Watch Tower: Larry Foote, Will He Stay or Will He Go?

Larry Foote wants out of Pittsburgh, and the Steelers are trying to trade him.

But that does not necessarily mean he will not be wearing the Black and Gold next season.

Ed Bouchette of the Post-Gazette reported on both Tuesday and Wednesday of this week that the Steelers tried to trade Foote during the draft and then planned to cut him on Monday after that failed. But, he continues, the Steelers changed their minds and had resumed attempts to trade him, but were planning on cutting him after the team’s annual Mother’s Day Mini Camp.

Scott Brown of the Tribune-Review has reported much of the same. Namely, that while Foote holds no ill will against the Steelers, he wants out. But Brown’s sources have led him to a different interpretation of the story.

Brown reports that Foote assumed that he had been cut when reporters called him asking him how he felt about it. Foote apparently knew that this was a possibility, but he had gotten no official word. Brown reports that this prompted Foote to call Steelers Director of Football Operations Kevin Colbert to clear up the matter. It is at this point that Brown’s story gets interesting:

Foote said Colbert told him that the Steelers are trying to trade the eighth-year veteran, but that they have not committed to releasing him if a deal with another team cannot be worked out. When asked if he expects to be released if he is not traded, Foote said, “That’s the question I posed, and (Colbert) said that’s up to (coach) Mike Tomlin. He said he doesn’t know.”


A Relic Leftover from the Days of the Circulation Wars?

I suppose in the heyday of two-paper towns, this kind of thing was more common – two beat writers covering the same story, but arriving at very different results.

It is hard to know who to trust.

Ed Bouchette is the dean of the Steelers press corps. He gets the goods, has got good sources, and knows the lay of the land.

Scott Brown has been on the beat for a lot less time, but he hustles for the story, and has frequently delivered his readers more as a result. The contrast in the coverage which both men gave to the announcement that John Stallworth was joining the Steelers ownership group provides a perfect example. Brown not only got interviews with Stallworth’s former teammates, but with the Rooney’s, and with Stallworth himself.

It is not clear here whether experience or ambition has the upper hand on delivering the correct story.

Sticky Situation

Either way the Steelers have an interesting situation playing out. Mike Tomlin has said on record that he wants Larry Foote back. Foote, for all of his talk about holding no grudges, has said he will skip the Steelers mandatory mini-camp. Larry Foote told Brown “At this point, I’ll go to whoever wants me and get a chance to show what I can really do.” Not much different than what he told Bouchette.

However, earlier in Brown’s story, he made some comments that indicated that he felt he was being limited by the Steelers before Timmons arrived, a remark which one can only describe as surprising, since Foote has started every game since 2004.*

As the contrast between Bouchette and Brown’s stories reveal, the Steelers’ plans have yet to come in focus, but Foote does not sound like a man who is expecting to stick around.

*Even before learning this, Steel Curtain Rising wrote an article cautioning Foote to choose his wish wisely. Now we’ll double down on that advice.

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Larry Foote Wants Out of Pittsburgh… Careful of What You Wish For…

First they cut Gary Russell. Then they restructured Ike Taylor’s contract. Then they restructured and resigned Hines Ward  to a new, cap-friendly contract. Now word is that inside linebacker Larry Foote wants out.

  • All in the name of the salary cap.

All of this portended to Larry Foote’s departure from the Steelers. And now it appears that is about to happen, but the situation is not unfolding as expected.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh Tribune Review are both reporting that Larry Foote will leave the Steelers via trade or the wavier wire, but apparently this is happening at Larry Foote’s bidding.

Foote told the Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette:

“It was my doing. I wanted to go. They were trying to trade me.”

Bouchette reports that the Steelers did try to shop Foote during the draft and found no new takers, and that they were going to waive him this morning, but have held off for the moment because they want to give a trade another shot.

From Bouchette’s article it is hard to 100% certain whether the impetus for the trade came from Foote or not, but either way Foote is not happy in Pittsburgh.

What Have You Done for Me Lately Mr. Foote?

His comments make it clear that he is not happy about being phased out in favor of 2007 first round draft pick Lawrence Timmons. He went as far as to tell Bouchette:

James Farrior never slows down, and Timmons came in and I can’t grow here any more. They turned me into a two-down linebacker last year. I was stuck in a role. I love the team, I love winning, but you can’t keep being unhappy. It got to the point where they were not giving me a chance. [Emphasis added.]

Steelers Nation should feel no ill will to a player who wants to go somewhere where he can start, but Foote would also do well to remember that when Kendrell Bell went down to injury in early 2002, Bill Cowher turned to the rookie Foote as opposed to a more experienced back up such as John Fiala.

That was 2002. Sentimentally certainly did not lead Mike Tomlin to start Foote ahead of Timmons in 2008, but based on what he demonstrated on the field, Timmons almost certainly would have vindicated a decision to start him instead.

Careful of What You Wish For Mr. Foote

Larry Foote is not the first Steelers linebacker to ask for his release upon getting stuck behind a young Turk. And Larry Foote would be wise to learn from the cautionary tale of Jerry Olsavsky.

Injuries brought Jerry Olsavsky into the Steelers starting line up for parts of 1995 and almost all of 1996. Jerry O did well both times, but nonetheless Earl Holmes was slated to start in front of him going into the 1997 season.

Olsavsky sought and got his release during the 1997 off season. He followed Marv Lewis to Baltimore, but he did not start. He recorded ten tackles in nine games and, if memory serves, the Ravens cut him before the end of the season and he was out of football.

Larry Foote is of course a different caliber player than Jerry Olsavsky, but in Pittsburgh he’s part of the defending number one defense of the defending Super Bowl Champions.

The Steelers will probably honor Foote’s wish, (although there does seem to be some doubt about that now.) Foote is certainly good enough to land on another NFL team where he can start and perhaps stand out. But as Jerry Olsavsky’s story shows, getting your wish isn’t always the best thing that can happen to you.

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The Steelers 2009 Draft Class at a Glance

The 2009 NFL draft and by implication the Steelers 2009 draft class is now complete.The Pittsburgh Steelers, picking last in each round, save for the picks they got via trade, came away with nine new players.

The Steelers entered the draft needing to strengthen both their offensive and defensive lines, their wide receiving crops, and their secondary. They did that. On paper at least.
They also give themselves a shot at adding some depth at running back and tight end.

Here is the Steelers 2009 draft class at a glance:

  • 1st 32(32) Evander “Ziggy” Hood, DE, Missouri
  • 3rd 15(79) Kraig Urbik, OG, Wisconsin
  • 3rd 20(84) Mike Wallace, WR, Mississippi
  • 3rd 32(96) Keenan Lewis, CB, Oregon State
  • 5th 32(168) Joe Burnett, CB, University of Central Florida
  • 5th 33(169) Frank “The Tank”Summers, RB, UNLV
  • 6th 32(205) Ra’Shon “Sunny” Harris, DT, Oregon
  • 7th 17(226) A.Q. Shipley, Center, Penn State
  • 7th 32(241) David Johnson, TE, Arkansas State

That’s two defensive lineman, two offensive linemen, one wide out, two corners, one running back, and one tight end.

YOU Rate the Steelers 2009 Draft Class

As mentioned in a previous post, yours truly lives outside the US, and has zero access to college games. So I will not do you the disservice of attempting to grade the Steelers draft or evaluate their picks on an individual basis.

That’s where you come in.

  • How do you evaluate the Steelers 2009 draft class?

Who do you think’s got the most star power? Which player did they not pick that they should have?

  • Will Ziggy Hood prove to be a worthy successor to Aaron Smith or perhaps Brett Keisel?

Do you think a player like Mike Wallace will get time with a receiver corps that already boasts Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes and Limas Sweed? Who did they pick that they shouldn’t have? Are there any late round sleepers?

Leave a comment and make your voice heard.

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Steelers draft guard Kraig Urbik, WR, CB in Third Round

The 2009 Draft is thus far going according to plan for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Yesterday, they drafted defensive end Ziggy Hood in the first round, and then traded down in the second to get three picks in today’s third round.

With their first third round pick, they drafted Kraig Urbik, a guard out of Wisconsin. They followed this with Mike Wallace a wide out and kick returner out of Mississippi, and finished the round with Keenan Lewis, who played corner at Oregon State.

Heading into the draft the Steelers need areas were defensive line, offensive line, wide receiver, and defensive back, in that order.

As part of the deal they made yesterday with Denver, the Steelers traded their fourth round pick, and will not pick again until the 5th, when they have two picks.

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Steelers Draft Evander “Ziggy” Hood, Trade Down on Day 1

The first day of the 2009 NFL draft was a day of waiting and ultimately dealing for the Pittsburgh Steelers. With the final pick in the first round, the defending Super Bowl Champions had to wait until all 31 teams took their shots at top college prospects.

But, it appears that they got one of the men they wanted.

They selected defensive lineman Evander “Ziggy” Hood, who played his college ball at Missouri. Hood becomes the first defensive linemen selected by the Steelers in the first round since 2001, when they chose Casey Hampton.

The Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette correctly predicted Ziggy Hood’s selection, likening him to Aaron Smith.

Steel Curtain Rising Vindicated… eh, Let’s Not Get Carried Away

Well, perhaps, no certainly that is too much to say. However, while many in Steelers Nation expected the Steelers to focus on offensive line, the Steelers chose to focus on injecting youth into their defensive line.

At the beginning of the week, Steel Curtain Rising suggested that with aging starters and back ups, this was just what the Steelers needed to do.

Likewise, it appears that this site’s alter ego, La Toalla Terrible,* can claim some bragging rights. (You know they’ll be no shutting him up now….)

On Thursday La Toalla Terrible joked that the Steelers recent string of fourth round failures had led management to simply abandon the pick.

Well the Steelers (thankfully) did not do that. Instead they traded their second and their fourth for two thirds from Denver. With the trade, Pittsburgh starts tomorrow with:

  • 3 third round picks
  • 0 fourth round picks
  • 2 fifth round picks
  • 1 sixth round pick
  • 2 seventh round picks

Hope for Better Luck with This Three Pick Third Round

This will give them three picks in the in the third round, something which happened exactly ten years ago in the 1999 draft.

That year they hit gold with Joey Porter, but they also picked Kris Farris and Amos Zereoue.

Outland Trophy Kris Farris winner discovered a hairline fracture in training camp, sat out his rookie year on IR, and was cut before ever playing a down for the Steelers during the following summer in Latrobe. Zereoue was talented as advertised. He simply never seemed to want it enough.

Let’s hope that the due of Colbert-Tomlin do better with their three third round picks than the tandem of Donahoe-Cowher did with their’s.

*La Toalla Terrible means Terrible Towel in Spanish. La Toalla Terrible writes occasionally for Steel Curtain Rising, and takes a zanny look at the side of things.

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Steelers Sign Hines Ward to Extension is reporting the the Pittsburgh Steelers have resigned Hines Ward to an contract extension.

The deal is reportedly for four years and $22 million dollars. The Pittsburgh Steelers have apparently structured the deal to give themselves valuable salary cap room (read, Hines Ward did not get much of a bonus.)

  • Hines Ward had been scheduled to become a free agent at the end of the Steelers 2009 season.

Reflecting on this possiblity, Steelers Digest Editor Bob Labriola suggested that Ward might be contemplating retirement, and he suggested that the Steelers begin preparing for that possiblity.

As Steelers OTA’s began two weeks ago, Ward sounded like anything but a man who was thinking about hanging it up, or itching to see if the grass really was greener on the other side.

  • Instead Hines Ward expressed his desire to play his entire career as a Steeler.

With a four year extension in hand, it looks like he will do that. And Steelers Nation should give thanks.

Hines Ward Contract Confirmed, but Not Yet Signed

Later in the day, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette confirmed the story with Ward’s agent, Eugene Parker. Parker confirmed that an agreement had been reached, both out of a desire on the part of Ward to finish his playing days in Pittsburgh and on the part of the Steelers, who needed salary cap space.

While an agreement has been reached, it has not yet been signed, and could be either four our five years in length.

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Steelers 2009 Draft Need Matrix

The 2009 NFL Draft has arrived.

For all of the hype, you’re now treated to sitting and watching Roger Goodell read names off of pieces of paper interspersed with pontifical sound byes from the Oracle of Calvert Hall, Mel Kipper Jr.

Alas, the draft is not broadcast in Argentina, so yours truly will miss all of that….

During the past week Steel Curtain Rising has assessed the Steelers draft needs at defensive line, offensive line, wide receiver, defensive back, tight end, running back, linebacker, quarterback.

The Steelers needs are fairly evenly distributed. They should stick to their boards and draft the best available athlete/football player when their number is called. Need, should only become an issue when two players of equal value present themselves.

What to do then? Well, Steel Curtain Rising presents the Steelers 2009 Draft Need Matrix:

  • Defensive line takes precedence over offensive line
  • Offensive line takes precedence over wide receiver
  • Wide receiver takes precedence over defensive back

Defensive line, offensive line, wide receiver, and defensive back take precedence over everything else.

  • Tight end takes precedence over running back (although the two players would have to be rated exactly equal)
  • Running back takes precedence over linebacker

And all of these positions take precedence over quarterback.

Why No Steelers 2009 Draft Pick Predictions?

While Steel Curtain Rising is happy to produce its Steelers 2009 Draft Needs Matrix it makes no predictions on the draft, and will offer little in the way of (original) assessment of the players once the picks are in.

There are a couple of reasons for this.

Even when I lived in the US, I did not follow the college game. Got nothing against it, in fact, I enjoy college football when I watch it. But I simply never got into it (probably because my school did not have a football team.)

And relying on the pundits is of little help.

  • Tony Mandarich. Huey Richardson. Andre Ware. John Rienstra. Todd Blackledge. Darryl Sims. Blair Thomas. Jamain Stephens. Ryan Leaf. Aaron Jones. Akili Smith. Keith Gary. Vinny Testaverde. Walter Abercrombie.

All of these were either franchise changing or blue chip players on draft day.

All floundered.

I do not pretend to be the one who can separate the information from the noise on draft day. If you doubt that, (and there is no reason you should) I offer you compelling proof:

  • Steel Curtain Rising did not exist in 2004, but when I got word that the Steelers had drafted Ben Roethlisberger I emailed friends saying it was a mistake.

Yep. It is true.

My rational was that for every Peyton Manning there were at least two Ryan Leafs. Thought we could win with Tommy Maddox, and that hence, picking Roethlisberger was too risky….

Friends told me I was crazy, including one Ohioan who is a true Bengals fan. He said “My guess is in three years, you’ll be quite happy with the pick.”

He was wrong. It only took half a season.

So while we’ll look at how the Steelers addressed their needs, Steel Curtain Rising will make no pronouncements as to the quality of the players they take.

NFL Draft = Day to Dream

The draft is over-hyped and over-analyzed. The predictions become trite and the pronouncements become downright tiresome.

But the draft is still something to behold. It is a Day to Dream.

  • Each name called equals one young man who gets a shot live the dream that we all imagined when we picked up our first Nerf football
  • Teams suddenly see the potential to cement a dynasty, establish themselves as contenders, or end a tortured history of losing
  • Fans can fantasize about a star they loved in college making it big in the pros.

There are definite winners and losers in each draft. But in truth (shh, don’t tell this to Mel Kipper Jr.), those won’t be known for at least three years. Disappointments in some form or other are inevitable. Hopes fade to quiet resignation and often disillusionment.

Sometimes this happens quickly (Huey Richardson), in other cases it’s gradual (Walter Abercrombie.)

But draft day remains the one moment when all is possible.


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Steelers Signing of Keiwan Ratliff Puzzling

The Steelers confirmed that they have signed former Indianapolis Colts corner back Kiewan Ratliff to a one year deal.

The Cincinnati Bengals drafted him in the second round in 2004, but Ratliff has never been more than a back up and occasional starter since then. He has also played as a back up in Tampa Bay in 2007 and in Indianapolis last year.

He gives the team some veteran depth at corner, and will most likely push Antonio Bryant for a roster spot, although the Post-Gazette is reporting that he might challenge William Gay for a starting spot. If he does make a serious push to start, then he is either a late bloomer, al la James Harrison, or William Gay will have greatly disappointed in Latrobe this summer.

Given the Steelers acute lack of salary cap space, one has to wonder why the team made this move.

Will Deshea Townsend to Move to Safety…?

Yes, it does lessen the pressure to pick a DB in the draft, but this draft is reputed to be strong with mid-round, high value defensive backs. Perhaps the move signals a lack of confidence in William Gay and/or Roy Lewis, or perhaps Steelers coaches are seeing signs that Desha Townsend is finally losing a step.

This move might also signal that coaches are thinking of transitioning Townsend to safety. There was some talk of this in during the 2008 off season, when it was unclear that Ryan Clark would make a full recovery, but nothing ever surfaced.

Regardless, this the Steelers Signing of Keiwan Ratliff is a surprising move whose motive is difficult to understand.

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Steelers 2009 Draft Needs at Tight End, Running Back, Linebacker, and Quarterback

The Steelers primary needs heading into the 2009 draft are defensive line, offensive line, wide receiver and defensive back. There are of course four other positions, plus special teams.

The Steelers are obviously going to take someone who plays at least one of them. As with the primary need positions, the question is the same. Which takes priority?

The Steelers 2009 Draft Needs at Tight End

The Steelers are young at this position. Heath Miller is growing into one of the top tight ends in the game, and Matt Spaeth showed that he could be dangerous in the passing game. They also have Sean McHugh, who doubles at fullback.

Steeler’s Digest’s Bob Labriola has labeled drafting a back up tight end a luxury. His logic is sound, but a little short sighted.

Heath Miller will be a free agent next year, unless the league goes to an uncapped year, and then he’ll be a restricted free agent. While the Steelers can match any offer in that scenario, are they going pony up when Daniel Snyder or Jerry Jones offers Heath Miller a five year 15 million dollar a year deal?

If Matt Spaeth is developing into a nice complement to the passing game, the knock on him is that he adds nothing as a blocker. And the Steelers need help with blockers.

Tight end should not be high on the Steelers list, but if they get a shot at a good one starting in middle rounds, they should feel free to take one. Especially if he’s a tight end who can smash people.

Running Back: Shouldn’t Have Been a 2009 Draft Need But….

If the Steelers once vaunted running game never really got unleashed in 2008, they still enter 2009 when one of the league’s top running back stables. Willie Parker will return, as will 2008’s number one pick Rashard Mendenhall. The unsung hero of the 2008 season, Mewelde Moore will be backing them up. And Cary Daivs, while no world beater, will also be there both as a runner and to split fullback duties with Sean McHugh.

Why pray tell, would the Steelers draft a running back? Well, they shouldn’t. At least not in the early rounds.

After that drafting a running back makes more sense.

Here’s why.

Willie Parker is aging and has been injured for parts of the last two years. Since he played so little in college he’s probably got more left in him than many other NFL backs who’ve logged a similar number of carries. But he’s also in the final year of his contract.

Rashard Mendenhall showed some flashes before he got hurt in 2008. He really didn’t get enough carries to make an honest evaluation. And that’s the point. Mendenhall is still an unknown talent.

Mewelde Moore was the free agency steal of the 2008 off season. He’s a keeper.

Davis’ production has yet to match his apparent versatility. Its not that he’s done anything wrong, but that he really hasn’t done much. Why the Steelers kept him and let Gary Russell fall to Cincinnati remains a mystery.

Had the Steelers kept Russell and let Davis go, Steel Curtain Rising would be content to say that the Steelers could safely ignore running back in this draft.

Now we will not think them foolish if they draft for depth in mid-rounds. This is especially true if the find a running back who has the skill and speed to return kicks. (Or, heaven forbid, a true fullback….)

The Steelers (Almost) Lack of Need at Linebacker in the 2009 Draft

The Steelers had the NFL’s best linebacking corps in 2008 and should very well have the best in again 2009. They had James Harrison, the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, two other Pro Bowl caliber starters, plus Larry Foote, plus Pro Bowler in waiting Lawrence Timmons. They also have a good mix of experienced and maturing talent behind them.

  • What motive could they possibly have for drafting a linebacker?

Because the make up of their linebacking corps. could well change in short order after the draft.

The Steelers have virtually no room to operate under the salary cap. They already had to cut Gary Russell for cap reasons and renegotiate Ike Taylor’s contract. If they need to cut more salary, Larry Foote’s time with the team is likely at an end.

Timmons would more than make up for the loss of Foote, but it would also thin out their depth at inside linebacker quite a bit.

But the potential they have at this position is sufficient, that they should probably relegate any linebacker pick ups until late rounds. If Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin know they can keep Foote, then they can ignore linebacker in this draft.

Pittsburgh Steelers: The Envy of the League at Quarterback

That the Steelers came so close to signing both Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich actually speaks volumes about how much of an asset this team is. During 2008 there were some teams that scrambled to find one man who was competent to stand under center. The Steelers were on the verge opening camp in Latrobe with three of them on their roster.

And while he played little, Dennis Dixon is showing signs that he will develop into the back up that the Steelers envisioned him being when they took him in the 5th round last year.

The Steelers will probably bring a fourth arm to camp, but give the team’s needs else where, it would be foolish to use a draft pick on a quarterback.

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Steelers 2009 Draft Needs at Wide Receiver and Secondary

Having dealt with the offensive and defensive lines earlier this week, Steel Curtain Rising now turns to the Steelers 2009 draft needs at wide receiver and secondary.

  • Unlike the lines, the Steelers have some of the best in the game at those positions. At wide out they count on Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes.

In the secondary they have Tory Polamalu a man who is helping define the concept of playmaker and game changer. If Ike Taylor and Ryan Clark are not in that category, both are proven veterans.

Strictly speaking, neither of these areas are problem areas. But if problems are absent, needs are not. Here’s a look at both areas, and Steel Curtain Rising’s assessment on what, if push comes to shove, the Steelers should do if it becomes an either or situation when they’re on the clock.

Steelers 2009 Draft Needs in the Defensive Backfield

In addition to Taylor, Polamalu and Clark, the Steelers have William Gay penciled in as a starter with Deshea Townsend slated to become a nickel back.

The Steelers are big on William Gay. Losing Bryant McFadden hurt, but one of the reasons why the Steelers did not bend over backwards to keep him was Gay’s development. Gay started four games while McFadden was hurt, and alternated snaps with him later.

With Desha Townsend, the Steelers have a proven commodity. Byrant McFadden developed nicely while he was here. The reason why he didn’t play more was because Townsend kept him off of the field. At some point Townsend’s veritable fountain of youth is going to run out, but given his consistency it is unlikely that his play will suffer a dramatic drop off.

But behind him is journeyman Antonio Bryant, who is 32.

At safety the situation is similar. Ryan Clark returned last year with a vengeance. However, the only established back up is Tyronne Carter, who is 33.

Behind those players the Steelers have  last year’s sixth round pick who spent 2008 on IR, and Roy Lewis an undrafted rookie free agent. Lewis turned heads last year in training camp, and the decision to cut him caught some by surprise. He returned to the practice squad and saw some time on the regular season roster, but the fact that he went back to the practice squad could be a bad sign.

This draft is said to be wanting a shut down corner or dominating safety, but deep with quality defensive backs who are considered to be high value pick. The Steelers need to come out of this draft with one.

Steelers 2009 Draft Needs at Wide Receiver

Like Bryant McFadden, losing Nate Washington hurt, but he deserves a shot at starting. The Steelers success at wide receiver in hinges largely on Limas Sweed. Is the player who appeared to be only a step away from making some breakaway plays downfield? Or is he the player whose drops during the regular season only confirmed what the press saw in practice throughout the year?

Even if Sweed does develop like Steelers coaches hope he will (and Steel Curtain Rising thinks he will) the Steelers need to beef up their receiving corps.

  • Because behind Sweed they have Dallas Baker, Martin Nance, and Brandon Williams.

Dallas Baker spent 2007 on the practice squad during where his efforts won him hearty praise from Mike Tomlin a little over a year ago. He qualified that praise by saying that Baker’s work with pads on would be the true crucible. Baker did well enough in training camp to beat out Willie Reid, although what does that really say?

He only managed one catch before getting cut in late November, after which Dallas Baker landed on the practice squad. Nance played on the practice squad behind him, while Williams has bounced from team to team.

Depth at wide receiver is a real need for the Steelers, which they must address in the 2009 draft.

Steelers 2009 Draft Needs at Wide Receiver and Secondary – Which Are More Urgent?

Of the two areas, wide receiver is the greater need. No, if the Steelers get a high value DB, they certainly should not reach for a wide receiver.

But they need help at wide out. At defensive back they have proven (if rapidly aging back ups) and some maturing talent that at least has potential.

  • Neither can be said about the personnel behind Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes, and that assumes that Sweed makes a huge leap.

So if the choice comes down to a wide out and a DB that the Steelers have rated equally, the Steelers should opt to take the receiver.

Thanks for visiting. Click here for all of Steelers Curtain Rising’s assessment of the Steeler 2009 draft needs.

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