Feeling Drafty #31: Pittsburgh Steelers

April 27, 2011 at 6:00 pm (Sports) (, , , , , , , , )

In the last two seasons, Pittsburgh is 15-4 with Troy Polamalu, and 6-7 without him. He's an easy choice for Pittsburgh Team MVP.

OK, we only have two of these things left.  So, if you don’t mind, I’m going to speed through this, and get ready for the big finale.  Here we go.  Big Ben, bad touch.  James Harrison, stop trying to kill people.  Troy Polamalu, owes his awesome hair to Head and Shoulders.  Made it to the Super Bowl, but lost.  Mike Pouncey, best interior lineman in the draft, playing with his brother.  There, happy?  No, fine.

OK, so everyone was ready to throw Ben Roethlisberger into the fire for the sexual assault allegations against him.  I thought the Steelers would be screwed with Roethlisberger out for the first four games.  But, apparently, Byron Leftwich, Dennis Dixon, and Charlie Batch combined into one semi-competent quarterback that went 3-1.  Roethlisberger came back in, and stayed the course to finish the season with a 12-4 record.  He threw (in just 12 games) for 3,200 yards, 17 touchdowns, five interceptions, and a 97.0 passer rating.

Rashard Mendenhall is quickly becoming one of the best running backs in the NFL.  Last season, he ran for career highs in attempts (324), yards (1,273), and touchdowns (13).  He should eaily be a mid-to-late first round pick in fantasy drafts.  And don’t ignore Isaac Redman, he’s been getting more and more carries toward the end of the season, and coach Mike Tomlin has said that he wants to use Redman as a goal-line back.  He could see an increase in carries next season, so if you’re in a deep league, you should look at Redman in one of the later rounds.

Who saw Mike Wallace becoming as big as he was?  He was third in the AFC with 1,257 receiving yards, and he led the AFC in yards per catch (21.0 yards/catch).  He’s another one that you should keep your eyes on.  He’ll be an elite receiver within a few years or less.  Unfortunately, Hines Ward is probably on the dropturn.  He’s had his worst season since 2000, with only 59 catches, 755 yards, and five touchdowns.  Ward has been a staple in the Steelers’ offense for years, but don’t be surprised if Hines doesn’t stay in the NFL for too much longer.

You can’t talk about the Steelers without mentioning their amazing defense (seems to be a common theme in the latter articles of this series).  Troy Polamalu is still unquestionably one of the best safeties in the NFL.  He’s still a ball hawk who can talk it to the house every time he gets his hands on the ball, which happened seven times last season with one going back against the Bengals.  James Harrison is another one of the best players at his position.  But after last season, he was (rightly) tagged with the “headhunter” label, after concussion-causing injuries to Josh Cribbs and Mohammed Massaquoi within just a few minutes of each other.  He may be one of the best linebackers in the league, but he’s also the dirtiest.

A little bit of help on the offensive line won't hurt the Steelers, so don't be shocked if the Steelers try to pick up Florida G Mike Pouncey.

Pittsburgh is one of those teams that really has no desperate needs.  More like positions they need to sure up.  If Florida G Mike Pouncey falls this far, expect the Steelers to pounce (no pun intended).  He is, without a doubt, the best interior lineman in this season’s draft.  He’s more of a run-blocker than a pass-blocker, which means even better news for Rashard Mendenhall.  I know that a set of brothers have played on the same team at the same time (the Palmer in Cincy), but has a set of twins ever played on the same team at the same time.

OK, time for the finale.  Green Bay is tomorrow, and I have to praise them for winning the Super Bowl.  Crap.

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