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|04-22-2010, 12:14 AM||#1|
A Son of Martha
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Who should the Steelers pick?
Who should the Steelers pick?
By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times
Thursday April 22, 2010 12:03 AM
Boise State's Kyle Wilson, right, knocks the ball away from Utah State's Omar Sawyer (85) during the second half of an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2008 in Boise, Idaho. (AP Photo/Matt Cilley)
PITTSBURGH — One of the most lasting images of the NFL’s 2009 season was the continual rise of Darrelle Revis, who single handedly showed the kind of impact a quality shutdown cornerback can have on a football game.
Revis, the ex-Aliquippa Quip now playing for the Jets, didn’t win the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award. But he should have.
He was that great as he helped the Jets make it to the AFC Championship Game. He’s a game changer.
In this era of pro football where the passing game is the rage, every team would love to have a corner like Revis anchoring its secondary.
That’s especially true in Pittsburgh where the Steelers are in dire need of a dynamic cornerback.
That’s why the Steelers should draft Boise State’s Kyle Wilson with the 18th overall pick.
It would be foolish to predict that Wilson can someday be a star like Revis. But Wilson was a big-play machine at Boise State, where he always seemed to play well in the big games. He projects to be an outstanding pro.
There are several reasons why the Steelers finished 9-7 last year and didn’t make the playoffs in their Super Bowl defense. Perhaps the most glaring of their flaws was the lack of playmakers at cornerback.
Ike Taylor, who turns 30 in May, has been a solid corner in the five years he’s been a starter. But he can’t catch the football. He must drop five or so possible interceptions each year.
In three seasons as a pro, Revis already has 14 career picks. In seven seasons, Taylor has just nine.
The other starting corner is William Gay, who was a bust last year in his first season as a starter. Gay didn’t cover well, didn’t have any picks and lost his starting job for the last two games of the season.
Both Taylor and Gay aren’t signed beyond this season, so there’s a chance neither will be back in 2011.
In last year’s draft, the Steelers tried to address their needs at cornerback by drafting two, Keenan Lewis in the third round and Joe Burnett in the fifth. But they hardly got to play defense last year, so it’s too early to tell if they have what it takes to last in this league.
There’s also the Baltimore angle.
The archrival Ravens added two talented wide receivers during the off-season in Anquan Bolden and Donte Stallworth, and re-signed Derrick Mason.
The Steelers face the Ravens twice a year, and sometimes a third time in the playoffs. They’ll need better corners to deal with the Ravens’ improved receiving corps.
There’s a chance the Ravens will pick Wilson if he is available at No. 25. The Ravens, too, need to improve their cornerback position, and they’ve entertained thoughts of drafting Wilson.
Beside cornerback, the Steelers also need to improve their offensive line.
They are very high on Mike Iupati, a guard from Idaho, and Maurkice Pouncey, a center from Florida.
It would not be surprising if the Steelers drafted either of those two studs if they’re still on the board.
But cornerback is still the best way to go tonight.
Florida’s Joe Haden is the top-rated corner in the draft and will likely be taken by the 49ers with either of their two first-round picks (13th or 17th).
The Steelers are also reportedly high on Alabama corner Kareem Jackson, although most draft experts project him as a second-round pick.
So, Kyle Wilson it will be.
Mike Bires can be reached online at email@example.com
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