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Draft Picks:
1) C Maurkice Pouncey
2) OLB Jason Worilds
3) WR Emmanuel Sanders
4) OLB Thaddeus Gibson
5a) OL Chris Scott
5b) CB Crezdon Butler
5c) ILB Stevenson Sylvester
6a) RB Jonathan Dwyer
6b) WR Antonio Brown

7) DE Doug Worthington

Depth Chart

Pittsburgh Steelers 2010 Draft Picks

2 year Draft Evaluation: A very strong group that already includes 2 Pro-Bowlers (Pouncey and Brown), a 3rd wide receiver who would start for many teams and some solid special teams/backup players who could eventually start.

Pre-Season Update: Eight Rookies made the 53-man roster in 2010 which is amazing. Leading this draft class is #1 pick Maurkice Pouncey who will start on Opening Day at Center. He is an exciting player if you enjoy watching O-line play.

In addition, three Linebackers, two wideouts, one running back and one cornerback also made the team. Offensive Lineman Chris Scott was put on the Physically Unable to Perform List and is out until the sixth game of the season.

Of the 10 draft picks, Doug Worthington, a seventh-rounder, is the only one that didn't make the final cut, and yet he could be signed to the practice squad.

 

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1st Round - Maurkice Pouncey Center/Guard, Florida, 6'4", 305#

2011 Evaluation: Pouncey again made the Pro Bowl and is arguably the best Center in the game, but he battled through ankle injuries again in 2011. His feisty, agressive playing style may be what causes those ankles to turn. Still, the Steelers' run game is infinitely better compared to 2009. As the man in the middle, Pouncey is the main reason! Trend: Steady

2010 Evaluation: Except for missing the Super Bowl with an injury, Pouncey had one of the best Rookie seasons for a Steeler since Big Ben. He made the Pro Bowl and was a starter from Day 1. How impressive! Trend: Up

Pre-season Update: Pouncey has exceeded almost everyone's expectations, especially mine. Not only will he start Opening Day 2010, he will start at Center which is almost unheard of for a Rookie. His play was so superior and impressive during the pre-season that the team waived starting Center Justin Hartwig who started in the Super Bowl just 2 seasons ago. That tells you how good Pouncey is right now.

During the pre-season, he showed amazing talents: lateral agility and quickness, combined with in-place brute strength. He repeatedly opened holes in the middle of the defense allowing runners to break free. Wow. Can't wait to see the Steelers Run plays this year. They will be so much more diverse and interesting because of what Pouncey allows Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians to do (screens, traps, pulls, etc.). Trend: WAYYYY up

Draft Day Impressions: The Steelers indeed did "pounce" on the Rimmington winner from Florida. The team has been looking to draft a top Center for several years now. They missed taking Nick Mangold and Alex Mack in years past and that disappointment surely made this pick easier to make even though better football talent may have been found in the form of WR Dez Bryant.

I didn't watch Pouncey enough during his career to gauge whether he will be better than Mangold or Mack, but Mel Kiper thinks so, for what that's worth (nothing?). Also, he played on 2 national championship teams in the ultra-competitive SEC giving Pouncey a fine pedigree.

What makes this pick nice is that Pouncey can come in right away and play Right Guard, a position he played as a Freshman. By 2011, he should be the starting Center and enjoy a long, fine career for the Steelers.

Draft Grade: B+, Predicted Grade after 3 years: B+

Other players the Steelers could have drafted instead in round #1: WR Dez Bryant (Dallas), QB Tim Tebow, (Denver), OT, Bryan Bulaga , (Packers), DT Dan Williams, (Cardinals)
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2nd Round - Jason Worilds Outside LB, VA Tech, 6'2", 260

2011 Evaluation: Worilds had lots of opportunity to play due to injuries and suspensions to James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley. However, he is not quite ready to fill those shoes. He didn't play badly but he's not yet a fearsome player on the field. Particularly since Sean Lee in Dallas is playing so well at ILB, it hurts to see Worilds not yet playing great. Trend: Steady

2010 Evaluation: This guy shows flashes of chasing down quarterbacks and getting pressure. How will he ever play though? Trend: Steady

Pre-season Update: Worilds had a bad hamstring for the first several weeks of training camp which hurt his progress a lot. But once he was allowed to rush the passer in games, he flashed potential and talent.

He should play a lot on special teams this year and learn how to play OLB in the LeBeau 3-4. Trend: Steady

Draft Day Impressions: I am disappointed in this selection. This player surely could have been taken in the 3rd or even the 4th round. I would have preferred to see more value from this pick by selecting a higher rated player like WR Golden Tate or ILB Sean Lee. But when the Steelers get sweet on a player, they tend to get hooked.

Another reason I don't like this pick is that linebackers coming out of Va Tech don't do well in the Pros and particularly for the Steelers. In 2004, the team took LB Nathaniel Adibi who had a similar build to Worilds. That player looked awful from Day 1 in a Steelers uniform. He couldn't rush the passer or get any penetration.

Finally, it seems that the Steelers took this player solely for his ability to cover Kicks and punts. After the horrendous coverage units from 2009 (4 TDs allowed in kickoff coveage), I can understand the team's concerns, but giving up a 2nd round pick to fix the situation is going overboard. With Pro Bowlers James Harrison and LaMar Woodley ahead of him, Worilds MUST be able to play special teams.

Draft Grade: C-, Predicted Grade after 3 years: B-

 
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3rd Round - Emmanuel Sanders Wide Receiver, SMU, 5'11", 180#

2011 Evaluation: The foot injury that sidelined Sanders in the Super Bowl last year lingered throughout the season and eventually required surgery. This gave Sanders a sophomore slump. However, by the Playoffs, Sanders was again humming, running great routes and was the leading receiver in the season's final loss to Denver. Trend: Steady

2010 Evaluation: Sanders had a great season as a Rookie, developing nice chemistry with Big Ben and converting many clutch 3rd downs. Unfortunately, he hurt his foot in the Super Bowl which really took away the Offense'a options. Trend: Up

Pre-season Update: Sanders is a smooth, quick, sure-handed reciever who made a lot of nice catches and runs in the pre-season. He also made some bone-headed rookie mistakes like not coming back for the ball and running incorrect routes. But that is all correctable with coaching. He looks like a nice addition to a powerful offense. He will also return kickoffs since Stefan Logan was let go. Trend: Up

Draft Day Impressions: Sanders is slight but very quick. He played in a run-and-shoot style offense that featured lots of quick passes. Do the Steelers play this type of Offense? Somewhat with the recent trend of bubble screens in the flat.

But most receivers of this stature can't last a full 16 games in the NFL -- it's just too tough. Santonio Holmes had lots of trouble staying healthy for a full season and he is significantly bigger than Sanders. So that means Sanders is destined to be a punt returner and 3rd or 4th wideout. Not my idea of a great value in the 3rd round.

Draft Grade: B-, Predicted Grade after 3 years: B+

 
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4th Round - Thaddeus Gibson Outside LB, Ohio St., 6'2", 245#

2010 Evaluation: Gibson was put on waivers and picked up by San Francisco . Trend: Out and Up.

Pre-season Update: Gibson couldn't attend pre-training camp sessions because of academic obligations which slowed down his learning the complicated Steeler D. But he looks good on Special teams and he can rush the passer. A Red-shirt year. Trend: Steady

Draft Day Impressions: Another linebacker? Gibson looks to have lots of potential and comes from a good college program, but can he cover kicks? Because if he can't, he'll be gone faster than former 3rd round choice Bruce Davis.

Draft Grade: B, Predicted Grade after 3 years: B

 
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5th Round - Chris Scott, Offensive Line, Tennessee, 6'4", 320#

2011 Evaluation: Scott only dressed for 4 games and didn't play. He doesn't look to have a bright future on the team. Trend: Steady

2010 Evaluation: Got hurt early and never played. On the PUP. Trend: Down

Draft Day Impressions: The team liked 2009 free agent O-lineman Ramon Foster so much that they brought in his teammate. Scott played Left Tackle in college which shows he has very good feet and quickness. However, in the Pro game he will have to switch to the right side side and play Right Tackle or Right Guard.

Grade: C, Predicted Grade after 3 years: C

 
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5th Round - Crezdon Butler, Cornerback, Clemson, 6'1", 190#

2011 Evaluation: Butler was cut at the end of the preseason. Trend: Down and Out

2010 Evaluation: Butler had an enormous opportunity in the Super Bowl. The Green Bay punt returner fumbled the ball in the first quarter and Butler had a chance to recover, but he failed. Trend: Down

Pre-season Update: Butler has speed and can play gunner on Special teams. Also, his hands don't look as bad as advertised. He may develop into a nice starting corner one day. Trend: Steady

Draft Day Impressions: This kid is fast (4.4-40) and has nice size, but lacks ball skills (sound familiar Ike Taylor fans?). He will immediately be thrown into the mix and compete with 2009 draft picks Joe Burnet and Keenan Lewis for a DB spot.

Grade: C-, Predicted Grade after 3 years: B-

 
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5th Round - Stevenson Sylvester, Inside LB, Utah 6'2", 230#

2011 Evaluation: A solid season for Sylvester as he continued to excel on special teams and even got the change to play in the Defense when Farrior and Foote went out with injuries. He wasn't noticed as particularly good or bad. He did his job. Trend: Steady

2010 Evaluation: Sylvester did a nice job in special teams coverages and threw the key block to spring Antonio Brown on his kickoff return TD against Tennessee. Trend: Steady

Pre-season Update: After Pouncey, Sylvester was the biggest surprise of training camp. While he doesn't have great technique or form, he manages to make tackles and consistently be around the ball. He also is an effective pass rusher. Trend: Up

Draft Day Impressions: A Larry Foote type of player who gets the most out of his athletic ability. A very instinctive, productive player with a high motor if not a fast 40 time. Will play inside in the 3-4 and hopefully add depth, if he can cover kicks.

Grade: C, Predicted Grade after 3 years: C-

 
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6th Round - Jonathan Dwyer, Running Back, GA Tech, 5'11" 230#

2011 Evaluation: While still a bit large around the mid-section, Dwyer busted off some big runs including his first career 100-yard performance. He finished the year on IR which is never a good sign, but his future is exciting. Trend: Up

2010 Evaluation: Dwyer never saw the field and looks to be out of shape and in need of some serious dieting and fitness. Trend: Down

Pre-season Update: Dwyer came to Camp a bit overweight and out of shape. He subsequently got hurt and couldn't practice. Luckily, his position is not hard to learn. During the last two pre-season games, he showed nice burst and explosion once he got rolling down the field. Trend: Steady

Draft Day Impressions: The highlight of the draft in terms of value. Dwyer was advised to enter the Draft as a Junior and was told he would be a 2nd round pick. He has great size, good speed (4.55 -40) and was very productive in college carrying for 1,395 yards the last two years consistently battling for extra yards. He also excelled in goal line and short yardage situations, an area of the game where the Steelers have struggled mightily ever since Jerome Bettis retired.

Dwyer also looks to be an excellent understudy (and insurance policy?) to Rashaard Mendenhall. This back needs to do better at picking up blitzes if he wants to see the field, but with his size and violent running style, that should be easy for him to learn.

Grade: A, Predicted Grade after 3 years: B+

 
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6th Round - Antonio Brown, Wide Receiver, Central Michigan, 5'10" 185#

2011 Evaluation: Team MVP - 'nuff said. Incredible to go from 6th round pick to team MVP in just 2 seasons. Wow. He set a new team record for most yards in a season with his duties as punt returner and wide receiver. He only became a starting WR in mid-season after Sanders got hurt. And he still manages to get more than 1,000 receiving yards! What a great season for this guy. Trend: Way Up

2010 Evaluation: The first time this kid touches the ball, he scores a TD on a fancy kick-off return. He has mojo, moxie, whatever you want to call it. He still isn't clear on how NFL offenses operate, but he is slowly learning. He made a David Tyree-like catch in the AFC playoffs against the Ravens in the 4th quarter which set up the game winning points. Trend: Up

Pre-season Update: A decent return man who has lots to learn about being a Receiver in the NFL. Probably won't dress for most games. Trend: Steady

Draft Day Impressions: Another smallish receiver from a smallish college program. The nightmare of Troy Edwards still keeps me up at night. Ugg.

Grade: D-, Predicted Grade after 3 years: F

 
 

7th Round - Doug Worthington, Defensive End, Ohio St., 6'5" 295#

2010 Evaluation: Practice sqaud player and then cut . Trend: Down and Out

Pre-season Update: Worthington is stout but not very mobile. Shows a good motor but he can't go very far at the moment. Trend: Steady

Draft Day Impressions: A real sleeper pick. Worthington has great size and good feet to eventually replace another former 7th round Defensive End, Bret Keisel, if he works hard and keeps his nose to the grindstone.

Grade: B+, Predicted Grade after 3 years: B

 
 

Draft Day Impressions

The Steelers came into this Draft with big needs to fill at Cornerback and Interior Offensive line where they needed to find new starters. Whether this goal was met depends on whether you think former Second round pick Bryant McFadden is a starting corner in the NFL. The team re-acquired McFadden from the Arizona Cardinals in a draft day deal, taking him for almost nothing.

The team also needed to add depth at Linebacker, Wideout and Running back. The team accomplished this by getting 3 linebackers, 2 receivers and 1 Running back to fill out the depth chart.

However, after Pouncey, the teams's first round selection, there won't be much immediate help for the offense or defense in 2010. The Special Teams coverage units so scarred the team in 2009 that many of the picks were made to simply improve coverage units. If those players eventually become starters, it would seem to be a bonus rather than an expectation.

 

 


©Mark Berger,