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Steelers to Look at Defense More So in the April Draft?

Pro Football Weekly throws out a tidbit about the Steelers looking at defense in the draft this April:

Pittsburgh could be defensive-minded in the upcoming draft for a variety of reasons. Keep an eye on the situation at nose tackle where Casey Hampton could be re-signed, but he turns 33 in September, and backup Chris Hoke turns 34 in April. Also, the need for more playmakers in the secondary became apparent when SS Troy Polamalu missed most of the season. Not many starting jobs are for the taking next season on defense, but the Steelers need to be thinking about the future of the unit.

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.



  1. arrow61095

    February 1, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    This will be an very interesting draft year. I’d like to see the Steelers go CB in the first round (since free agency is weak at this position, and the talent level won’t last in the draft). But I think that we will be able to get some nice Defensive linemen in either the 2nd or 3rd round since DT/DE is so deep.

    Here is what I think of the draft class overall:

    QB class – weak – No superstars this year. The only big name (Tim Tebow) wont be ready to start for several years. SAM BRADFORD and JIMMY CLAUSEN have only adequate physical traits but are the best in this class.

    RB/FB class – average – While no every down superstars (like Adrian Peterson was), there are some good speed rushers like C.J. SPILLER and JAHVID BEST.

    WR class – average – no superstars (maybee DEZ BRYANT – but that is a reach), but seems pretty deep. There will be some decent receivers still available in the mid rounds.

    TE class – average – no superstars (like Vernon Davis was), but there is some early round talent.

    OT class – deep – A top 5 pick in RUSSELL OKUNG. ANTHONY DAVIS, BRUCE CAMPBEL, BRYAN BULAGA, TRENT WILLIAMS, Charles Brown, & Vladimir Ducasse all have a chance to go in the 1st or early 2nd round.

    OG/C class – weak – John Jerry and MIKE IUPATI are the stars. There is significant dropoff after them.

    DT/DE class – best I have ever seen – 2 top 5 picks (NDAMUKONG SUH & GERALD MCCOY). JASON PIERRE-PAUL, DAN WILLIAMS, SERGIO KINDLE, DERRICK MORGAN, CARLOS DUNLAP, COREY WOOTTON, BRIAN PRICE, TERRENCE CODY, MARVIN AUSTIN, and JARED ODRICK all could be 1st/early 2nd round picks. Teams may even be able to find good lineman in the 3rd round (At least 1 of the following will still be available: Alex Carrington, Cam Thomas, Tyson Alualu).

    LB class – deep but average talent level – No huge superstars, but a lot of good contributers who will start to come off the board mid to late round 1 and last (ROLANDO MCCLAIN, RICKY SAPP, SEAN WEATHERSPOON, Brandon Graham (I really like him as a 3-4 OLB), Brandon Spikes, Eric Norwood, Daryl Washington, A.J. Edds, Dekoda Watson, Jamar Chaney). There may even be some value late with some guys like Donald Butler.

    S class – above average talent level – 3 safeties will go in Round 1 (ERIC BERRY, TALYOR MAYS, & EARL THOMAS) I also find Myron Rolle as an interesting mid round pick (Technically sound and stays low in his backpedal. Did not play football last year because he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and studied at Oxford University in order to earn an M.A. in medical anthropology.).

    CB class – weak – There is JOE HADEN and then there is a noticable dropoff. Then there is PATRICK ROBINSON, Perrish Cox. Donovan Warren and Brandon Ghee have a chance to eventually become starters. Most of the other prospects haven talent but are too short or slow to match up against tall fast receivers and will likely be nickel or dime backs in the NFL (like Kyle Wilson).

    P/K class – weak – Leigh Tiffin (the top kicker) looked to have a range of about 45 yards at senior bowl warmups. Brett Swenson (the #2 kicker) seems to have a longer range, but kicked off out of bounds at the senior bowl. Zoltan Mesko (Punter) is definatelly the best special teams prospect (he has a good hangtime).

  2. jay

    February 1, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    No real starting positions open on defense….maybe not a plethora bit CB 2 and please replace Farrior with someone who can cover people! I like the response post and truly believe that, even though this is a weak free agency market for corners, that we should take one simply because it is even weaker in the draft (with corners that is). I don’t care if Pittsburgh doesn’t break the bank (they never do) with a “BIG” corner signing but just sign someone better than Gay and Townsend. Ideally they would sign a big name guy and relegate Taylor to CB 2 which is an automatic upgrade at both corner positions but ideally won’t happen. I’d settle for a SOLID CB 2 who would, yes be expensive but nearly as expensive as a “shut-down” CB 1. I think that would automatically help out a lot of things. Then the Steelers can use their draft picks and have a field day on defense with the perceived depth at DL and LB. I’m not crazy about resigning Clark though.

  3. jay

    February 1, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Oh, P.S.,
    I hope we actually give Hampton a 2-4 year deal, let Clark and Parker walk, extend Reed and draft a first round caliber Tackle and then use our remaining picks on that depth on DL and LB.

  4. George H

    February 2, 2010 at 12:51 am

    Well said Arrow and Jay… I dont see Clark returning so a guy like Thomas or Mays would look pretty good. Although, Im a little wary about Mays because he is extremely athletic but seems to be out of place and miss a lot of tackles too often. Especially coming off a down year at USC. I would still welcome him though because of his great potential. Ive been saying for the last month that the Steelers desparately need to draft a NT early; First or second round preferebly. Id like to see at tackle in the first round, it would give the o-line some more flexibility and hopefully sure up the edge. Although, at were we are picking, its easy to reach for an o-linemen so the steelers will have to be careful.

    • arrow61095

      February 2, 2010 at 9:38 am

      I’d like to see us draft D-line either in the 2nd or 3rd. While Cody or Williams will not be there, I think that someone like Cam Thomas would do as a NT, and you could get him at a bargin. (Cam was applauded for his strength at the senior bowl, and is about the same size as Williams).

      Unfortunatelly, I think the NT position in general is a bit overvalued at times in modern football. More and more defenses are playing Nickel more often (since offences now often use 3-receiver sets more or have pass catching tight ends). In a 3-4 Nickel, the NT comes out of the game making the NT a 2-down player (1st & 2nd). Like many of the people here, I like some of the prospects available in the first round at NT: I just am not sure if I could justify a 1st round pick for a player that is not an every down player when we went D-line in the first round last year. While CB may be weak in this years draft, CBs play all 4 downs (in addition to defense, they are often gunners or returners on special teams).

      I agree with you about the O-line that the Steelers could use someone to sure up the edge and need to be careful not to reach for someone. I think that they will give the new O-line coach a chance to straighten out the problems (blocking schemes and Max Stark’s footwork). Unfortunatelly, the Steelers gave Starks a long term contract, so I think that the Steelers will keep him at left tackle for a while (since he is left handed, he is a little more suited to the left side than the right). If they can fix his footwork/mobility problems, they may be good – since I think he is strong enough.

  5. arrow61095

    February 2, 2010 at 9:08 am

    I wouldn’t mind seeing the Steelers sign a free agent corner, but who is the question?

    Because the Collective Bargaining agreement, the free agency period has gone from 4 to 6 years (making this the worst free agent class in a long time).
    Here is a list of free agent CBs:

    No one from the list really impresses me, and for a restricted FA – we would have to give up a 1st and 3rd round draft pick. Not to mention, anyone decent, you will have to overpay for (since there are too few available).

    If someone can see an unrestricted free agent corner that would be affordable for the Steelers and be a noticable improvement over Gay or Townsend, please let me know who, cause I am at a loss.

  6. arrow61095

    February 2, 2010 at 9:49 am

    In truth, what I would like to see from a draft perspective is:

    Round 1: Perrish Cox, CB, Oklahoma State or PATRICK ROBINSON, CB, FLORIDA STATE
    Round 2: Charles Brown, OT, Southern Cal
    Round 3: Cam Thomas, DT, North Carolina
    Round 4: Myron Rolle, S, Florida State
    Round 5: Eric Olsen, C, Notre Dame
    Round 6: LeGarrette Blount, RB, Oregon
    Round 7: Best available player – Any position

  7. George H

    February 2, 2010 at 10:33 am

    I get the feeling that Rolle may have jumped up to mid 2nd to 3rd rd due to all of his positive exposure during senior bowl week.

    I dont see Steelers drafting Blount due to his questionable background and the fact that the Steelers are still trying to use Mendy as a power back in goal line situations. I would like to see the Steelers draft a pure speed back with good hands out of the backfield. Mendy has proven he can break out big runs, but the Steelers need a constant homerun threat on the ground.

    I like Brown and thomas were there at. Although, the one problem is that the Steelers need depth at LB. Maybe around rd 3 or 4 snag a guy there. If a Spikes or Witherspoon fall to us in rd 2, then I might be inclined to skip over an OT in rd 2.

    • arrow61095

      February 2, 2010 at 12:55 pm

      Unfortunatelly, I get the same feeling about Rolle. He will probably be gone by the end of the 3rd round (but there is always a chance that he could fall into the 4th).

      I would also like to see the Steelers pick up a speed back with good hands, but I can’t see using a high draft pick on one. I do think that Mewelde Moore is capable of spelling Mendenhall and has good hands out of the backfield. Maybee, they could find someone in free agency? Blount does definatelly have character conerns, but he does have talent. He definatelly is not worth the risk even in the mid rounds of the draft. But I think he may be worth it as a 6th or 7th round pick with a contract that says he doesn’t get paid if he gets in trouble. I guess I just can’t think of anyone else who would be there in the 6th that may have a chance to not wind up on the practice squad. And if he doesn’t work out, you only wasted a 6th round pick, most teams do that every year. Maybee the Steelers could find a small school guy with speed in Round 6 or 7?

      For depth at LB, I’m wondering if they could maybee bring in someone from free agency and groom them. I really like Fox at ILB (they may get him on the field a little more this year since Farrior is starting to show his age), but they do need someone behind Harrison and Woodley at OLB. I don’t see them bringing in anyone who will start within the next couple years though due to the size and length of the current linebacker’s contracts. I think Spikes may have a small chance to be there in mid Round 2, but I don’t see Witherspoon making it past the Saints at the end of Round 1.

      • arrow61095

        February 2, 2010 at 1:03 pm

        At LB, There is a chance that they could get Koa Misi (Utah), Dekoda Watson (Florida State),
        or A.J. Edds (Iowa) around the 4th round.

        Donald Butler, ILB, Washington might also add some depth if they can get him in the late rounds.

      • George H

        February 2, 2010 at 2:35 pm

        I like what I saw out of Isaac Redman during preseason last year. Maybe he gets a chance to get on the roster this year.

  8. arrow61095

    February 3, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    I also would like to see Redman make the roster this year. He is definatelly good enough to be a 3rd back behind Mendenhall and Moore.

    I am also a little curious as to what the story is with Kraig Urbik. He was a 3rd round pick last year, but when injuries occured along the O-line – an undrafted rookie free agent (Ramon Foster) started instead. I think Foster was a steal as a free agent, but was Kraig a total miss in the draft or was he hurt or something?

  9. T

    February 9, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    I just don’t want nor expect to see the Steelers reach in the 1st round (I.E. Troy Edwards)

    I would like to see Urbik live up to the potential of a 3rd round selection and Foster continue to develop. However, if one of the marque offensive tackles falls to us it can solidify the O-Line and provide positional flexibility with Stapleton returning.

    I think they can address the Defensive Line and Safety in the 2nd & 3rd rounds of this draft.

    They also need to address the Linebacker Position for Development & Depth, but always do based on their draft history.

  10. Pingback: Steelers to Look at Defense More So in the April Draft? » Steelers Gab | NFL Topics Blog

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