If available, the Pittsburgh Steelers must draft Georgia defensive tackle Johnathan Jenkins in the first round.
With Casey Hampton no longer a legitimate starter and Steve McLendon a wild card, the Steelers need a legitimate nose tackle.
Jenkins is that guy.
Some fans may balk at the idea of drafting a nose tackle in the first round. It's not a sexy pick.
Nose tackles are fat and sweaty.They don't date supermodels. And they don't get huge endorsement contracts.
But what they lack in style, they make up for in substance.
In a 3-4 scheme, a great nose tackle generates a domino effect for others around him to make plays.
With Jenkins, the Steelers get a fulcrum from which to regain dominance in the middle.
First, he has girth. At 6'4", 346 pounds, his presence alone guarantees that the opposition must account for him. But mass alone only goes so far.
Jenkins can play. He gave a dominating performance in the Senior Bowl. His athleticism will cause matchup problems along the interior line and give Lawrence Timmons free range. He will push back the pocket, not allowing the quarterback to step up to avoid pressure from the exterior.
This is especially critical with Pittsburgh's outside linebacker situation in flux.
The Steelers have had a strong nose tackle pedigree the last two decades, with Joel Steed followed by Casey Hampton.
Drafting Johnathan Jenkins ensures that the legacy continues for another decade.