Editorials

Steelers Fever – Steelers Draft Concerns And Selection Analysis

Steelers Draft Concerns And Selection Analysis

Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial

Sunday, March 30, 2008
By Dan Swan
Guest Columnist

With the NFL Draft soon approaching, the Pittsburgh Steelers have many concerns that need to be addressed. The Steelers have picks in the first six rounds, and they traded their seventh round pick to the Atlanta Falcons for Allen Rossum last year.

An obvious concern for the Steelers is the offensive line. The Steelers offensive line yielded 47 sacks last year, but also paved the way for 2,168 rushing yards. The Steelers also lost pro bowl guard Alan Faneca to free agency, and will have to work hard to fill that hole.

The offensive tackle position is very deep in this years draft. There are a number of quality offensive tackles that are projected to be around through the first round and deep into the second round. A possibility for the Steelers, comes right out of their own back yard. Jeff Otah from the University of Pittsburgh is a 6’6″ 340 pound tackle that has been on the Steelers radar according to some mock drafts. Another option that could be available for the Steelers is 6’6″ 320 pound Chris Williams from Vanderbilt University. If the Steelers do not choose to take a tackle with their first round pick, they will still be able to get a quality player at that position in the second round.

The offensive guard position is not as deep as the tackle position in this years draft. The Steelers could look to address the guard position with the first round pick. There are a couple of quality guards that should be available, if the Steelers choose to go that route in the first round. The first being, Branden Albert from Virginia. Albert stands 6 feet 7 inches and weighs 315 pounds, and has to versatility to play either tackle or guard. Albert is projected by many experts to go the Steelers with the 23rd overall pick. The other top guard in this years draft is Chilo Rachal from USC. Rachal is 6’5″ and weighs 315 pounds and has also played the tackle position in the past.

The Steelers ranked first in overall defense last year. Opposing offenses gained a total of 4,262 yards in 2007. The defense yielded 1,438 yards on the ground, which was third best in the league. The Steelers defense gave up 2,824 yards through the air, which was also third best in the NFL.

Pro bowl safety Troy Polamalu played in only 11 games in 2007, and that brought out some weaknesses in the secondary. The Steelers could look to add some depth to the secondary, with one of their picks in the later rounds.

Another need for the Steelers is the defensive end position. The top defensive ends in this years draft are expected to go early in the first round. The Steelers could look to pick up a defensive end later in the draft to add some depth to the defensive line.

The Steelers could look to add another wide receiver in this years draft. A possible pick at receiver could be James Hardy from the University of Indiana. Hardy is listed at 6’7″ 220 pounds, and could be a possible compliment to Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes. This could also add a deep/end zone threat for Ben to look to. Hardy could be available in the second round for the Steelers.

The Steelers have many options in this years draft. They could go after the best overall players that are available, or they could go after players that are potential fits for their needs. The Steelers have drafted very well in the past, and have a history of building through the draft rather than go after expensive free agents.

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