1. Rashard Mendenhall
The Pittsburgh Steelers first round pick in 2008, Rashard Mendenhall has the size and speed to be one of the elite running backs in the National Football League. His career got off to a disappointing start when he suffered a fractured shoulder during Week 4 of his rookie year, which caused him to miss the rest of the season. But, this past year, Mendenhall had a breakout season and took over the starting role when Willie Parker went down with an injury. Mendenhall played in all 16 games in 2009, starting 12 of them, and carried the ball 242 times for 1,108 yards and seven touchdowns. He also caught 25 passes for 261 yards and a touchdown. With Parker no longer in Pittsburgh, Mendenhall is now the featured back for the Steelers.
2. Lawrence Timmons
Even though Lawrence Timmons is entering his fourth season, he just turned 24 years old and still qualifies as a prospect in this series. And, in many respects, he still hasn't had that breakout year. Slowly but surely, Timmons is transitioning from a great athlete into a tremendous football player. Over the last two years, he's shown signs of greatness, and last year he began to put it together, as he recorded 78 tackles, seven sacks and four forced fumbles. Last year was a huge stepping-stone in Timmons' career, and this season could be the year where he turns into an All-Pro.
3. Mike Wallace
The Steelers found a gem in the third round last year when they selected Mike Wallace. Known for his game breaking speed and ability to make the acrobatic happen at Ole Miss, Wallace displayed those exact talents for the Steelers in his first season and became their big play threat. He played in all 16 games, starting four, and caught 39 passes for 756 yards and six touchdowns. With Santonio Holmes in New York and Limas Sweed out for the year with an Achilles injury, Wallace will likely be a starter opposite Hines Ward this season.
4. Maurkice Pouncey
Looking to upgrade their offensive line, the Steelers used their first round pick this past April to select a player that gives them options at center and guard. Maurkice Pouncey starred at center for Florida and dominated the SEC with his twin brother Mike. Pouncey will compete for a starting job this preseason and could emerge as a starter at guard, as Justin Hartwig has the edge at center.
5. Ziggy Hood
Nicknamed Ziggy, because his grandmother couldn't pronounce Evander, the Steelers' first round choice in 2009 didn't see much action as a rookie, and was used primarily as a situational defender and special teams contributor. He played in all 16 games and recorded eight tackles and a sack. Hood will see more action this year, and with Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel in their thirties, it won't be long until Hood takes over at defensive end full-time.
6. Jason Worilds
A second round pick in the '10 draft, Jason Worilds was the typical Steelers selection: a fast, relentless pass rusher who can create havoc in the backfield. Worilds was an all-world defender at Virginia Tech and decided to forego his senior season after he amassed 49 tackles, 11 for a loss, and 4.5 sacks as a junior. He will likely be a situational defender for the Steelers this year and will be used in certain packages to disrupt the quarterback.
7. Dennis Dixon
Dennis Dixon's time may come sooner than expected with all the controversy surrounding Ben Roethlisberger and his future in Pittsburgh. The Steelers traded for Byron Leftwich this offseason to be the starter, while Roethlisberger serves his four-to-six game suspension. But, if Leftwich struggles, Dixon will get the call. Dixon started one game last year when Roethlisberger and Charlie Batch were injured, and in that start against the Baltimore Ravens, Dixon completed 46.2-percent of his passes for 145 yards a touchdowns and an interception. He also rushed for 27 yards and scored a touchdown.
8. Emmanuel Sanders
The Steelers had to add depth at wide receiver in the draft, after they traded Holmes. And, while Emmanuel Sanders was a bit of a reach in the third round, the numbers he posted - 98 receptions for 1,339 yards and seven touchdowns - this past year at SMU were impressive. Sanders will have to compete with Arnaz Battle and Antwaan Randle El during training camp to emerge as the No. 3 or 4 wide receiver on the depth chart.
9. Kraig Urbik
After being selected in the third round in 2009, Kraig Urbik spent most of his rookie season on the inactive list. Urbik is a massive interior presence and has the strength to keep the opposition at bay. He was unable to lock down one of the backup jobs last season during the preseason, but entering his second year, and being more familiar with the scheme, he should be able to beat out Ramon Foster as the top reserve on the interior.
10. Frank Summers
A fifth round pick last year, Frank Summers started the 2009 season as the Steelers starting fullback. But, he suffered a back injury during Week 2 and was placed on injured reserve the following week. Summers isn't just a blocking fullback, he has the ability to contribute on offense as a runner and receiver. He will likely be the starting fullback this year and gives the Steelers options in the backfield.