It was an outstanding play, one befitting a first-round pick. Robinson's a solid cornerback, and at times spectacular, but he wasn't making a difference.
Manning, with time, gave his best Joe Montana impersonation that day. Manning not only found the open man on seemingly every pass play, he hit him on the numbers and in stride. Manning also showed amazing agility at one point to avoid a sack. He proved he's worthy of the draft's first pick.
The point, however, is that Robinson, albeit a quality corner, could not dominate play. Would a pass-rusher? Not with the quick drops Manning used.
It's a problem the Steelers had last year. They'd blitz, but to little avail against the short-dropping and accurate quarterbacks of the league.
It's not the cover man who controls play. Nor is it the rusher. It's the quarterback.
The Steelers, of course, won't find Manning with the 11th pick, but they might be able to snag the next best thing: Phillip Rivers. He's the guy they want. Unfortunately, as we've learned during these days leading up to the draft, so do a couple of other teams.
There is another quarterback who interests the Steelers, and, if the Oakland Raiders pass on him, Ben Roethlisberger should be the pick.
The Steelers are entering this draft with the idea of drafting either Rivers or Roethlisberger. If neither is available, they'll decide between Robinson and trading down for offensive tackle Shawn Andrews.
The prediction here is that Roethlisberger will be their pick. In the second round, the Steelers will follow their prescribed M.O. and select Oklahoma cornerback Derrick Strait, a productive player from a big school.
The Steelers' biggest weakness is right offensive tackle, but coach Bill Cowher believes he can get by with Oliver Ross. He'll remind us that the New England Patriots won a Super Bowl with Greg Robinson-Randall at right tackle.
The late word is Cowher wants a quality running back in this draft, so in the third round look for the likes of Tulane's Mewelde Moore or Notre Dame's Julius Jones.
Let's look to tackle in the fourth round. Kansas' Adrian Jones, a converted tight end, has outstanding athletic ability and one year of experience at the position. He fits the Steelers' profile for tackles and would fill the back-up spot on the left side.
Cowher is painting himself into a corner with his recent remarks about Jason Gildon, so the Steelers can't wait past the fifth round to draft an outside linebacker.
Now, if the Steelers are left with Robinson as their pick in the first round, a wide receiver is a possibility in the second round. So is Florida State running back Greg Jones, who could become the next great power runner in Pittsburgh.
Here's a review of our value board from the last three weeks, with a few additions/upgrades (*) and subtractions based on late information:
- First Round - QB Phil Rivers, QB Ben Roethlisberger, CB Dunta Robinson, OT Shawn Andrews. Subtractions: CB DeAngelo Hall will be gone, DE Will Smith.
- Second Round - CB Derrick Strait, CB Keiwan Ratliff, RB Greg Jones*, WR Rashaun Woods, WR Keary Colbert*, WR/KR Devery Henderson, OLB Dontarrious Thomas. Subtractions: WR Lee Evans and OT Vernon Carey will be gone.
- Third Round - RB Mewelde Moore*, RB Julius Jones*, OT Travelle Wharton, QB Matt Schaub*, DE Tim Anderson, DE Darrell Campbell.
- Fourth Round - OT Adrian Jones, TE Kris Wilson, QB Josh Harris, DE Rodney Leisle, CB Jernaro Gilford, CB Marcell Almond, CB Chris Thompson, CB Bruce Thornton*, DE Eric Taylor*.
- Fifth Round - RB Thomas Tapeh, TE Tim Euhus, OLB Reggie Torbor, OLB Uyi Osunde*, CB/KR Dexter Wynn. Subtraction: WR/KR Kendrick Starling.
- Sixth Round - RB Adimchinobe Echemandu, RB Brandon Miree, OLB Roderick Green, FS Erik Coleman, FS J.R. Reed, SS Tony Bua, OT Stacey Andrews.
- Seventh Round - RB Jason Wright, DE Corey Williams, NT Aaron McConnell, NT Brandon Kennedy, ILB Traveco Lucas, ILB Caleb Miller*, ILB Grant Wiley*.
- Priority free agents - QB Scott McBrien, FB/LS Luke Lawton.