Reviewing the draft: Pittsburgh Steelers

Coming off a disappointing season the Pittsburgh Steelers entered the 2004 draft with an eye towards the future. An off season roster purge left the Steelers with plenty of holes to fill and with a selection in the top twelve it was widely speculated that Pittsburgh would grab a featured offensive player if neither highly rated cornerback was unavailable to them.  

With the twelfth overall selection Pittsburgh selected Ben Roethlisberger, a player many considered to be amongst the top five players in the draft.  Rothlisberger offers prototypical size and a superb throwing arm as well as terrific quarterbacking intelligence.  The biggest knock is his lack of mobility but should the Steelers be able to offer a wall of protection around Rothlisberger  he will be a quality NFL quarterback for a long time to come.  He was excellent value in the 12th slot. In the second round Pittsburgh traded up a few slots then selected Ricardo Colclough.  With DeWayne Washington no longer on the roster Pittsburgh needed a young cornerback almost as much as they needed any other position.  Colclough has the size/speed numbers needed to be successful as a cornerback.  He will likely need some time to adjust mentally to the speed of the game but could be the Steelers starter by the end of his rookie year and at the very least, will make an impact as a return specialist at seasons start. The Steelers must have been thinking about protecting Rothlisberger and opening up holes for the tandem of Duce Staley and Jerome Bettis when they selected Max Starks in the third round.  Starks is an intelligent, big bodied tackle best suited for the strong side.  He also projects to guard and has experience playing on the blind side as well.  Starks should give the Steelers a better and deeper offensive line for the next few years and will eventually move into the starting unit and improve the team's run blocking.  Nathaniel Adibi gives Pittsburgh a young player that could possibly replace Jason Gildon as a pass rushing outside linebacker.  Adibi, a defensive end in college, is a relentless defender that has trouble against the run out of a three point stance.  The Steelers 3-4 alignment should be the best possible scenario for Adibi to develop his skills at the next level.  Bo Lacy gives the Steelers another young offensive lineman to develop.  Lacy is strictly a tackle but may never be starting caliber yet could make this team as a back-up.  Matt Kranchick, the king-sized tight end from Penn State, could be one of the steals of the draft.  Kranchick, a converted wide receiver, is just learning the tight end position but already has the pass catching part of his game down pat.  While he needs to refine his blocking, Kranchick could give the Steelers match up problems in the red zone based solely on his size. Drew Cayler is yet another offensive linemen added to the Steelers stable heading into the next season. Cayler is a good candidate for the practice squad but could make the team as a backup center.   Eric Taylor, the Steelers final pick, is another that could end up as a steal in this draft.  A big-bodied athletic lineman, he is perfectly suited as a two-gap end and could be a very productive NFLer as he develops his game.

Pittsburgh entered this draft needing immediate help at several positions but also hoping to come away with ling term talent; they did both.  Each of their first day selections could start as rookies and be pivotal players for the team for the better part of their careers.  Pittsburgh also added developmental players at positions that may be future needs based on free agency losses and selected a pair of players in the late rounds that could eventually be steals.  Overall the Steelers did a nice job of stabilizing their team by adding quality players yet also came away with quantity from this draft.

Scout NFL Network Top Stories