2011 NFL Draft: The Pittsburgh Steelers, Trades, Rumors and the Second Round
The Pittsburgh Steelers went with the safe and reliable pick by choosing to select the best player available. That player was Cameron Heyward. Heyward is a very strong defensive end from Ohio St. who will be the future of the Steelers' 3-4 defensive line. Heyward will be a fan favorite in the Steel City because of his Pittsburgh roots. Heyward was born in Pittsburgh, his mother is from Pittsbrugh and his late father Craig "Iron Head" Heyward played college ball at the University of Pittsburgh.
The Steelers filled a need by adding youth to a defensive line with one player under the age of 30. Unfortunately for those Steelers fans that want immediate bang for their buck, Heyward will likely go the route of Ziggy Hood. Hood was also drafted first overall and spent his rookie year watching from the sidelines while occasionally playing on third downs.
The Steelers still have a major hole on their defense to be looked at. The cornerback position was the weak spot of a stellar defense in 2010. This season the Steelers could end up losing Ike Taylor, and every round they go without drafting a cornerback Taylor's price tag will go up.
The Steelers may not be in the best position to draft a cornerback in Round 2, however. There are quite a few cornerback prospects that could end up being drafted in the second round however, meaning the Steelers could find themselves out of reach for a cornerback worth the pick.
What CB would you rather the Steelers draft?
The second round should feature a strong run on cornerbacks, as the second Teri group has about 10-13 solid contributors with some upside. The list of cornerbacks expected to be drafted in the second round include: Aaron Williams, Brandon Harris, Ras-I Dowling, Jhonny Patrick, Brandon Burton and Curtis Brown.
The Steelers have had their sights on Aaron Williams for some time but likely will be out of position to draft him. Both Aaron Williams and Brandon Harris are likely to be drafted within the first ten picks of the second round. If the Steelers were to entertain the idea of trading up that high, they would need to send picks in return.
If the Steelers were to move up to the first pick of the second round, they would have to send their second third-round picks this year, while likely packaging picks for next year. In other words, it wouldn't be worth it. If the Steelers wanted to trade up the 10th spot, it would require their second and third-round picks and possibly either a late-round pick this year or a later-round pick in 2011. I still feel that this will be too rich for the Steelers' blood.
There is a chance that the Steelers could want to move in to the middle of the draft and take the 16th pick in the second round. This is much more reasonable of an idea for the Steelers. If GM Kevin Colbert sees a cornerback worth moving up for in the middle of the second round, it will cost him only his second and third-round selections.
That makes it much more likely that the Steelers would consider moving up, and it would be the earliest the Steelers would realistically be able to move up. According to the NFL Trade Value Chart, the Steelers still wouldn't be giving the proper value for the 16th pick, but it would be close.
The Steelers could end up missing on the cornerback run entirely as well. If they decide that the asking price of a third-round pick is too much to make the move, they could wait until their spot and do exactly the same as they did in the first round and take the best player available. The possibilities are endless, but realistically I would say OT Ben Ijalana and OG Orlando Franklin could still be available.
I's likely the Steelers will have their choices of cornerbacks, but they might not be good enough to step in and make an impact for the 2011 Pittsburgh Steelers.
Likely the Steelers will have their choice between Ras-I Dowling, Johnny Patrick and Brandon Burton.
Dowling seems to be the fan favorite right now because of his collegiate production. When on the field, Dowling was a devastating ball hawk that wreaked havoc for opposing quarterbacks. That is when he was on the field however. Dowling spent the majority of last season injured and would bring a bevy of concerns to a team that suffered too many injuries in 2010.
The Steelers could decide to steer clear of Dowling's injury concerns and instead go after Louisville prospect, Johnny Patrick. Patrick has all the skills needed to be a big time corner in the NFL but lacks strength at one key muscle: his brain. Patrick has been known to give up when playing from behind or after struggling. The Steelers should be able to whip him in to shape, but will a set back in practice make him harder to coach?
The Steelers could be lucky enough to have Brandon Burton be in the conversation with their second-round pick as well. Burton is the exact opposite of Johnny Patrick. Burton is a quick learner with a very strong work ethic, and brings good height to the position. Burton isn't as polished as a cover man however, needing his hard work ethic to keep him in the game. If I had a choice for the Steelers it would be Burton. Burton has zero durability concerns, is a very hard worker and will mix it up in run support. That is Steeler football.
Rumors are that the Steelers will not be making a trades this early. It's not often that you will pick up rumors saying a team won't make a trade, which is a bit suspicious. I do have a strange feeling that the Steelers will look to improve the offensive line in the second round, and keep their eyes on some mid-draft cornerback prospects.
Mike Tomlin has made a case of drafting corners in the middle rounds, and hasn't had very much success. William Gay seems to be the best cornerback drafted recently and he has had only minor success (some could argue none at all).
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