Filling the Needs: Steelers 2011 Draft Prospects

I got this idea from Malor so you guys can thank him for this wonderful post. Here are the Steelers top 10 needs (IMO) and a possible player to fill those needs:

1. CB

2. RG

3. NT

4. OT

5. FS

6. TE

7. DE

8. LB

9. K

10. P

Need 1: Cornerback: Ras I Dowling, CB, Virginia:

  • Dowling is a big corner back that has all the skills in the world. The biggest question with him is can he stay healthy. If he can, he will be a great #2 corner and eventually a #1 corner for the Steelers. If he can't he will be a big time bust. I think with his rare combination of size and speed, the Steelers will take a long look at him in the 2nd round even if it requires trading up. He has all the skills a Steelers corner needs and I think he will be a star in the NFL.
  • Round Projection: Mid to late 2nd round

Needs 2 to 10 after the jump

Need 2: Right Guard: Mike Pouncey, OG, Florida:

  • Mike is not as good as his brother but he is still a very good guard prospect that would be a big time upgrade to our RG spot. He has great footwork and is extremely intelligent. His biggest weakness as a guard is his strength. I think if he adds 5 to 10 pounds of muscle he will be an absolute star. It might require trading up into the early 20's but I think it could be worth it in the long run.
  • Draft Projection: late first round

Need 3: Nose Tackle: Kendrick Ellis, NT, Hampton

  • Ellis absolutely dominated the lower competetion he faced this year. He was recording double digit tackles nearly every game and is very much in the mold of Casey Hampton. He has a rare combination of 330 pounds and a sub 5.35 40 yard dash. With a mentor like Casey Hampton, he can become a star in the NFL. He has some character concerns but I think the veteran leadership we have will straighten him out.
  • Draft Projection: 3rd to 4th round

Need 4: Offensive Tackle: Marcus Gilbert, OT, Florida

  • Gilbert has the type of positional flexibility that the Steelers love. He can play either RT or LT and play them well. He did both at Florida to protect Tebow's blindside (RT) and then Brantley's blindside (LT). In the 3rd round, he would be great value. If we got Pouncey in round 1 and Gilbert in round 3, we would have 3 extremely close friends in the 2 Pouncey's and Gilbert that might take discounts in the future to keep playing together.
  • Draft Projection: 3rd round

Need 5: Free Safety: Joe Lefeged, S, Rutgers

  • Lefeged has positional flexibility since he can play either safety spot. He ran a sub 4.5 40 and weighed in at about 220 pounds. He is a great tackler and a very smart player. I saw him play a lot and he was the best player on Rutgers defense this year. He made smart plays over and over again and I don't think he is that much worse than Rahim Moore. If he is available at the bottom of round 5 I think we should take him.
  • Draft Projection: late 4th to 6th round

Need 6: Tight End: Julius Thomas, TE, Portland State

  • Thomas is an extremely athletic, pass catching TE. Everybody says that BA doesn't use his TE2 to catch passes but I think that is because Spaeth can't create room to get open. Thomas is very fast and has a great vertical and great hands. With good coaching and added weight he can learn to block but you can't teach his type of athleticism. He would be a great pick in round 6.
  • Draft Projection: 5th to 7th round

Need 7: Defensive End: Brandon Bair, DE, Oregon

  • Bair has all the measurables to be a 3-4 DE. He is very athletic and strong and knows how to make winning football plays. He will need to learn how to be a 3-4 DE as he comes from Oregon who doesn't run a 3-4. With proper coaching, he is well worth a mid round pick since he could become a very good DE.
  • Draft Projection: 4th to 6th round

Need 8: Linebacker: Steven Friday, OLB, Virginia Tech

  • Friday is a classic 7th round pick. He has great athleticism, has a great work ethic, and is very smart. With proper coaching and strength gaining, he could become a stud. He is a sack machine at VT and even if he can't be an OLB, since he comes from Virginia Tech we know he will be able to play special teams.
  • Draft Projection: 7th round

Need 9 and 10: Kicker/Punter: Alex Henry, K/P, Nebraska

  • Why not kill two birds with one stone? In the fifth round, Henry would give us an extremely accurate kicker that can also punt. He would give us insurance in-case robo-punter gets hurt again. Also, he is a big upgrade over Shaun Shuisham and can kick field goals out to 55 yards. Since the kick-offs are being moved up 5 yards, he will be able to consistently get the ball into the endzone. 
  • Draft projection: late 4th to early 6th

And once again, make sure you thank Malor for the idea behind this post.

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