Why the Steelers drafted Ryan Mundy
When profiling an NFL draftee, one often starts with his college playing days, maybe even his high school football career. But when talking about Pittsburgh Steelers sixth-round draft pick Ryan Mundy, that seems inappropriate.
To know what you need to know of Mundy, it would seem best to go all the way back to his pee-wee days, a time when he wore No. 34 for the West Pittsburgh Steelers. Back then, he could also sometimes be seen collecting donations outside of Three Rivers Stadium before the real Steelers played.
“Those are very good memories of my childhood,” Mundy says.
Before Mundy spent four years at the University of Michigan and another season starting for the West Virginia Mountaineers as a post-graduate, he attended Woodland Hills High School in Pittsburgh; there, he was a three-year starter at strong safety and wide receiver. A quick look tells you that he was more than pretty good in high school, too, as he was a USA Today second-team All-American here, among other honors.
Of course, there are plenty of high school players with potential promise who never deliver on the college gridiron. The good thing about the 6-foot-1, 215-pound Mundy is that he eventually did, even if it took him awhile to separate himself from the pack. Though things started off well at Michigan, where Mundy took control of a starting safety position by his sophomore season, a severely pinched nerve caused him to redshirt in 2005. Of course, that hurt his career stats with the club -- Mundy started 18 games at safety and finished with 86 career tackles and three interceptions for the Wolverines.
In his only season with the Mountaineers, Mundy did much more impressive work to the tune of starting all 13 games and accruing 62 tackles, three interceptions and seven pass breakups. That impressed the Steelers.
“When you talk to the people at West Virginia, they really felt that Ryan was a huge part of pulling their defense together," said Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert. "This is a very, very intelligent kid. A very mature kid that will have a nice chance to make this team.
The bottom line on the Steelers' selection of Mundy is twofold. First, with Ryan Clark coming back from a significant illness and Anthony Smith trying to find his groove, they could use more depth at the free safety position.
Second -- as is the case with college football recruiting -- the draft is an inexact science in that too much focus is put on measurables that do not necessarily have much to do with football. In fact, they tend to weigh as heavily as athleticism, desire and heart.
In Mundy, the Steelers have drafted a hometown kid who would love nothing more than to come through in front of those who watched him grow up.
"I'll do whatever I can to get on the field," Mundy said.