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Old 05-01-2008, 03:22 AM   #1
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Default Roethlisberger says he had no influence on draft picks

Steelers: after the draft: Roethlisberger says he had no influence on draft picks
Thursday, May 01, 2008
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It's not that Ben Roethlisberger doesn't like that the Steelers' top picks in the NFL draft are a running back who compared himself to LaDainian Tomlinson and a wide receiver who is the type of big target he said he coveted.

Nor is he displeased that Rashard Mendenhall and Limas Sweed -- two strong, fast and productive players from big-time college programs -- were drafted specifically to give Roethlisberger even more options in the offense.

But, probably not wanting to offend or disrespect any of his existing teammates, Roethlisberger wasn't exactly doing backflips or rubbing his hands in anticipation of training camp yesterday when asked his reaction to the two talented rookies who have been added to the roster.

Roethlisberger will get his first chance to work with Mendenhall, a running back from Illinois, and Sweed, a wide receiver from Texas, starting tomorrow when the three-day minicamp begins on the South Side.

"It wasn't pressing for us because we already have [players at those positions]," Roethlisberger said. "It's to add depth, to add versatility.

"You never know. Look at our starting running back now," he said, referring to Willie Parker, a two-time Pro Bowl selection. "He wasn't drafted in the first round. We'll see. It's interesting to see how it shakes out."

Then he added: "We have guys. It's not like we don't have a running back. We have a couple great ones. Same with wide receiver. We got guys. There's no real rush to push anybody into a starting spot.

"If they develop into it, I guess they develop into it. We've seen it too many times on any team with any player in the league -- anybody can be good, anybody can be bad."

After the 2007 season, Roethlisberger said he would like to have a tall wide receiver in the offense, a comment from which he has since backtracked because it offended, among others, four-time Pro Bowl receiver Hines Ward.

Coincidence or not, Sweed is 6 feet 4, 219 pounds with great strength and leaping ability. But it wasn't as if the Steelers had specifically targeted Sweed: He was one of three receivers they were considering in the second round. One of the others was DeSean Jackson of California, who is 5-9, 169.

When asked if the Steelers were listening to his request, Roethlisberger said, "I don't think so."

Roethlisberger said he knows very little about Sweed, other than he missed half of his final season with ligament damage in his wrist that required surgery. Sweed, who had 20 career touchdown catches at Texas, will begin as the fourth receiver behind Ward, Santonio Holmes and Nate Washington.

"I've got my guys out there," Roethlisberger said. "I've got my receivers who I've been working with, Limas will have to work his way in. For the first day or so [of minicamp] I won't be throwing too many passes to him unless they work him with the first group."

Not many people expected the Steelers to draft a running back and wide receiver in the first two rounds, not after coach Mike Tomlin declared after the season his team needed to get bigger and stronger on the offensive and defensive lines.

The Steelers didn't draft an offensive lineman until the fourth round -- Texas tackle Tony Hills -- and never drafted a defensive lineman. Roethlisberger, who was sacked a combined 93 times the past two seasons, said he isn't worried.

"The offensive line is going to be a lot better than people think," he said. "I have a lot of confidence in those guys. I've seen them at [the offseason workouts] and they're doing a great job. Guys are going to step in and fill shoes. Chris [Kemoeatu] is never going to be an Alan Faneca, [but] he doesn't have to be. He has to be the best he can be. I have a lot of confidence he and the rest of the guys are going to get it done."



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



NOTES -- The Steelers signed another rookie free agent who is a defensive end -- Kyle Clement of Northwood University, a Division II school in Midland, Mich. Clement (6-4, 286) had 50.5 tackles for losses and 20.5 sacks in 45 career games at Northwood. He is the third defensive lineman signed as an undrafted free agent by the Steelers.


http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08122/878087-66.stm
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Old 05-01-2008, 03:43 AM   #2
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Default Re: Roethlisberger says he had no influence on draft picks

I believe rothlisberger had alot to do with the selection of sweed he wanted a tall reciever and they got him one.
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Old 05-01-2008, 06:25 AM   #3
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Default Re: Roethlisberger says he had no influence on draft picks

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I believe rothlisberger had alot to do with the selection of sweed he wanted a tall reciever and they got him one.
but you know he wouldnt admit it to the media
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Old 05-01-2008, 06:57 AM   #4
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Default Re: Roethlisberger says he had no influence on draft picks

I'm just glad we got who we got. It didn't turn out exactly the way we hoped it would, but "plan B" certainly looks to make the Steelers a defensive nightmare for our opponents for many years to come!
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Old 05-01-2008, 08:12 AM   #5
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Default Re: Roethlisberger says he had no influence on draft picks

Ben is being the total pro publicly and acknowledging the contributions and value of the guys he has played with over the last several seasons, but I have no doubt whatsoever he is privately licking his chops!
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Old 05-01-2008, 08:27 AM   #6
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Default Re: Roethlisberger says he had no influence on draft picks

I think the need for a taller receiver was already well known to the coaches before Ben opened his mouth. And with Ced on the hot seat for lack of production and Nate dropping balls and not being "the man" at #3, my guess would be, they had their eye on a WR the day after the season ended. Going taller only makes sense, from a football perspective, we've got a burner, we've got a Hands guy in Hines, next we needed a fade route Tall guy...and we got him. Ben could have said nothing and I'd guess the coaches would have still looked for a Tall good hands receiver to draft. Sweed falling to us in the 2nd was just the extra bonus. Wasn't really a risk taking him.
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Old 05-01-2008, 09:01 AM   #7
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Default Re: Roethlisberger says he had no influence on draft picks

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Originally Posted by HometownGal View Post
Ben is being the total pro publicly and acknowledging the contributions and value of the guys he has played with over the last several seasons, but I have no doubt whatsoever he is privately licking his chops!
htg, that smiley is too funny. and i agree.. you know that when the steelers took sweed he was like oh yeah i got my way this time.
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Old 05-01-2008, 10:02 AM   #8
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Default Re: Roethlisberger says he had no influence on draft picks

Yes he is very political in his response............Basicly because Hines will cry if he doesnt..
I think willie is happy to have a back to share the carries with.......Willie is not built to carry a ball 30 times a game..........

I would say ben is happy with the first two picks........as a quarterback........how could you not?
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Old 05-01-2008, 10:16 AM   #9
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Default Re: Roethlisberger says he had no influence on draft picks

Actually Ben may be right.

Behind Hines and Santonio, there's nobody who's scary at wide reciever. Washington is too inconsistent and Wilson(Now gone) is just a plain bum.

Behind Willie, there's nobody. Willie busted his leg last year and our running game fell apart. I have no faith in Davenport. He too is inconsistent. This is two-back league. The previous times the Steelers reached the Super Bowl, they had a one-two punch at RB. Franco/Rocky during the 70's, Morris/Pegram in 1995, and Parker/Bettis in 2005.
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Old 05-01-2008, 10:29 AM   #10
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Default Re: Roethlisberger says he had no influence on draft picks

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Originally Posted by HometownGal View Post
Ben is being the total pro publicly and acknowledging the contributions and value of the guys he has played with over the last several seasons, but I have no doubt whatsoever he is privately licking his chops!
Wow, was that scripted? Ben is definetly maturing into a great professional indeed.

I really like this comment. Ben has always stuck up for his line.

"The offensive line is going to be a lot better than people think," he said. "I have a lot of confidence in those guys. I've seen them at [the offseason workouts] and they're doing a great job. Guys are going to step in and fill shoes. Chris [Kemoeatu] is never going to be an Alan Faneca, [but] he doesn't have to be. He has to be the best he can be. I have a lot of confidence he and the rest of the guys are going to get it done."

Is it already set that Kemo will take over at LG for Faneca?
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