2011 NFL Draft: Predicting All Seven Rounds for the Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers have recently drafted some solid talent to add to their perennial playoff teams.
The Black and Gold came one drive shy of winning a seventh Super Bowl for the franchise in 2011, but how do they improve from such a great season?
The corners in the defensive secondary are starting to wear down, Hines Ward will be retiring soon, and the offensive line was frequently injured last year.
If the Steelers want to continue to be great, they'll rejuvenate the offensive line with some depth at the guard position, and maybe add a coverage cornerback. There are no major concerns for the team besides a consistent kicker, but let's take a look at how Pittsburgh can bolster the team through the draft.
Round One: Mike Pouncey (Offensive Guard/Center, Florida)
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The Steelers would love nothing more than to have two brothers playing on the offensive line together.
Mike Pouncey was a star center at the University of Florida, and he'll add some chemistry up front while blocking alongside his brother Maurkice. Mike would switch positions to guard if he's drafted by the Steelers.
Current Pittsburgh guard Ramon Foster only played 12 games last season, and chances are Mike would take over as the starter immediately.
Pouncey's draft stock is climbing at the moment, so he might not make it to the Steelers' pick at 31.
Round Two: Davon House (Cornerback, New Mexico State)
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House completed four seasons at NMSU in the Western Athletic Conference, and dominated.
Although New Mexico State did not have a winning season in any of House's four years, he was the shining spot on the defense.
House set a school record for most career interception yards, and is ranked the seventh best cornerback at the combine.
He ran a 4.44 second 40-yard dash, and his speed is just what the doctor ordered for the Steelers, who had trouble stopping a loaded Packers receiving corps in the Super Bowl.
Round Three: Bruce Miller (Defensive End, Central Florida)
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Bruce Miller was a stud for Central Florida during his senior season.
Miller was voted Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year, and recorded 65 tackles, 13.5 of them for losses. He runs a 4.79 second 40-yard dash, and is versatile in the sense that he can play in pass coverage as well.
The Steelers have Ziggy Hood and Brett Keisel on both ends of their 3-4 defense, but the idea here is for Miller to bring some depth. Keisel is aging, and the Steelers don't have many guys on the depth chart at defensive end.
Miller might make a nice value pick for Pittsburgh in the third round.
Round Four: Ian Williams (Nose Tackle, Notre Dame)
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Ian Williams appeared in every game of his Notre Dame collegiate career.
He won't be a threat to Casey Hampton if drafted, but Williams can provide some depth and maybe give Hampton a few extra breathers as the season progresses.
He tore his MCL early in the 2010 season, but Williams has the size (6'2, 305 pounds) that the Steelers like in the middle of the line. He's worth a flier for a team whose defensive line is aging, as Casey Hampton is nearing the end of his career.
Williams wouldn't get much playing time, but Dick LeBeau could use him off the bench. He needs to work on applying pocket pressure, but with a good work ethic, Williams will do well.
Round Five: Shiloh Keo (Strong Safety, Idaho)
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At 6' and 215 pounds, Keo fits the build of an NFL safety. He has flaws in his game, but his work ethic and leadership will have coaches looking at him in the later rounds.
He's a great run stopper, and can use some work on his pass coverage, but Keo covers special teams very well too.
Keo might work nicely with the Steelers' hard-nosed defensive mindset, and if he continues on with his competitive drive, there's a chance he makes the Pittsburgh roster as a backup.
If Troy Polamalu goes down with an injury, like 2010, Keo might see the field a little bit.
Round Six: Alex Henery (Kicker, Nebraska)
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There isn't much to say here, the Steelers need a new kicker after letting go of Jeff Reed in 2010.
Henery make 7/8 of his 40-49 yard field goals in 2009, and converted 24/28 overall.
Shaun Suisham made 14/19 field goals for Pittsburgh in 2010, but he's 3/9 from 50+ yards in his career.
Round Seven: Byron Maxwell (Cornerback, Clemson)
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By now, the picks might not matter too much, but Maxwell could serve as a returner for the Steelers.
He ran a 4.43 second 40-yard dash, and had a decent season for Clemson as a senior, although he only started seven games.
The Steelers aren't looking for nickel corners or starters in the later rounds, but maybe a speedster who might make the roster. Maxwell can be exactly that. He is extremely aggressive, and hopefully his turf toe issues don't damage his draft stock any further.