Round 2 – Special Needs
Day two of the Steelers Draft consisted of a Second Round pick and a compensatory pick from Round 3, they had no selection in the third round. One of the glaring weakness of the 2013 defense was the absence of the now retired Casey Hampton. One reason the Steelers have been so successful stopping the run over the last ten years has been because of Pro-Bowl nose guard Casey Hampton, replacing that position and him in general was not going to be an easy task. Though incumbent starter Steve McLendon seemed poised to step in and fill the shoes of Big Snack, he seemed more suited for the Tackle position and was often moved there in many of the Steelers sub-packages. All that being said, the Steelers selected Stephon Tuitt Defensive Tackle from Notre Dame. Tuitt comes in at 6′-5″ 305 pounds and on film is a beast, he played three years at ND and has been dominant throughout. Now I’m not suggesting he will walk in and be assigned the nose guard position, but you have to think that position so desperately in need of an upgrade will be his to win. Of course, it’s a safe bet as well they will move him around due to his athleticism and quickness in lateral movement. Like any rookie, he will be a work in progress, however I see no reason Stephon will not see a significant amount of playing time during the upcoming season. This is by far my favorite pick, while the linebackers on the Steelers Defense get the majority of the credit, this team is founded on the strength of their D-line, remember there would be no Steel Curtain were it not for the fabulous four we had in the 1970’s.
The overriding theme for the Steelers in this years draft has been the need for speed, at any position. Of course that is a necessity for any team as the game is getting faster and faster each year with the way offenses are spreading the field. At first I was puzzled by the selection of Kent State Half Back Dri Archer, he’s more of a utility type of player versus being a fundamental running back, but I suspect the team is looking for him to make an impact as a return specialist. Field position last year was not one our strength with respect to kick-offs and punt returns, and worst of all they had no designated returner that could break out. It’s far too risky to let Antonio Brown handle punt returns, and Emanuel Sanders was far too inconsistent. The other thinking is Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley seemed to have a wrinkle up his sleeve with this type of player and the role he will play in the offense, remember Chris Rainey? Needless to say Archer is a natural athlete and a great football player, certainly far more sound as an auxiliary player than what the Steelers have had. Look for this young phenom to be featured and to make big plays throughout the year, great pick.