2012 NFL Draft: Updated Steelers Big Board, Post-Senior Bowl Edition
As the Pittsburgh Steelers continue putting together their coaching replacements and preparing for the draft, college football has wrapped up the season with the Senior Bowl.
As always, a number of draft prospects participated in the game, some increasing their stock significantly.
Here's a look at some players the Steelers will likely be targeting this April.
Mike Adams, OT, Ohio State
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Adams turned a lot of heads at the Senior Bowl. He dominated, particularly in run-blocking, thanks to his big frame and excellent technique.
He wasn't as dominant against pass-rushers, but he likely increased his overall stock significantly.
The Steelers could use a tackle to replace Max Starks, who is recovering from an ACL injury and may not be ready for the season. Starks isn't exactly young either, so having a young backup with much long-term potential is significant.
Adams fits that bill, but he's shot up from a late first round projection to possibly a top 15 pick. The Steelers may have to trade up if they want Adams.
Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall
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Vinny Curry had a nice game with two sacks in the Senior Bowl. Curry is projected as a mid-second rounder, but his stock has been increasing.
I'm not sure he moves into the first round, but he may be a player, in the mold of a Ziggy Hood, the Steelers decide is worth reaching a bit for.
Curry doesn't exactly fit the plans—he's a defensive end—as the Steelers are much more likely to target a tackle. Curry is a good athlete, however, and if he stays in the second round, he may be a guy they end up taking simply for depth.
He also would give the team flexibility on the D-line, perhaps leading to a move to defensive tackle for another lineman.
Zack Brown, OLB, North Carolina
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Zack Brown had a decent Senior Bowl as well. He's an interesting prospect in a positional sense.
He is projected anywhere from the end of the first round to the beginning of the second, so he may show up at any point.
He plays a position that is of interest to the Steelers in every draft, however. Brown would stir up an interesting situation for the Steelers in another year or two. If he develops into a starter, it could precipitate a move for James Harrison to the inside to play alongside Lawrence Timmons.
In the end, that could make the Steelers linebacker corps even better. This would be a very intriguing pick should the Steelers choose to go with it.
Casey Hayward, CB, Vanderbilt
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Hayward is not a first-round pick, but his stock only went up in the Senior Bowl, where he played well, forcing an interception in the process.
He plays much bigger than his actual size (5'11") and might be a diamond in the rough waiting to be discovered in the middle rounds. He makes splash plays—something the current Pittsburgh secondary lacks.
The Steelers will eventually need to find someone opposite Ike Taylor. Even if they found that player last year in their draft with Cortez Allen or Curtis Brown, their depth will be sorely tested next season if they can't bring back William Gay or Keenan Lewis.
A player like Hayward instantly improves their position and gives the Steelers a potential future star.
Chris Polk, RB, Washington
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Polk isn't a high-round pick; he's probably a third- or fourth-rounder. He did have a decent Senior Bowl, but running wasn't a huge part of the game for either side.
Polk is a player who might interest the Steelers if they are indeed planning to recommit to the run game.
The Washington product is well-rounded and can block, catch and gain the tough yards. He'd be a nice tool on any team, but the Steelers especially have questions at running back after Rashard Mendenhall tore his ACL in the season finale.
Isaac Redman seems like the presumptive starter going forward, at least until Mendenhall is back. Polk, meanwhile, could be the answer to losing Mewelde Moore, an unrestricted free agent.