Building a championship football team takes a mix of veterans and youth, superstars and role players. It's a delicate recipe that requires just the right balance.
This blending of ingredients takes place during free agency and ends with the draft. In the last four years, no team has done a better job of mixing and matching talent than the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The superstars are well known.
Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward, James Harrison, and Troy Polamalu have gotten all the glory during Pittsburgh's run to Super Bowl titles in two of the last four seasons. Nothing wrong with that. They are stars in the league and deserve all the accolades they've received.
But without the role players, the unsung performers who give it their all, championship rings and the Lombardi Trophy wouldn't belong to the Steel City right now.
Guys like Brett Keisel, Santonio Holmes, LaMarr Woodley, Heath Miller, and Casey Hampton have emerged in recent seasons and are important cogs in the Steeler machine.
As a new season fast approaches, who will be Pittsburgh's breakout players and newcomers to look out for in 2009?
Here are seven to keep an eye on.