With the 2011 NFL Draft underway, I'll limit the amount of time I spend on these final few selections so that we can maximize our attention spent on what happened in the first round Thursday evening, as well as what might be in store during rounds two through seven on Friday and Saturday.
Let's continue though with the top ten draft 'successes' and 'busts' in the Kevin Colbert era with a look at my No. 2 'bust', Kraig Urbik, an offensive guard from Wisconsin taken in the third round of the 2009 Draft.
There's not a whole lot to discuss when reviewing Urbik's career with the Steelers or elsewhere in the National Football League. Of course, it's still very possible that he finds a niche either with his current team (Buffalo) or elsewhere around the league. It's only been two years after all since he was drafted. But that doesn't stop me from being quite disappointed in how this pick played out for the Steelers.
Before sharing my main reason as to why this pick gets listed so high, a quick review of the Steelers' 2009 Draft. Coming off their record setting sixth Super Bowl win, the Steelers drafted Ziggy Hood in the first round, then traded away the 64th pick in the second round to the Denver Broncos in order to acquire Denver's two third round picks. The Steelers also parted ways with their fourth round selection. The first of those third round picks would be Kraig Urbik (79th), followed by Mike Wallace five picks later at No. 84. Pittsburgh then acquired Keenan Lewis with its original third round selection at No. 96.
Hindsight is of course 20/20, but it is worth pointing out that the Steelers didn't wind up being in any jeopardy of losing out on the Wallace selection. Two wide receivers -- Derrick Williams taken by Detroit, and Brandon Tate taken by New England -- came off the board right before Wallace did. I suppose the three other teams that drafted WRs in round three after the Steelers' pick at 84 and before the supplemental picks could have taken Wallace. Those teams were the New York Giants (Ramses Barden) and the Seattle Seahakws (Deon Butler).
Anyway, Urbik would lose a competition for the primary reserve right guard role to undrafted free agent rookie Ramon Foster. Yikes. He would then be cut in early September of '10 and claimed off waivers by the Buffalo Bills shortly thereafter. We'll see if he sticks there in upstate New York. He'll certainly have his hands full in practice this summer trying to contain Marcell Dareus, the Bills' first round selection at No. 3 on Thursday evening.
But to conclude, heading into the '09 draft, it was clear that the Steelers' biggest problem was along the offensive line. Despite winning the Super Bowl, nobody in Steeler Nation felt like the line was in a great place and not in need of significant upgrades. Urbik, believe it or not, was the highest Steelers lineman drafted since Max Starks was taken with the 75th overall pick in the '04 draft. Pretty remarkable really. But that (relatively) high investment in an OL had to be a successful one given the Steelers' struggles opening up running lanes and protecting Ben Roethlisberger in the years immediately before the '09 draft.
As a consequence of that particular failed pick, the Steelers are still searching for a legitimate guard heading into round two of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Kevin Colbert's Top 10 Draft 'Busts'
Kevin Colbert's Top 10 Draft 'Successes'
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