The Pittsburgh Steelers are known for their ability to draft. Dating back to the Class of "74, it is impossible to think that the Steelers, or any other team for that matter, would be able to put together a group that includes four Hall of Fame players.
Please don't think for one second that I am saying that this draft class will be ANY where near the "74 class. But what the Steelers have done to their roster over the weekend, will improve their team over the course of this season.
Many people believed that the 2010 Draft could have been the best draft, possibly ever. It is because most believe that next year, a rookie salary cap will be implemented. Most players that believed this, entered the draft this year, to cash in what they could.
So, here is my list of the Pittsburgh Steelers 2010 Draft Class. Hope you like it.
Entering the 2010 Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers had three positions that were regarded as their top priority. Offensive Line, Defensive Line and Defensive Back. With their first pick, they shored up the one position the Steelers used to be the most steady at. Center.
Between Mike Webster, Dermonti Dawson and Jeff Hartings, the center position was the most reliable for over 30 years. Since the retirment of Hartings, the position has been lacking, to say the least.
With the selection of former Florida Gator, Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers look to be getting back to their old ways.
Pouncey will begin his Steelers career at Guard, but only until he is comfortable enough to be the man calling the plays, which could not be expected of a rookie.
Having played with Tim Tebow, Pouncey is used to playing with a QB that extends the plays, which will be great for him having Ben Roethlisberger behind him.
One of the strongest units on the Steelers is their line backer corp. They are historically one of the best units on a regular basis. LaMarr Woodley, James Harrison, Lawrence Timmons, and James Farrior, many people believed that this is not a position that the Steelers should have gone after in the second round.
Much like Woodley, Worilds played DE in college, at Virginia Tech, and will convert to an OLB for the Steelers.
According to Steelers line backers coach, Keith Butler, the Steelers intentions are not to force him on the field at that position this year. The intention is to groom him to be the eventual replacement for James Harrison.
Worilds will have to earn his paycheck on special teams, and as a back up. Which is the same mold other Steeler greats have taken.
Players like Greg Lloyd, Levon Kirkland, Chad Brown and many others that have made the Steelers known as the greatest line backer team, all started this way.
We can all expect on day for Jason to be an All-Worilds player!
When Santonio Holmes was shipped to the Jets for a fifth round pick, most people thought the Steelers had lost their collective minds.
With all the chaos going on in Steeler Nation, how could anyone blame them?
When the Steelers selected Emmanuel Sanders in the third round, many people said, "WHAT?"
But there is something that a lot of people are not looking at. Hines Ward.
Ward has already stated that if the Steelers win the Super Bowl, he is going to retire, a la, Jerome Bettis. And that would be cool.
Not saying the Steelers are a lock to win thier seventh Lombardi this year, but it is obvious that Ward is already considering hanging up the cleats.
Sanders reportedly has the same type of demeanor that Ward does. He likes to deliver punishment, and is willing to put his body on the line to make the play.
Sanders will push for playing time this year, even in the crowded receivers that are already on the roster.
Thaddeus Gibson is another one of those LaMarr Woodley type of players, meaning that the Steelers are stocking up for the future at the position.
The difference between Gibson and Worilds is, Gibson played in a pro system at Ohio State, and is going to be more prepared for playing time earlier.
Not only that, his size and speed will help him to be able to play special teams, and contribute his rookie season.
At 6'5, 346 lbs, Chris Scott has the size to play the guard position at the NFL level. He has also played in the SEC, which means he is used to playing against top level competition.
As a two year starter, at both guard and tackle, Scott could be groomed to learn both positions, and could even push for playing time against Willie Colon.
He will also battle Kraig Urbik for the guard position that is going to be held by Maurkice Pouncy when he takes over at center.
As the fifth round drew on, every one from Steeler Nation that was watching the draft was wondering, "Are they EVER going to address the secondary?" That question was answered with the trade for former Steeler, Bryant McFadden.
After leaving the Steelers to join the Arizona Cardinals at the conclusion of Super Bowl XLIII, the Steelers thought Will Gay would be able to step in and replace McFadden.
They were wrong.
Sure, some of it might have had something to do with the injury to Troy Polamalu, but there are no excuses in the NFL, and the Steelers needed to address the position,
They did with McFadden.
McFadden said he was glad to be back in Pittsburgh, playing for Dick LeBeau. So glad, that he has already agreed to a three year contract extension that will keep him in the Steelers secondary for the next four years.
The pick that was traded to the Arizona Cardinals was the pick that the Steelers received in the Santonio Holmes trade from the New York Jets.
Turns out, you can get a quality starter for a fifth round pick.
At 6 foot and 185lbs, Crezdon Butler could be an interesting selection for the Steelers.
Nine picks earlier the Steelers traded for McFadden, Ike Taylor and Will Gay are both returning to the defense, and last years selections Keenan Lewis and Joe Burnett are both still believed to be in competition for making the Steelers roster.
But Butles is seen more as a project, and not someone that is expected to contribute more than special teams.
IF Butler can find a way to earn some time on the playing field, and that is a big IF, it will allow the Steelers to either allow Lewis or Burnett to walk, or to eventually be able to replace Ike Taylor in the starting line up, and move to Safety as the back up to Clark and Polamalu.
Stevenson Sylvester comes to the Steelers with a lot of college experience under his belt.
He played in 49 games during his four seasons at Utah, starting in 37 of them.
He was also a two time captain, and earned first team All-MWC confrence his Junior and Senior seasons.
As a fifth round pick, Sylvester is a project that the Steelers will be spending some time grooming. He may not be anything more than a practice squad player this year, with higher goals from the Steelers.
I believe that Sylvester will have to wait at least a year before he can push for playing time, and will be most used when Larry Foote and James Farrior are injured, or they retire after this season.
Sylvester will be good, just don't be shocked if you don't hear his name often.
With the release of Willie Parker, many of us were wondering what the Steelers were going to do about having a running back for when Parker was gone?
There were a lot of rumors. especially when it comes to not re-signing Parker, but what Dwyer was only a product of the system he was in at Georgia Tech.
At 5'11", 230 lbs, Dwyer would be an immediate upgrade in the short yardage and goal line situations.
Mendenhall and Dwyer could make a great 1-2 punch during the 2010 season.
Antonio Brown has a chance to earn his position with his special teams abilities. He is great at returning kicks, and unless Stefan Logan shows something in preseason, that he didn't show last year, or he may be out of a job.
Odds are though, Logan will remain the kick off returner, while Brown will spend at least a year on the practice squad.
With the suspension of Ben Roethlisberger for the first four to six games of the regular season, many believed that the Steelers would be in a hole that would be impossible to climb out of.
Sure, Dennis Dixon has a ton of potential, and Charlie Batch is great when called in to spot duty, but neither one could really be counted on to to lead the Steelers to a 2-2 record or better.
After Super Bowl XLIII, Leftwich was a free agent, and wanted to re-sign with the Steelers, and the Steelers wanted him. But the lure to be a starter, which he knew he would have no chance of in Pittsburgh, Leftwich signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After Tampa drafted Josh Freeman in the first round of the draft, Leftwich knew his time would be limited, but still played his best on a bad team.
Leftwich had his best days playing in Pittsburgh, and is now back, and will probably be the starter until Roethlisbergers suspension is over.
There is no question that the Steelers would not have possibly found someone in the draft, especially this late in it, that could do what Byron Leftwich will be able to do in the absence of Roethlisberger.
The Steelers drafted another Buckeye from Ohio State with their final pick in the draft.
Worthington played DT at Ohio State, but is more likely to move to DE with the Steelers. At 6'5", and 295 lbs, Worthington is destined to be a practice squad player this season.
Though he does not have a Casey Hampton frame, he certainly fits into the mold of an Aaron Smith type of player.
And coming from Ohio State, he has played in a pro style system, and should make a transition to the NFL pretty good,
As I stated in the opening slide, the three positions that concerned most Steelers fans, Offensive line, defensive line, and secondary, were all addressed in one way or another.
With selections in the first and fifth rounds, the Steelers bolstered their offensive line. Add to that rookies from last season in Kraig Urbik and Ramone Foster, the average age of the line has gone WAY down.
Selecting an offensive lineman in the first round, ended the chances of the Steelers getting one in this draft that could contribute immediately. The trade for Bryant McFadden was a great move, and already resigning him was an even better one.
For depth, the Steelers also used two picks in the fifth round that can compete for either back up roles, or practice squad time. Factor in last years two draft choices, Keenan Lewis and Joe Burnett, the Steelers youth movement in their secondary has a lot of potential to be great.
With picks in the second, fourth, fifth and seventh round on the defensive side of the ball, and two of those picks with the potential to play defensive line, the youth movement continued thru the draft.
Did the Steelers address every need they had? No. But how often does a team enter the draft, and come away having filled most of them?
Between the picks and players traded for, every area of concern, including the Roethlisberger suspension, has been addressed in one way or another.
Look for the Steelers to have a great year, and a run at Lombardi Trophy #7.