Wexell grades Steelers' draft:

Tony Parisi, the old equipment man, used to say this after every draft: "All this money and time for these seven kids?" And then he'd slam the war room door and everyone knew it was a wrap. Here's the 2007 Steeler draft wrap:

Another reporter approached, I believe, for validation. He'd already called Lawrence Timmons "a reach" for the Steelers in the first round of the draft. The reporter asked me if I agreed.

I didn't. While I don't think he's a good pick, I won't call Timmons a reach because he's the guy they wanted.

A reach occurs when you need, say, a wide receiver but your first two choices are gone and, instead of taking the No. 1 left tackle or the No. 1 pass-rusher, you take Troy Edwards. That's a reach.

No, the Steelers wanted Timmons all along. The reason I don't agree with the pick is because of the massive hole on passing downs. They needed a pass-rusher.

I wanted defensive end Anthony Spencer. I thought they could've traded down, received a pick, and drafted Spencer. If he wasn't there, they could've opted for help at the developing crisis on their offensive line, or even one of the 4-3 outside backers, as a fallback.

This would work even if Spencer was gone, I had reasoned, because the Steelers could take a fallback -- a defensive end named LaMarr Woodley -- in the second round.

Well, guess what? The Steelers liked Woodley, too. They drafted him in the second round, even though they'd claimed earlier that Timmons was going to be the third-down pass-rusher.

After the draft, the Steelers said both Timmons and Woodley will rush on third down, but Woodley is better equipped for the challenge. In fact, the word spinning around the South Side offices is that Timmons is now being projected to inside backer.

Would it have been that difficult to say Timmons was chosen to replace James Farrior in a year or two?

Yeah, kind of. My bigger problem was the Steelers' unwillingness to trade down five spots with their old friends, the New York Giants.

The Steelers said one team called; the Giants said they called a team about trading up for Leon Hall. They're the match, and it could've been a repeat of last year's first-round trade, only in reverse.

Trading down five spots would've been the move, but the Steelers feared losing Timmons. At least we can admire their conviction.

So, Woodley becomes the key to the first day because he's the 3-4 outside linebacker they needed, and missing that in the first round – intentionally, for a small guy with average speed and one undistinguished season on his resume – was my major complaint.

The complaints coming from others are being directed at the drafting of a tight end in the third round and a punter in the fourth, but that's not such a big deal to me.

Sure, I would've liked power back Tony Hunt in the third round, but if he's too slow for your new offense, he's too slow. Others say the Steelers should've taken someone bigger than Hunt, someone like Michael Bush. But not only has Bush had a second titanium rod put in his leg, he's a softer runner than Hunt, even with the extra 13 pounds.

A bigger concern is the direction Bruce Arians is taking the offense. He wants four receivers and among those, we assume, will be a tight end or two. It appears the days of the I-formation are diminishing, because Hunt and fullback Le'Ron McClain would've been ideal picks to keep the power in the "power I."

However, I am not complaining about the pick of tight end Matt Spaeth for the same reason I am complaining about the pick of Timmons: I've seen him play.

While Timmons didn't impress me, Spaeth did. He's 6-7, 270 and was the centerpiece of Minnesota's offense (at least after talented RB Gary Russell flunked out of school -- yes, the same Russell the Steelers signed after the draft). He has soft hands and is fearless over the middle. His blocking didn't wow me, but Arians says Spaeth can block, so I'll trust him because Spaeth is a mountain of a man.

The Steelers had Spaeth in for a visit, so they've liked him all along. Word out of Jacksonville is that the Jaguars wanted him two picks later. Spaeth fit the spot, he's a big man and he can catch everything. I'm not down on the third-round pick.

I'm not down on the fourth-round pick, either. Dan Sepulveda can crush the pill and a punter was needed. When Adam Podlesh went earlier than expected, that left the Steelers with only one player to fill a gaping hole so they opted to trade up.

Too bad that pick hadn't been acquired in a trade down with the Giants in the first round, perhaps the complainers would be a bit more forgiving.

With the criticism coming from all corners at this point, I believe Colbert buckled down and turned in his best stretch of second-day drafting ever.

I really like the potential of Ryan McBean, and line coach John Mitchell was ecstatic with the pick. McBean's no Orien Harris – a talented guy with no motor. No, he's a guy who grew up in poverty and has nothing but football. This is one hungry kid with a sleek frame and good wheels. Mitch loves him and that's good enough for me. Besides, I watched recent pick-up Nick Eason at minicamp and am convinced McBean will make this team.

In the fifth round, the Steelers took Rutgers brawler Cam Stephenson to help the emerging catastrophe at guard. I'd been a fan of Stephenson and the Rutgers running game last season. In fact, the Steelers also signed his sidekick, center Darnell Stapleton, after the draft.

Stephenson could learn the offense before third-year man Chris Kemoeatu, and could even start next season if the Steelers let Kendall Simmons play out his contract.

The next fifth-round pick, cornerback William Gay of Louisville, is a poor man's Sam Madison. He's small, quick and tough, tough, tough.

Secondary coach Ray Horton all but promised he'd win a job, but did alter my comparison of Gay to Deshea Townsend. Gay could knock Ricardo Colclough off the roster and has punt gunner written all over him.

With the sixth-round pick they traded, Colbert drafted some long-snapper or running quarterback for someone else's practice squad. In other words, nothing from nothing means nothing.

In the seventh round, Colbert remained focused and took a tall, skinny kid who caught 60 passes for the national champions last year, and that skinny kid, Dallas Baker, has a chip on his shoulder, guaranteeing a solid camp effort.

I loved the way the Steelers finished this draft. I only question the way it started. But Timmons was drafted for his upside, so he deserves my patience. Starting ... now.

Draft grade: B-.


Steel City Insider Top Stories

\r\n\r\n\r\nAnother reporter approached, I believe, for validation. He'd already called Lawrence Timmons \"a reach\" for the Steelers in the first round of the draft. The reporter asked me if I agreed.\r\n

I didn't. While I don't think he's a good pick, I won't call Timmons a reach because he's the guy they wanted. \r\n

A reach occurs when you need, say, a wide receiver but your first two choices are gone and, instead of taking the No. 1 left tackle or the No. 1 pass-rusher, you take Troy Edwards.\r\nThat's a reach.\r\n

No, the Steelers wanted Timmons all along. The reason I don't agree with the pick is because of the massive hole on passing downs. They needed a pass-rusher. \r\n

I wanted defensive end Anthony Spencer. I thought they could've traded down, received a pick, and drafted Spencer. If he wasn't there, they could've opted for help at the developing crisis on their offensive line, or even one of the 4-3 outside backers, as a fallback. \r\n

This would work even if Spencer was gone, I had reasoned, because the Steelers could take a fallback -- a defensive end named LaMarr Woodley -- in the second round.\r\n

Well, guess what? The Steelers liked Woodley, too. They drafted him in the second round, even though they'd claimed earlier that Timmons was going to be the third-down pass-rusher.\r\n

After the draft, the Steelers said both Timmons and Woodley will rush on third down, but Woodley is better equipped for the challenge. In fact, the word spinning around the South Side offices is that Timmons is now being projected to inside backer.\r\n

Would it have been that difficult to say Timmons was chosen to replace James Farrior in a year or two?\r\n

Yeah, kind of. My bigger problem was the Steelers' unwillingness to trade down five spots with their old friends, the New York Giants. \r\n

The Steelers said one team called; the Giants said they called a team about trading up for Leon Hall. They're the match, and it could've been a repeat of last year's first-round trade, only in reverse. \r\n

Trading down five spots would've been the move, but the Steelers feared losing Timmons. At least we can admire their conviction.\r\n

So, Woodley becomes the key to the first day because he's the 3-4 outside linebacker they needed, and missing that in the first round – intentionally, for a small guy with average speed and one undistinguished season on his resume – was my major complaint. \r\n

The complaints coming from others are being directed at the drafting of a tight end in the third round and a punter in the fourth, but that's not such a big deal to me. \r\n

Sure, I would've liked power back Tony Hunt in the third round, but if he's too slow for your new offense, he's too slow. Others say the Steelers should've taken someone bigger than Hunt, someone like Michael Bush. But not only has Bush had a second titanium rod put in his leg, he's a softer runner than Hunt, even with the extra 13 pounds. \r\n

A bigger concern is the direction Bruce Arians is taking the offense. He wants four receivers and among those, we assume, will be a tight end or two. It appears the days of the I-formation are diminishing, because Hunt and fullback Le'Ron McClain would've been ideal picks to keep the power in the \"power I.\"\r\n

However, I am not complaining about the pick of tight end Matt Spaeth for the same reason I am complaining about the pick of Timmons: I've seen him play. \r\n

While Timmons didn't impress me, Spaeth did. He's 6-7, 270 and was the centerpiece of Minnesota's offense (at least after talented RB Gary Russell flunked out of school -- yes, the same Russell the Steelers signed after the draft). He has soft hands and is fearless over the middle. His blocking didn't wow me, but Arians says Spaeth can block, so I'll trust him because Spaeth is a mountain of a man. \r\n

The Steelers had Spaeth in for a visit, so they've liked him all along. Word out of Jacksonville is that the Jaguars wanted him two picks later. Spaeth fit the spot, he's a big man and he can catch everything. I'm not down on the third-round pick.\r\n

I'm not down on the fourth-round pick, either. Dan Sepulveda can crush the pill and a punter was needed. When Adam Podlesh went earlier than expected, that left the Steelers with only one player to fill a gaping hole so they opted to trade up. \r\n

Too bad that pick hadn't been acquired in a trade down with the Giants in the first round, perhaps the complainers would be a bit more forgiving. \r\n

With the criticism coming from all corners at this point, I believe Colbert buckled down and turned in his best stretch of second-day drafting ever.\r\n

I really like the potential of Ryan McBean, and line coach John Mitchell was ecstatic with the pick. McBean's no Orien Harris – a talented guy with no motor. No, he's a guy who grew up in poverty and has nothing but football. This is one hungry kid with a sleek frame and good wheels. Mitch loves him and that's good enough for me. Besides, I watched recent pick-up Nick Eason at minicamp and am convinced McBean will make this team.\r\n

In the fifth round, the Steelers took Rutgers brawler Cam Stephenson to help the emerging catastrophe at guard. I'd been a fan of Stephenson and the Rutgers running game last season. In fact, the Steelers also signed his sidekick, center Darnell Stapleton, after the draft. \r\n

Stephenson could learn the offense before third-year man Chris Kemoeatu, and could even start next season if the Steelers let Kendall Simmons play out his contract.\r\n

The next fifth-round pick, cornerback William Gay of Louisville, is a poor man's Sam Madison. He's small, quick and tough, tough, tough.

Secondary coach Ray Horton all but promised he'd win a job, but did alter my comparison of Gay to Deshea Townsend. Gay could knock Ricardo Colclough off the roster and has punt gunner written all over him.\r\n

With the sixth-round pick they traded, Colbert drafted some long-snapper or running quarterback for someone else's practice squad. In other words, nothing from nothing means nothing.\r\n

In the seventh round, Colbert remained focused and took a tall, skinny kid who caught 60 passes for the national champions last year, and that skinny kid, Dallas Baker, has a chip on his shoulder, guaranteeing a solid camp effort.\r\n

I loved the way the Steelers finished this draft. I only question the way it started. But Timmons was drafted for his upside, so he deserves my patience. Starting ... now.\r\n

Draft grade: B-.\r\n \r\n","mobileBody":" ","skipOnMobile":true,"media":[],"dateOverride":"2007-04-30T09:36:00","authorOverride":"Jim Wexell","role":"SteelCityInsider.com","isPremium":true,"isHotNews":false,"isRumor":false,"syndicationFlag":true,"isClassified":true,"hotNamesLinked":true,"storyImage":"[MEDIA:426439]","mainImage":{},"thumbnailImage":"[THUMBNAIL:426439]","heroImage":{},"authorImage":"","tags":[{"id":"182","name":"Pittsburgh Steelers"}],"nodes":["99"],"isActive":true,"inActiveAndMemberHasPublishRights":false,"createdOn":"2007-04-30T09:43:21.593","createdById":"182028","modifiedOn":"2014-07-06T00:15:49.557","modifiedBy":"51458","imgs":[],"viewStats":[],"hasVideo":false,"brandUnsafe":false,"breakingNews":false},"editorsChoice":{"siteUrls":["http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1704973-energy-bringers-badasses","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1701783-a-day-in-the-life?preview=true","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1644408-long-may-heath-run","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1626251-ups-and-downs-shazier-playcaller","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1614465-qa-peezy-deebo"],"networkUrls":["http://www.scout.com/college/michigan/story/1712449-najee-harris-mom-a-fan-of-harbaugh","http://www.scout.com/story/1712173-dez-bryant-on-mic-let-s-put-up-50","http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1711551-best-coaching-fit-lsu","http://www.scout.com/college/football/story/1712321-kansas-true-freshman-delivers-big-hit?s=143"],"topRibbonWidgets":[],"carouselStoryUrls":["http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1712144-steelers-turn-hubbard","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1711853-buzz-about-new-steelers-starters","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1711542-all-22-review-steelers-eagles","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1711135-craig-wolfleys-view-sideline","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1710728-notebook-sportswriter"],"storyStreamUrls":[],"storyStreamBlacklistUrls":[],"videoStories":[{"type":"StorySummary","containerType":"StorySummary","id":"1712144","siteId":"68","isPublicSite":true,"subdomain":"pit","canonicalUrl":"http://pit.scout.com/story/1712144-steelers-turn-to-hubbard","shortUrl":"http://pit.scout.com/story/1712144-steelers-turn-to-hubbard","siteName":"Steel City Insider","forumName":"","friendlySubdomain":"Pittsburgh","title":"Steelers Turn To Hubbard","subtitle":"","seotitle":"Yet another injury thins offensive line","caption":"","deck":"Practice injury to B.J. 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