Pittsburgh Steelers Draft Picks 2010: Evaluating The Draft Class

TJ JenkinsAnalyst IApril 25, 2010

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 25:  Maurkice Pouncey #56 of the Florida Gators lines up in a game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 25, 2008 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Alright, with the draft ending yesterday I’ve finally had time to sit and mull over the Pittsburgh Steelers picks, per usual I’ve got nothing to complain about because historically, the Steelers draft pretty well. We’ll take a look at every player they drafted and see what they can do in a Steelers uniform in the best case scenario.

Round One: Maurkice Pouncey, OL, Florida

There’s no doubt in my mind that Pouncey will step in immediately as a starter along the offensive line, presumably at guard, but perhaps at center. Personally I’d start him off at guard and when Justin Hartwig’s gone move him to center and let him wreak havoc on opposing defenses. Either way, this is a great value pick and will definitely pay dividends for years to come.

Round Two: Jason Worilds, LB, Virginia Tech

Per Keith Butler, Worilds is going to earn his stripes before he sees the field and more than likely will not spell incumbent starters LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison. He’ll be focused on keeping his work ethic well tuned on special teams and learning how to play the stand up game after playing defensive end in college. It’s going to be a few years before we can truly evaluate this pick.

Round Three: Emmanuel Sanders, SMU

I’m a firm believer that this pick doesn’t happen if Santonio Holmes is still in Pittsburgh, but with one less receiver on the team it was necessary to make something happen. Sanders had nearly 100 receptions last season to go along with seven touchdowns, totaling 34 for his four year collegiate career. He could possibly move ahead of Limas Sweed on the depth chart and if all goes well for the rookie, Antwaan Randle El could be bumped down as well. Not getting my hopes too high, but there’s a chance.

Round Four: Thaddeus Gibson, LB, Ohio State

Gibson’s a linebacker built in the Steelers mold. He’s a big guy, who can certainly move and has a motor. He’ll more than likely take the Worilds route and learn to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense before seeing any significant playing time, but we may have just found our newest special teams ace in the former Buckeye.

Round Five: Chris Scott, OL, Tennessee

Scott doesn’t seem to have much quickness to him, which could be a bad thing for the rookie, because in the NFL not only do your guards have to have speed to pull, but your tackles need to have speed to handle pass rushers like Dwight Freeney, Jared Allen and their kin. He may get a chance to show us what he’s got, but I’m thinking practice squad at the most, especially after picking up Pouncey in the first.

Round Five: Crezdon Butler, DB, Clemson

The only major gripe I’ve got with Butler is that he seems almost afraid to stick his nose in the run game. If he can’t change that, he won’t last long in the smash mouth defensive mindset of Pittsburgh. If he can get over that ‘fear’ then he has the speed and field vision to at the very least step into the nickel back position. But, for this year he’s going to be strictly special teams at the most, the team dealing for Bryant McFadden ensured that much.

Round Five: Stevenson Sylvester, LB, Utah

Personally, I don’t see Sylvester being anything more than a practice squad player and truly didn’t see the need to add another outside linebacker to an already strong unit. Maybe he lucks out and makes the roster, but again if he does that either means that someone got hurt, or he’s an absolute phenom on special teams.

Round Six: Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Georgia Tech

I’m absolutely elated with this pick. It just may very well be my favorite pick of the draft. I’d of preferred Stanford runner Toby Gerhart, but I’ll take Dwyer without complaining. There’s no doubt in my mind that he makes the team and I’ll tell you why. The Steelers not only needed depth at the running back position, but they also needed someone who would be willing to lower their shoulder and pick up that tough yard. Not to mention it gives the Steelers an extra weapon with Ben Roethlisberger being suspended and whispers of Dennis Dixon at the very least having a chance to start it could spell trouble for opposing defenses that choose to over pursue. With Dixon’s speed and knowledge of a spread offense and Dwyer’s experience in the triple option offense, Steelers fans could be in store for some ‘old school’ football.

Round Six: Antonio Brown, WR, Central Michigan

I don’t like his chances of making the team to be perfectly honest. With Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, Antwaan Randle El, Limas Sweed and Sanders nearly assured to make the cut there’s simply no room for him, though in the off chance that the coaching staff has decided it’s time to give up on the Sweed experiment, then he may well have a shot.

Round Seven: Doug Worthington, DL, Ohio State

The Steelers have replaced Ohio State product Santonio Holmes with two more Buckeyes in Gibson and Worthington, two Buckeyes who helped hold opposing offenses to only 90 yards on the ground - a mark that was good for seventh in the nation. He may very well make the team simply due to the lack of depth along the defensive line and the age of the starters. I don’t see him breaking into the rotation for at least another year, but he could be a project player in the Steelers system.

All in all, I can’t really complain about the draft too much. We solidified some needs with some nice pickups and even with the abundance of linebackers chosen, I’m not too worried simply because I will never doubt a linebacker coached by Dick LeBeau and Keith Butler. They haven’t steered me wrong in a long while and I’ll take their word for it that these guys are going to be players.

Our special teams should be better than last year with the addition of fresh legs and young men hungry to solidify their place on the team, Stefan Logan however could find himself out of a job if either of the rookie wide receivers show a flash in the return game.

All things considered, this draft at the very least took our minds away from the Roethlisberger debacle and the Holmes headache. Another draft has passed and a new set of young men are ready to endure a Steelers training camp in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.