2011 NFL Draft Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers Offense

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2011 NFL Draft Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers Offense
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The 2010 season was an interesting one for the Pittsburgh Steelers offense, particularly at wide receiver and along the offensive line.

Pittsburgh had breakout performers at wide receiver, where first-year starter Mike Wallace exploded into his starting role, averaging 21 yards per reception and had 10 touchdowns.

But everyone saw Wallace’s potential in his first year, so his season was not much of a surprise. The surprise was that the Steelers seemed to have struck gold two years in a row, only this time with two rookie receivers.

Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown were only expected to make a minimal impact last season. Instead, each receiver made big plays down the stretch of the season and in the playoffs and displayed the potential to serve in much bigger roles this upcoming season.

The emergence of the two rookies was huge for a Pittsburgh team that has turned into a passing offense and needed more athleticism on the outside.

On the interior of the offense the Steelers also got a good view at their depth. Their offensive line lost starting tackles Willie Colon and Max Starks to season-ending injuries, which was a sign of things to come for the rest of the season.

Pittsburgh depended on free agents Flozell Adams and Jonathan Scott to play the outside while they had to shuffle between Trai Essex, Doug Legurksy and Ramon Foster on the inside at right guard.

Not all was bad, though, as the Steelers finally found a gem to center their offensive line with first-round draft pick Maurkice Pouncey.

Pouncey was a Pro Bowl center as a rookie and proved to be the building block for the line and that is where the Steelers will need to continue to build with the 2011 draft.

With approximately a month to go until the draft, this is the first of a two-part draft preview analyzing the Steelers offensive and defensive needs.

Each position on offense and defense will be analyzed and I will rate the draft need on a 1-10 scale with a “1” meaning that there is no need, a “5” meaning more quality depth is needed at the position and “10” meaning there is an immediate need to upgrade the position.  Part one will focus on the offensive needs.

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