Join Date: Nov 2004
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C&C - Many options in round 1
Maybe there isn?t yet a clear-cut No. 1 overall pick in this draft. Maybe there aren?t the dozen superstars that typically inhabit the top of the first round. Maybe there are so few proven players available that an unproven converted quarterback from Arkansas could muscle into the first round based on size and speed alone.
Maybe all of those things turn out to be true, but this sure looks like a good draft for teams that happen to be looking for receivers, cornerbacks and depth along the offensive line, which seems to be a fairly accurate deScription of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Maybe this is the year when it?s actually better to be picking 30th overall than 11th overall.
?With this draft, we think there is really good depth at the running back position, wide receiver, offensive line, and cornerback,? said Director of Football Operations Kevin Colbert. ?Coming out of the combine this year, this is the fastest group of receivers and fastest group of corners that I have ever witnessed.?
The Steelers prefer to go into a draft with no glaring holes on their depth chart, and this spring their preference is reality. Free agency cost them two offensive linemen and a wide receiver, and the salary cap cost them a cornerback. But they have Kendall Simmons and Max Starks ready and able to step into the vacancies to the right of center Jeff Hartings; they signed unrestricted free agent Cedrick Wilson from San Francisco to give them three receivers with starting experience in the NFL; and they have two veterans and two developing players to compete for time at cornerback.
What it all means is that if the Steelers were forced to play a game tomorrow, they could put 22 guys on the field who are representative NFL players when it comes to having some combination of talent and professional experience.
That?s a good situation, indeed, but it doesn?t mean the Steelers don?t need to acquire some help from the NFL Draft that will be held on April 23-24. It doesn?t mean they view their receivers, cornerbacks and offensive line as finished products.
?I think we have a number of areas we want to address,? said Coach Bill Cowher. ?I think the one good thing about our situation this year is that at the 30th pick in the first round, we can pick the best football player. I really think we have the luxury from the standpoint of not having to reach, so to speak, on some of those areas that we want to address. But when you?re picking in that first round, you want to pick the best player. Hopefully, we will be able to do that.?
Along the offensive line, the Steelers will be looking for depth.
?You are always trying to upgrade the offensive line,? said Cowher. ?I know, having been here, that when we have not had very good years there has been some instability in our offensive line. I feel that our offensive line is a good one, even with the people that we have coming back. Certainly, behind those five guys, you don?t have a lot of depth. We need to have that.?
At wide receiver, there is a need for speed.
?Yes I would like to add (a receiver), but we do feel like we have a pretty good group right now,? said Cowher. ?We have a guy who can throw it, now I want a guy who can catch the ball, too. That?s still the bottom line in this business.?
The same goes for cornerback.
?I like Ike (Taylor) and Ricardo (Colclough), who both are good, young prospects,? said Cowher, ?and Willie (Williams) played solid for us last year but Willie is getting up there. And Deshea (Townsend) is a good veteran guy but that doesn?t mean we aren?t going to look at that position.?
And at tight end, well, a lot of that might depend upon whether the position is going to remain a complementary one in the Steelers offense.
?We have been talking about the tight end position since I?ve been here,? said Cowher. ?It has never been one that has been used much in the passing game, but you like to keep those options open. With Ben (Roethlisberger) in there, we have to continue to get some weapons around him, and while that is an option, we feel good about Jerame Tuman.
?Like I said, I feel good enough about our football team right now that we could take the best player,? said Cowher. ?I think early, with that 30th pick, you let the draft board work.?