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DIESELMAN
03-30-2006, 09:51 AM
By Pittsburgh's standards, 2003 was a strange year. The Steelers didn?t add a single offensive lineman. Over the past 11 years, the team picked a blocker on the first day of the draft 9 times.

If the Steelers had a third round pick in 2001, that number might have been 10. OT Mathias Nkwenti was the third player Pittsburgh drafted that year, but in the fourth round. They followed up in the very next round with OC Chukky Okobi, who is still on the roster.

The Steelers emphasize the offensive line and they prefer to build through the draft. While linemen may not appear to be the most pressing concern, Bill Cowher and GM Kevin Colbert will pick one anyway.

All is not well in the trenches, even with Okobi and OC Jeff Hartings under contract. Last February, RB Jerome Bettis pointed out that the Steelers have a few problems to address along the offensive line. Depth and replacing Hartings were his primary concerns.

Bettis was trying to make some noise and launch his new career in broadcasting, but offensive line prospect Ryan O'Callaghan supported Bettis? warning when he stated that the Steelers were one of the teams ?show the most interest in me from the combine and the Senior Bowl.?

O?Callaghan rates as a Day 1 talent. Given the Steelers? track record over the last 10 years, picking him at the end of round 2 wouldn?t seem out of the question.

In round 1, the Steelers could land Hartings? replacement in Nick Mangold. But that would mean the Steelers would carry three centers on the final roster and Okobi would know where he stands, if he doesn?t already. If Okobi isn?t the answer, the Steelers would be wise to pick Mangold.

Rising to the fore is OG/OT Davin Joseph. Joseph interviewed with the Steelers at the combine. He looks to be a high-character person who could play either guard or tackle. Could he play center as well?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers watched his every move at the Senior Bowl. The team?s assistant offensive line coach commented that he had hoped that Joseph would come out a year early. Joseph did flirt with heading to the NFL in 2005 but decided to stay in school and play one more year.

The Tennessee Titans' offensive line coach said about Joseph at the Senior Bowl, ?Those [long] arms are really going to help him keep defenders away. But he moves well, too, and he's got nice size. Some teams may want to take a look at him at tackle, but I think he's a natural fit at guard. He could come in ready to play there.?

Joseph told Scout.com that he is also working at the center position, ? While at the Senior Bowl I had the opportunity to take advantage of the professional coaching. Most of the pro coaches are telling me I will be a guard at the next level. I am a competitor. I am a guard, but I am progressing to play center.?

The New England Patriots could be targeting Joseph with their first pick. The Patriots, along with the Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins, and Dallas Cowboys, brought in the former Oklahoma Sooner for a workout.

Thus far, are there are no reports of a visit to Pittsburgh, but don?t be surprised if the Steelers call Joseph?s name with pick #32. The Steelers may need a wide receiver, linebacker or free safety, but they tend to take care of the line first.

Dook
03-30-2006, 05:07 PM
When JB said this he didn't know that Hartings was staying.

We have all of our starting offensive lineman. What problems need to be taken care of?

I think we will get an offensive lineman but later in the draft or in the 1st if all of the top safeties, WR's, and OLB's are already gone.

BlitzburghRockCity
03-31-2006, 07:44 PM
Our starting 5 are intact and ready to go. They played better and better as the season went on. We do need some depth though so we'll see what we can do. If we can find a steal on late day 1 don't be suprised to see us take an OL if the right one drops to us. We found out 3 years ago what happens when you dont draft OL help.

TasmanianTroy271
03-31-2006, 08:14 PM
We do have little depth at O-Line, but what young depth we do have, I like. We kept getting info from training camp last year of how much of a beast Kemoeatu was, going toe to toe with Casey. I think that once Kendall becomes a FA, Chris will replace him, if it doesn't happen sooner. At Tackle, we also have Trai Essex, who people thought was a reach when drafted, but he did do decently against Dwight Freeny when we played the Colts, which is a big achievement for a rookie. At Center, Chukky's been given a 2 year extention, but other than those 3, we mostly have just Brooks and a bunch of PS players. I expect us to take a Guard/Tackle or Guard/Center guy who can play multiple positions somewhere in the draft, hopefully they'll be good enough to let us cut Brooks.

Suitanim
03-31-2006, 08:25 PM
Actually, depth at OL was a much bigger problem last year because all the replacements were either rookies or fat marshmellow dudes.

We should be okay in '06.