2010 NFL Mock Draft: Pittsburgh Steelers Select Idaho Guard Mike Iupati
If you walk down the streets near steel mills, you will eventually see a man who is getting off from work.
He doesn't wear a suit outside of a wedding, he's got his work clothes in his locker. After peeling off that grimy uniform, he gathers his lunch box and thermos, unless he had a Subway sandwich for lunch, and goes home to take a shower where he can get all the dried sweat and debris off his body.
He's got a gut from drinking beer, and he's dying for his wife's meatloaf for dinner. He'll turn on the TV and watch Sportscenter, but the thing he loves the most is the black and gold.
That's what I envision when I think of the original Steelers fan. A member of the blue collar society with a worn body, and puckered skin. He's proud of his heritage and wears his toughness like he would a shirt.
He loves football because of the contact just like he loves his job. He hates the idea of the West Coast Offense or passing the ball everywhere. He wants a one-on-one matchup between himself and the foe in front of him.
He wants to see a shoulder lowered and wants to hear, with his aged ears, the sound of colliding bodies.
"People in Pittsburgh want the Steelers to play power football. They feel it personifies the town," said Pittsburgh radio analyst Mark Madden.
You can't talk about the Steelers without mentioning the run game. They have two running backs that each have over 10,000 yards rushing in NFL history. They are a blue-collar team with tough people.
Yet, in the recent years under Mike Tomlin, the team has steered away from its history and is trying to play differently.
The Steelers were 19th in the league in rushing yards with 1793 total, 20th in touchdowns with just 10 touchdowns, and 18th in rushing attempts with 428 over the season.
I remember reading some comments by Steelers fans and they were angry that the Steelers weren't bulldozing their way into the endzone and telling everyone how tough they were.
A lot of the blame for the lack of success could be offensive play-calling, but I think maybe they need to do something about their offensive line.
One of the main strategies of the run is to pull the guards out to the left or right and have the running back follow a shield of blockers.
Alan Faneca, former Steeler and current Jet, is a perfect example. He's a huge guy with good speed and he just plows his way through defenders to allow his back to run to daylight.
The Steelers have Chris Kemoeatu on the left side, but since Faneca has left, the Steelers haven't been the same at running the football. They were 3rd in the league in rushing attempts and yards in 2007, Faneca's last year with them, and after he left they were 9th in attempts, but 23rd in yards in 2008.
Granted, Willie Parker was hurt in 2008, but the lack of a perennial Pro Bowl guard like Faneca had to hurt as well.
So, without further delay, the Pittsburgh Steelers select guard, Mike Iupati, from Idaho.
This young man is one of the rawest talents I have ever seen. You look at him play and are immediately amazed by his body. He's 6'6, 330 pounds, and looks like a Samoan version of Hercules.
He's got the abilities to become a great guard in this league. Questions about his feet work make scouts believe he should be a guard only, and it just so happens the Steelers could use a man of his talents.
He sometimes plays too tall, and has been pushed around, but with a good coach, he should be able to exert his dominance in Pittsburgh's running game. He just looks like a Steeler player.
He ran a 5.26 forty time at the combine, which isn't the fastest, but he had the same time as Bryan Bulaga did, who is going 9th overall in my mock to Buffalo. He also had 27 bench reps, which is pretty good, and a 7'08 broad jump.
You're talking about a guy who, athletically, has as much potential as any player in this draft, he's just untamed. Pittsburgh has a reputation of being able to tame players and bring out their full potential.
Put Iupati with Kemoeatu and you have a pair of pulling guards for Rashard Mendenhall. That's a duo to be reckoned with.
The Steelers do have needs at cornerback and defensive lineman as well, but none of the players available according to my mock are worthy of this pick the way Iupati is.
Pittsburgh needs to go back to its roots of pounding the ball and Iupati is the way to go.
To Father Stan and Eileen. Love you two.
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