2010 NFL Draft: Pittsburgh Steelers HAVE To Improve Their Secondary...Really?

Nick SignorelliSenior Writer IFebruary 23, 2010

PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 07:  Chris Chambers #84 of the Miami Dolphins goes up for a pass against Ike Taylor #24 and Troy Polamalu #43 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first game of the NFL season on September 7, 2006 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Tell me if you have heard this before?

The Steelers secondary SUCKS!  They HAVE to get some young talent on their team!  If they don't improve their secondary, they will not make it back to the playoffs!

Sound familiar?

Sure it does. Those words normally are followed by stats that say how the Steelers pass defense dropped from first in 2008 to 16th in 2009.

Another brilliant observation is, Will Gay was destroyed last year, we really miss Bryant McFadden (OK, I miss McFadden too).

There are a couple of things that all of the "sky is falling" fans have forgotten. Troy Polamalu.

First and foremost, when Polamalu was playing, the Steelers pass defense looked as good as it did in 2008. Did Will Gay forget how to play when Polamalu was not in the games?

No, with Polamalu playing in the secondary, it makes ALL of the defensive backs play better. Do you not think Polamalu had anything to do with McFadden playing great in 2008?

Lets take a look at the Steelers defensive backs for 2009.

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Ike Taylor is in his seventh year with the Steelers. He did not become a full time starter until 2005. It was his third year in the league, he joined the Steelers in the fourth round of the 2003 NFL Draft.

Then we have Deshea Townsend. Townsend joined the Steelers in the fourth round of the 1998 draft. He did not earn a starting job until 2005.

This means the Steelers HAVE to draft someone to help the secondary this year, right?


The Steelers spent two draft picks in 2009 on their secondary. The third round brought Keenen Lewis. Lewis, who is 6 foot tall, is being groomed to be the eventual replacement for Ike Taylor.

Taylor still has some years left in his tank. No, he can't catch. He never could. He still defends the oppositions best receiver, and normally, does a better than average job against them.

You may be asking now, well Ike did not do that great last year, what about that? Remember, POLAMALU.

The fifth round brought the Steelers the speedy Joe Burnett. Burnett is expected to eventually take over the Nickel position, to cover the faster slot receivers.

Now you may say, well neither of them played fantastic last year. Two points.

1. Steelers rookies NEVER play amazing, because of the scheme they need to learn. It is a big transition going from college to the NFL.

2. Do you remember Troy Polamalu's rookie season? He stunk too!

Once again, the Steelers MAY be looking at a DB to take in the draft. MAYBE, but it will no be because of NEED, it will be because he is the BEST AVAILABLE PLAYER!