Linebackers, running backs and safeties were the main targets of the Steelers, but there was some interest at some other positions as well.
Without any further ado, here's what we now know:
The Steelers talked to running backs Wali Lundy of Virginia and
Maurice Drew of UCLA, two guys, it would seem, who would be a
mid-round replacement for third-down back Verron Haynes.
Given that the team is looking in that direction, it would seem that
Duce Staley's standing with the team is safe – for now.
Lundy is a 5-10, 214-pounder who was timed at 4.55 and 4.60
seconds in his two 40s at Indianapolis. Those aren't burning
times, but Lundy is a powerful inside runner who was a wide
receiver in high school. Lundy, who could eventually be an
every-down back, was a college teammate of last year's No. 1
pick, Heath Miller, so the Steelers may have some inside scoop
there as well.
At just a shade over 5-6, Drew doesn't have the size you'd want
in running back, but he also weighed in at 207 pounds, so he's
no pushover. An electrifying return man, Drew could be used to
help replace Antwaan Randle El – if/when he leaves as a free
agent. Drew ran the 40 in 4.47 and 4.43 seconds at the combine,
showing plenty of speed, more, in fact, than Randle El. Again,
another player who could also replace Haynes as the third-down
back. NFL.com clocked him at 4.39 in the 40, one of the fastest
times put up on Indianapolis' slow track.
At linebacker, the Steelers looked more at guys they may have to
take in the first two rounds as they seem intent on adding some
much-needed premium depth at the position.
The team talked to Iowa's Chad Greenway, a sure first-rounder
and Ohio State's Bobby Carpenter, another player who figures
into the end of the first round.
If it's Greenway they covet, a trade up may be in order. The
sideline-to-sideline tackling machine is a guy who could play
inside or out, but is widely viewed as a top 20 pick.
Carpenter, on the other hand, could be there when the Steelers
pick at 32. At 6-2 1/2, 256 pounds, he could also play inside or
out. An ankle injury kept him from working out at the combine, but
he expects to be ready to work out by the time Ohio State has its
The Steelers also talked to Tennessee tweener Parys Haralson,
a 6-1, 253-pounder. Quick off the edge with a variety of pass rush
moves, Haralson had a strong showing at the Senior Bowl and
is no worse than a second-round pick after picking up 21 career
sacks at UT, including 8 1/2 during the team's disappointing
At the safety position, Ohio State's Donte Whitner, a 5-10,
204-pound free safety caught the team's eye. Whitner is
considered a strong second-round prospect, showing that the
Steelers aren't likely to go for a safety in the first round even if
Chris Hope leaves as expected.
Stanford defensive tackle Babatunde Oshinowo drew interest
from the team. The 6-0 1/8, 305-pound Oshinowo is a nose
tackle-type who would be a mid-round draft pick at best. He went
to Stanford to be an engineer and got his degree in Electrical
Engineering, so maybe the team talked to him about re-wiring
Heinz Field's scoreboard to play something other than songs
that aren't at least 10 years old.
Then again, they may have talked to him to bring up the team
GPA. Babatunde Oluwasegun Temitope Oluwakorede Adisa
Oshinowo Jr. – that's right, he has six names – was born in
Columbus, Ohio, but his parents grew up in Nigeria and met at
On a serious note, the Steelers may be looking at the possibility
of moving Chris Hoke into the rotation at defensive end if Brett Keisel and/or Kimo von Oelhoffen leave as free agents.
On the offensive line, Pitt tackle Charles Spencer (6-5, 330), who
most view as an NFL guard, drew the team's interest. A big man
with good feet, Spencer is seen as a solid second-rounder who
could give the Steelers a swing guy in 2006 and a guy who could
challenge Chris Kemoeatu for the starting right guard spot in
2007 when Kendall Simmons isn't likely to be re-signed.
Another interesting guy is Oklahoma's Davin Joseph another big
guy with good feet. Joseph can also play center in addition to
guard and also played tackle last season. Now that's value.
Speaking of centers, SteelCityInsider.com message board favorite
Nick Mangold of Ohio State checked in at just under 300 pounds
and ran his 40s in 5.05 and 5.07. But with the team working to
restructure the deals of both Jeff Hartings and Chukky Okobi, it
doesn't look like Mangold is on the team's radar at this point.
That could change by the end of the week if they have to cut one
or both of them.
Courtesy of the Observer-Reporter
Steelers' interests vary at combine
Steel City Insider Top Stories
Steelers Turn To HubbardPractice injury to B.J. Finney makes Chris Hubbard probable starter at left guard.
Steel City Insider1:52 PM
Buzz About New Steelers StartersLet's get behind the scenes with three new Steelers starters
Steel City InsiderYesterday at 6:40 PM
All-22 Review: Steelers-EaglesJon Ledyard breaks down Steelers' grim performance, and looks at what to expect from injury replacements and return of Le'Veon Bell
Steel City InsiderYesterday at 2:14 AM
Craig Wolfley's View From The SidelineBurn the tape, bury its ashes following the Steelers' 34-3 loss
Steel City InsiderTuesday at 2:57 AM