Steelers Fever – 2005 NFL Draft – Time To Re-Load

2005 NFL Draft – Time To Re-Load – By Nick Signorelli

Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial

It’s that time of the year again! Like most Steeler fans, I look forward to the draft more than I look forward to the start of free-agency. This is where our beloved Steelers actually improve the team, rather than watch them leave. This year was again like most. Our rivals sign known players to replace those that left, and the only Street free agent we bring in is someoone that may be our #3 WR. All hope is not lost yet though, there is still a chance of bringing in a Ty Law.

In reality though, we didnt really lose all that much this year. Plaxico Burress (New York Giants) was the only player that we lost that would have been a starter next year. Max Starks is set to start at Right Tackle, and Kendall Simmons is going to be back at Right Guard. Kendrell Bell (Kansas City Chiefs) would be nothing more than a back up, after not really showing much since his Rookie season.

So in a position break down, here is how I think the 2005 NFL Draft is going to break down for the Black and Gold!

QB – For the first time since Terry Bradshaw I have confidence in our Quarterback situation. With last years first round pick Big Ben Roethlisberger firmly in place with the first team, we have former starter and capable backup Tommy Maddox as the best #2 in the league. We also have Brian St. Pierre around and Charlie Batch (no other team is going to sign him this year) who will complete our 4 for camp. Though we might take one in the 6th or 7th round, I would be shocked to see us waste a pick on this position.

RB – I think a lot of people are happy that the Bus is coming back, me being one of them, but I think Verron Haynes and Willie Parker are going to have to contribute more this year. Deuce is going to be the man, no question, BUT if Veron Haynes can step it up a bit, he can help save the Bus for the Playoffs. We may also deal Haynes or Parker for a second or third round pick. Dan Krieder is one of the best FB’s in the league.

WR – Hines Ward is #1, period. He is going to get his BIG contract after the draft and he deserves it. Randel El and Cedrick Wilson will battle for a #2 job that neither may win. This is one of the few positions that I think we may go after. Big Ben likes BIG targets. I can see, IF he is still available Pittsburgh selecting QB/WR Matt Jones of Arkansas.

TE – With the departure of Jay Riemersma, this is an area of weakness, that may be addressed in the first round. If Heath Miller is still available, Pittsburgh will jump all over him. Odds are though, he will be gone long before 30.

OL – Pittsburgh may take an O-Line man during the first day of the draft, just not in the first round. The left side of the line is set with Marvell Smith and Alan Fanaca. Though this is probably Jeff Hartings last year in Pittsburgh, Chucki Okobi is waiting in the wings. If Kendall Simmons and Max Starks can stay healthy, our starting O-Line is set for the next few years.

DL – Casey Hampton and Aaron Smith are set, however Kimo isn’t getting any younger. There is a chance of taking a D-Lineman in the first round, there just probably wont be one available when we pick that warrants a first round pick.

LB – Pittsburgh is set at starters at LB, with Zo Jackson and James Harrison as the key backups. There is virtually NO WAY of Pittsburgh selecting a LB in round one. Maybe if Channing Crowder is available in round 2, but that’s doubtful.

DB – Starters are set with Deshea Townsend an Ricardo Colclough. Ike Taylor has the talent in the Nickel, and if he can’t cut it, Willie Williams can hang with any #3 WR. I still look for Pittsburgh to make a run at Ty Law once he can pass a physical. SS Troy Polamalu is set at his position, but we need to figure out if Chris Hope is the long term answer at FS. Though he played very well at times last year, he does not have the speed or coverage ability of Polamalu. If Brodney Pool (S – Oklahoma) is still available at 30, Pittsburgh might take him and have one of the best young secondaries in the NFL.

ST – Having tendered K Jeff Reed before signing him to a long term deal, shows that the Steelers believe that he is our Kicker of the future and Chris Gardocki is one of the best Punters in the NFL. Even if we were weak in both of these fields, the Steelers value the draft WAY to much to spend a first day pick on any Special Teams Position.

I can also see Pittsburgh trading out of the first round. With many of the rumors that Philadelphia is going to go after Matt Jones of Arkansas, If Pittsburgh doesent want him, they may trade down for a second this year and a first next.

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