The Steelers closed the 2008 NFL Draft by picking up five more players, including one rather perplexing selection in the fifth round. The Pittsburgh Steelers 2008 draft class is:
1 Rashard Mendenhall, RB, ILLINOIS
2 Limas Sweed, WR, TEXAS
3 Bruce Davis, OLB, UCLA
4 Tony Hills, OT, TEXAS
5 Dennis Dixon, QB, OREGON
6 Mike Humpal, OLB, IOWA
6 Ryan Mundy, Safety, WEST VIRGINIA
The Steelers focused on the skill positions during day one of the 2008 draft, netting what most analysts concluded were steals in both the first and second rounds. Both Rashard Mendenhall and Limas Sweed have the potential to bolster areas which are solid, but also in need of reinforcement and depth.
The Steelers picked three defensive players, and two more offensive ones on day two of the 2008 draft. Again the shored up their outside line backing corps, an area that features two solid starters (if Woodley’s play in 2007 is any indication) but little depth. They also picked up a safety, perhaps looking to add some depth in the face of Ryan Clark’s injury recovery and Anthony Smith’s erratic play.
- They also grabbed an offensive tackle Tony Hills in the fourth round, which we will discuss in a later post.
The most perplexing pick is that of Dennis Dixon in the fifth round. The fact that the Steelers took the time to work out Dixon prior to the draft was eyebrow raising. The fact that they picked him is even more surprising. The Steelers have probably the best QB/back up combo in the league with Big Ben and Charlie Batch. Taxi QB’s can be found on the cheap after the draft, or by picking up street free agents.
Perhaps Mike Tomlin wants to go with the old, Joe Gibbs model – Established starter, veteran back up, up and comer. A very viable model – but given the team’s failure to address the defensive line, Steel Curtain Rising has to question the use of a pick on a quarterback.