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Steeler Needs:
1) Offensive Tackle
2) Running Back
3) Cornerback
4) Quarterback
5) D. Lineman

1st Round draft probability

Who Will the Steelers Draft?
Pre-Draft Analysis - 2004

After a 6-10 performance in 2003, the Steelers obviously need help in a lot of areas: a pass-rushing LB, cover corners, a Franchise RB and a big Offensive Right Tackle who can move. I don't think the Steelers need another QB. Sure, it would be great to get a young prospect to groom, but the Steelers don't need an All-Pro Quarterback to win a Super Bowl. Defense and a Running game will win them a championship.

Steeler Draft Strategy
Like previous drafts, in the early rounds, the Steelers will focus on proven players from proven big colleges. Then, in the later rounds, they will draft for needs and to create depth on their roster. The Steelers will draft 11th, if they don't trade up or down, which is their highest pick since 2000 when they selected Plaxico Buress 8th overall. A Franchise-type Quarterback (Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers) or a speedy, athletic Cornerback (DeAngelo Hall, Dunta Robinson) should be available for the Steelers in the First Round.

Offensive Right Tackle
For several games, the Steelers did not have the players needed to play Offensive Tackle in the NFL. The Denver game was particularly frustrating. Rotating in Offensive Linemen for passing downs was ridiculous! Todd Fordham started the year at ORT when Oliver Ross, who under performed in the pre-season, couldn't hold the job. Fordham is at best a backup tackle. Ross looked better at the end of the season, but it's a mystery why it took him 10 weeks to start playing. Whatever the reason, the Steelers desperately need more quality players at Offensive Tackle. Left Tackle Mathias Nkwenti can't play even though he has had 3 years to watch and learn. When Left Tackle Marvel Smith got hurt in 2003, the Offensive Line really struggled even though LG Alan Faneca eventually made an amazing adjustment to play Left Tackle and Keydrick Vincent filled in nicely at LG. Still, the Steelers ranked 30th running the ball which was embarrassing and awful. QB Tommy Maddox was pressured all season long and managed to stay alive. The Offensive Line was easily the most disappointing area of the team in 2003. Last year, the Steelers believed they had enough talent at Offensive Tackle not to draft any player. Colbert and Cower better not make the same mistake in this year's draft.

Shawn Andrews – 6-4, 345, Arkansas -- Enormous, huge, dominant run-blocker who can move well. All-America for 2 years. Obvious concerns about his weight. May be a better ORG in the NFL. This player is falling...maybe late into the 1st round.
Robert Gallery
– 6-7, 320, Iowa -- Is a Left Tackle and will be selected in the Top 5.
Vernon Carey – 6-4, 335, Miami -- Not nearly as good as Gallery or Andrews. Can also play Guard which is attractive for the Steelers who are unsure about Kendall Simmons' future as a Diabetic. Late 1st round
Jacob Rogers – 6-5, 305 Southern California -- Left Tackle, 2nd round
Kelly Butler – 6-7, 325 Purdue -- Looks like a more athletic Kris Ferris. 2nd round
Nat Dorsey – 6-6, 315 Georgia Tech -- 2-3rd round
Tony Pape - 6-6, 310, Michigan - Looks like previous Michigan Right Tackle Jon Jensen. Not a great athlete, but a very good football player. Got beat at the Senior Bowl. 3rd Round
Carlos Joseph – 6-6, 338, Miami -- Has played both Left and Right Tackle, 3rd Round
Travelle Wharton – 6-4, 315 South Carolina -- Is supposed to be very athletic, 3rd round
Brian Rimpf – 6-6, 315, East Carolina -- 3rd Round
Antonio Hall - 6-5, 300, Kentucky -- 3rd round
Max Starks – 6-7, 335 Florida -- Massive guy who didn't pass block well at Senior Bowl, 4th round
Shane Olivea - 6-5, 335, Ohio State -- 4th round
Jason Peters - 6-4, 320, TE, Arkansas, - Is a tight end who would eventually play tackle. 4th round
Adrian Jones - 6-5, 300, Kansas - Former Tight End. 5th round
Sean Bubin - 6-6, 310, Illinois - 6th round
Quinn Christiansen - 6-6, 310, BYU - 6th round
Josh Parrish - 6-6, 335, Washington St. 6th round
Stacy Andrews - 6-5, 340, Ole Miss -- Brother of Shawn Andrews, only recently started playing football. 6th round
Kirk Chambers - 6-7, 305, Stanford -- Older player due to church mission, 6th round
Mark Wilson - 6-6, 313, CAL -- 7th round
Alan Reuber - 6-6, 315, Texas A+M -- 7th round
Kevin Sampson - 6-4, 312, Syracuse -- Good workout may get him drafted. 7th round

Running Back
Duce Staley was signed on 03/09/04 as a Free Agent from the Eagles, but the Steelers still need a young, power back. Duce is already 29 years old. The chances of drafting a RB in the 1st round are doubtful, but getting one in the 2nd round would be perfect. Amos Zeroue will be cut and Bettis can't be counted on to be a starter for a whole season, or even half a season. Bettis will be 32 at the start of the season, but he gives the team needed leadership. His contract has been renegotiated so that he can groom the next starting Tailback. The Steelers need a big, Power Back who has a low center of gravity to push a pile and drag defenders. The prospects:

Steven Jackson - 6-1.5, 235 Oregon State -- Played behind a weak line so he's hard to evaluate. 4.5-4.6 speed. Big, quick guy who makes people miss. 1st round.
Greg Jones - 6-1, 250 Florida State -- Was Offensive MVP at the Senior Bowl, blew out his knee in 2002. 4.6/40. Could be like the Ravens' Jamal Lewis. Lots of potential. Late 1st round - 2nd Round.
Kevin Jones - 6-0, 220 Virginia Tech -- Not a power-back. Durability issues. Only ran 4.6 40s at his pro day. 1st -2nd round
Chris Perry - 6-1, 220 Michigan -- Like the Bears' Anthony Thomas, 2nd round
Maurice Clarett - 5-11, 230 Ohio State -- Young, immature and full of potential, ran 4.6 40. 3rd round
Cedric Cobbs - 6-0, 225 Arkansas -- 3rd round
Julius Jones - 5-10, 215 Notre Dame -- Hard runner who breaks tackles, 3rd round
Michael Turner - 6-0, 225 Northern Illinois -- 3rd round

Cornerback
At times during 2003, the Steelers had a "round" defense -- It had no corners. Starter Dewayne Washington was over the hill and couldn't catch a cold. He is gone. The other starter Chad Scott continues to under perform and lose his concentration and focus during games. Nickel corner extraordinaire Deshea Townsend provided a huge spark at the end of the season, but can he do it for a whole season as a starter? Ike Taylor has loads of talent and very little experience.This year's Draft prospects aren't as good as last year's:

DeAngelo Hall – 5-11, 195 Virginia Tech -- Awesome speed (4.35 40), Randle-El like quickness (3.68 Short Shuttle), strong body (15 bench reps), good hands, and very cocky, mid 1st round
Dunta Robinson - 5-11, 190 South Carolina -- Great at Combine, 4.38/40. 1st round
Chris Gamble – 6-1, 190 Ohio State -- Young, inexperienced, return man, not that fast. Ran 4.5 40 on a fast track. late-1st round
Will Poole – 5-10, 185 Southern California --polished cover man, 1st round
Derrick Strait 5-11, 195 Oklahoma -- Got burned at the Senior Bowl, 2nd round
Ricardo Colclough – 5'10, 186, Tusculum, -- Played well at Senior Bowl. 4.49/40 2nd round
Ahmad Carroll – 5-11, 190, Arkansas - Great speed, 4.35/40, 2nd round
Keiwan Ratliff – 5-11, 190, Florida, 3rd Round
Shawtnee Spencer - 6-0, 176, Pitt -- Ran a 4.48/40 at his workout and yet wasn't invited to the Combine. Rail thin. 3rd round
Joey Thomas – 6-1, 195, Montana St., 3rd Round
Randall Gay - 5-11, 185, LSU, Ran 4.35 at his Pro-day, 4th round

Quarterback
Tommy Maddox is in as starting QB. The problem the Steelers face is a lack of depth. The Steelers need a Developmental Quarterback to start next year or the year after.

Ben Roethlisberger - 6-5, 240, Miami of Ohio - Big time gun. Needs to develop and adjust to the Pro game. Needs to sit for 1 year at least. Top 10
Eli Manning - 6-4, 220, Mississippi - Polished QB ready to play now. Top 5
Phillip Rivers - 6-5, 230, North Carolina State - Noodle arm, but can anticipate and time his throws to perfection. Dominated the Senior Bowl and was MVP. 1st round
J.P. Losman - 6-2, 225, Tulane - Big time arm and a big-time attitude. 2nd round

Defensive Lineman
The Steelers don't have a pressing need for a new starting lineman, but Kimo Von Olhoffen is 32 years old and his backup, Rodney Bailey, was let walk to Foxboro, MA. The Steelers signed DT Travis Kirschke from the 49ers, but they need youth to develop. Backup NT Kendrick Clancy has not been resigned and always was undersized to begin with. The Steelers like their linemen to be tenacious and possess the "non-stop motor" to chase sideline to sideline. This year is especially deep in big, tall nose tackle types that the Steelers use in their 3 down linemen, 2-gap scheme. There seems to be a large number of big, athletic D-linemen available this year:

Tommie Harris - 6-2, 295, Oklahoma - Runs a 4.8 40! Top 10 selection
Vince Wilfork
- 6-1, 325, Miami - Looks like NT Casey Hampton's brother, Top 15 selection
Randy Starks
, 6-3, 315, Maryland - 1st round
Darnell Dockett
, 6-3, 295, Fl. St. - Dominated in the Senior Bowl, problems with the law, played a 1-gap 4-3 system in college. 2nd round
Marcus Tubbs - 6-4, 320, Texas - Reminds me of former Longhorn and Lion DT Shaun Rogers, 2nd round
Isaac Sopoaga - 6-2, 315, Hawaii - Did 42 reps of 225# at the Combine! 2nd round
Ahmad Childress - 6-5, 350, Alabama - Huge guy who ripped apart College O-Linemen, 3rd round
Dwan Edwards - 6-3, 320, Oregon St. - Reportedly a good kid and a leader, 3rd round
Igor Olshanky - 6-5, 318, Oregon - Nice first name! Native of Ukraine, still learning how to play football. High motor type the Steelers love! 3rd round
Junior Siavii, 6-4, 340, Oregon - Great run stuffer who needs constant double teams. Samoan like SS Troy Polamalu. 3rd round
Tim Anderson - 6-3, 305, Ohio St. - Replacement for Rodney Bailey? Blue-collar type, 4th round
Matthias Askew - 6-2, 300, Michigan St. - Has the body type to be a 3-4 DE. 4th round
Darrell Campbell - 6-4, 300, Notre Dame - High-motor type, 4th round
Rodney Leisle - 6-3, 300, UCLA - Nasty attitude and smart, 4th round
Donnell Washington - 6-5, 330, Clemson - Risky guy, amazing potential but attitude is a concern. 2nd- 5th round
Jordan Carstens - 6-5, 305, Iowa St. - Walk-on as Freshman, Mr. Hustle, 5th round
Anthony Bryant - 6-3, 330, Alabama - High-motor, hard worker, 5th round
Chad Lavalais - 6-2, 300, LSU 6th round
Jared Clauss - 6-5, 295, Iowa - High-motor, hard worker, 6-7th round
Ryon Bingham -6-3, 300, Nebraska - High-motor, hard worker, 6-7th round
Jeremey Williams - 6-5, 290, Wash St. - 3-4 End
Jeremy Caudill - 6-3, 295, Kentucky - 3-4 End
Craig Terrill - 6/3, 285, Purdue - hard worker, 6-7th round
Tommy Kelly - 6-6, 300, Miss. St.

Steelers First Round Draft Selection Probability*:

Pre-Draft Odds
Actual Position
Philip Rivers, QB - 1:2 #4 Giants (Traded to San Diego)
DeAngelo Hall, CB - 1:4 #8 Atlanta
Shawn Andrews, OT - 1:8 #16 Philadelphia
Ben Roethlisberger, QB - 1:10 #11 Steelers
Dunta Robinson, CB - 1:15 #10 Houston
Chris Gamble, CB - 1:50 #28 Carolina
Tommie Harris, DE - 1:100 #14 Chicago
Steven Jackson, RB - 1:100 #24 St. Louis
Will Smith, DE/OLB - 1:150 #18 New Orleans
Greg Jones, RB - 1:200  
Roy Williams, WR - 1:250 #7 Detroit
Tunch Ilkin - 1:1,000,000  
*Probability is based upon who is likely to be available, and whom the Steelers may pick from the players still available at the #11 position. It is not an indication of whom the Steelers like best, or whom Mark Berger likes best.

updated 04/24/04



©Mark Berger,