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Draft Day Guide: Steelers In Rounds One And Two

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The Pittsburgh Steelers front office is not known for making big waves on draft day. As Football Outsiders columnist Mike Tanier recently put it, "I'm impressed by the Steelers, who always take good players for their system and are great at developing later round selections. You never notice who the Steelers drafted, but three years later, four of the guys are starting and the team is 11-5."

Kevin Colbert has been directing the drafting operations in the front office since 2000, during which time the Steelers have gone 72-39 (.648), won the AFC North three times, made the playoffs four times, and won their first Super Bowl since 1979.

The 2005 Super Bowl winning team is a perfect illustration of just how well the Steelers have drafted in recent years. Take a look at the Steelers who started Super Bowl XL:

Of Pittsburgh's 11 starters on offense, 10 were drafted or signed immediately after the draft by the Steelers. (Jeff Hartings was a free agent signing; Willie Parker and Dan Kreider were undrafted rookie signees.)

Of Pittsburgh's 11 starters on defense, 9 were drafted or signed immediately after the draft by the Steelers. (Kimo von Oelhoffen and James Farrior were free agent signings; Clark Haggans was an undrafted rookie signee.)

In total, 19 of Pittsburgh's 22 Super Bowl-winning starters began their careers with the Steelers. The Steelers have built their success through the NFL Draft, and though head coach Bill Cowher is no longer with the organization, the Rooney family and Kevin Colbert remain. New head coach Mike Tomlin will be asked to work with the organization to continue to construct winning football teams through the Draft.

That brings us to this weekend's 2007 NFL Draft. Frankly, there's no way to know what Pittsburgh will do, and they seem to surprise us more often than not, but here's a quick and dirty guide to players we do and don't want to see drafted by Pittsburgh in the first and second rounds.

Names We Don't Want To See In The First Round

Marshawn Lynch, RB, California - When I asked Football Outsiders' Michael David Smith to tell me the name of the highest profile bust from this year's draft class, he immediately said Lynch's name. Good enough for me; with Fast Willie Parker manning the backfield, we don't need a potential first-round flop at this position.

Dwayne Jarrett, WR, USC - Another player who I'm hearing a lot of skepticism about from voices I trust. Receiver is not a top draft need for this team. I'll be very unhappy if Jarrett's name is called for Pittsburgh in the first round.

Ted Ginn, Jr., WR, Ohio State - No, no, no, no, no, no, no. . .

First Round Guys We'll Be Eager To Welcome To The Family

Paul Posluszny, LB, Penn State - The leg injury hampered him his senior season, but there's little reason to believe it's something that will slow him down as a professional. He's a guy Pennsylvanians can get excited about and who can immediately provide much-needed depth at linebacker.

Lawrence Timmons, LB, Florida State - Another ferocious linebacker who'd look just fine in black and gold.

Adam Carriker, DE, Nebraska - It's doubtful he'd fall to Pittsburgh at #15, but if he did, and the Steelers took him, I'd be pleased. The guy's a legitimate pass rush and strong in run support.

Joe Staley, OT, Central Michigan - The guy wants to be a Steelers, which is always a nice thing. As shaky as the Steelers have been at tackle at times over the last few years, drafting Staley makes a good deal of sense.

Jarvis Moss, DE/LB, Florida - Something tells us that no one outside of Gainesville is quite as bullish about Moss as we are, so don't expect to see this one happen.


Names We Don't Want To See In The Second Round

Steve Smith, WR, USC - Same deal as Jarrett; it's not a team need, and he's not nearly impressive enough to burn such a high draft choice.

Daymeion Hughes, CB, California - We didn't plan it this way, but four of our five guys we don't want Pittsburgh to take in the first two rounds are from Cal and USC. Hughes had gaudy interception numbers, but doesn't look like an elite corner at the next level. I hope Pittsburgh stays away.

Second Round Guys We'll Be Eager To Welcome To The Family

Anthony Spencer, DE, Purdue - All of the below assumes University of Texas guard Justin Blalock is off the board, which he almost assuredly will be. Spencer's a playmaking defensive end from Purdue who projects to be a strong contributor, especially in pass rush.

David Harris, LB, Michigan - Harris or Jon Beason would be a fine pick up at a legit draft need for Pittsburgh. It's a little difficult to tell how everyone else is evaluating these guys, so it's difficult to gauge their "value" in the draf pecking order.

Quentin Moses, DE, Georgia - I think this guy's going to be a heck of a pro, and though I don't know whether Pittsburgh will go after him in the second round, you can count on a silent fist pump from me if they do.

Michael Bush, RB, Louisville - He might not be a second round guy, but he's a player I wouldn't mind the Steelers taking a chance on. The injury he suffered was a brutal one, but he was a first-round talent pre-injury. If he does make it all the way back, he'd be a terrific complement to FWP.

--PB--