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A Word on Spaeth

I have mixed feelings about the Steelers' selection of Minnesota TE Matt Spaeth in the 3rd Round. On the one hand, I love what he potentially can bring to this offense. He's big...real big. At 6'7", he potentially gives Big Ben the tall target that we all know he's most comfortable throwing to. He also brings a bit more muscle and physicality to the trenches than does Heath Miller.

According to Ed Bouchette, new offensive coordinator Bruce Arians believes Spaeth will stretch the field, giving Miller more room to maneuver in other areas of the field. For whatever reason, Miller just didn't seem to be open frequently enough in 2006. Perhaps having him catching passes somewhere besides in the seam will allow him to be a bigger part of the offense. I hope so, because that's the only way that this pick will bring value to our team.

As optimistic as I am about Spaeth's ability to be productive at the NFL level, I'm still concerned about our decision to not adress our future needs along the offensive line. Just about all of our starting line will be free agents next summer, and after seeing how this year's crop was paid, it's safe to say we'll be losing at least 2 or 3 of our starters at year's end.

The biggest concern is of course Alan Faneca. There were some pretty solid prospects at the guard position still on the board when we took Spaeth, most notably Marshall Yanda from Iowa. I thought it would have been wise to snag a guard in the 3rd or 4th round.

If Arians is in fact able to utilize all 3 TEs, and we're able to make a Super Bowl run this year, I'll quickly forget that Big Ben may be battered and bruised for at least a year in 2008 while we restock an offensive line that's bound to be dismantled by free agency.