The 2001 Draft brought in Chucky Okobi and Rodney Bailey, who have played very important roles this season as far as improving the team's depth and, with Bailey, adding more pressure in the dime defensive line.
One of the strategies of the 2002 Draft was aimed at improving the special teams, especially after the loss at home to New England in the Championship Game. Larry Foote, Verron Haynes, Lee Mayes, and Brett Keisel were all valuable members of a much-improved Steelers special teams unit in 2002. Foote also provided some much-needed depth at RILB while Bell was injured this season.
After reading many web site and print draft articles, I've come up with some interesting draft picks for Day 2 of the NFL Draft. I have chosen these individuals because they have performed at a high level no matter where they went to school, and they've performed well in all-star games.
I don't believe the Steelers will draft a QB in Day 1 of the draft, so that is why I hope the Steelers will draft Curt Anes, the 6-2, 220-lb. QB from Grand Valley St. What strikes me most about him is that over the last 2 seasons he has thrown over 89 TD's while throwing only 6 INT's during that same time. Anes also has completed nearly 69% of his passes when winning a championship for Grand Valley St. I think a learning period under QB Coach Tom Clements will make this guy the future quarterback of the Steelers.
I have also chosen another player from Grand Valley St. in the 6-2, 190-lb. WR David Kircus. What has caught my attention is the eye-popping 35 TD passes he caught last season. He will give Tommy Maddox another Red Zone threat, especially with the Steelers looking to throw the ball more. What impresses me about these 2 (Anes and Kircus), is that they make things happen and both had an impressive showing in their all-star games against higher competition.
My choices for Defensive Sleepers fall into 2 areas of need for depth at defensive line and secondary.
The DL sleeper who's most caught my eye is Colin Cole, the 6-2, 300-lb. defensive lineman from Iowa. Cole has great strength against the run and has the ability to collapse the pocket, as evident of his 8 sacks last season. Cole, in my opinion, will be an excellent choice to add depth on the defensive line.
Another defensive lineman to take note of is one who has played only one year of college football. The man is 6-6, 270-lb. Cliff Washburn from the Citadel. He led his team with an amazing 20 sacks last season. Two things that made me take notice of him, besides his sack total, is his non-stop motor and the way he performed in the all star games against some of the top players in the country.
My choices for sleeper safeties are a ball hawk and a true cover guy. The one thing that I want to say first is that I believe the Steelers will add secondary help very early on Day 1.
The ball hawk is 6-2, 195-lb. Charles Tilman from Louisiana Lafayette. Tilman is a very sure tackler who had 100 tackles last season. He is very rarely caught out of position and is another player who performed very well in his all-star game.
The cover guy is Anthony Floyd from Louisville. He is on the smaller size at 5-11, 195-lbs., however he hits like he is 6-2, 220 and he is a terrific cover guy with speed, something that was sorely lacking this season.
(Editor's note: 12th Man articles are submitted by members of the Steel City Sports on-line community.)