Monday, January 11, 2010
Scouts Inc. on Steelers' draft
By James Walker
The Pittsburgh Steelers have the No. 18 overall pick in the 2010 draft, which is their highest slot in three years.
On Monday the AFC North blog caught up with Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. to get an early feel for Pittsburgh's needs in the first round.
Matt, the Steelers don't pick in the teens often. Do you think this is their chance to land an impact player who can help right away next season?
Matt Williamson: The Steelers don't miss often in the first round no matter what. They're pretty solid in that regard. They've have some issues in the second round at times. But I think they need to find an impact defensive back. That has to be priority No. 1. I don't know exactly what's going to be there yet at No. 18. We will have to see what juniors will declare.
What do you think about the cornerbacks in particular?
Williamson: If you look at all their corners right now, Ike Taylor, Deshea Townsend, the two guys they just drafted, they're all mid-round guys. None of them came into the league with a huge pedigree or blow-you-away athleticism and natural skills. If they can add a first-rounder it might go a long way.
Do the Steelers have enough confidence in 2009 draft picks Joe Burnett or Keenan Lewis to make strides and fill a big role next season?
Williamson: I can see one of those guys being a solid No. 3. That's sort of been their formula with these mid-round guys. Ike Taylor gave them nothing as a rookie. William Gay was a nickelback and did a nice job. But when he became a starter he struggled. So I think they want to bring in corners in the middle rounds, have them play special teams and earn their way, and then insert them in the lineup in year two or three. That formula can still hold true with Lewis and Burnett. I liked both players coming out of school, and I haven't seen enough of them to say they're not going to be able to help at this level. I think the jury is still out. But it's obvious, too, that neither has the pedigree or the ability to be a No. 1 corner. The ideal situation is to make Ike Taylor your No. 2 corner and bring in a No. 1-type corner. Then you’re really talking. The rest can play nickel and dime positions.