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Steelers Draft in Review: Round 4

It's easy to go over the top with optimism or pessimism about any draft, but it's rarely as good or as bad as we think it could be. I’m going to try to give a tempered analysis of the players we drafted, hopefully helping us understand why we made some picks and keeping our expectations at a rational level.

Round four: Tony Hills 6'5 309. 24 BP 

Strengths: Hills was a consistently productive LT at Texas after converting from TE out of high school. He is a good athlete and generally uses good technique, especially with his hands. He still has room to get bigger and stronger. He has been forced to work hard to come back from a career threatening injury, so there is no question about his work ethic and desire to play the game.

Weaknesses: He is neither an exceptional athlete nor a dominant run blocker. While he should be able to play both tackle positions, he may never be great at either one. He sustained a career threatening knee injury in high school and broke his leg toward the end of last season, although he seems to have fully recovered from the latter.


Analysis: People made a big deal about Hills' injury, but a broken fibula is not at the top of the list of injuries likely to affect the rest of your career. His major injury was 5 years ago and didn't keep him from being a good LT in college. If Hills remains healthy, he could be a solid backup at both tackle positions, with some potential to start at LT in a few years. There are some similarities between him and Marvel Smith (both were productive tackles in college, neither was remarkably strong or athletic coming out), but there are no guarantees. Even if he never becomes starting material, he was probably a good pick considering all our tackles are FA's next year. Even though he has athletic limitations, he is a hard working, productive guy with good technique.

Passed on: CB Orlando Scandrick, DT's DeMario Pressley, Frank Okam, Nick Hayden, Ahtyba Rubin

When Red Bryant went 2 spots in front of their original choice, the Steelers made a good move in trading down and getting another pick in the 6th. They filled a big need with a solid backup tackle. None of the DT's were great values here, and the two that I had my eye on (Hayden and Rubin) fell further down in the draft anyway. I liked Scandrick, but they needed to focus on some big guys before CB depth.