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April 13, 2009 - Buck Frank
The offseason has been so-so for the Steelers, although James Harrison's signing was the best news since the Super Bowl XLIII victory.
The big losses have been QB Byron Leftwich, WR Nate Washington and CB Bryant McFadden, along with aging offensive linemen Marvel Smith and Kendall Simmons.
The draft is less than two weeks away, and the Steelers appear to not have any pressing needs. Here would be their projected starting lineup for 2009:
QB--Roethlisberger. RBs--Parker, Davis. WRs--Ward, Holmes. TE--Miller. C--Hartwig. OGs--Komeatu, Stapleton. OTs--Starks, Colon. DEs--Smith, Keisel. NT--Hampton. ILBs--Farrior, Foote or Timmons. OLBs--Harrison, Woodley. CBs--Taylor, Gay or Townsend. Safeties--Polamalu, Clark. K--Reed. P--Sepulveda.
Picking 32nd, the Steelers will probably not find a player who can start right away for them. The areas where they need depth are across the offensive and defensive lines, and cornerback. Plus, they need to get another wide receiver and tight end.
The last two times the Steelers were slated to pick 30th or lower in the first round, they actually got the best player at his position -- tight end Heath Miller and receiver Santonio Holmes (although they traded up to 25th to get Holmes). If they have the same mind set, they could be targeting center Alex Mack from California.
The draft, though, has several outstanding tackles projected to be first rounders and a lot of depth at cornerback. Arizona OT Eben Britton or UConn OT William Beatty may be too good to pass up at No. 32, as well as Illinois CB Vontae Davis or UConn CB Darius Butler.
Make sure you check out the Altoona Mirror beginning Saturday for my annual Steelers draft analysis. I'll look at a certain position each day from Saturday through Friday, then give my opinion on the day of the draft on what the Steelers' draft strategy may be.