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Potential 2nd round draft steals for the Steelers

The 2nd round hasn’t exactly been a money pick for the Steelers in recent history.  Marcus Gilbert was Pittsburgh’s 2nd round choice in 2011 and he’s certainly earned his money and has a bright future. In 2010 they chose LB Jason Worilds who did see significant playing time with the injuries to James Harrison and Lamarr Woodley but still had his share of struggles.

2009 and 2008 were 2nd round draft picks to forget; the Steelers took Kraig Urbik and Limas Sweed respectively, neither of which are on the team any more. You have to go back to 2007 to find the most successful Steelers 2nd round draft pick of the Mike Tomlin era. His first year as the Steelers head coach and they choose Lamarr Woodley.

You can make a case that the 3rd round choices of the Mike Tomlin regime have worked out exponentially better than the 2nd round picks. Mike Wallace, Curtis Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, etc. You can see a full list here.

Normally a player selected in this round is a supposed to be someone you can count on for years to come and shouldn’t be overlooked as a potential day one starter depending on your situation. It would behoove the Steelers in this years’ draft to hit this one out the park.

Former NFL GM Charlie Casserly highlighted some potential 2nd round steals. Teams like the Steelers could defenitely have their eye on one or more of these guys.

The following six prospects (in alphabetical order) could be steals in Round 2. These are the value picks I would be ecstatic to make next Friday evening.

Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall: Curry’s best asset is his pass-rush ability. Even though he posted 40 times only in the 4.8 range, he has fine skills to get after the quarterback. Curry is quick off the ball with a natural bend ability in rushing the passer. He has good strength and definite bull-rush ability. He displays good hand use, as well as an effective inside move. Curry also played the run fairly well at Marshall, using his leverage and strength to effectively shed blocks.

Coby Fleener, TE, Stanford: As one of Andrew Luck’s go-to options over the past few years, Fleener showcased natural hands and an ability to make the difficult catch. He is a big target at 6-foot-6, which should help his QB in the league. Fleener’s smooth in his routes and gets good separation off cuts. He will be adequate as a blocker in the NFL because of a nice competitive streak and good balance. I believe he will be the first tight end off the board, so he could sneak into the first round. Regardless, he can help a team’s passing game as a rookie.

Doug Martin, RB, Boise State: I have him rated as this draft class’ No. 2 running back (behind Trent Richardson). Martin’s a fine all-around back with the tools to succeed at the next level. He’s a physical inside runner who has good vision and can accelerate through the hole. On outside plays he can stretch it to the corner and has a good feel of when to cut it up. In the passing game, he displays good hands and is an effective runner after the catch.

Amini Silatolu, OG, Midwestern State: Silatolu lined up at offensive tackle in college, but I think his athletic ability makes him a better guard prospect for the NFL game. He’s a powerful player who dominated Division II, knocking overmatched counterparts off the ball. In addition to his physical nature, he’s also very good at pulling and blocking in space. He shows enough foot quickness to pass protect at effectively at the guard position. At the NFL Scouting Combine, he displayed the athletic movement to play in the NFL. In fact, he moved as well as any of the offensive lineman in Indianapolis during drills.


Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame: Smith has very good size (6-2, 213 pounds) and speed (4.57) for the position. I like his range and instincts against the run and pass. He is aggressive against the run, but must do a better job of breaking down before attempting to tackle a ball carrier. Even though there is some tightness to him, I believe he will be able to cover most tight ends because of his speed.

Kevin Zeitler, OG, Wisconsin: Zeitler is a classic Wisconsin lineman: a strong and physical blocker. He can move defenders and sustains blocks very well at the line of scrimmage. He also does an above-average job of sustaining blocks in space. He moves his feet well as a pass blocker, sliding to mirror the defender. He can effectively anchor against the bull rush. Zeitler has also worked out as a center during the pre-draft process.

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