2011 NFL Draft: Pittsburgh Steelers' 3 Potential Round 3 Targets

Nick DeWitt@@nickdewitt11Analyst IApril 29, 2011

2011 NFL Draft: Pittsburgh Steelers' 3 Potential Round 3 Targets

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    The draft's third round is one of the most pivotal rounds in the whole process. It is where a lot of buried gold is found, where hit or miss prospects start flying off the board. It's also where the remainder of the supposed "can't miss" and "NFL ready" players get selected.

    With that in mind, here's an early Friday look at what the Pittsburgh Steelers might do with their third round selection, number 95 overall.

Curtis Brown, CB, Texas

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    Even if the Steelers select a player like Ras-I Dowling in Round 2, they still need reinforcements at the corner position. There are no guarantees with rookies, as Pittsburgh has learned with failed players such as Ricardo Colclough, Joe Burnett, and others. Getting a couple of good corner prospects gives the team that much more room for error.

    Brown isn't Aaron Williams, the better known Texas corner prospect, but he is a good play who plays mostly mistake free defense and can blitz on occasion. He's best in coverage, so he may never be the star shutdown player defenses crave, but he could be a sturdy starter in the NFL.



    Brown could be gone by the time the select, but with Williams falling out of the first round, it pushes everyone down the board a little bit. If he's there, it'll be hard to pass on him.

Brandon Burton, CB, Utah

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    Some people think Burton is a reach, but he could end up being one of those diamonds in the rough that becomes a steal in the third round. He's a smart, agile player who can make plays, stay with receivers, and be a force all over the field.

    The Steelers may miss out on Curtis Brown, so Burton makes an excellent alternative. In some ways, Burton might even be the better choice. His style of play would pair very well with Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark and he could likely step in to start as early as 2012.



    He should be there, although a few mocks have him in the second round. If he is, the team should take him (unless Brown is too, in which case the decision is much more difficult). He's currently my favorite to be selected here.

Lee Ziemba, OT/G, Auburn

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    Pittsburgh and offensive line coach Sean Kugler love big, versatile offensive linemen. For proof of this, see Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster, who made the team because they can play virtually any position. Ziemba fits that style and should develop into a fine starter at the NFL level.

    If the Steelers get someone like Marcus Gilbert in Round 2, they'll have come closer to solving their offensive line issues, but getting a guy like Ziemba would give them more versatility and would add someone else to push the underachieving current starters. Competition sometimes breeds improvement.

    Like to corner position, there's no doubt that the Steelers need a couple of new linemen to really improve the unit.



    He should be there. He's got an early fourth round grade in most mocks, but his versatility makes him a much better fit for Pittsburgh than some of the other linemen who may be available at 95th overall.