After yesterday's signing of Justin Hartwig, I would imagine the Steelers are probably done in free agency (barring another backup-special teams player). Some more veteran talent should still become available in the summer (the Cedric Wilson and Najeh Davenport's of other teams), but my guess is we won't be adding any more players until the draft. Each week for the next several weeks, we should hear about a couple of potential draft picks coming to Pittsburgh to meet Tomlin and others in the organization. As that process gets under way, lets begin by looking at who we can expect to be 'interviewing' in the immediate future. The list is compliments of Steelers' beat writer Dale Lolley, who had this to say about the correlation between who the Steelers visit and who the Steelers typically draft:
Mike Pollak, OC, Arizona St.
Kendall Langford, DE, Hampton
Cliff Avril, OLB, Purdue
Curtis Johnson, OLB/DE, Clark-Atlanta
Aquib Talib, CB, Kansas
We can scratch Moore and Dykes off the list since they've already visited. Brandon Albert has been identified as the Steelers likely draft choice by more mock drafts than I can keep up with, so that's to be expected. It'll be interesting to see if the Steelers still bring in Mike Pollak since they just signed Justin Hartwig to play center in all likelihood. Hartwig's contract is short though (2 years), so it's not out of the realm of possibility that the team drafts a center. I just wouldn't imagine they'd use a second or third round pick on one (that's what it would take to get Pollack). The rest we may not have talked much about until now:
Kendall Langford: excelled at a small school, perfect size for 3-4 DE (6'6 287) but isn't considered a great athlete (4.95 forty and 24 reps on the bench), projected in third to fourth round.
Cliff Avril (DE in college): ran 4.5 at the combine and is built more like Woodley than other OLBs (6'3 253), projects anywhere from late 2nd to 4th round. These types of versatile athletes are intriguing to me after watching guys like Justin Tuck in 2007.
Curtis Johnson (DE in college): interesting prospect who excelled at a small school, has good speed for an OLB (4.6-4.69) and perfect size (6'3 242) projects somewhere around the sixth round.
Aquib Talib: not the fastest corner in the draft, but plenty fast(4.2 to 4.4) and more importantly, instinctive. One of this draft's truly gifted ball hawks with good hands and some return potential. He is projected from late first to early second.
It's interesting that there's not any inside linebackers listed because I would think that's a bigger need than an outside linebacker. Thoughts? I wouldn't be surprised to see more corners (Jenkins, Cason, DRC) brought in and at least a couple more defensive linemen (Balmer, Bryant, Laws etc). It is kind of odd that not a single offensive tackle is listed but I'm sure we'll hear about some in the next couple of weeks. So who's the most interesting out of this group and who are some other guys you'd like the Steelers to bring in (I think they can bring in up to 30)?