Pittsburgh Steelers 2009 Draft Review
Heading into Week 17 of the NFL season it seems unlikely that the Pittsburgh Steelers will be making the playoffs, so we'll go ahead and review the job that Kevin Colbert and the Steelers did with their 2009 draft class and undrafted free agents.
Note: All players mentioned in this slideshow were listed as rookies on Steelers.com and stats were found on Yahoo.com.
With the 32nd and final pick in the first round, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected the DL out of Missouri.
Hood was eased into the lineup, in typical Steeler fashion. While he went unnoticed for most of the season, yesterday Hood showed flashes of why he was a first-round selection.
Against the Ravens, Hood recorded his first professional sack along with his first fumble recovery.
For the season, Hood has eight tackles (five solo/three assisted), one sack, and two deflected passes.
I believe the future looks bright for Hood as he continues the transition from a 4-3 DT to a 3-4 DE.
In the third round and with the 79th overall selection, the Steelers selected OG Kraig Urbik from Wisconsin.
Urbik has yet to play a down in the regular season. As a third round pick this is disturbing, especially considering that undrafted rookie OG Ramon Foster has played and started this season.
The Steelers tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to dealing with rookies and their playing time, so let's just hope that this is the case with Urbik.
We'll consider this a "redshirt" season and hopefully in his second season Urbik can contribute.
With their second selection in the third round, the Pittsburgh Steelers took Mike Wallace 84th overall.
This rookie speedster is without-a-doubt the Steelers' rookie of the year.
From day one Wallace impressed with his better-than-advertised route running, sure hands, and willingness to learn.
It also didn't take Wallace long to earn the No. 3 WR position and make an impact.
Wallace made a crucial catch in a pressure situation during the season opener against the Titans and hasn't looked back.
Wallace is fourth on the team with 37 catches for 692 yards, second on the team with five TD catches, and leads the team with an average of 18.7 yards per catch.
Needless to say, the future looks very bright for Mike Wallace.
With the 96th overall selection, the Pittsburgh Steelers used a third round pick on CB Keenan Lewis from Oregon State.
Lewis has dressed for four games thus far, while recording one tackle.
It's been said the reason that Lewis hasn't gotten more playing time is due to his performance on special teams.
While it is disturbing that Lewis hasn't recieved more playing time considering the poor performance of the special teams units and the secondary, it's too early to give up on Lewis yet.
By no means am I comparing Lewis to Troy Polamalu, but if you recall Polamalu didn't play much during his rookie season.
The Steelers defense is difficult to learn, especially in the secondary. So look for Lewis to be given an opportunity to make an inpact in the Steelers' likely revamped secondary in 2010.
Central Florida CB Joe Burnett was the 168th player drafted when the Pittsburgh Steelers selected him in the fifth round.
For a player that was supposed to make an impact with his kick-returning abilities, Burnett has disappointed thus far.
But Burnett has shown enough to the Steeler coaches to dress for 14 games and accumulate 16 tackles.
Burnett was known in college for his playmaking ability and has shown flashes so far in his rookie season.
While not a Pro-Bowl caliber player, I look for Burnett to be a productive NFL player during his career.
With their second choice in the fifth round, the Pittsburgh Steelers made UNLV RB Frank Summers the 169th player to be drafted.
Summers came to the Steelers with alot of fanfare. Nicknamed "The Tank," Summers was an internet sensation who was supposed to be the answer to the Steelers short-yardage problems.
But Summers upright running style and a season-ending injury derailed "The Tank."
Summers seemed to be versitile in the limited time that he played this season.
He beat out Carey Davis for the FB job, and proved he could be used as a HB. He also showed flashes of catching ability, and was solid on special teams.
While he may not be the second coming of Jerome Bettis as many fans hoped/thought, Summers could still be an productive player for the Steelers in 2010 and beyond.
Summers likely will not only battle for the fullback position, but with Willie Parker likely leaving via free agency, Summers will also likely battle for playing time as halfback.
Ra'Shon Harris was taken by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the sixth round, with the 205th overall pick.
Harris was very productive in his playing time during the preseason, but a numbers game allowed the Carolina Panthers to swoop up Harris for a period of time. The Steelers were able to bring Harris back into the fold for the end of 2009 and possibly beyond.
Harris was seen as a project for DL coach John Mitchell, so his play in the preseason had to be seen as a positive. With the Steelers' aging DL and possible free agency losses, Harris could be in line for some playing time in 2010.
The Steelers made A.Q. Shipley's childhood dream come true when they used the first of their two seventh round selections on the Penn State center.
Shipley has spent his rookie season on the Steelers' practice squad. I believe that he had a very solid preseason, but was hurt by the fact that he only plays the center position.
While lacking ideal size, Shipley makes up for it with smarts and grit. Shipley was a Rimington Trophy winner, First Team All-American, and Penn State team captain.
I believe that Shipley will be a solid starting center in the NFL, hopefully that opportunity will come in Pittsburgh.
With their final pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, the Steelers used the 241st pick on TE David Johnson from Arkansas St.
Johnson has been active in 14 games this season and while accounting for two catches for nine yards, Johnson has made an impact with his blocking.
Johnson has not only gotten time as an online blocker from the TE position, he as received playing time as a FB lining up in the backfield.
Johnson looks to have a solid career ahead of him as an "H-back."
The Steelers have been known to have success finding undrafted players that turn into productive NFL players, such as James Harrison and Willie Parker.
It seems that Ramon Foster is the next find for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Foster was a tackle at the University of Tennessee, but has been versitile enough to play guard during his rookie season.
Foster has recieved playing time at OT, OG, and even as an emergency TE for the Steelers this season.
Foster has also started several games at left guard this season in place of Chris Kemoeatu.
This undrafted WR out of Clemson turned heads in training camp by catching everything that was thrown to him. While considered nothing more than a body during this time, Grisham continued to get noticed.
Grisham was able to make in onto the practice squad and was recently promoted to the Steelers active roster.
On the season, Grisham has one catch for 19 yards.
While it is likely that Grisham will be a fringe player throughout his career, if Wes Welker can make it, why can't Tyler Grisham?
This undrafted RB from Bowie State became the training camp and preseason sensation.
Nicknamed "Redzone" by Steeler Nation due to his success around the endzone, Redman was promoted to the active roster for a short time, only to be sent back the the practice squad, released, and finally resigned to the practice squad.
If Redman can continue to improve in all areas of his game, such as blitz pickup, route running, and catching, he could factor into the Steelers future.
As I previously noted, with Willie Parker being a free agent after the season, Redman could have a future with the team.
Steve McLendon made enough of an impact during training camp and preseason to be mentioned by his coaches and teammates as a young player with a future in this league and a chance to beat out Scott Paxson.
If McLendon can continue to improve and add some weight, the stars could align for him to be a productive player for the Steelers. Keep in mind that Casey Hampton is also a free agent after the season.