2010 NFL Draft: Pittsburgh Steelers Going Irish in the First Round?

J.R. LiputContributor IApril 22, 2010

In case you haven't heard, the NFL draft is on Thursday.

And for those of you who have been living in a hole for the past few weeks, Ben Roethlisberger has fallen out of favor with Pittsburgh Steelers ownership.

The trade rumors that have circled Roethlisberger make Pittsburgh the most interesting team to watch in this year's draft.

So, what should the Steelers do with Roethlisberger?

Stick with him?

Or trade him?

The Rooneys have made it quite clear through the trading of Santonio Holmes that fielding players who reflect the class that the Steelers organization was once known for is far more important than putting out the highest quality product on Sundays.

If we're sticking with this policy, you've got to trade Ben.

Maybe I'm thinking with my heart and not my head, but I don't care.

Personally, I feel that athletes don't deserve our unconditional support. I'd much rather cheer for a team of lesser quality, with athletes whom I respect and admire, than cheer for a guy like Ben who has been far from a class act over the years.

The upcoming draft gives the Steelers ample opportunity to do away with Roethlisberger.

In a recent report by Adam Schefter, the Steelers are apparently looking to trade Roethlisberger for a top-10 pick. If that is the case, Pittsburgh could make a serious splash in this year's draft.

With that in mind, here is what the Steelers should do in Thursday's draft.


Trade Ben Roethlisberger to the Oakland Raiders for the No. 8 overall pick

The Raiders are a perfect candidate to make a move for Ben. Al Davis has proven through the years that fielding high-character guys isn't one of his top priorities.

With JaMarcus Russell being a bust (and yes, I'm officially marking him down as a bust), Roethlisberger could be the face of Oakland's franchise and could finally put together some wins for the Raiders.


With the No. 8 overall pick, draft QB Jimmy Clausen

If you're going to trade away your franchise quarterback, you need to start looking for a new one immediately, as they don't come around often. While it may be a risk, Jimmy Clausen could be that guy if the Steelers choose to draft him.

Clausen has the arm to be a legitimate NFL quarterback and a fiery passion for the game that Steelers fans could learn to love.

The downside here is the Steelers' poor offensive line.

While Ben is big and athletic enough to avoid the copious amount of pressure he receives on a weekly basis, Clausen is not. Clausen is more of a traditional, drop-back passer who would not succeed if subjected to the amount of pressure that Ben is used to dealing with.

If the Steelers are to draft Clausen, they must shore up their offensive line, or he will not be able to flourish as an NFL quarterback.

Yes, drafting Clausen would be a risk. But with high risk comes high reward.


With the No. 18 overall pick, draft WR Golden Tate

After trading away Santonio Holmes, and with Hines Ward in the latter part of his career, the Steelers are thin at the wide receiver position.

With the 18th overall pick, Pittsburgh has a good opportunity to draft a solid receiver.

While most pundits have Dez Bryant as the best receiver in this year's draft class, there is no way the Steelers would draft a guy who has any questions of character after what they went through this offseason.

So, you go with the No. 2 receiver of the draft, Golden Tate.

Tate would be a perfect fit to fill the void left by Holmes as the Steelers' second receiver, in addition to providing an explosive dynamic to the return game. He displayed impressive speed at the Combine, running a 4.42 40-yard dash, and has a great set of hands to go along with it.

And what could be more comforting for Clausen than to have Golden Tate by his side as he develops in the NFL?


If the Pittsburgh Steelers are truly looking to trade Ben Roethlisberger, drafting Clausen and Tate could be a legitimate scenario.

By trading away Ben and Santonio, the Steelers would have lost two of the most integral pieces to their offense. Since the NFL is now a pass-first league, you must find a way to replace both Roethlisberger and Holmes—and fast. 

Thursday's upcoming draft gives the Steelers a perfect opportunity to do this through building their franchise around young and exciting talent that will reflect the "Steeler Standard" on and off the field.