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Old 05-03-2009, 12:41 PM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Will 2008 draft class step up?

Will 2008 draft class step up?
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...s/steelers/QA/
Posted April 29, 2009 6 :36 PM
Scott Brown

Scott,

We really didn't see Tony Hills, Ryan Mundy, Mike Humpal or Bruce Davis last year. We only saw a little bit of Rashard Mendenhall and perhaps too much of Limas Sweed. Is it too early to call the 2008 draft a bust? With the exception of Mendenhall, I haven't much in the way of expectations for the rest. Could we see more from this group in 2009 or will we see most of them cut?

Ed Hollinger of Minneapolis

Ed,

I do think it is too early to label the 2008 draft as a bust, especially since Mike Tomlin has said numerous times that players make the most improvement from their first year to the second one.

Lawrence Timmons, the team's first-round pick in 2007, made a quantum leap in his second NFL season and the Steelers need most of the players you mentioned to make a similar jump as well, especially Sweed.

The No. 3 wide receiver job is his for the taking. But recent developments such as the drafting of wide receiver Mike Wallace in the third round and the hosting of veteran Ashley Lelie for a visit, make it clear that Sweed won't be handed anything. To Sweed's credit, he has been working hard and is well aware of how critical this season is for him.

I think Mendenhall is really going to help the running game this season provided, of course, he can stay healthy, and the Steelers have not given up on Davis, a third-round pick in 2008. Of course, even if Davis makes significant progress it's hard to see him getting on the field much this season considering starting outside linebackers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley rarely come off it.

Two players to watch from the 2008 draft class are Hills and Mundy. Left tackle Max Starks is only signed through the 2009 season and the Steelers did not draft a long-term replacement for him. Hills could be that guy though the Steelers better hope that is not by default.

Mundy, meanwhile, could provide some much-needed youth at safety if he makes the kind of improvement Tomlin expects out of second-year players. And remember, starting free safety Ryan Clark is among those players going into the final year of their contract while Tyrone Carter, the backup at both free and strong safety, is 33.

The Steelers did not draft a safety so an opportunity is there for Mundy and Roy Lewis, who signed with the team as an undrafted free agent and spent most of last season on the practice squad.

In short, it is too early to say that the Steelers whiffed on the 2008 draft but this much is certain: the training wheels are officially off for the players in that class.
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Old 05-03-2009, 01:04 PM   #2
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Default Re: Will 2008 draft class step up?

Of course, he forgot to mention the fact that this team also houses the NFL's best defense, and so it'd be hard for even a 1st round defensive player to earn a starting gig their rookie season, let alone a DE-to-OLB conversion player to do anything significant.

And that this is a Super Bowl champion team. Sweed was a 4th string receiver last year. Mendenhall was a backup, and only made the start due to injuries to Willie Parker. (Mendenhall's injury was a fluke of nature anyway IMO)
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Old 05-03-2009, 01:26 PM   #3
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Default Re: Will 2008 draft class step up?

Rashard Mendenhall is going to come on strong this season. Just watch, we will have Lightning (Parker) and Thunder (Mendenhall) this season.

Limas Sweed, I believe can make leaps and bounds. He's got speed and he proved last year getting open is easy for him. The Steelers wouldn't have played him if they didn't see anything from him in practice. I still think that his problem is concentration and a lack of rapport with Big Ben. Those are both fixable problems.

As for Bruce Davis, how could anyone expect him to find any playing time when the two players in front of him were top five in sacks...and one of them was the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year.

Ryan Mundy, simply on the team for special teams and depth.

Same with Mike Humpal and Tony Hillis.
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Old 05-03-2009, 03:22 PM   #4
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Default Re: Will 2008 draft class step up?

Hell yes it's too early to call that class a bust.

I still do not understand this mentality that rookies must be all-stars in their first season, or they suck. Where does this come from? It's a HUGE transition from college to the NFL. Do these people not understand that?
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Old 05-03-2009, 03:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: Will 2008 draft class step up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by X-Terminator View Post
Hell yes it's too early to call that class a bust.

I still do not understand this mentality that rookies must be all-stars in their first season, or they suck. Where does this come from? It's a HUGE transition from college to the NFL. Do these people not understand that?
I don't quite understand it either. I understand a RB who is stepping into a starting role right away, but other than that I don't get it.
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Old 05-03-2009, 04:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: Will 2008 draft class step up?

Everybody knows that rookies step in and contribute right away. Look at Jake Long, Ryan Clady, Matt Ryan, Chris Johnson.

The knee-jerk steeler fans have already deemed Mendenhall and Sweed a bust. Especially that scatback we drafted in the 1st round.
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Old 05-03-2009, 04:11 PM   #7
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Default Re: Will 2008 draft class step up?

I completely agree with the guys above. Look at our star players (except Roth) rookie seasons. All pedestrian.

Troy Polamalu:
Tackles: 38
Sacks: 2
Forced Fumbles: 1
INTS: 0

Willie Parker:
Attempts: 32
Yards: 186
TDs: 0

Santonio Holmes: (not to bad)
Recs: 49
Yards: 824
TDs: 2

Hines Ward
Recs: 15
Yards: 246
TDs: 0

Aaron Smith:
Tackles: 2
Sacks: 0

LaMarr Woodley:
Tackles: 14
Sacks: 4
Forced Fumbles: 1

Ike Taylor
Tackles: 32
Pass Def: 3
INTs: 0
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Old 05-03-2009, 06:19 PM   #8
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Default Re: Will 2008 draft class step up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by X-Terminator View Post
Hell yes it's too early to call that class a bust.

I still do not understand this mentality that rookies must be all-stars in their first season, or they suck. Where does this come from? It's a HUGE transition from college to the NFL. Do these people not understand that?
I guess that "Big Ben" set the bar pretty high for all other rookies . Rarely do they get a chance to step in . A lot of talent is ahead of them , and its good to let them sit back for a year and soak it all in .
Tomlin was selected into a rookie starting position , and he did even better his second season . I know his position is a lot different than a players . He does expect more in the 2nd year , and i have heard him quote that several times . Some players take longer than others to develope , a lot is what position they may occupy .
We have an entire season to watch the 08 class , before they could be declared a bust .
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Old 05-03-2009, 06:46 PM   #9
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Default Re: Will 2008 draft class step up?

Mendenhall: definetely could have a break out year
Sweed: If he learns not to get so nervous and worry about catching the ball 1st he should be okay.
I don't see the other picks starting unless one of the starting tackles get injured or benched (for obvious reasons), then hills would be starting unless of course on special teams
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Old 05-03-2009, 07:34 PM   #10
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Default Re: Will 2008 draft class step up?

If the Rooks start out like FWP and Woodley I'll be extremely happy.

I think all of FWP carries that year were in the game vs buffalo which was meaningless.

Didn't Woodley had 2 sacks in each of his first two games as a starter?
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