Steelers Add Much-Needed Depth in 2009 NFL Draft
There is a reason that the same teams remain at the top of the NFL—they draft well.
I was particularly happy with the way the Steelers addressed their need for depth along both lines and in the secondary.
I thought the Evander Hood pick at the end of round one made sense for Pittsburgh. From all reports, Hood is a great locker room presence. He is a team player who makes everyone around him play better.
Hood will have an opportunity to contribute right away, most likely being worked into the rotation along the defensive line. He adds much-needed youth to this group and should have a good chance to crack the starting lineup in a few years.
The Steelers did a good job trading down at the end of round two and adding a couple of third round picks. Their first pick of round three was guard Kraig Urbik, who has good size and the ability to play tackle and center as well. He could push Darnell Stapleton for the starting right guard spot.
Pittsburgh then added speedy Mike Wallace to compete with Limas Sweed for the No. 3 receiver spot. Wallace can really stretch the field and also gives the Steelers the kick returner they have been sorely lacking for years.
With their next two picks, the Steelers added some depth to the secondary by selecting cornerbacks Keenan Lewis and Joe Burnett. Lewis has good size and does well in press coverage. The Steelers coaches think he reminds them of Ike Taylor. Burnett was a playmaker in college who also has good return ability.
With the addition of free agent CB Keiwan Ratliff, I think the Steelers did a fantastic job of adding depth to an important position.
At the end of round five, the Steelers selected big Frank Summers, who could become their new short yardage back. He can also play some fullback.
I like this pick. Short yardage was a major issue last year, and Summers will be given an opportunity to help the situation.
I'm not sure about Ra'Shon Harris in round six. He only started for one year at Oregon and played inconsistently. Still, with the Steelers' lack of depth on the defensive line, he will have a chance to catch on.
The Steelers' first pick of round seven was one of my favorite picks they made in this draft. Hard-working A.Q. Shipley of Penn State gives the Steelers a backup at the center position.
I am not worried about reports of his arms being too short to be an effective pro center. He was an extremely efficient player for the Nittany Lions. Don't be surprised if Shipley ends up starting for Pittsburgh in a couple of seasons. This was a good value pick.
With their final pick, the Steelers chose D.J. Johnson, a tight end who can also play fullback. He could challenge Sean McHugh for a spot on the roster. Johnson had a good yards per catch average of 16.2 for Arkansas State last year.
All in all, another solid draft by Pittsburgh. They showed again why they remain one of the top teams in the NFL year in and year out.
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