Signed, sealed, delivered (Draft Picks)
Sunday, July 31, 2005
PITTSBURGH ? On the day that all players were due to report to St. Vincent College for the start of training camp, the Steelers announced they had come to contract agreements with their top three draft choices.
Heath Miller, Bryant McFadden and Trai Essex all signed contracts prior to their arrival in Latrobe, which allowed the Steelers to have all of their draft choices in camp prior to the 6 p.m. reporting deadline.
Miller is the first tight end drafted by Pittsburgh in the first round since 1995 when it selected Mark Bruener.
Miller, a 6-5, 256-pound tight end from the University of Virginia, signed a five-year contract with the team. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Selected 30th overall in the 2005 NFL Draft, Miller was the top-rated tight end entering the draft after capturing the 2004 John Mackey Award, annually presented to the nation?s top tight end. A two-time first-team All-ACC selection, Miller concluded his career with 144 receptions for 1,703 yards (11.8 avg.) and 20 touchdowns. He holds every receiving record for a tight end in school history and also established ACC career marks for receptions, touchdown catches and yards gained by a tight end.
McFadden, a 5-11, 190-pound cornerback from Florida State, was the 62nd overall pick in the draft. Financial terms of the four-year deal were not disclosed.
A starter in all 12 games last year for the Seminoles, McFadden earned All-America honors after finishing the season with a career-high 36 tackles (20 solo), two tackles-for-losses, one fumble recovery, one interception and a team-best 11 pass deflections. In his four years at Florida State, he compiled 107 tackles (80 solo), four interceptions and 26 pass deflections.
A 6-4, 324-pound offensive tackle from Northwestern, Essex was the 93rd overall selection this year?s NFL Draft. Financial terms of his three-year deal were not disclosed.
Essex helped pave the way for fellow Steelers? draft pick and teammate Noah Herron (7th-round pick this year) at Northwestern. He played an integral part as the Wildcats allowed just 12 quarterbacks sacks in 2004 and he finished his career by starting the final 37 consecutive games. Making the transition from tight end as a freshman to left tackle the following season, Essex was a four-year starter and letterwinner as Northwestern averaged 409.5 yards of total offense in his final season.
All Steelers are scheduled to report for training camp at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., today at 6 p.m. The first scheduled practice is set for Tuesday, Aug. 2.