Grading 2009 draft: Pittsburgh Steelers
July, 6, 2012
By Jamison Hensley | ESPN.com
All this week, the AFC North blog has taken a look back at the 2009 draft for each team in the division. For Friday, we'll wrap up the draft reviews with the Pittsburgh Steelers:
First round: Ziggy Hood, DE
Third round: Kraig Urbik, G, Mike Wallace, WR, and Keenan Lewis, CB
Fifth round: Joe Burnett, DB, Frank Summers, RB
Sixth round: Ra'Shon Harris, DT
Seventh round: A.Q. Shipley, C, and David Johnson, TE
Thumbs up: The Steelers came away with one of the steals of the 2009 draft by getting Wallace at the 84th pick. He was the 11th wide receiver taken in this draft after the likes of Darrius Heyward-Bey (Raiders), Mohamed Massaquoi (Browns), Brian Robiskie (Browns), Derrick Williams (Lions) and Brandon Tate (Patriots). Wallace's 3,206 yards receiving are the second-most by an active wide receiver in his first three seasons (ranks only behind Anquan Boldin). Hood has quietly stepped up as a starter the past two years when Aaron Smith was injured. Some suggest he's been a disappointment. Hood was the lowest graded 3-4 defensive end, according to Pro Football Focus. The Steelers have gotten some use out of Johnson, who could become the team's fullback this season.
Thumbs down: Urbik was a bust for the Steelers, getting cut after one full season when he lost the backup job to Ramon Foster. But Urbik proved to be one of the top pass-protecting guards in the NFL after making 13 starts last season for the Bills. Maybe the Steelers gave up on Urbik too quickly. Lewis, the last of the Steelers' three third-round picks in this draft, has been a role player behind William Gay and Bryant McFadden. With those veterans gone, this year will tell a lot about Lewis and his future with the Steelers. Burnett is now playing for the CFL's Edmonton Eskimos after playing 15 games and recording no interceptions for Pittsburgh.
Hensley's grade: B-minus. The only established starter in this draft has been Wallace, who happens to be the AFC North's best player from this draft. It's not even close. Hood has been adequate as a fill-in starter, and Lewis has yet to make a significant impact. Johnson has provided production as a seventh-round pick, which is a pleasant surprise.