With the 18th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select...
That is the question. Whose name will the Steelers have on the card when it comes time to make their selection?
The following is a list of players that other members of the Steelers community have suggested the Steelers take, and why the Steelers will or won't take them.
With the Steelers' secondary dropping from the best unit in the league in 2008 to the bottom half in 2009, the Steelers seem to be needing an upgrade in their secondary.
The issue people are not looking at is that Troy Polamalu will be returning, and that in itself makes for an amazing upgrade. There is still the question of depth, and what will happen with Ryan Clark?
If Clark is not re-signed, then this becomes the most immediate need for the Steelers.
Taylor Mays (USC) vs. Earl Thomas (Texas)
Those of you that believe the Steelers need to go after a starting corner, forget it. It is not going to happen. The Steelers drafted two of them last year, and they are both expected to step up this year.
Mays is a big, strong, and fast safety. He had a down year in 2009 from his previous season at USC, but as pointed out by Spencer Tucksen, he lost three LB's in the first 35 picks of the 2009 draft, so he did not have the support in front of him that he had previously.
The biggest knock on Mays is that if the Steelers really want him, they will probably have to trade up to get him.
Earl Thomas is a different story. He is projected to be available when the Steelers pick. Thomas does not have the size of Mays, but he is more of a ball hawk, ala Ed Reed.
To have someone even close to the stature of Reed playing next to Polamalu would make the Steelers' secondary one of the most formidable in the NFL.
As Tim Kessler says in a comment,
"He is versatile enough to play safety while capable of being the shutdown corner that we need so desperately as well. Perfect choice for our #1 pick IMHO.
If he is still on the board that is who I predict we will take. Mark my words, i said it first lol."
If the Steelers take Thomas, Tim gets credit for saying it first.
For the second straight year, people are calling for the Steelers to take an offensive lineman in the first round. For the second year in a row, I will say, it is not going to happen.
The Steelers have the left side of the line already set, with Max Starks and Chris Kemoeatu both signing contracts last offseason to keep them with the Steelers for at least another three years.
Mike Iaputi (Idaho) vs Bryan Bulaga (Iowa)
Bulaga is a Guard that many believe could anchor the Steelers' interior line for years, such as Alan Faneca did. Bulaga is supposedly the best available guard.
Iaputi is another one many believe would be an immediate upgrade.
The Steelers drafted Kraig Urbik in the third round last year, and picked up Ramon Foster as a free agent, who actually started six games last year. Darnell Stapleton will be back from injury, so the offensive line is not an area of need the Steelers, unless a blue chip Tackle falls to 18.
With Casey Hampton set to become a free agent, and with an aging defensive line, many believe the Steelers will draft Hamptons replacement this year.
Terrance "Mount" Cody is the only name people believe will be available, and worthy, at the position when the Steelers make their selection.
As Robert Henderson pointed out, the Steelers won't be drafting Cody. He says in a comment,
"Tomlin will never draft Cody, He already has an issue with Hamptons weight and he's a Pro Bowler."
Hard to argue that fact, but my reasons for thinking are different. I believe that the Steelers will be switching to the 4-3 alignment when Dick LeBeau retires, and that would make Cody out of place. He is a 3-4 NT, not a 4-3 DT.
Stop it. Right now! The Steelers are not going to spend another first-round pick on a running back when there is so much quality at the position to be had later in the draft.
So, who am I predicting the Steelers will take?
Earl Thomas, S, Texas.
Clark will probably not be back, and even if he is, his age is starting to hurt him. He is a torpedo, and it is only a matter of time before he misses time due to injury.
Thomas will be a perfect fit to play along side of Polamalu. He will be able to step in, in certain situations, and develop into an amazing player.
The Steelers have to address the position with a playmaker. Yes, this is a very deep draft, and they will not want to give up picks to trade up for Mays.
You heard it hear second. Mark my words as well. Thanks, Tim!