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Old 04-27-2009, 11:34 PM   #1
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Default Steelers Draft Analysis

Steelers Draft Analysis
http://www.timesonline.com/articles/...2074439879.txt
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By Mike Bires, Times Sports Staff
Published: Monday, April 27, 2009 11:36 PM EDT
This weekend’s draft effort will not go down as one of the greatest in Steelers history. But it does figure to make things very interesting this season.

Head coach Mike Tomlin likes the fact this draft class addresses positions of need. That doesn’t always happen when the “best available player” still on the board is snatched regardless of position. But this year, the Steelers’ player rankings matched their needs.

With the exception of a late pick or two, the 2009 draftees give the Steelers a chance to address their most pressing issues.

-- New blood is needed on the defensive line, and Evander “Ziggy” Hood will provide the infusion.

Of the six D-linemen who dressed for the Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII, five are past 30 years old including, all three starters. That’s why the Steelers used their first-round pick on Hood, a defensive tackle out of Missouri who will move to D-end and one day replace Aaron Smith (33) or Brett Keisel (31).

-- After severing ties with 2002 first-round pick Kendall Simmons, the Steelers need a new right guard. They weren’t happy with Darnell Stapleton, Simmons’ temporary fill-in, so Kraig Urbik could be the man.

Of any rookie who might make the 53-man roster, Urbik, the first of three third-round picks, easily has the best shot at starting.

“Big, tough and nasty” is how offensive coordinator Bruce Arians described Urbik.

-- Ole Miss wide receiver Mike Wallace didn’t consistently play well against the better teams in the Southeastern Conference. But he has 4.3 speed and is a legitimate deep threat.

With the second of their third-round picks, the Steelers hope to fill a void created by the free-agent defection of Nate Washington. At the worst, Wallace figures to be the No. 4 wideout.

-- With Bryant McFadden now in Arizona, the Steelers need a new cornerback. They got one for sure with the third of their third-round picks, Keenan Lewis. And don’t count out Joe Burnett, the first of two fifth-round picks.

Lewis, who started 48 games for Oregon State in the pass-happy Pac 10, is a big corner (6-foot, 208 pounds) who resembles current Steeler corner Ike Taylor. Lewis figures to be the fourth corner.

Burnett, who played at Central Florida, is a little on the small side (5-9, 192) and not exactly the quickest corner in the world.

But he’s an instinctive player who intercepted 16 passes in his college career.

-- If anything, Frank Summers is going to liven up training camp. The former UNLV running back is a load at 5-10 and 230.

Already, one scout has called him “Junior Bus” in reference to former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis.

The second of two fifth-round picks, Summers is technically a halfback who can also play fullback. Since the Steelers had trouble last year running the ball in red-zone situations, “Tank” might get a shot to fill that role.

-- In Wallace and Burnett, the Steelers may have found their return specialists of the future.

Wallace, who ranked third in the SEC with a 24.6 yard average on kickoff returns last year, could add sizzle to the Steelers’ kickoff return game that ranked 29th in the league last year.

Santonio Holmes jump-started the Steelers to a playoff win over San Diego last year by scoring on a 67-yard punt return. But he only averaged 6.6 yards a return during the regular season.

As a team, the Steelers’ ranked 31st in the league in punt returns.

Burnett, named the first-team punt returner in Conference USA four straight years, averaged 14.5 yards per return last year.

With the Steelers hoping to drop Holmes’ punt return duties this year, Burnett could fit the bill.

-- Typically, prospects picked in the sixth or seventh rounds face long odds of making it in the NFL. It’s hard to imagine defensive lineman Ra’Shon Harris and tight end David Johnson having any chance of surviving the final cut. But don’t count out center A.Q. Shipley.

Shipley, a Moon Area High School graduate, has a chance. Anyone with 39 consecutive starts at Penn State must be doing something right.

While there are doubts about his size (6-foot and a half-inch tall and 304 pounds) Shipley’s stature has never stopped him from getting his job done.
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Old 04-28-2009, 12:15 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers Draft Analysis

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The former UNLV running back is a load at 5-10 and 230
misprint

his pro-day has him at 5' 9" 240lbs
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Old 04-28-2009, 10:52 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers Draft Analysis

How does he know that this won't be the greatest Steelers draft ever?

It PROBABLY won't be, but you never know...
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Old 04-28-2009, 11:16 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers Draft Analysis

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Originally Posted by revefsreleets View Post
How does he know that this won't be the greatest Steelers draft ever?

It PROBABLY won't be, but you never know...
We drafted 4 hall of famers in a draft before, I highly doubt any team will accomplish that again
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Old 04-28-2009, 11:46 AM   #5
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We drafted 4 hall of famers in a draft before, I highly doubt any team will accomplish that again
It's possible; it'll probably just take another 20 years or so. For example, the 49ers drafted 9 Pro Bowlers in a single year in 1986:

1986 San Francisco 49ers
1 Larry Roberts DE Alabama
2 Tom Rathman RB Nebraska
3 Tim McKyer DB Texas-Arlington
4 John Taylor WR Delaware State
5 Charles Haley DE James Madison
6 Steve Wallace OT Auburn
7 Kevin Fagan DT Miami (FL)
9 Don Griffin DB Middle Tennessee State

Now, that's different from getting four Hall of Famers, but still a rare success in its own way ... you don't often get half a football team full of star players in one draft, and the 49ers probably would be minus at least two Super Bowls if they hadn't done that well in 1986.

So that kind of thing does happen, but it's just like a 1-in-1,000 chance. We'll probably see something similar again, not tot take away from how rare and special it is.
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Old 04-28-2009, 11:51 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers Draft Analysis

All I'm saying is that's impossible to properly evaluate a draft 48 hours after it happened.

Let's check back on the '09 draft in 2012 and see how we're lookin' then...
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Old 04-28-2009, 12:19 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by revefsreleets View Post
All I'm saying is that's impossible to properly evaluate a draft 48 hours after it happened.
Exactly. Shoot, we can't even properly evaluate last year's draft yet
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Old 04-28-2009, 04:10 PM   #8
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Already, one scout has called him “Junior Bus” in reference to former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis.
He hasn't particupated in minicamp & already he draws comparisons to Jerome Bettis.
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Old 04-28-2009, 05:10 PM   #9
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He hasn't particupated in minicamp & already he draws comparisons to Jerome Bettis.
Well, he's a running back and he's got the build of a fire hydrant, so it's only natural. If he's even half as good as Bettis, it'll be exactly what we've been needing to add to our ground game.
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Old 04-28-2009, 06:43 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers Draft Analysis

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Originally Posted by revefsreleets View Post
All I'm saying is that's impossible to properly evaluate a draft 48 hours after it happened.

Let's check back on the '09 draft in 2012 and see how we're lookin' then...
And I bet alot of people praised that 2006 draft with Holmes Reid Smith Cedric Humes and Omar Jacobs.
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