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Steelers sit tight in draft, like their results
“We like the upside in both,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “They have different body types, but similar job descriptions.”
Taylor is an unrestricted free agent, adding to the potential woes at a position that was already considered a weakness on what was the NFL’s No. 2 total defense and No. 1 scoring defense last season.
Bryant McFadden and William Gay were the other primary corners last season, as each was mediocre. Pittsburgh has now spent five draft picks over the last three seasons on cornerbacks. None of the first three distinguished himself: Crezdon Butler, Keenan Lewis and Joe Burnett (who is no longer with the team).
“I think any time we can strengthen the secondary it is going to help us tremendously,” secondary coach Carnell Lake said. “I think this is a good start for us. I’m hoping that they can come in and help us right away.”
The first two draft picks the team made when Tomlin took over in 2007 were outside linebackers (although Lawrence Timmons has played mostly on the inside). The team has taken seven over the first five drafts under Tomlin. Still with the team are starters Timmons and LaMarr Woodley and last season’s second round pick, Jason Worilds.
Like Worilds, Woodley and Pittsburgh Pro Bowlers before him such as Joey Porter and Jason Gildon, Carter was a defensive end in a 4-3 scheme in college whom the Steelers are converting to 3-4 outside linebacker.
“Guys like that, when they play at defensive end, usually have to line up over an offensive tackle,” Pittsburgh linebackers coach Keith Butler said. “They don’t have to make formation adjustments. This will be the biggest obstacle that he will have to overcome in terms of recognizing formations and exactly where we want to line up.
“I think he’ll be OK. But, it’s going to take a couple of years for him.”
That timetable has the potential for being extended because of the lockout and the fact that, as it stands, there will be no minicamp or OTAs, and the start of training camp might be delayed.
Pittsburgh offensive line coach Sean Kugler said Williams, a sixth-round pick, “has some nasty to him.” He has a reputation for being a strong run-blocker, but needs to work on his pass protection to succeed at the NFL level.
Williams joined Marcus Gilbert of Florida, a second rounder, as offensive linemen added by the Steelers.
“They are different types of players, but … both have qualities that we like,” Kugler said. “They’re both smart kids, I think they’re both going to fit well in the room, and they’ve got offensive lineman personalities. I think they’re both going to be good Steeler-types for years to come.”
Batch, a 5-10, 210-pound seventh rounder, is expected to compete for a spot as the Steelers‘ third-down back after compiling 2,501 rushing yards and 3,612 all-purpose yards in college.
“He was an excellent running back in a Texas Tech offense that’s really like a third-down offense in the NFL,” Colbert said. “His ability as a receiver catching the ball was very impressive to us.”
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
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