When the Steelers drafted Ziggy Hood, they knew what they were doing. Hood played in a 4-3 scheme, in the defensive tackle position. The Steelers have announced that Hood will play defensive end in their 3-4 scheme, leaving Hampton safe at his position.
Since the Steelers have moved Hood to defensive end, that gives some speculation that the Steelers will try to keep Hampton away from free agency. The only starting defensive end is Brett Keisel, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after next season.
With the arrival of Hood, the Steelers have found a player that can start at anytime from day one to three years from now. The Steelers selection of Hood tells us, the fans, that we can look for Hampton to return and possibly Keisel to leave.
This, as of now, is all speculation. The question the Steelers have to answer is whether or not the defense can survive. The Steelers have drafted a couple corners, leading us to believe that Deshea Townsend, who will bw 35, will not return. The unknown question is whether or not the Steelers like William Gay, who will soon also be an unrestricted free agent.
Because the Steelers did not select a safety who could replace Ryan Clark next season, he will probably be back. The odd man out will be Tyrone Carter, who will turn 34 soon.
With the running back position heavily shelved in Pittsburgh, Willie Parker will have to have a great season and be willing to take a pay cut in order to return. Mendenhall will be healthy and ready to show he can be a starting back in the NFL.
Another unknown question is will they bring Heath Miller and/or Matt Spaeth back. Both tight ends are great playmakers who can be great in this league. My guess is that Miller has a better chance to return in 2010 because he seems like the type of guy who loves Pittsburgh.
The draft shows a lot about what your team may be trying to do for the next season(s). The Steelers have shown a lot, giving a preview of what is yet to come.