Checking In on Some of the Steelers Developmental Prospects

The NFL does not have a farm system, forcing fans read between the lines and scrounge for snippets of information from the special teams stat sheets to gauge how younger players are developing.

When the Steelers opened training camp Steel Curtain Rising fingered six players whose development was vital to the Pittsburgh’s long-term prosperity.

With seven games left in the 2010 season, it is time to take a look at how some of those youngsters are developing.

Ryan Mundy

Ryan Mundy’s name has not been called much, but he has delivered when asked to play. Currently he only stands behind Larry Foote and William Gay Fox in terms of tackles from non-starters, which is good. He’s also had a forced fumble and has played well on special teams.

Lee Flowers blazed this path early in his career, and this is not a bad example for Mundy to follow.

Kraig Urbik

Arguably, he was ahead of Justin Hartwig during training camp and really making strides. The Steelers cut Urbik, hoping to sneak him on the practice squad, but that did not happen as the Bills claimed him off waivers. If Urbik grows into a player, it will not be with the Steelers

Keenan Lewis

Lewis started strong this summer and earned a shot at the starting job, which he fumbled badly against Denver in preseason, and then worsened things by vandalizing a sign.

He’s played a little on special teams, but has infrequently dressed. His penalty for running out of bounds in the New England debacle makes it all the more easier to discount the rumors that Bryant McFadden was heading to the bench.

Lewis’ opportunity has not expired, but he has done nothing to remove “cornerback” from the Steelers prime need areas looking towards the 2011 draft. Not good.

Lawrence Timmons

Now we know why Mike Tomlin’s bestowed his first ever draft selection on Lawrence Timmons.

Timmons is playing like a man possessed. He leads the team in tackles by a mile, has three sacks, one forced fumble, and an interception to boot.

Lawrence Timmons has come of age.

Emmanuel Sanders

It is unlikely that Sanders will be remembered as 2010’s Mike Wallace. But with the return of Randal El, he does not need to.

Sanders has made his gaffes but has also turned out some impressive plays when called upon. About what you’d expect from a rookie – he’s shown off talent yet made some mistakes.

Jason Worilds

Forced into action against Miami, Worilds key pressure late in the game enamored fans. Alas, as Ed Bouchette reported in his weekly chat, Worilds was out of position on a lot of other players.

Like Sanders, Worids is flashing ability while revealing that he still needs to learn the game. The transition from college defensive end to NFL outside linebacker is not easy (just ask Bruce Davis and Alonzo Jackson), but Worilds appears to be on his way.

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