Tuesday, January 09, 2007

An Early Look at the Draft:
The Offense, Part I

The Steelers are a running team that can throw, not a throwing team that runs -- a lesson learned the hard way during the first half of this season.

So while the Steelers almost certainly will not take a quarterback in this year's draft, nearly every other area of the offense is, at a minimum, in need of increased quality backups; and with Jeff Hartings leaning towards retirement the center position is liable to become a major question mark.

Here's a look at the top QBs, Running Backs, and Wide Receivers (i.e. the positions that the Steelers are unlikely to draft in) available in this year's draft.

Quarterbacks (Overall Rating: Below Average)

NameSchoolHeightWeight40 time
Brady QuinnNotre Dame6'3"2264.70
Drew StantonMichigan State6'2"2354.80
Troy SmithOhio State6'0"2104.60

Typically when putting these brief lists together commentary is not included, but the predicition here is that none of these three -- including Brady Quinn -- will be taken in the first round.

Running Backs (Overall Rating: Below Average)

NameSchoolHeightWeight40 time
Tony HuntPenn State6'0"2254.55
Kenny IronsAuburn5'10"1954.50
Lorenzo BookerFlorida State5'11"1955.60

Once again, please forgive the commentary, but according to Pro Football Weekly this "is clearly one of the weakest positions for the 2007 Draft." How weak? Well, "Draft Expert" Mel Kiper of ESPN has Michael Bush -- who broke his leg during the first game of the season and did not play again for the remainder of the season -- ranked #3.

Wide Receivers (Overall Rating: Below Average)

NameSchoolHeightWeight40 time
Calvin JohnsonGeorgia Tech6'5"2354.40
Dwayne BoweLSU6'1"2204.50
Jeff SamardzijaNotre Dame6'4"2174.50

If he makes a public commitment to playing professional football Mr. Samardzija, who played minor league baseball last summer, may move up. However, with his announcement on Monday that he would forego his final year of eligibility, Calvin Johnson is easily the class of the wide receiver group.

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