Mocking the Draft wants to introduce you to an new article series taking a closer look at each team's draft workings. The WarRoom articles will give you a glimpse at the recent draft history and the decision-making structure of each NFL team. We will also include our thoughts about the structure and draft history.
Offense: The Pittsburgh offense is built around the improvisational skills of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Because of that, it's important for the team to have a good tight end like Heath Miller, a running back who can block and receivers who know how to come back to the ball when the play breaks down. Wide receiver Hines Ward has made a career of that and playing with a lot of effort. That has allowed other wide outs, be it Santonio Holmes in the past or Emmanuel Sanders now, to get down the field.
Defense: Coordinator Dick LeBeau is the master of the zone blitz from the 3-4 set. To best run his system, LeBeau needs power ends that can hold the edge and a run-stuffing nose tackle. That allows the team's athletic outside linebackers to get into the back field. The middle linebackers are used mainly against the run, though one is typically allowed to freelance. The secondary uses man coverage with safety Troy Polamalu working all over the field.
Thoughts: It seems like the Steelers draft linebackers every year, even when they don't need them. In 2010 alone, Pittsburgh took three linebackers with the thought of them developing for a couple years. That's been the Steeler way, and their success validates the theory. The same idea was employed when Rashard Mendenhall was taken in 2007, even though incumbent Willie Parker ran for more than 1,300 yards the year prior. The 2011 draft was the first in several years where to the implicitly looked to fill holes with defensive end Cameron Heyward, offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert and two defensive backs.
Kevin Colbert is one of the league's best general managers because he has a philosophy and sticks with it. The team generally takes best player available and doesn't gamble on outside players (corners and wide receivers) early.
Five-year record: 51-29
Coach: Mike Tomlin