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Old 04-20-2009, 11:20 PM   #1
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Default Column: Steelers keep draft ideas close to vest

Column: Steelers keep draft ideas close to vest
By Mike Bires, Times Sports Staff

PITTSBURGH — “Mike, who do you like?”

Since inquiring minds want to know who the Steelers will pick in the first round of the draft, that question was posed Monday to coach Mike Tomlin.

And without hesitation, he said, “I like everybody.”

Obviously, Tomlin evaded the $64,000 question. Neither he nor personnel director Kevin Colbert would tip their hand.

All we know for sure is that it won’t be a quarterback, running back or tight end. But other than those positions, anything goes.

On one hand, it appears the Steelers will have it tough Saturday when they have the last pick of the first round (No. 32 overall) and the last pick of the second round (No. 64). Of course, that also means you’re the defending Super Bowl champions.

When it’s the Steelers’ turn to pick Saturday — which figures to be between 8 and 9 p.m. — Tomlin and Colbert are confident they’ll pick someone who’ll start for years to come.

In this day and age with countless hours of manpower and millions of dollars spent on scouting, it’s inexcusable to miss with a first-round pick … even at No. 32 overall.

For the most part, the Steelers have been successful with their first-round picks since Colbert came to Pittsburgh in 2000.

It can be argued that wide receiver Plaxico Burress was a gamble because of character flaws. But there’s no denying he was a talent.

Colbert’s worst pick was probably guard Kendall Simmons, who was cut in February. But who really knows how much diabetes, which Simmons discovered he had in 2003, may have stunted his progress.

When it is time for the Steelers to pick Saturday, they’ll do so from a draft board with 32 names on it. So after 31 teams pick ahead of them, the Steelers will have at least one prospect left on their list.

That’s who’ll they’ll pick … regardless of position.

“There will be 32 guys who we will be comfortable with,” Colbert said.

It could be a center, maybe California’s Alex Mack or Oregon’s Max Unger.

It could be a cornerback, maybe Wake Forest’s Alphonso Smith or Vontae Davis of Illinois.

Maybe it could be a defensive end or a wide receiver.

Remember, the Steelers picked a winner the last time they drafted 32nd overall, which was in 2006 after their win in Super Bowl XL.

That pick was Santonio Holmes, the MVP of Super Bowl XLIII.

Mike Bires can be reached online at mbires@timesonline.com
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Old 04-22-2009, 01:22 PM   #2
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Default Re: Column: Steelers keep draft ideas close to vest

I think the Lions will determine if the Steelers go offense or defense in the first. If they take Stafford we will probably see two quarterbacks in the top 10 and better quality OLine will be available at 32. If the Lions go OLine at 1 we will probably see three go in the top 10 and the better value at 32 will be defense.
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