Monday, April 28, 2008

Draft Stealers

The Steelers, with huge draft needs at offensive guard and tackle, as well as defensive line, and picking at 1.23, a slot where you are just as likely to pick a bust as a boom player, let the draft come to them and found 2 first round talents in the first and second round: Rashard Mendenhall, widely considered to be the 2nd best running back in the draft behind Darren McFadden, and Limas Sweed, a big, tall receiver who can run and is a hard worker. However, he has suffered from a nagging wrist injury that wiped out half his senior year.

Day 2, with the Steelers having 4 picks (no 7th round pick), was a day that we fans hboped would address the OL and more importantly, the DL. The Steelers have a fine starting 3some at DL, but when Aaron Smith went down, lack of depth became a huge concern. The Steelers D went from allowing 3.4 yards per carry to 4.8.

In Round 3, two excellent 3-4 DL prospects were available, Dre Moore of Maryland and Red Bryand of Texas A&M. However, the Steelers went for a DE/OLB tweener, Bruce Davis of UCLA. Those two DL prospects were taken before the Steelers picked in the 4th round, so the Steelers traded down, added another 6th round pick, and selected a talented offensive tackle, Tony Hills, who also has a significant injury history.

The Steelers last 3 picks were an injured QB (Dennis Dixon of Oregon), a thumper ILB (Mike Humpal of Iowa) and a cerebral FS (Ryan Mundy of WVU). NOne of these picks resides in the trenches, which is unfortunate.

The Steelers are still very thin on the DL (Will Ryan McBean step up and be injury free? Can Keisel hold up the point and not wear down? Will Aaron Smith be the old Aaron Smith, and will Hampton be less fat and lazy?), and lack proven starters at the interior offensive line (will Kemoatu step up? Will Colon be moved to right guard? Will Hartwig be less of a turnstile than Mahan? Will Starks and his $7 million salary start? )

The Steelers added talent and depth at major positions, and look to be better on special teams. However, they still have the same holes they did pre-draft, which is a major concern, given that they don't do much in free agency. Here's hoping some players come through for us this year--Kemo, McBean, it's time to shine.