Two weeks before the NFL draft, it's safe to assume the Steelers won't select Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny with their first-round pick.
Posluszny would be a popular choice.
He's a Western Pennsylvania high-school football star and Butkus Award winner who has former Steelers linebacker Jack Ham's seal of approval. And the Steelers do need to begin grooming a young outside linebacker who can be effective in a 3-4 or 4-3 alignment. Trouble is, the Steelers just aren't showing Posluszny much love.
At least not when you consider the team hasn't invited Posluszny for an interview, according to agent Mike McCartney, nor has it given him the personal attention they've bestowed upon fellow linebackers Lawrence Timmons (Florida State) and Jon Beason (Miami). Timmons has interviewed with the team, and Beason's interview is scheduled for next week.
McCartney said Posluszny, who could be drafted as high as No. 12 by Buffalo, has interviews scheduled with San Diego and New Orleans.
"I don't see him going higher than Buffalo," McCartney said. "Buffalo really likes him."
Other teams targeting Posluszny include Jacksonville, Carolina, Denver, Cincinnati and the New York Giants.
McCartney doesn't put too much stock in the value of interviews, though.
"The other day, the St. Louis Rams had (Rutgers fullback) Brian Leonard in, a player I represent," McCartney said. "I don't know this, but let's just say that Brian's their guy. They're not going to tell the rest of the league that Brian's their guy, so they're going to bring in three other running backs, which they did.
"You can't just make it so obvious that the only guys you bring in are the guys you like."
The Steelers have applied that interview strategy to other draft-eligible players on their radar. They've also been known to schedule on-campus visits, which don't have to be reported to the league.
In addition to Timmons and Beason, the Steelers have scheduled interviews with Nebraska defensive end Adam Carriker, Michigan defensive end/linebacker LaMarr Woodley and UCLA defensive end Justin Hickman at their South Side facility.
Carriker is a projected first-round pick who also would fill a need for the Steelers at No. 15. Woodley is a projected second-round pick, and Hickman is a projected second-day draft selection.
Looking to upgrade the backup running back position later in the draft, the Steelers invited Ohio State's Antonio Pittman and Fresno State's Dwayne Wright. Of the two, Wright (6-foot-1, 223 pounds) fits the Steelers' prototype for a big back.
"It makes a lot of sense. I know he got a chance to spend a lot of time with (coach Mike Tomlin) when he was there doing the interview," said Jamal Tooson, who represents Wright. "I definitely think it's a strong possibility."
Penn State's Tony Hunt, a big running back expected to go in the second or third round, hasn't had an interview with the Steelers.
"I don't know where the Steelers are looking to take a running back, if it's a first-day priority," said Alvin Keels, who represents Hunt. "If they're looking to take a back on the second day, the chances of Tony Hunt being there are slim and none."
Based on the number of scheduled interviews and that new offensive coordinator Bruce Arians may want to use more multiple receiver sets on first down, receiver is another draft-day target for the Steelers.
The Steelers will meet with Southern Cal's Steve Smith, South Carolina's Sidney Rice, Washington State's Jason Hill, Illinois State's Laurent Robinson and Dwayne Jarrett, also of Southern Cal. With the exception of Robinson, they're all projected to be selected in the first three rounds.
One of the biggest receivers in the draft, Jarrett (6-4, 214) met with the Steelers on Friday. He also has interviews scheduled with the Cowboys, Giants and Titans.
"With Hines (Ward) being the tough guy and Santonio (Holmes) being the speed guy, Dwayne would be a perfect fit as a big target," agent Darin Morgan said. It's two weeks before the draft, and anything is possible.