There were plenty of happy faces around the offices of the Pittsburgh Steelers Saturday.
And why not?
The team had just pulled off a pair of draft-day heists without giving anything up in selecting running back Rashard Mendenhall and wide receiver Limas Sweed with its first two picks in the NFL draft.
Think about an offense that gives Willie Parker the ball 15 to 20 times and Mendenhall another 10 or so touches?
Or how about one that now has the 6-4 Sweed to put on the field with Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Nate Washington and Heath Miller with Pro Bowl quarterback Ben Roethlisberger distributing the ball?
Either way you look at it, it could be an explosive offense.
The Steelers came into the draft hoping to solidify their offensive and defensive lines. And to this point, they haven’t accomplished that.
It’s a priority heading into the second day.
By not taking an offensive tackle in the first two rounds Saturday, the Steelers may have uncharacteristically painted themselves into a corner for 2009, when Max Starks, Marvel Smith and Trai Essex are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents.
And on the defensive line, the same cast of characters returns for 2008 that was here in 2007. That’s not necessarily a good thing considering what happened after Aaron Smith was lost in the second half to injury.
At this point, the team needs to either pick up some linemen, or at least add to its pass rush with a linebacker. They make look for some corner help for depth.
Here’s who the Steelers could be looking at going forward to fill those needs:
Oniel Cousins, OT, UTEP; Red Bryant, DE, Texas A&M; Kendall Langford, DE, Hampton; Cliff Avril, LB; Purdue; Shawn Crable, OLB, Michigan; Marcus Howard, OLB, Georgia
Bruce Davis, OLB, ULCA; Darrell Robertson, OLB, Georgia Tech; Bryn Smith, OLB, McNeese State; Breno Giacomini, OT; Louisville; Charles Godfrey, DB, Iowa; John Greco, OL, Kent
King Dunlap, OT, Auburn; Eric Foster, DE, Rutgers; James Blair, OT, W. Michigan
William Hayes, DE, Winston Salem State; Keilen Dykes, DL, West Virginia; Jamie Silva, S, Boston College