Steelers 2011 Draft Needs: Defensive Backs

The Pittsburgh Steelers defensive backfield bounced back in 2010 after finishing as a maligned, shell-shocked unit in 2009.

A big part of this was the presence of NFL Defensive MVP Troy Polamalu, who spoiled fans to the point where they questioned whether number 43 had a good game if he did not make a miraculous, and/or game saving play.

Still, the unit enters the 2011 NFL draft as a question area for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Ike Taylor is a free agent. Bryant McFadden failed to live up to expectations after his draft day return. And while William Gay rebounded from a rocky 2009, he appears to have found is role in the NFL, as a nickel back.

Keenan Lewis was all the rage in training camp, but failed to deliver time and time again, gaining more notoriety for his bone-headed penalties than anything else. Crezdon Butler made the team on the strength of a strong summer in Latrobe, but saw few playing opportunities after that.

Ryan Mundy seems to be following the Lee Flowers path, which is nothing to be ashamed of for a sixth round pick.

At corner the issue is quality. If the Steelers lose Taylor, they’re very, very thin at an increasingly important position.

At safety the Steelers need to consider that Troy Polamalu is, in the words of Behind the Steel Curtain’s “MaryRose” is like a European sports car – when he’s healthy he’s the best there is; otherwise he’s in the shop.

And Ryan Clark, who also bounced back in 2010, is not getting any younger.

  • Draft priority of cornerback for the Steelers in 2011: High
  • Draft priority of safety for the Steelers in 2011: High

When it comes to their secondary, the Steelers need to be thinking about 2011 and the seasons beyond in the 2011 NFL draft, which separates this position area from the rest.

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