The Pittsburgh Steelers came into the 2009 NFL draft with pretty much the same team which won the Super Bowl three months earlier. We can argue about the age of the defensive line or the frequent incompetence of the offensive line but there were no real glaring holes which needed filling immediately. Director of Player Personnel Kevin Colbert was thus able to come away with a draft short on impact rookies and long on future potential.
A big strong mauler with limited athletic ability and a nasty disposition. Basically, very similar to Kemo. Very stout at the point of attack and great at run blocking. However, his poor footwork and limited mobility will prevent him from pulling or stunting and will cause him to have problems in pass protection. Might compete with RG Darnell Stapleton for the other guard spot as a rookie which should improve our running game but he’ll have to show he can handle NFL caliber pass rushers in order to stay on the field.
6’0 199 pounds
Ran a 4.33 40 at the combine which means he’s almost fast enough to be drafted by Al Davis. A pure speed burner who was a vertical threat in college. Unfortunately, he’s unpolished as a WR and needs to work on his route running and hands in order to make it as a wideout. However, he excelled at kick/punt returns so that’s probably what his primary appeal was to the Steelers. Think Willie Reid 2.0 but let’s hope he pans out better than Reid did.
6’1 209 pounds
Big and tall corner with the leaping ability to make plays in coverage. Kind of a poor man’s Ike Taylor, except with less speed and athletic ability. Ran a 4.53 40 time which puts him at average corner speed and film shows lack of closing speed which allows receivers to create separation. Also for his size doesn’t play very physical and whiffs on his share of tackles. A bit of a project as he has the size that teams drool over but will need to be coached up by Tomlin and company in order to work himself into regular playing time.
5’9 193 pounds
Dynamic athlete with closing speed, ball skills, and leaping ability. However, lacks the measurables (ie: height and 40 time) you typically want to see in a corner. Can make the plays in the secondary if he’s there (10 INTs over the past two seasons) but doesn’t offer much in terms of run support or open field tackling. Likely was taken more for his abilities as a kick/punt returner as he also filled that role for UCF, averaging 14 yards and scoring 3 TDs over his four year career. If he doesn’t show a lot as a returner, though, will probably end up as Practice Squad fodder.
5’9 243 pounds
Known as Frank The Tank at UNLV. Take a look at that picture and tell me who that reminds you of? The Steeler coaches were all over him at his pro day with several labeling him as a “Junior Bus.” Incredible strength and his 4.55 40 time is tremendous for a guy of his size and bulk. A bowling ball with arms and legs who should be very difficult to tackle once he gets a head of steam going. Many project him as a fullback at the NFL level due to his size and pass catching abilities but I have to think the Steelers will use him as the short yardage RB they’ve sorely missed since the retirement of the original Bus.
Ra’Shon “Sonny” Harris
6’3 300 pounds
Great size and speed. Very athletically gifted big man who has shown flashes of brilliance. Problem is these flashes have been few and far between as his game film and career numbers don’t reflect the production you’d expect from somebody with his genetic gifts. Basically, a classic underachiever who is either lazy or unmotivated. A project who’ll be a steal if the lightbulb ever turns on for him or who’ll be out of professional football in a couple years due to lack of progress. It’s all up to him.
6’1 300 pounds
Eric Cartman if he grew up to be a tough, physical, and aggressive football player. Coach Joe Paterno has frequently said Shipley was a highly intelligent player with great instincts and awareness of what’s going on in the field. These features compensate for his average to below average physical tools. Doesn’t have the size you want from an NFL center as he’ll likely be pushed around by mammoth 340 pound nose tackles and defensive linemen. Good character guy from Moon Township with the kind of work ethic that makes you want to root for him. Here’s hoping the intangibles prove enough to overcome genetic shortcomings.
6’1 260 pounds
Well, it’s not an official draft unless Colbert takes a tight end. The man has a fetish or something. He can’t stop himself. Smallish for a tight end with average speed although a strong blocker with good hands. Might project as a fullback in the Steelers system ala Sean McHugh. With two TEs already on the roster and McHugh as a FB/TE hybrid, will probably be an uphill battle for him to make this team.