Monday, February 25, 2008

Getting Draft Ready: PFW's Top Ten

The good folks at Pro Football Weekly have come up with a list of who they project will go at draft spots one through ten, and there are a couple of points that it raises that should be of interest to Steelers fans.

Most immediate is the report that Kansas City Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards is enamored with offensive tackle Jeff Otah. Mr. Otah has been widely projected as being someone in whom the Steelers may have interest. If Mr. Otah is really a top five player then, even of the Chiefs pass on him, he is certain to be chosen prior to the #23 slot where the Steelers reside.

The second point of interest is with the two divisional opponents -- Baltimore (#8) and Cincinnati (#9) -- who choose in the top ten. The belief is that would love to choose a quarterback, but is more likely to go with a cornerback -- specifically Brandon Flowers . . . or Leodis McKelvin. Meanwhile,PFW indicates that Cincinnati is looking for a defensive end to replace Justin Smith, who is expected to leave via free agency. According to this report the Bengals are interested in either Derrick Harvey (a player at least one mock draft had the Steelers choosing) or Phillip Merling.

Finally, the plummeting prospects of Darren McFadden, despite a very solid performance at the NFL Combine, may present the Steelers' brain trust with a situation that is equal parts quandary and opportunity. Namely if Mr. McFadden is available at #23 would the Steelers be willing to forego drafting a player at a "need" position? An article in Monday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette -- which incorrectly states that the Steelers are selecting twenty-second in round one of the draft -- quotes head coach Mike Tomlin as saying that "I . . . think this is an awesome draft and we have an opportunity to look at guys at some different positions and look at the best guy available if you will. I think we can take that approach as we push through the draft" (emphasis added).

Time will tell just how committed the Steelers are to that philosophy.

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