Well boys and girls, with the NFL Draft coming up in a few weeks, I felt it was time to tell yinz about a coouple of the guys that numerous mock drafts have us linked to. Now keep in mind, this is all subjust to change based on who's left, etc..., but here's the linemen we've been linked to, and next time i'll post about the cornerbacks...
Alex Mack is a center from Cal, who is considered the top prospect at his position and would be a nice fit for the Steelers. He is a very strong and physical blocker, which would be a nice change for the Steelers, as we've been having trouble recently with the bigger noseguards in the AFC North. He's a three time All Pac 10 player and two time All-American, and has been impressive thus far in the scouting process.
If it were up to this humble reporter, Alex Mack would be our first round selection.
Another name being thrown around is Max Unger from Oregon. He may possibly go before the Steelers pick, but to honest, he doesn't seem like as good a fit as Mack. Unger is very versatile, and can effectively play all three positions on the line (although he's mostly thought of as a center/tackle). The problem I have with him is he's known as more of a finesse blocker, and once again, the AFC North has a lot of big bodies to move so you best be strong as an ox or you could be in a lot of trouble.
Phil Loadholt, a massive left tackle from Oklahoma is another name possibly on the Steelers draft board. His size is definitely a plus, although he's not really known as a quick player and may have fallen into the second round. He'd be a nice fit for the Steelers as he's a big man who can play physical, however we already have a project in last year's pick Tony Hills, so therefore I wouldn't take him unless both center options are taken. But he has visited the Steelers' complex, so that might be an indicator that he's on our radar.
Finally, the last lineman linked to us (at least that I've seen) is A.Q. Shipley from Penn State. He's a second to third rounder, and is somewhat like Mack in that he is strong and very tough. He has also visited the Steelers, and he won the rimmington trophy as last year's best college center.
So what's with all the centers you ask? Well, first off, no one drafts guards in round 1, unless there's an Alan Faneca type player available, which there isn't this year, and secondly, with us having the last pick in round 1, most if not all of the first round tackles are expected to be gone. But who knows, I personally think the Steelers will probably trade down or pick a corner in round 1, as players like Shipley will be available in the later rounds.
Until next time...