BlastFurnace
05-15-2009, 09:21 AM
I won't fault the Steelers for the Liffort Hobley pick in the 3rd round of the 1985 draft. How could you, the Steelers foulded up that entire draft. That may be the worst collection of college football players ever. It was amazing to see players like Herschel Walker and Kevin Greene being drafted in the 5th round. I realize that the USFL played a big part in the draft but still yet, simply amazing. If anyone cares to take a look, here's the link.

http://espndb.go.com/nfl/draft/year/players/_/year/1985/round/0/1985-nfl-draft

Love the retro 80's NFL stuff. Thanks for posting.

steelreserve
05-15-2009, 12:01 PM
Kevin Colbert took over as director of football operations in 2000, and while the team has selected guys such as safety Chris Hope, who in 2008 was an All-Pro with the Titans and tackle Max Starks since 2005, not one has become a starter.

Eh? I'm pretty sure both those guys were starters. I mean, sure, Hope's on a different team now, but he started when he was with us. And Starks isn't very good, but he's still a starter too.

Anyway, that was odd, but I liked the rest of the article.