View Full Version : NFL Draft: Steelers' wants, needs mostly satisfied

04-28-2012, 11:47 PM
NFL Draft: Steelers' wants, needs mostly satisfied
By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Steelers filled both wants and needs in a nine-man draft class that concluded Saturday with an important trade and players at some skill positions who could tweak the way they do things on offense.

Although general manager Kevin Colbert insisted they did not try specifically to fill the team's obvious needs, their choices looked as though they filled the team's obvious ones.

Their biggest needs were guard, tackle, inside linebacker and nose tackle. They drafted the first three in the first two days and began the third day by making a trade to fill the other spot.

"Really, the last three days unfolded very well for us," Colbert said. "We got a lot of players we targeted. We didn't feel we reached for anybody."

They did, however, move up for one.

The Steelers hit another need hard by trading with the Washington Redskins to move up 10 spots and draft nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu of the University of Washington. They swapped their sixth-round pick to the Redskins to flip-flop picks in the fourth round.

"In Ta'amu's situation, there were only four or five nose tackle-types available, and he was the last man standing," Colbert said.

Another need fulfilled with Casey Hampton likely in the final year of his contract.

And, with Rashard Mendenhall rehabbing from January ACL surgery, they chose a versatile little back in the fifth round, Chris Rainey of Florida.

The Steelers used the first of their four seventh-round picks on Colorado's Toney Clemons, a Valley High School graduate who, at 6-2, 210, has sub 4.4 speed in the 40.

Their three other seventh-round picks were tight end David Paulson of Oregon, cornerback Terrence Frederick of Texas A&M and Southern Methodist tackle Kelvin Beachum, who the Steelers will put at guard.

Rainey is not your typical Steelers running back.

He stands 5 feet 8, weighs 180 pounds and is as fast as they come at that position, running a 4.37 in the 40.

And he's not bashful.

"I can play running back, I can play slot, I can do special teams," Rainey boasted. "I'm a playmaker all around. I'm perfect for this offense."

He is used to running behind one of the Steelers linemen, too, because Rainey not only was a teammate of Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey at both Lakeland High School and at Florida, but he also stayed with the Pouncey twins' family while in high school.

That helped the Steelers decide to draft him, even though he was arrested in 2010 for allegedly sending a threatening text message to a girlfriend. He accepted a plea by pledging to avoid legal trouble for six months, perform 10 hours of community service and undergo anger-management classes.

"Everybody knows about the texting situation," Colbert said.

"But we had some unique background on this kid because of his relationship with the Pouncey family.

"For them to take the kid in and provide him a home in high school said a lot to us."

Rainey said while he believes it hurt him in the draft, it taught him a lesson.

"I became a man, matured, learned a lesson not to do that ever again," Rainey said.

"Stuff happens for a reason."

Todd Haley, the Steelers new offensive coordinator, said they will try Rainey everywhere, including on punt returns, where they might try to cut back the duties of Antonio Brown now that he's become a starting wide receiver.

"He's a very versatile player who is fast, explosive, he can catch the ball, run with it and return it.

"That's a commodity."

Rainey was first-team All-SEC last year.

He rushed for 861 yards and also caught 31 passes for 381 yards. He is the younger brother of running back Rod Smart of "He Hate Me" fame in the old XFL.

Clemons, a late bloomer who transferred from Michigan to Colorado, is the cousin of Woodland Hills High School product and NFL veteran wide receiver Steve Breaston.

"He was a guy we were all kind of crossing our fingers on," said Steelers wide receivers coach Scottie Montgomery.

"He has a unique combination of size and speed."

Clemons has a shot to make it as the fifth wide receiver on a team that carries that many and sometimes six, especially if he can prove himself on special teams.

In addition to their nine draft picks, the Steelers later Saturday night agreed to terms with 12 undrafted rookies. They are punter Drew Butler (Georgia), cornerback Terry Carter (Lousiana Tech), wide receiver Connor Dixon (Duquesne), safety Robert Golden (Arizona), defensive end Ikponmwosa Igbinosun (Southern Connecticut State), center/guard Ryan Lee (Furman), linebacker Brandon Lindsey (Pitt), wide receiver Marquis Maze (Alabama), kicker Grant Ressel (Missouri), linebacker Adrian Robinson (Temple), offensive tackle Desmond Stapleton (Rutgers) and defensive end Jake Stoller (Yale).
For more on the Steelers, read the blog, Ed Bouchette on the Steelers at www.post-gazette.com/plus. Ed Bouchette: ebouchette@post-gazette.com and Twitter @EdBouchette.

First Published 2012-04-29 04:08:41

04-29-2012, 12:50 AM
Lots of cornerbacks were taken but no safeties. i wonder if some corners will be converted to safeties. Carnell Lake could play both so i wonder if he might be thinking that.

04-29-2012, 08:19 AM
I would think the team is considering Robert Golden 5-11 202 Arizona a UDFA a safety and Myron Rolle who already is on the roster will compete there I assume, although he is listed as a corner on their roster.

Hawaii 5-0
05-03-2012, 10:34 PM
Gerry: Did Steelers fill their needs?


Good morning!

Well, the draft is over and my question to you is, did the Steelers fill all their needs?

And, if not, do they need to sign some of the free agents who are still out there.

Of course, it has rarely been the Steelers’ style to sign a “name” free agent, especially at this point in the season. But there are some good ones still out there, like Plaxico Burress and former Bengals RB Cedric Benson, players who could help a team.

I’m not suggesting the Steelers sign those players, especially Benson, but how about at some other positions? Like cornerback? Or inside linebacker? Or even wide receiver?

Those seem to be the positions I get asked about the most. Well, here’s what I think.

Cornerback: Absolutely not. The Steelers think they have three young corners who can play, especially the two rookies from last year, Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen. Even though Allen already played in sub packages last year, the one they really like is Brown. Coaches and teammates rave about him – his athleticism, speed, tenacity, skills. He has a chance to be a big contributor this season. Between him, Allen and Keenan Lewis, there is no point in signing a veteran corner who will retard their development and usurp their playing time. They like these guys. Play ‘em.

Inside linenbacker: To me, the Steelers still don’t have James Farrior’s long-term replacement on the roster. Sure, they have Larry Foote, but he is a one-year stop gap until the heir apparent can be found. And, remember, he is the player they let go because they wanted Lawrence Timmons to be the starter. Foote is a serviceable player and a dependable backup, and the team is not going to sign any type of veteran in free agency who will come in and do a better job. Stevenson Sylvester might develop into a nice player, but he has not shown enough to convince the coaches he deserves more playing time. The Steelers need to find Farrior’s replacement in the draft, not free agency. So the answer is no.

Wide receiver. The Steelers still don’t have a fifth receiver, though I think they are hoping – possibly even counting – on seventh-round pick Toney Clemons being that guy. So it wouldn’t surprise me if they added a veteran to come to training camp. But they are not going to sign anyone like Burress because they don’t need a receiver to be anything more than No. 5. They are all set with the top 3 and are thrilled to have Jerricho Cotchery as No. 4. So they are not going to invest that kind of money, nor should they.


tony hipchest
05-03-2012, 10:57 PM
Lots of cornerbacks were taken but no safeties. i wonder if some corners will be converted to safeties. Carnell Lake could play both so i wonder if he might be thinking that.no, because we are actually more short handed with CB than safety. we didnt draft safeties because we dont need them right no (mundy and will allen are the back ups).

CB- lost mcfadden and gay/ replaced with a 7th rounder and UDFA
Safety- lost nobody but seem to like cromartie smith and added myron rolle who we must also like to add him so long ago.

if anything, rolle is being talked about as CB.