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Old 08-03-2005, 01:50 AM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2004
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Default Sporting News Top Rankings

Where the Steelers rank on all their lists.

Wide Receiver Rankings

NO. 6 HINES WARD, Pittsburgh Steelers

Center Rankings

NO. 3 JEFF HARTINGS (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Strengths: Has the ability to play through pain and shows excellent toughness. Plays at a high tempo and with some edge. Has great vision, solid athleticism and quickness off the snap. Shows awareness in pass protection and does well protecting his edge. Rarely puts his body in poor position. Gives a solid downfield effort. Can stand up defenders at the snap with a solid punch.
Weaknesses: Has a history of knee problems. Has average playing strength and does not have great power or explosiveness. Sometimes has anchor issues in pass protection against powerful nose tackles.
Bottom line: Hartings has the smarts, toughness and technical ability to play at a high level if his knees hold up. He can be so tough to beat that he can wear on the psyche of his opponent. Grade: 8.0

Offensive Guard Rankings

NO. 2 ALAN FANECA (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Strengths: Is tough and plays with an edge. Is durable, possessing an excellent combination of strength and athleticism. Works hard and is smart and shows exceptional vision and awareness. Takes excellent angles in the running game. Makes a great effort to get downfield and find blocks. Keeps his hands active and in sound position.
Weaknesses: Can be a little too aggressive in pass protection. Doesn't consistently anchor in pass protection and can get pushed back. Athletic defensive tackles sometimes beat him on his edge.
Bottom line: Faneca is the key to the Steelers' running game. He pulls and leads many of the signature running plays. Grade: 8.1

Defensive Tackle Rankings

NO. 6 CASEY HAMPTON, Pittsburgh Steelers

Inside Linebacker Rankings

NO. 5 JAMES FARRIOR (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Strengths: Is tough, physical and competitive. Makes plays all over the field against the run and pass. Has excellent instincts and consistently beats offensive linemen to the spot. Can stand up fullbacks and offensive linemen. Played faster last season than in the past. Can sift through traffic to make plays and takes excellent angles in pursuit. Is tough to block when attacking the line. Excels in coverage and has a great feel in zone. Is a playmaker and ballhawk.
Weaknesses: Can struggle when matched up in man coverage and when he has to open his hips and run.
Bottom line: Farrior dominated last season, making the Pro Bowl and turning in the best year of his career. He didn't have a sack in his last 10 games but made the players around him better. Grade: 8.0

Safety Rankings

NO. 9 TROY POLAMALU, Pittsburgh Steelers


NO. 5 CHRIS GARDOCKI (Pittsburgh Steelers)
Is a big, solid athlete. Has the NFL's fastest handling and get-off times. Holds the record for attempted punts without having one blocked. Gets excellent hang time and can make directional punts. Skills have diminished a tad in recent seasons. Still performs at a high level and shows little decrease in his abilities. Grade: 6.6

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