NFL Draft 2011: Does Steelers' Schedule Solidify Their Selection?

Joseph BrunoCorrespondent IApril 21, 2011

AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 21:  Wide receiver Kerry Meier #10 of the Kansas Jayhawks is tackled by Aaron Williams #4 of the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on November 21, 2009 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

When you look at the Pittsburgh Steelers' 2011 regular-season schedule, you can pretty much guarantee the position the team will focus on in the upcoming draft.

Most fans believe that the Steelers' first-round pick will be spent on one of three positions on the offensive line, defensive line or cornerback.

By looking at the team’s schedule, though, I think you can bet on that pick and at least one other pick on being a corner or defensive back.

With games against the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning, the New England Patriots and Tom Brady, the Jacksonville Jaguars and David Garrard, the Houston Texans and Matt Schaub, the Kansas City Chiefs and Matt Cassell, the St. Louis Rams and Sam Bradford, the Baltimore Ravens and Joe Flacco twice and the Cleveland Browns and Colt McCoy twice, the Steelers are going to be up against quarterbacks who can throw it up and down the field and need to upgrade that secondary.

The likes of David Garrard, Matt Cassell, and Colt McCoy might seem odd with the other names on that list, although not when you really look at the stats.

David Garrard threw for at least 290 yards in three games last season, had at least three touchdown passes in four games and had six games where he completed over 70 percent of his passes.

Does anyone even realize that Matt Cassel threw for 27 touchdown passes and only seven interceptions and over 3,000 yards last season?

And do not sleep on Colt McCoy, whose stats were not awe-inspiring last season—except for that game against the Steelers, where he threw for over 280 yards.

McCoy’s numbers in that game were just him racking up yards in a blowout win by the Steelers; however, does that make having a rookie in his first-ever NFL start throw for over 280 yards on the NFL’s best defense any better?

This list does not even include games with the Seattle Seahawks, who could still have Matt Hasselbeck, or teams like the Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals and the Arizona Cardinals, who could bring in a guy like Donovan McNabb or Kevin Kolb.

Now, I’m not saying all of these guys I have listed here are elite quarterbacks; however, who said only an elite quarterback can put up big numbers in an NFL game?

No one knows when the NFL’s labor situation is going to be resolved, and therefore you cannot say for sure what is going to happen with Ike Taylor at this point.

Bryant McFadden has not been able to stay healthy and is only a No. 2 corner anyway, and William Gay got burned by anyone and everyone with an opposing jersey last season.

Most Steelers consider this a make-or-break year for Keenan Lewis, and Crezdon Butler has not been able to show anything on the field to this point in his career.

The Steelers are definitely going to address the secondary in the draft, and I can see them actually taking two corners and a safety.

In my last mock draft for the Steelers, I had them taking cornerbacks Aaron Williams and Ras-I Dowling in the first and second rounds, respectively, and I could even see them using another pick on a safety later in the draft.

Don’t get me wrong, either. With this article, I still have the Steelers going 16-0 this season; however, that doesn’t mean the Steelers should take any team or any of these quarterbacks lightly.