What the Steelers did get was eight football players. None of the players the team picked up in the draft may ever make a Pro Bowl - picking 30th in a draft, that's difficult to do. But they are all solid players who will help this team immediately.
And in these days of free agency, that's what you need from a
Tight end Heath Miller will start immediately. Cornerback Bryant McFadden will probably break the starting lineup next season.
And the other six picks could turn into good players with a little
luck and some good coaching.
But the bottom line is that each and every one of these players
has a shot to make the team's opening roster, something the
Steelers couldn't say a year ago.
The Steelers wouldn't have selected McFadden in the first round
had Heath Miller not been available, but they did have McFadden
graded as one of the top 30 players on their board.
In fact, not only was McFadden among their top 30 players, so
too was third-round choice Trai Essex, an offensive tackle from
Northwestern, who was 30th.
You can argue with the Essex pick, but I'm not going to pretend
to know which offensive linemen are good players and which
ones aren't. Actually, I know when I see a bad one, but that's only
because they give as much resistance as a swinging gate.
Had Miller not been available, the next player on the Steelers'
draft board was defensive tackle Mike Patterson. Patterson was
selected by the Philadelphia Eagles with the pick after
Pittsburgh's in the first round. After that, the Steelers like
Oklahoma receiver Mark Bradley, who went with the seventh pick
of the second round.
Now realize, that of those top 30 players they would take, they
didn't have players at positions that weren't considered high
need, such as quarterback.
Their top-rated player? Michigan wide receiver Braylon Edwards,
who went to division rival Cleveland.
The Steelers' best pick? The Steelers had a third-round grade
on guard Chris Kemoeatu and got him at the end of the sixth
Maybe it was because he kicked a pair of opponents and got
himself thrown out of back-to-back games as a junior, or
possibly because he got a little banged up as a senior, but
Kemoeatu dropped much farther than he should have.
If Kendall Simmons again succumbs to injuries this season,
Kemaeatu could step in and the Steelers' running game
wouldn't miss a beat. This guy's a road paver.
He'll need work in his pass blocking, but that's why offensive line
coach Russ Grimm is making the big bucks.
Three of the top 30
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