Trades could change everything

We're now less than two weeks away from the NFL draft and things are starting to take shape a little more for the Steelers. <br><br> With the 11th pick in this year's draft, you can pencil in quarterback Phillip Rivers or cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall or Dunta Robinson … maybe.

Things are going to fly fast and furious in the opening round of this year's draft. Look for as many as four or five trades in the first 10 picks of this year's draft, something that could definitely effect what the Steelers do.

And don't think for a second the Steelers still wouldn't mind trading down a little a few spots if they feel they can still get one of the aforementioned players or even offensive tackle Shawn Andrews.

We all know New England could be one team that hopes to move up in an effort to grab one of the top running backs. But the Patriots' first pick is the 21st, and with Miami also targeting Andrews, the Steelers may not want to move down that low lest they get stuck taking a player from their second tier of picks.

But Denver, which already traded up once with Cincinnati to move into the 17th spot, may want to move up to the 11th spot, especially if Steven Jackson goes in the top 10 to a team other than New England. With Jackson gone, Kevin Jones would become a hot property, one Denver is said to already covet.

And the Steelers could afford to move down to the 17th pick – picking up, say, a third rounder – and still likely get Robinson or Andrews.
  • One thing the Steelers won't do is take a running back in the first two rounds.

    Any book or mock draft you've seen that has them taking a running back in the first two rounds of this year's draft was completed before the team signed Duce Staley.

    The Steelers feel Staley will give them a capable running back for the next two or three years and will back him up with Jerome Bettis this year, leaving precious few carries for any rookie they might bring in.

    And if they were to take a running back in the first two rounds, he would play, not sit on the bench behind Staley and Bettis. Running back is a position of instinct. They don't need a year of seasoning, especially if they were good enough to select in the first two rounds of the draft.

    Next year, when Bettis is released or retires, the Steelers will bring in a young stud to begin taking over.

    Taking a running back in the early rounds this year would be a wasted pick.

  •  Tommy Maddox is scheduled to come arrive in Pittsburgh Monday to begin the team's offseason training program.

    You can bet he'll begin grousing about his contract. Maddox's agent has already been sending out smoke signals that they aren't happy the quarterback's contract hasn't been re-done.

    But know this. The Steelers already love Rivers. If Maddox complains too much and threatens a training camp holdout, it will only strengthen head coach Bill Cowher's desire to take Rivers.

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