|Pittsburgh Steelers 2008 NFL Draft Grade|
One word describes the Pittsburgh Steelers draft – Exceptional. It’s rare to think that every guy you take could, and very well should, make a meaningful impact for a division champion. That is this class in Pittsburgh. Big time prospects throughout. Starting from the top is halfback Rashard Mendenhall from Illinois; he adds the thunder to a now two-back system with Willie Parker. The Big-10 player of the year capped a big year with a huge game against USC in the Rose Bowl. That game may have catapulted him into the first round.
Next they took big target receiver Limas Sweed from Texas. This could be an absolute steal this late in the second round. He has experience, speed and size to explode on the scene in Pittsburgh. He will replace the aging Hines Ward on the outside, extending Ward's career as a dominant slot receiver. Bruce Davis from UCLA should be able to stand up in the 3-4 defense and rush the quarterback with reckless abandon. A super athletic end from the west coast who thrilled fans with his speed and athleticism for years takes his show to Pittsburgh.
We go back to offense with Tony Hills and Dennis Dixon. Hills is a versatile lineman that you look for this late. He was not a reach by any stretch of the imagination. They are calling Dixon the next Slash; but let me tell you now, they can use him that way but the kid is a quarterback. Strung slight and wiry, he has superb athletic ability and the arm to boot. Think Randall Cunningham in a nutshell. We finish with Mike Humpal from Iowa and Ryan Mundy by way of West Virginia. Both should contribute on Special Teams and could be nice rotation players later on.
There are no sleepers in my eyes as the Steelers hit the nail on the head with every selection. To make the fans happy I'll say Dennis Dixon could surprise people. He will battle for a starting job one day whether it is in Pittsburgh or elsewhere. He has the ability and he put all together in his senior season before going down with a devastating knee injury down in the desert. He would have won the Heisman Trophy and potentially a National Championship had he stayed healthy. He is not really a sleeper but a steal in any respect.
Round 1 (23) – Rashard Mendenhall – RB – 5’11” 210 – Illinois
Round 2 (53) – Limas Sweed – WR – 6’4” 212 – Texas
Round 3 (88) – Bruce Davis – DE – 6’3” 252 – UCLA
Round 4 (130) – Tony Hills – OT – 6’6” 305 – Texas
Round 5 (156) – Dennis Dixon – QB – 6’4” 205 – Oregon
Round 6 (188) – Mike Humnal – LB – 6’3” 244 – Iowa
Round 6 (194) – Ryan Mundy – FS – 6’1” 215 – West Virginia
Pittsburgh Steelers – Draft Grade – A+
By T. Lewis, 20Yardline.com