2011 NFL Draft: Are Pittsburgh Steelers Eying Hometown Kid Jonathan Baldwin?

Nick SeroCorrespondent IIIApril 13, 2011

PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 05:  Jonathan Baldwin #82 of the University of Pittsburgh Panthers catches a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bearcats on December 5, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

It is no secret that the Pittsburgh Steelers have been moving away from their old ground-attack offense toward a more spread offense. Ben Roethlisberger has emerged as one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and the Steelers think that just having Roethlisberger can steal them a few a games each season.

So why wouldn't the Steelers want to build around Roethlisberger and keep him progressing?

The Steelers have taken Roethlisberger into consideration before in the draft. Roethlisberger saw what it was like having a tall receiver in his rookie year, Plaxico Burress' last season as a Pittsburgh Steeler. Since then, he has publicly stated his request for a taller receiver, even getting under Hines Ward's skin with the request.

The Steelers went out and got Ben that tall receiver that year, and with almost zero success.

That receiver was Limas Sweed, who spent the entire 2010 season on IR and saw two rookie receivers contributing on a regular basis. Sweed only made the field at the end of his rookie season, dropping easy touchdown passes in both appearances.

Sweed then fell victim to just bad luck. He's suffered multiple injuries over his tumultuous career, which is now up in the air.

So will the Steelers try to find their next tall receiver again in this year's draft?

Despite their poor history of drafting said receiver, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see the Steelers go after a receiver as early as the second round.

Jonathan Baldwin has a history at Heinz Field. He played all his home collegiate football games there while a University of Pittsburgh Panther and even played his high school football playoffs there. Baldwin even trained in the same facility as the Steelers, so the idea that the Steelers could have Baldwin in their sights is reasonable.

Baldwin is listed at 6'4" and about 225 pounds, but comes with added issues.

Baldwin isn't exactly the Steeler or Mike Tomlin type. Tomlin drafts the type of players that fit the team mentality of the Steelers, something Baldwin could raise some red flags over. His transgressions as a young college student, including an assault charge, were dismissed, but the Steelers would have to be sure there is no real fire with that smoke.

Baldwin actually had a lengthy sitdown with both Tomlin and Steelers GM Kevin Colbert, according to CBS Pittsburgh. The Steelers don't need any more off-field distractions and certainly won't be going after a receiver with a troubled past any time soon (Santonio Holmes has ruined it for divas in Pittsburgh).

There is the chance that Baldwin proved himself to the Steelers brass in that meeting. If that's the case and the Steelers feel the potential is there, I wouldn't be surprised if Baldwin plays all three levels of football in his hometown.