Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Steelers Draft Preview: Defensive Backs

We conclude our preview of the Steelers draft situation today with a look at the defensive backfield. We'll be hosting a Cover It Live Blog with some other bloggers and fans on Thursday and Friday for the first three rounds of the draft. Feel free to stop by and share your thoughts with us! The great thing about CoverItLive Blogs is that you don't need an account to participate, you can make posts as a guest. We're looking forward to the draft and hope that you'll drop by and chat with us!

Current Players:
Ike Taylor
Willie Gay
Joe Burnett
Keenan Lewis
Anthony Madison
Trae Williams
David Pitman
Tuff Harris

The Steelers secondary was one of the weakest parts of the team last year, which we documented in one of our Mid-Week Analytic Posts last year (A Look at the Steelers Secondary). There are two positions where you will hear no complaints from us should the Steelers choose to address them in the draft: offensive line and defensive back. There are two candidates at corner for the Steelers to look at in the first round: Joe Haden (Florida) and Kyle Wilson (Boise St). Of the two, we really like Kyle Wilson's toughness and feel he would be a great fit for the Steelers defensive system. Wilson also has experience with returning kicks, so that is an added bonus. Beyond the top two, we really like Chris Cook (Virginia, 6'2" 212) in the second round. The guy is built like a linebacker and plays the corner position very physically. In later rounds, guys like Amari Spivey (Iowa) or Javier Arenas (Alabama) could step in right away as nickel corners. Arenas has great ball skills, but he gets burned on double moves a lot.

Potential Draft Picks:
Joe Haden (Florida) - 1st (Trade Up)
Kyle Wilson (Boise St) - 1st
Patrick Robinson (Florida St) - 2nd
Chris Cook (Virginia) - 2nd
Brandon Ghee (Wake Forest) - 2nd/3rd
Amari Spivey (Iowa) - 3rd
Javier Arenas (Alabama) - 3rd-5th

Current Players:
Troy Polamalu (SS)
Ryan Clark (FS)
Ryan Mundy (FS)
Will Allen (S)

We love Eric Berry. However, without trading into the top 10 (likely the top 5), there is no way the Steelers have a shot at him. As we saw last year, the lack of a ball-hawk in the secondary hurt our defense's ability to create turnovers. Ryan Clark is more focused on laying someone out than intercepting the ball. Adding a guy like Earl Thomas (Texas) to the secondary would be a huge upgrade. Thomas has the coverage skills to cover the slot receiver in the nickel package along with the ball skills to play "centerfield" as a free safety. If there is one guy in this whole draft class we do not want to see the Steelers pick, it's Taylor Mays (USC). He can't cover, can't tackle, and doesn't have good ball skills. Enough said. The guy we really like for a mid-round sleeper here is Myron Rolle (Florida State). He took a year off from football to study at Oxford under a Rhodes Scholarship. He has trained with Ike Taylor and Willie Gay in the offseason. He's a guy with exceptionally high moral character and we would love to see him in black and gold next year.

Potential Draft Picks:
Earl Thomas (Texas) - 1st
Nate Allen (South Florida) -2nd
Morgan Burnett (Georgia Tech) - Late 2nd/3rd
Myron Rolle (Florida State) - 3rd/4th
Darrell Stuckey (Kansas) - Late 3rd/4th

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