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2008 NFL Draft Live Blog - Picks 17-31

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We continue with picks 17-31 of Round 1.

STEELERS 1ST ROUND SELECTION: Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois

It's hard to say exactly how I feel about Mendenhall as a Steeler because I hadn't really considered it a possibility. Jonathan Stewart perhaps, but most thought that Mendenhall would be gone to Chicago or Detroit, or perhaps even Philadelphia. My initial thought is I would have been more excited by Stewart, if for no other reason than that he provides more bulk and short-yardage potential than Mendenhall, who like Parker, is about 5'11". Still, Mendenhall has a nice track record of picking up tough yards, being a work-horse, and staying healthy and on the field.  
Would it have been nice to get one of the elite OL? Sure, but the Steelers did what they said they were going to do all along and took the BPA, which undoubtedly was Rashard Mendenhall. Successful teams have depth at RB. The Steelers now officially have ample depth at RB with FWP, Mewelde Moore, and Rashard Mendenhall.
We'll have much more on Mendenhall after the conclusion of the first round, but for now, we welcome Rashard to the Steelers family.

Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steeler

17. Detroit Lions -Gosder Cherlius, OT, Boston College

18. Baltimore Ravens - Joe Flacco, QB, Deleware

19. Carolina Panthers (via trade with Philadelphia) - Jeff Otah, OT, Pittsburgh

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Aqib Talib, CB, Kansas

21. Atlanta Falcons (via trade with Washington) - Sam Baker, OT, USC

22. Dallas Cowboys - Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas

23. Pittsburgh Steelers - Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois

24. Tennessee Titans - Chris Johnson, RB, East Carolina

25. Dallas Cowboys (via trade with Seattle) - Mike Jenkins, CB, Arizona

26. Houston Texans - Duane Brown, OT, Virginia Tech

27. San Diego Chargers - Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona

28. Seattle Seahawks (via trade with Dallas Cowboys) - Lawrence Jackson, DE, USC

29. San Francisco 49ers - Kentwan Balmer, DT. North Carolina

30. New York Jets (via trade with Green Bay) - Dustin Keller, TE, Purdue

31. New York Giants - Kenny Phillips, S, Miami

**UPDATE** We'll see how Detroit utilizes the extra picks they got in the trade with Kansas City. But it better be a solid pick because I don't think Cherilus is going to be as good as Albert.

**UPDATE** Looks like Flaco may be headed to Baltimore as he appears to be on the phone with the Ravens. There it is. He's put on a Ravens hat.

**UPDATE** Well, so much for any of the offensive linemen being on the board at #23. Otah's selection means Clady, Williams, Long, Cherilus, Otah and Albert are all gone.

**UPDATE** Still no WRs off the board. The ESPN cameras are honing in on Desean Jackson and Devan Thomas, and the talking heads are talking about the Bucs' WR position exclusively.  

**UPDATE** And ESPN was off the mark. The Bucs take Talib. I like Talib personally.  Great hands, insticts, though he may gamble a bit too much. Monte Kiffin and Gruden know what they're doing.

**UPDATE** Ok, certainly the Skins take a WR? I don't think it will be Jackson. My guess is Thomas, Kelly, or Sweed. I personally would take Kelly here if I were Washington.

**UPDATE** Damnit, there goes out trading partner.

**UPDATE** Jerra takes another Arkansas boy. I've been nothing but impressed by Felix Jones. An added bonus that he can allow Terrance Newman to save his body on ST and not return kicks.

**UPDATE**  I absolutely can not understand that pick by the Titans. Would have thought WR, defensive line help. Anything but a scat back like Johnson.

**UPDATE** Interesting. Cowboys move up a few spots to make sure they get the CB they want.  I wonder what they gave up to move up those three spots.

**UPDATE** Some might wonder why the Steelers didn't take Duane Brown. Dunno, good question, but clearly the Steelers were sticking to their BPA strategy. A friend of mine just mentioned that the Chiefs picked Larry Johnson at the height of Priest Holmes' dominance. Very interesting comparison I thought, and I'll be addressing this later.

**UPDATE** There goes Kentwan Balmer, who our own steeler lifer had us selecting in our inaugural Mock Draft. The knock on him was taking plays off. Personally, I'm glad we didn't wind up with him. I think we can find similar value in later rounds.

**UPDATE** Keller's an interesting pick. That's a pretty small TE at just 6'2". One of the talking heads just compared him to Dallas Clark. Interesting, though it takes a great QB to really find smaller TEs in the seam. We'll see if Kellen Clemons can take advantage of Keller's impressive speed (4.5 40).

**UPDATE** Wow, no WRs taken in 1st round. Round 2 may be even more interesting than Round 1.