12:05 a.m. (Sunday): Now that I'm home and watching the Pirates beat the snot out of the Padres, I wanted to take a look at some players the Steelers may be seeking with their three third-round picks. Looking at some needs the team has, there could be some players that intrigue them and will be available with the 15th, 20th and 32nd picks in round 3.
One that intrigues me is Oklahoma WR Juaquin Iglesias. He was very productive last year for the Sooners and his nice size, around 6 foot 1 and 210 pounds. He goes over the middle well, blocks well and returns kickoffs. All things the Steelers need. He's probably not as good a WR as PSU's Derrick Williams, but may be around when they pick at 15. I just feel Iglesias may be a good fit with the Steelers. Not that Williams wouldn't be, but I think there's a better chance Iglesias is around when they pick.
If the Steelers are looking on the line, they may want to look a couple guards. Kraig Urbik out of Wisconsin, a huge (6-5 and 328) road grader type will be around probably late in that round. If indeed center is where the Steelers want to go, they could go after Penn State and Moon native A.Q. Shipley. But he may be a reach in the 3rd round, unless he's at the 32 spot. I think most folks projected Shipley late 4, early 5, but need sometimes demands you take a guy a bit early.
Cornerback is still an area where they may look in round 3. Georgia CB Asher Allen is the next best corner out there and could be a very good 3rd-round pick. After that, I'd not look at a corner until round 5. But if Allen is there at the 15th spot, he'd be hard to pass up. Nice size (5-9 and 194) and he's got solid overall skills. He can return punts, too.
The final spot the Steelers may look at an OT, and Penn State's Gerald Cadogan may be a good late-round pick.
But with those three picks, the Steelers essentially will draft the players for next year. Add Ziggy Hood to the mix and that's the core of the rookie class. They may try to package one of their 5s and their 6 to get back into the 4th round if they see someone they like, but I don't see them making 8 picks today (Sunday). Two of the picks, compensatory picks in 5 and 7, cannot be traded. But the regular picks can.
Enjoy the draft tomorrow. I may be back here at some point to do a bit more blogging, so come on by and let's hear from you.
10:05 p.m.: GM Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin just addressed the media. Usual praise for Ziggy Hood, who Colbert said likely would never be called by his given name Evander. Apparently, Hood's grandmother also goes by Ziggy. Colbert said Hood can play multiple positions on the defensive line and can go inside when they play 4-man fronts. He's already graduated from Missouri and Tomlin said Hood is just the type of player they want. Personality wise, he said, Hood should fit right in.
That's it from the South Side. The Steelers made their pick and now have a lot of work to do in round 3. Colbert said they felt there were several players at the end of round 2 they could take and rather than settle for one, traded up to take three on Sunday. He's obviously confident they can do that with three of the next 25 picks.
We'll still offer our Twitter alerts on Sunday, as well as on our breaking news section on post-gazette.com. You can sign up for the Twitter alerts at Twitter.com/PittsburghPGNow.
Thanks for taking the time to comment. I may post something later on tonight, but if not, let me say I appreciate every comment and page view. Good to know the Steeler Nation is out in force for day 1 of the draft.
9:46 p.m.: Traded the pick to Denver, so they'll get more picks tomorrow. The Steelers got 2 third-round picks and surrendered a fourth to Denver. So the Steelers now have three picks in round 3 and none in round 4. The Steelers will select with the 79th, 84th and 96th overall picks. The 79th and 84th are from Denver. The fourth they surrendered was the 132nd pick overall.
On the day, the Steelers added one player, DE Evander "Ziggy" Hood. A legit first-rounder, but now they can go down and get some depth at less price. None of these guys likely will start who they take from day 2. Hood likely will see playing time, however, and is Aaron Smith's eventual replacement. Not a great day, not a bad day. The best thing was getting the extra picks in round 3 for a late 2.
9:45 p.m.: Tennessee took Auburn's big DT Sen'Derrick Marks, so Arizona is on the clock. You think Arizona feels they are owed one by the Steelers so they can call them up, ask who they are thinking of taking, then pick him ahead of the Steelers? Is that payback for ripping your hearts out in February. Arizona just took Cody Brown, DL from UConn. Steelers are up. Let's have some fun here, Derrick Williams, who can do a lot of different things for you. But best bet is C.J. Moore, CB from Vanderbilt.
9:35 p.m.: The Giants just snatched OT William Beatty away from the Steelers and now Miami is up. Tennessee, Arizona and then the Steelers are left. You still have a couple CBs left and Derrick Williams is out there. CB C.J. Moore and Williams are return men, too, so maybe the Steelers head that direction. Miami just took CB/S Sean Smith, thus taking him off the Steelers board. I'm sure the Steelers would have liked to have gone up in this round, but my guess is the price was way too high. It's hard to move from the last spot in a round to the middle or higher. And in this draft, you have some reaches in round 2, so it only gets worse as you move on. This won't be a reach pick for the Steelers, but losing out on the top OLs in this draft has to make you wonder. They obviously believe what they have here is good, and that last year's 4th-round pick, T Tony Hills, is getting better by the minute.
9:23 p.m.: Indianapolis traded up with Miami and grabbed USC DL Fili Moala. That's a nice pick for the 2nd round becuase Moala at one time was considered one of the better interior DLs in this draft. Baltimore followed with Paul "Freddie" Kruger, who will play OLB in the NFL, from Utah. New England just drafted a guy from Germany who is a developmental prospect at OT. When you have a zillion 2nd-round picks in a draft that's not deep with talent, you do that. The Steelers are six spots away from making the final pick of the day. Unless they trade out of round 2, they'll end today's draft action. We'll keep an eye on these players: UConn OT William Beatty, Penn St. WR Derrick Williams, Vandy CB C.J. Moore and Utah CB/S Sean Smith.
9:06 p.m.: Minnesota just took Phil Loadholt, OT from Oklahoma. Absolutely the best name-fits-position in the draft. I can just hear his coach saying, "Get your feet moving, you Loadholt!" Some speculation the Steelers were interested in him, but I think it was a longshot he'd be there at No. 64 overall. NFL Network's Mike Mayock just said Loadholt "has the wingspread of a Pterodactyl." That's great stuff even if it is just strange. The Steelers still have 8 teams in front of them picking. How about Penn State's Derrick Williams at the end of round 2? Or Vandy CB CJ Moore?
8:58 p.m.: LeSean McCoy, the terrific RB from Pitt, was just taken by the Eagles in round 2. McCoy grew up in Harrisburg, so he's playing close to home. Good for him and good for Pitt. Another top player from that program heads to the NFL. McCoy will be a good player in the NFL. And he's going to a good situation with Andy Reid as his head coach. The Eagles already have RB Michael Westbrook as the starter, so McCoy can work his way in.
The Bills took the first guard selected in this draft, Andrew Levitre from Oregon St., after they traded with Dallas. The Bills have now taken C Eric Wood and Levitre, the top-rated guard in the draft. They certainly are stocking up on the OL.
The Steelers brass is coming out after round 2, it was just announced. Long-time draft reporters here said this is the first time that has happened. No reason given.
8:50 p.m.: Cleveland just took Mohamed Massaquoi, WR from Georgia, with their 2nd pick in round 2. Dallas is up, then the Browns again. In this round, Cleveland has taken 2 WRs. Braylon Edwards can start packing anytime. If the Browns cut him, somone will grab him because he just looks the part, and I think it takes longer to learn how to play WR in this league than almost any other position. This is Dallas' first pick in the draft. Maybe WR or safety.
8:39 p.m.: Maybe the brass is going to come out one time and be done with us. The Bears just traded with Seattle, delaying their first pick in this draft. But they now have Jay Cutler at QB, so they already got a lottery pick so to speak. Let's end the mystery, Max Unger was just selected by Seattle. The Steelers now likely will wait to see what's available to them late in this round. I think Unger would have been an excellent fit here, but that's not going to happen. There are still some guards (not one has been selected yet) and tackles on the board. Some will be late 2nd-round value.
8:31 p.m.: If the Steelers are trying to trade up, they must be having a difficult time finding a partner. And looking at the next few picks (Houston just took DE Connor Barwin of Cincinnati), the Steelers may not have many trading partners. Denver is on the clock, Chicago will make their first pick of the draft next, then Cleveland, then Dallas, also with their first pick. If they want Unger or Beatty, one of those guys may not be around after that group drafts. The Raiders, by the way, just took a safety named Mike Mitchell from Ohio U. Ourlads, one of the best draft scouting organizations around, doesn't even have him listed. But he supposedly ran a fast 40 at the Combine and that's usually good enough for Al Davis.
8:21 p.m.: The Miami Dolphins just took WVU's Pat White, who will be a very intriguing player in the NFL. A fun guy to have on a team because you can do a lot of different things with him. He can run and throw. Now, he's not WR-ready yet, but he can do some damage there, too. I don't now if he can return punts, but if he can, look out. He's an Antwaan Randle-El waiting to happen. Great pick. Wonder if the Steelers were thinking of White as they deliberate in their back room.
8:18 p.m.: Still no word from the Steelers brass, but a couple guys you'd think they want: OL Max Unger and OT William Beatty, are still on the board. Jairus Byrd, CB of Oregon, went to Buffalo in round 2. Carolina just traded with San Francisco and selected Everette Brown of Florida State, who fell through the floor in this draft. He and Maualuga have experienced the biggest falls thus far. Still mystery surrounding the Steelers and the 2nd round. Something must be up for Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin to be waiting this long.
8:12 p.m. New England used another 2nd-round pick to take UConn CB Darius Butler. A very nice pick for the Patriots, who have a need there. There were only 2 CBs in this draft who were first-round type -- Vontae Davis and Malcolm Jenkins. But there are 3 or 4 CBs in round 2 that could go that are very good. Butler is one of them, and Alphonso Smith of Wake Forest, taken by Denver in round 2 after a trade with Seattle.
8:05 p.m.: The Pats have back-to-back picks and the first is Ron Brace, a DL from nearby Boston College. The Steelers now have Evander Hood on the phone. Hood says you can call him Evander or Ziggy, whichever you prefer. He's excited about being in the 3-4, but knows he'll need to adjust to playing a 3-4 end. He says he'll learn what he has to do. His nickname came from the comic strip Ziggy. Check out Ziggy's bio.
8:01 p.m.: Bit of a light moment here. The Steelers PR folks usually get the draft picks on a conference call with the media here. Problem is, they can't reach him. At all. They do keep trying though. Still no word from Steelers brass. I have the feeling Kevin Colbert is burning up the phone lines to get higher in this round.
7:53 p.m.: The Bengals made me feel better because they just make Rey Maualuga feel better by selecting him in round 2. Excellent pick and value at that spot. Jacksonville, New England and Buffalo are next. If the Steelers are indeed trying to trade up, they will have three AFC rivals to deal with in the next 3 picks. And I have to believe Buffalo is going after an OT.
7:48 p.m.: Adding insult to injury, I realized I'm misspelling Rey Maualuga's name. Not his rather difficult last name, but his first. My apologies to the Maualuga family, who I'm sure is reading this blog intently. Sheesh, do I feel dumb. Still no word from Steelers brass. I have the feeling they are working feverishly for Unger, which would give them a very good first day. My guess is the battle is can they get anyone to take a 4th-round pick instead of a 3rd. And I'd imagine a trade of 2nd-round picks is assumed.
7:44 p.m.: OK, some intrigue here on the South Side. GM Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin have not come out yet. Word is they may be trying to trade up enough in this round to take Max Unger, the OL from Oregon. We'll keep an eye on it.
7:42 p.m.: Browns with the first of their four second-round picks take WR Brian Robiskie of Ohio State, making it back-to-back Buckeyes, as the Rams selected LB James Laurinitis of OSU with their pick in round 2. Seattle on the clock now. We'll see if one of the two OTs -- Eben Britton or William Beatty -- goes now. If I'm Ray Maualuga, I'm marking my time knowing that someone is getting a real steal, even if I'm steamed because I'm watching money fly out the door as every team passes.
7:33 p.m.: Patriots take another safety, Patrick Chung of Oregon. The Rams are up next. Ray Maualuga could be gone here, or you might see Max Unger go. The Rams already have their LT of the future in first-round pick Jason Smith. Cleveland, Seattle and Cincinnati follow the Rams. I'll bet the Steelers wish they could trade up this high to snag an OT or a guy like Maualuga. Darius Butler, CB of UConn, is a possibility here, too.
7:33 p.m.: Oh well, Detroit went the other way, taking S Louis Delmas, the big hitter from Western Michigan. Now the first of New England's four 2nd-round picks. Cleveland has four picks in round 2, also.
7:29: Detroit is up to start the second and final round of the day. They have to be very pleased to see both OTs -- UConn's William Beatty and Arizona's Eben Britton available. And they have to be ecstatic to see USC's ILB Ray Maualuga still there. They will get good value here after taking the best TE in Brandon Pettigrew with their 2nd pick in round 1. I didn't like that pick, but there's a lot of like here. You may even see Max Unger go here. As much as I'd have loved to see him with the Steelers, they can get guys lower in the draft to play OL.
7:26 p.m.: Ed Bouchette is right: the Steelers take DL Evander "Ziggy" Hood from Missouri. We'll have the Steelers brass in here shortly to discuss their newest defensive lineman. In the meantime, check out his highlight reel:
7:19 p.m.: The Cards take Chris Wells of Ohio St. No mystery there. Steelers are on the clock. They are in good shape, but they may be trying to trade back a few spots because they can get the guys they want even if they are in the top 10 of round 2. If it's me, I'm going with Max Unger, who is a proven commodity as an OL. He is a high character, impact OL who could play anywhere on the line. Our NFL expert, Ed Bouchette, still sees DE Ziggy Hood of Mizzou here. I flirted with saying they'd take a corner, but too many good OLs and a high quality 3-4 DE is left. And you can't pass on good linemen. I'd like to see Unger here, but I think Ed will be right that the next Steeler will be Evander "Ziggy" Hood.
7:12 p.m.: The Titans take WR Kenny Britt of Rutgers, a nice pick because of his size. His stock has risen dramatically in the last week or so. The Cardinals, who could use RB help, can't believe Chris "Beanie" Wells is available. He's one of the better RBs in the draft. And they even could grab Ray Maualuga as an ILB. Arizona is set up pretty nicely for picks at No. 31. And the Steelers will be pretty set with a full table ahead of them. OTs William Beatty and Eben Britton are there. DE Evander "Ziggy" Hood is there. OL Max Unger is there. That's not bad when you're picking No. 32.
7:08 p.m.: Well, the Giants went WR, but it was Hakeem Nicks of North Carolina instead of the guy in their back yard, Kenny Britt of Rutgers. The Titans could be the team that disappoints the Steelers here with the selection of Ziggy Hood. They lost Albert Haynesworth and Hood certainly can play an inside DT. Tennessee has needs at CB, but Darius Butler of UConn, and Alphonso Smith of Wake Forest are the next best corners.
7:02 p.m.: So much for the Steelers trading down to take C Eric Wood. Buffalo took care of that, taking the Louisville product at No. 28. The Giants are up now and you may see Rutgers WR Kenny Britt sneak up into round 1 here. He's a tall, fast guy and he'll be a nice replacement for Plax Burress. After NY, the Titans and Cardinals pick before the Steelers.
6:59 p.m.: The Steelers dodge a bullet there with the Colts taking UConn RB Donald Brown. Not a bad pick, but he'll need a bit of time to learn. He's very good, though, and will help the Colts offense. Joseph Addai always seems to be dinged up, so Brown is a pick for the present and the future. Buffalo, with their second pick in the first round is on the clock. I'm thinking we could see a UConn double with OT William Beatty going to the Bills.
6:50 p.m.: Green Bay trades up out of round 2 and gets NE's pick at 26. The Packers take LB Clay Matthews of USC. He would not have been there in round 2, but I wonder if he's worth trading up to get him. I'm going to see if I can get the trades at some point. The NFL is bad about getting that stuff posted. But the Pats already have a lot of round 2 picks. I just heard GB gave NE their second-round and 2 third-round picks. Holy cow, what a steal for the Pats and Belichick. His protege, Eric Mangini, is doing the same thing. Cleveland and the Pats will have a ton of picks coming up. The Colts are up now and they need a DE. This could be making Kevin Colbert a bit nervous because Ziggy Hood could go here. If not, you'll hear the sigh of relief from the South Side.
6:44 p.m.: New England is up and if I were a betting man, and at times I am, I have to his this is where Ray Maualuga goes. Nice fit for the Pats and they have a need there. They might go Clay Matthews here, but he's an outside LB where as Maualuga is an inside guy only. I thnk their need is for an ILB. Maualuga's knock is that he may not be an every-down 'backer.
The Steelers are seven picks away and still might be able to trade down if they like. If the rumors of C Eric Wood are to be believed, he'll be there in the first 7 or so of the second round. But our own Ed Bouchette's prediciton of Mizzou DE Ziggy Hood is still very alive. But there's a lot happening between now and then.
6:39 p.m.: Two Ole Miss guys in a row are gone with Atlanta's pick of Perria Jerry. Nice pick, particularly at No. 24. He was projected much higher. Bill Parcells turn on the clock. The Dolphins need a guard in a draft where guards are all second-round guys. Maybe Ray Maualuga here because they do have a need at LB. I still think Vontae Davis is viable here, too.
6:34 p.m.: I realize I never said who the Ravens took: OL Michael Oher, Ole Miss.
6:30 p.m.: All three teams in the AFC North who have picked -- Cincy, Cleveland and Baltimore -- took offensive lineman. Don't tell me when you have the Steelers in your division it doesn't affect your draft. Teams have to have players who can negate the Steelers defense. I'd not be surprised now to see the Steelers really hope the Ziggy Hood is sitting there at 32. That's the counter to good O-linemen. Atlanta is now up. Maybe Chris Wells.
6:28 p.m.: Bill Bellichek is at work. Pick traded to the Ravens.
6:26 p.m.: Well, if Percy Harvin stays healthy and has no off-field issues, then Minnesota got a nice impact player for their indoor carpet. Now you are seeing some quality guys fall deeper into the draft. The three tackles -- Britton, Oher and Beatty -- as well as Vontae Davis at CB, LB Clay Matthews and RB Chris Wells. New England may take Davis off the board here or grab one of the tackles.
6:24 p.m.: The Steelers just lost a guy they had their eye on, but it doesn't really hurt them. No one had C Alex Mack this high, but he is the best center in the draft. Not a bad pick at all by Cleveland, but puzzling because OTs are better picks, usually, and there are still three good ones left on the board. The Steelers are now in sight of picking with Minnesota on the clock at 22. Look for the Vikings to go OT and take one of the Big 3 left.
6:16 p.m.: Well, this is why they are the Lions. OK, Brandon Pettigrew is the best TE in the draft, but you had bigger needs in Detroit. Don't like that pick with 3 good tackles left on the board as well as a very good CB in Vontae Davis Let's see if Cleveland stays at No. 22. They've traded three times already today. All the guys who were there a few picks ago are still there, so the trades didn't hurt Cleveland. Davis, RB Chris Wells, LB Clay Matthews or WR Kenny Britt. So far, all these trades haven't hurt the Browns at all.
6:10 p.m.: Mike Mayock isn't the only guy who forgot about Jeremy Maclin still being there. Nice pickup by Philly because he can do some things. A bit smallish, but he'll be good down the road. Nice pickup and Cleveland now owns a ton of draft picks. Now the second of the Lions first-round pick. Maybe Detroit can grab one of those next-tier tackles -- Britton, Beatty or Oher -- to protect their rather sizeable investment in QB Matthew Stafford. If they want to go on the other side of the ball, CB Vontae Davis is still there. And maybe if they want another WR to go with Calvin Johnson, Kenny Britt or Rutgers is sitting there.
6:02 p.m.: Robert Ayres, DE from Tennessee, is the newest Denver Broncos player. His only drawback is he had one good season in Knoxville, so not a long track record. But if you see film of this guy, you'll see he's a terrific player. If he pans out, Denver will have a very good player for years to come. Cleveland just traded their pick, again, to Philadelphia. The Eagles moved two spots At some point, I'll fill you in on what the Browns have. They must have a ton of second or third-round picks. Eagles are looking TE, and Brandon Pettigrew is the best of those in this draft.
5:58 p.m.: Josh Freeman it is. Now the Broncos, who were waiting in the weeds for Freeman, are hosed. This is the pick Denver got for Jay Cutler, but it will not be a QB. The defense needs to be addressed. Perria Jerry, NT from Ole Miss or the guys the Steelers may covet, DE Ziggy Hood from Mizzou, might be the choice.
5:55 p.m.: Eric Mangini is collecting draft picks. Tampa Bay on the clock in a trade with Cleveland, where the Bucs move up 2 spots. Maybe QB Josh Freeman of Kansas St. is the pick here or Vontae Davis, the Illinois CB.
5:50 p.m.: OK, I'm not buying that the newest SD Charger, LB Larry English of Northern Illinois, is the next LaMarr Woodley as Mike Mayock is saying on NFL Network. If you want to go OLB, Clay Matthews is a solid pick, but not at 16. Oh well, we'll see how that works out. Now the Browns. In very good shape are the dear Brownies. They can go Matthews here or Vontae Davis, CB from Illinois. But WRs Kenny Britt of Rutgers and Jeremy Maclin or Mizzou are both there and could be tempting. Very tempting. Outside shot that they'll take Ray Maualuga from USC, who is the best inside 'backer in the draft, but may not be a 4-down player.
5:45 p.m.: No surprise with Texans taking Cushing. Now the Chargers. They may grab one of the second-tier tackles, Eben Britton of Arizona, William Beatty of UConn or Michael Oher of Ole Miss. If not, maybe Donald Brown, RB, UConn, but I think they could trade down and get him.
5:40: The Texans are in a nice spot here. USC's Brian Cushing or his teammate, Clay Matthews, are both available. I like Cushing here. It makes sense because in the 3-4, he'll be a superb pass rusher.
5:30 p.m.: Knowshon Moreno? You kidding me. Denver has gone crazy. The Redskins can't wait to pick Brian Orakpo, a very good DE who can get after the QB. Two very quick picks and now we're up to the Saints, who likely are very disappointed that Moreno is gone as well as Orapko. They could use a good outside 'backer and maybe this is where USC's Brian Cushing goes. If they decide to stay the RB course, Ohio State's Chris "Beanie" Wells could be the card that Roger Goodell gets from the Saints. And don't leave out a shot at CB here. Malcolm Jenkins, Wells' teammate at OSU, could be the guy here.
5:24 p.m.: First Penn State players go when Buffalo takes Aaron Maybin, the OLB/DE hybrid. He put on 15 pounds for the Combine, but he's not a ready-made run stopper. He's a great pass rusher and the Bills may make him a situational guy at first. They could have gone OT here, too, with Michael Oher or William Beatty, but chose a guy who may be an impact player on defense. Denver's on the clock with the first of 2 first-round picks The Broncos need defense and maybe you see Ole Miss' Peria Jerry here. The Broncos stunk against the run last year and Jerry is a good run stuffer. If not, then maybe Brian Orakpo, but I see Orakpo as more of a pass-rush guy.
5:17 p.m.: See, what did I tell you. Singletary is a defensive guy so he'll go defense. Wrong again. Michael Crabtree is a very good WR who has been very productive guy in college. And he's certainly at the top of the WR depth chart for the 49ers. I'm listening to former Niners' coach Steve Mariucci on NFL Network talk about him and how WR Isaac Bruce will be able to work with Crabtree to make him better. I don't think the Niners could have gone wrong here, and they did not.
Side note here. On NFL Network Jon Gruden and Mariucci are part of the coverage team. Both those guys were head coaches when I was a sports editor at the Contra Costa Times in the Bay Area. That's where I was before coming to Pittsburgh. Both were terrific coaches and lived in long shadows. Mariucci had to deal with the legend of Bill Walsh, and Gruden worked for Al Davis. Enough said on the latter.
5:12 p.m.: The 49ers are in a very nice position here. You still can get a quality WR in Michael Crabtree. You have two very good DEs in Aaron Maybin and Brian Orakpo and you have USC's Brian Cushing, who projects to be a 3-4 pass rusher at LB. Lots of places to go. I think they'll go with either Maybin or Cushing. Thinking new coach Mike Singletary is a defensive guy and likes linebackers. Watch, it'll probably be Crabtree. We'll know soon.
5:06 p.m.: I've been in draft mode, but this is now on our site that Hines Ward had his contract extended for four more years for $22 million. Steelers get much-needed salary cap help. Ward will end his career a Steeler. As it should be.
5:05 p.m.: Nice pick by Jacksonville because Eugene Monroe should be a very good OT in this league for a long time. He's the last of the Big Three OTs available in this draft so why not grab him. You have the next level of tackles -- Arizona's Eben Britton, UConn's William Beatty and Ole Miss' Michael Oher.
Green Bay's turn and DL is a huge need. You have BJ Raji available as well as Peria Jerry of Ole Miss. Two very good DLs that should have immediate impact in the NFL. I'm thinking they'll go with an inside guy rather than a Brian Orakpo, the standout Texas DE. If the Packers go inside, the 49ers may go outside next, with Orakpo or Penn State's Aaron Maybin.
4:58 p.m.: Unless Jacksonville trades down, but I don't think they will, look for BJ Raji to go here. Heyward-Bey is a burner and you know a guy like Al Davis would love him. Crabtree is falling a bit now because it may be a while before someone takes a WR. That said, if Jacksonville wants, they may trade down if someone wants Michael Crabtree in this spot. Another very good OT, Eugene Monroe, is still available, too.
4:46 p.m.: Bengals take a very talented player in OT Andre Smith from Alabama, but there are some weight issues as well as some off-field issues with him. He just left the NFL Combine in February, unannounced, and did not do well in the interviews. But the Bengals take a guy who on paper could be an excellent tackle for a number of years. And with defenses like the Steelers and Ravens in the division, big tackles who can play in space are always needed The always interesting Raiders are up on the clock. Al Davis likes speed and Jamarcus Russell could use a WR. Michael Crabtree or Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey.
4:40 p.m.: Browns get three players -- S Abram Elam, DL Kenyon Coleman and QB Brett Ratliff -- from the Jets as well as the No. 17 pick overall and the Jets 2nd-round pick in this draft. I'm not sure Sanchez is as great a QB as everyone thinks he can be, but he's better than anything the Jets have. I think he'll be a good NFL QB, but not sure he'll be a guy who leads you to the promised land. Nice trade for Cleveland. Eric Mangini wants some of his old players and now he's got them in Cleveland. Bengals up.
4:35 p.m.: Draft craziness. Browns trade this slot to the Jets. Mark Sanchez, welcome to New York.
4:30 p.m.: Not a bad pick for Seattle after KC goes for another LSU defensive player in DE Tyson Jackson. Aaron Curry is going to be a terrific LB in the NFL and Seattle will be set at OLB for some time to come. Add Curry to Lofa Tatupu and you have a LB corps that's one of the best in the NFC. Now it's Cleveland's turn. Some talk here that they may trade Brady Quinn because they may take Mark Sanchez. I still look for them to take a DL such as Brian Orakpo or or BJ Raji.
4:10 p.m.: A lot of angst on the part of teams like Washington and the Jets, but St. Louis doesn't go for QB Mark Sanchez, instead, opting for excellent OT Jason Smith out of Baylor. Now it could get interesting. Conventional wisdom has the Chiefs taking ILB Aaron Curry of Wake Forest, but you'd heard names like LSU DE Tyson Jackson here or even Sanchez. We'll see. Curry is an excellent player and would fit well with what the Chiefs need. I think picks 3-8 hold quite a bit of mystery.
3:30 p.m.: OK, we're a half-hour away from the Lions taking Georgia QB Matt Stafford. Pretty empty draft room over at the South Side HQ of the Steelers. Most of the guys working here today are covering the Steelers draft and if they don't trade up, won't be drafting until around 8 p.m. Since I'm here to blog the entire first 2 rounds, I'm an early bird. I'm joined by Dan Gigler who will be doing some email blasts when guys are drafted as well as handling some video duties for the Post-Gazette. In the meantime, everyone's got an eye on the Pens game. Thank goodness there are 3 TVs here.
12:30 p.m.: I just realized I referred to Louisville C Eric Wood as Leonard Wood down further in this blog. I'd like to say that's the last time I'll blow a name all day, but probably not. I apologize to Mr. Wood and to you fellow commenters/bloggers. How can you be a good draftnik if you can't get those names right! Poor form on my part.
12:25 p.m.: For those of you who'd like to be hooked up by your mobile phone, the P-G is offering that service. You can go here http://post-gazette.com/pg/09112/964626-66.stm to get live updates and alerts on your cell phone. Our Online Sports Editor Dan Gigler is part of our draft day team and will be "tweeting" on Twitter all day from the South Side, too. And of course, we'll have all the breaking news (as well as this blog) at post-gazette.com.
Funny NFL Network moment: Correspondent Brian Baldinger is outside the 49ers draft HQ in Santa Clara, Calif., and he's on the air showing a door to the "war room" slightly ajar. He breathlessly says he's not allowed inside, but then holds up a piece of paper he says is the seating chart that head coach Mike Singletary has put together. And then that's it. They cut back to the studio. Seating chart? The 49ers need someone to throw the ball rather than a chart to know where to sit on draft day. Yikes.
11:30 a.m.: The draft is 4.25 hours away. Thanks for the early comments. Just a reminder, Ed Bouchette is not doing this blog, I am (Jerry Micco). Don't want folks to think Ed isn't getting back to them. But you can count on Ed being in Sunday's Post-Gazette with all the coverage of Draft Day, along with the P-G's Gerry Dulac, columnist Ron Cook and Paul Zeise, who will look at the local college draftees.
I see many of you agree with Ed and say D-Line is your pick for round 1. Evander "Ziggy" Hood, a DT from Missouri, is Ed's pick and that seems viable. Some of you think the Steelers can drop to the middle of round 2 and pick up a second pick in round 3 to go after some OL depth. I think that drop is too far. I think they still have to stay in the top 10 of round 2 to grab a top-flight C or OL (Alex Mack or Leonard Wood of Louisville).
Mel Kiper is saying in his mock draft that the Browns could trade Brady Quinn today and draft Mark Sanchez of USC at No. 5. I think there will be some early movement in this draft and Nos. 3-8 could be very intriguing.
Back to Ziggy Hood, here's a link to a 2:30 minute clip on YouTube to Missouri's top DL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fiWgAZf0v4
My next post will be from the Steelers South Side HQ later today, and certainly before Georgia QB Matt Stafford is a Lion. Let's hear from you, fellow draftniks!
3:15 a.m. OK, I'm hooked on these NFL Network Top 10 shows, particularly the "Best Draft Trades" and "Biggest Draft Busts." Can't believe the Steelers getting Jerome Bettis from the Rams was the 9th-best draft-day trade. A little low in my opinion.
Speaking of opinions, our Steelers beat reporter extraordinaire, Ed Bouchette, has his mock draft out. A bit of a surprise, from the dean of Pittsburgh football writers. Here's a link: http://post-gazette.com/pg/09115/965519-66.stm
What do you think about Ed's picks? Let's hear from you guys early and often.
1 a.m.: A lot of people think this day -- Draft Day, or draft day depending on how you look at it -- is one big over-hyped event the NFL created to get itself on TV in late April.
I say baloney. To me, it is the best day on the NFL calendar. There is nothing quite like it in all of sports. Draft Day is where every fan of their NFL team is an expert. Draft Day is a day where every fan is a general manager, player personnel director and scout all rolled into one. Draft Day is where everyone wants to be Mel Kiper or Mike Mayock. Or at least they think they are.
The draft begins at 4 p.m. today and the Lions have already signed QB Matthew Stafford, so the St. Louis Rams will be on the clock at about 4:01 p.m. The Steelers, unless they trade pick No. 32, will draft around 8 p.m. If they do trade the pick, my guess is they'll trade down. But like all draftniks, I'm playing a guessing game here.
A few places to look for action in the first round:
-- Kansas City at No. 3 has been touted by every mock draft expert as taking ILB Aaron Curry, but Scott Pioli, late of the Patriots and the Chiefs new front office guru, may trade down or look at a DE like Tyson Jackson of LSU.
-- Seattle at No. 4 may grab QB Mark Sanchez of USC. Matt Hasselbeck is 33. Look for Washington to trade up if they can. The Redskins covet Sanchez.
-- Jacksonville at No. 8, is Sanchez is still available, may trade out of that spot to a Washington or the NY Jets, who also would love to get Sanchez. Imagine the Jets draft crazies if the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets pull that one off.
-- If one of the good OTs besides Eugene Monroe, Jason Smith or Andre Smith who will all be gone in the first 12 picks, is around at say 25 or 26, you may see the Steelers see if they can move up to grab him. Ebon Britton of Arizona or William Beatty of UConn might be around then and the Steelers may be interested in those guys. Chances are they won't, though.
Overall, this is not a deep draft. It's a draft where you have some excellent and very good players in the first round, but it starts to slide a bit afer that. It's a draft where you can pick up some guys in lower rounds that might work out. But there is a tremendous drop off between the top few guys at each position to the next level. For instance, there are three QBs who can play in the NFL in the draft. The Lions already have one, Sanchez and Josh Freeman of Kansas State. After that, a QB may not go until round 4. Good tackles, but the really good ones are all gone in round 1. Some decent WRs at the top, but it fades after 5 or 6 guys. Couple good CBs, but after that, the guys behind them will be backups at least early in their careers.
The conventional mock draft wisdom has the Steelers taking either C-T Max Unger of Oregon or C Alex Mack of Cal. Either one would be a solid pick. Both good players and good character guys. Unger can play center or either tackle and Mack is a pure center, and rated as the best at his position in this draft. I'm thinking they'll go with either of those guys, and I think both will be available. If any of them go before 32, it likely is Unger. I think the Steelers will try to get a CB, WR and DL in this draft. Maybe a couple CBs and maybe one as high as round 2. Look for maybe a big RB or FB in, say, the fifth round. And look for them to maybe trade a pick or two. They have nine picks in this draft and really don't need that many. They have 2 picks each in rounds 5 and 7. They may package a couple of those late picks to move up in a round.
Well, we're 15 hours from the start. I'll be at the Steelers South Side HQ blogging rounds one and two. And as always, your comments are welcomed and needed to keep this blog going. I look forward to reading them and reading your thoughts on this draft.
As I said before, this is one of my favorite days in the entire sports year. See you on draft day!