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Old 07-04-2009, 10:33 AM   #1
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Default Steelers' rookie class in position to contribute

Steelers' rookie class in position to contribute
http://profootballweekly.com/2009/07...-to-contribute
Posted July 04, 2009 @ 11:03 a.m.
By Mike Wilkening

The 2008 Steelers marched to a Super Bowl title despite getting little from their rookies. Bad luck played a major role in the lack of production of the rookie class; first-round pick Rashard Mendenhall likely would have been a contributor if he hadn’t suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in September. Also, the Steelers did not need major contributions from WR Limas Sweed (who struggled with his consistency and will be in a fight for the No. 3 WR job this season) and OLB Bruce Davis and OT Tony Hills (neither of whom made an impact) considering the veteran depth at those positions.

With the vast majority of last season’s club returning, the Steelers don’t necessarily need a major lift from the 2009 rookie class, either. Nonetheless, the newest group of first-year players looks capable of helping in Year One based on the roles available for the taking on the Steelers.

First-round pick Evander “Ziggy” Hood was drafted to eventually become a starting defensive end, but the interior pass-rush pressure he created as a defensive tackle at Missouri is not lost on the Steelers, who plan to use him when they go to a four-man D-line in passing downs this season — but not at nose tackle in the base 3-4, we're told.

Rookie ORG Kraig Urbik, who could push starter Darnell Stapleton with a strong training-camp performance, is one of three Pittsburgh third-round picks with a shot at contributing this season.

WR Mike Wallace, selected five spots after Urbik in Round Three, may compete for playing time in three- and four-WR sets, but his kickoff-return ability makes him a rookie to watch in the preseason. Wallace, who has been clocked at 4.31 seconds in the 40-yard dash, returned a pair of kickoffs for touchdowns at Ole Miss.

CB Keenan Lewis, the last of the team's third-round picks, has drawn comparisons to current Steelers starting corner Ike Taylor. Lewis, who was Wallace’s high school teammate in New Orleans, figures to be a No. 4 or No. 5 cornerback and could be the long-range replacement for Taylor. A source close to the Steelers says Lewis, who starred at Oregon State, was the most impressive of the club’s rookies this summer.

Another notable rookie is fifth-round CB Joe Burnett, who will contend to be the punt returner.
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Old 07-04-2009, 11:52 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers' rookie class in position to contribute

well the talent is definitely there... i just hope they all contribute somehow and help the team get to 7!!!

thanks mesa
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Old 07-04-2009, 12:41 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers' rookie class in position to contribute

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well the talent is definitely there... i just hope they all contribute somehow and help the team get to 7!!!

thanks mesa
You are most welcome. Have a happy 4th of July.
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Old 07-04-2009, 01:16 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers' rookie class in position to contribute

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. A source close to the Steelers says Lewis, who starred at Oregon State, was the most impressive of the club’s rookies this summer.
.
I've been the most excited to see Keenan Lewis in B&G. The kid just looks like the closest thing we have had in a "shut down corner" here since Rod Woodson. He's got tons of UPSIDE.
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Old 07-04-2009, 01:22 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers' rookie class in position to contribute

Can't wait till training camp to see the battle for RG and WR3 unfold as it will be intriguing to watch!
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Old 07-04-2009, 01:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers' rookie class in position to contribute

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I've been the most excited to see Keenan Lewis in B&G. The kid just looks like the closest thing we have had in a "shut down corner" here since Rod Woodson. He's got tons of UPSIDE.
i havent seen much of him but i did watch him live in his last game played.

sun bowl vs. pitt. while the entire game was a defensive stalemate the whole way, pitts passing attack looked like high schoolers playing agains professionals. i dont think lewis gave up a reception all day (which aint saying much being that they had about 5 completions).
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Old 07-04-2009, 01:28 PM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers' rookie class in position to contribute

Urbik is road grader who comes from a run first attack at Wisconsin.

I'd lay even money that he's starting by mid season at the latest.
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Old 07-04-2009, 02:24 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers' rookie class in position to contribute

Urbik should be playing. OG can play as rookies and even do in Pgh, a team known for virtually ignoring rookies year 1. (I don't mean they ignore coaching them; just that they rarely get playing time.) No mention of Frank the Tank. I want that dude to contribute in the worst way. I've love to see him with 5-7 carries a game.
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Old 07-04-2009, 03:47 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers' rookie class in position to contribute

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No mention of Frank the Tank. I want that dude to contribute in the worst way. I've love to see him with 5-7 carries a game.
I especially want him to make a difference this year. IMHO I think he will be able to do wonders for our short yardage and Goal Line problems.
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Old 07-04-2009, 03:52 PM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers' rookie class in position to contribute

I'm more excited to see what the draft class of last year can do, with Mendy coming back after injury and sweed maybe being in the third reciever position
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