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Grading the Steelers draft -- the 2007 draft...

April 25, 2010 - Ray Eckenrode

  It’s a “15 Minutes” tradition. On the day after the NFL Draft, we issue a grade to the Steelers -- for the draft that was held three years prior. This, of course, is the only time to properly and correctly grade a draft. So while all the high-paid national pundits are doling out meaningless grades on the 2010 Draft, away we go:

First Round: Lawrence Timmons, LB, Florida State
  Grade: B-
  The skinny: Timmons has moved into a starting role and shown flashes of brilliance, but he’s not yet the impact player you’d expect from the 14th selection in the draft.

Second Round: LaMarr Woodley, LB, Michigan
  Grade: A+
  The skinny: A fierce pass rusher who must be accounted for by the offense on every play. His sack on the penultimate play of last year’s Super Bowl put a stake in the Arizona Cardinals.

Third round: Matt Spaeth, TE, Minnesota
  Grade: B-
  The skinny: He’s locked in as the Steelers second tight end, but not nearly the goal line threat it was assumed he’d be. In three years, he’s made 27 catches and scored 4 TDs, three of those coming in his rookie year.

Fourth round: Daniel Sepulveda, P, Baylor
  Grade: D (not necessarily for Sepulveda’s play, but for the spot he was selected)
  The skinny: When you use a fourth-round pick on a punter, you’re expecting a Top 10 performer over a 10-year career. Sepulveda has ranked in the bottom 10 in punting average in both 2007 and 2009 and, of course, missed the entire 2008 season with an injury. On the bright side, he’s not Mitch Berger.

Fourth round: Ryan McBean, DT, Oklahoma State
  Grade: D
  The skinny: McBean played in one game as a Steeler, was out of football in 2008 and back in 2009 with the Broncos where he played in 14 games and made 25 tackles.

Fifth round: Cameron Stephenson, G, Rutgers
  Grade: F
  The skinny: Stephenson did not make the team. He’s been with five other NFL teams since. He’s currently on the Jaguars roster.

Fifth round: William Gay, CB, Louisville
  Grade: B+
  The skinny: Yes, he was toasted in 2009 when he moved into a starting role, but he was a special teams demon in 2007 and excellent as a nickel back en route to the Super Bowl in 2008. That’s great value from the fifth round.

Seventh round: Dallas Baker, WR, Florida
  Grade: C
  The skinny: Baker has been on and off the Steelers active roster and practice squad for three years. He’s played in six games and has one NFL catch. That’s business as usual for a seventh rounder.

  Total selections: Eight
  Starters: Five (counting Spaeth who was drafted as a second tight end)
  Stars: One
  Overall grade: B
  The skinny: To get an A, a draft has to produce two star players. This one still could get there if Timmons blossoms this season, but he isn’t there yet. This draft was good not great on the front and back ends for the Steelers, but the middle three selections (Sepulveda, McBean, Stephenson) were clearly misses.
 

 
 

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