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The Steelers picked up eight players on Saturday, seven through the draft and one through a trade. Here's a recap of the newbies:

Round 4 Pick 18 (116 Overall):
THADDEUS GIBSON, OLB, Ohio State - 6'2", 243 lbs
2009 stats: 41 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 1 interception
College Coach: Jim Tressel

ESPN says: "This seems to be a value pick for the Steelers. Gibson shows great athleticism and an elite quick first step off the edge. That said, he needs refining and polish to develop into the complete pass-rusher. With Gibson, the Steelers' organization is obviously looking to the future more than expected. Jason Worilds and Gibson will be developmental projects behind LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison."

My thoughts: To me, this move signals a team drafting for the future, not looking for immediate help in 2010. And yes, I realize that all drafts have an impact on the future, but you know what I mean - some players are more NFL-ready, and some players fill a gaping hole in the lineup. Gibson is not one of those players. Could he be someday? I'd imagine so. But it sounds like we're in project territory with this pick.

Round 5 Pick 20 (151 Overall):
CHRIS SCOTT, OL, Tennessee - 6'4", 319 lbs 
College Coach: Lane Kiffin

ESPN says: "Scott has experience playing tackle and guard. He moves his feet well, but is not quick enough to play outside. He has to get stronger at the top of his pass set."

My thoughts: Contrary to what you think, I don't sit around breaking down a lot of film on Tennessee linemen. But Scott played on every position on the line for the Vols, and the Steelers can always use versatility like that. Like Gibson, this is not a pick that will provide immediate help, but Scott could potentially be useful down the road given some polishing, especially on his average footwork and quickness.

Round 5 Pick 33 (164 Overall):
CREZDON BUTLER CB Clemson - Compensatory Pick - 5'11", 191 lbs
2009 stats: 33 tackles, 1 interception
College Coach - Dabo Sweeney

ESPN says: "There's a lot to like about Butler's height, weight, speed combination. He closes quickly when wideouts catch the ball in front of him. Still, he has stiff hips and will struggle to turn and run. He also should be more aggressive and tougher in run support."

My thoughts: His stock certainly rose during the draft evaluation process, but Butler will have to contribute on special teams to be noticed at all in 2010, with a long line in front of him at his position. He was a three-year starter at Clemson.
Round 5 Pick 35 (166 Overal):
STEVENSON SYLVESTER, OLB, Utah - Compensatory Pick - 6'2", 231 lbs
College Coach: Kyle Whittingham

ESPN says: "Sylvester has subpar instincts and he looks stiff in space. He projects as an NFL backup because of his ability to get to the quarterback and toughness."

My thoughts: A great athlete and productive player, Sylvester still looks like a special-teamer in the making who will probably move inside, unless the Steelers plan on playing 15 outside linebackers at once in the future. And by the way, he's on Twitter at TheSlyMovement. Word to the wise: be careful what you say there, young man.
Round 6 Pick 19 (188 Overall) 
JONATHAN DWYER, RB, Georgia Tech - 5'11", 229 lbs
2009 stats: 235 carries, 1395 yards, 14 TD
College Coach: Paul Johnson
ESPN says: "Dwyer is an interesting projection; he played fullback in a triple-option scheme. He's going to have a hard time in terms of vision. Still, he shows good balance and power as a runner and short-area burst. However, he lacks the long speed to consistently reach the perimeter at the next level."

My thoughts:  Two words that always get Pittsburgh excited: BIG BACK. And the man nicknamed "Diesel" is certainly a big back. The 2008 ACC Player of the Year,  Dwyer had a bad combine which hurt his value, which was questionable because of the system Georgia Tech uses. He's relatively slow and does not have soft hands, but with guys this size, you takes the pros with the cons.
Round 6 Pick 26 (195 Overall)
ANTONIO BROWN, WR, Central Michigan (from Arizona)
2009 stats: 110 catches, 1198 yards, 9 TD
College Coach: Butch Jones

ESPN says: "Brown brings good quickness and suddenness with his routes. However, his best asset will be on special teams as a returner"

My thoughts: Tremendously productive receiver while playing with Dan LaFevour at CMU, but was also the two-time MAC Special Teams Player of the Year. You can never have enough special teams aces, especially come playoff time. Trust me.

Round 7 Pick 35 (242 Overall) 
DOUG WORTHINGTON, DE, Ohio State - 6'5", 292 lbs
2009: 40 tackles
College Coach: Jim Tressel

CBS says: "Although he's one of the more versatile defensive linemen in the country, Worthington didn't light up the stat sheet or receive all-conference recognition during his career at OSU. But his ability to play multiple positions served his defensive coaches well and will likely earn him a spot in the 2010 draft."

My thoughts: He was a three-year starter at OSU and was a well-liked player around his teammates. Those are good things. But he did get busted for a DUI in 2008 (on Woody Hayes Drive, no less!) Hopefully he's learned his lesson.

Bryant McFadden DB (from Arizona) for the Steelers' fifth-round pick (No. 155). The Steelers also got a sixth-round pick (No. 195/Antonio Brown) in the deal.

ESPN says: "Although it's early, there is a good chance McFadden will go back to his role as the starting cornerback in Pittsburgh. Gay played well in the nickel and could be more comfortable in that spot. Overall, it was a shrewd move by Pittsburgh to address a position of need."

My thoughts: I can't explain this sudden Back to the Future vibe the Steelers have tried to recapture in re-acquiring McFadden, Byron Leftwich, Antwaan Randle-El and Larry Foote. But in every case, they know what they're getting, and each one fills a role. I'll take McFadden every day of the week over William Gay at corner, and the cost of a fifth-round pick is a small price to pay for a player like that.
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Unknown said...

I couldn't be happier with the Dwyer pickup. As a Georgia Tech alum and living in Atlanta, I get to see quite a bit of him. He is a steal in the 6th round. Before the combine and the issue with the drug test he was projected to go very high in the draft. While he may not have the 40 time that a lot of backs have, he has a surprising burst of speed when he hits the gap that can help him pick up an extra 4 or 5 yards. BTW a ridiculous statement by ESPN: "He's going to have a hard time in terms of vision". What does that even mean? Don't be fooled by the 6th round that he was taken in, this guy is no slouch. He runs with power and can punish defenses. I'm excited to get him.

tola'at sfarim said...

any reason the steelers didnt try to get leon washington for santonio holmes?

JeremyT said...

Doug Worthington was a good pick up. At 6'5" and 290+ lbs, he is protoypical of a 2-gap DE in a 3-4 front. He also will have a few yrs to add 20 lbs and to learn how to jam a tackle in to either gap. The guys in front of him and the d-line coach are really good at teaching hand placement techinque. Plus, he is pretty quick and really strong to begin with. I'm glad New England and/or Baltimore had other needs and passed on him.

Jim said...

If you think about it, the Steelers turned the Santonio Holmes pick into Bryant McFadden. That's not an awful loss, but I'm just looking at the silver lining here.

HomeRunFromBehindTheMeatballs said...

The Bryant McFadden trade made the draft for me. Without bringing BMac back, the steelers would have only added Will Allen in the secondary and that won't cut it. Welcome back McFadden!

Here's to hoping the Keenan Lewis &/or Joe Burnett &/or Drezdon Butler step up this season before we resign william gay long term!

Steve said...

Here's hoping William Gay doesn't even make the cut this season. I'd rather they dig DeWayne Washington out of the mothballs as screaming "Washington you Fagg!, doesn't sound as redundant as "Gay you Fagg!"