Experts say you need to wait 3 years before you grade a draft class. That means that this offseason we get to grade the Steelers 2009 draft class. Last summer I graded the 2008 class. It was Mike Tomlin’s second draft class and it was a horrid class earning a D- minus grade for the entire class. Other than stealing Mendenhall in the first round the Steelers failed to bring in any real talent and the only other player left on the team is Ryan Mundy.
The 2009 class had some much better moments but it also had its own down falls. The Steelers made some good trades and picked up Mike Wallace in the third round. We ended up getting at least 3 starters out of the 9 picks. That is not to bad. Lets take a look.
2009 Steelers Draft:
Round 1- Ziggy Hood- Hood was a surprise to most of us out there as he was looked at as a 3-4 defensive tackle by most teams. The Steelers picked him up with the 32nd pick of the draft after winning the Super Bowl the year prior. The Steelers nailed it again by drafting Hood. He became a starter in his second year after Aaron Smith was injured. Hood played well and is still the starter now. He was a great pick. Grade: A
Round 3- Kraig Urbik- The Steelers traded away their second round pick to get 2 extra third round picks. It was a good move as the cupboard was bare. With the first pick they took Urbik. Urbik sat on the bench most of his rookie season and did not hardly dress. He was released by the team before the start of his second season. He is now the starting guard for the Buffalo Bills. Grade F- Just because we let him go before giving him a chance and we still suck at guard.
Round 3- Mike Wallace- The Steelers used the second pick to get Wallace. Wallace was on the field from day one. He has become a top tier receiver. He is in the top 10 if not the top 5 of the entire NFL right now. Wallace has surpassed 1,000 yards in 2 of his first three seasons and has 24 touchdowns over that time. Wallace was a steal from the minute we got him. Grade: A+
Round 3- Keenan Lewis- The Steelers used their own pick to get Lewis. Lewis has been on the cusp of getting the starting job for this team for 2 years now. His behavior cost him the job in 2010 as he was set to move up the depth chart. This season he played the nickel for the Steelers and should step into the starting role next season. Lewis will be graded again next year to see if he makes the next step. As for now there are still questions. Grade: C+
Round 5- Joe Burnett- Burnett made the 53 man roster his rookie season. He never really made an impact though and was released prior to the start of the next season. He spent some time with the Giants but is out of the NFL now. Burnett had so much potential but he could not ever put it together. Grade: F
Round 5- Frank Summers- Summers was brought in to play some fullback and possibly some special teams. He only lasted his first season with the team. He was also cut before the start of the next season though he did end up on the practice squad. Summers was phased out by the Steelers not using a true fullback in Bruce Arians offense. Grade: D-
Round 6- Sunny Harris- Harris has been a random floater for the Steelers. He was released before the season and ended up in Carolina. He came back to the Steelers after Aaron Smith was injured but never made an impact. He was released again the next year and picked up by the Bills. He was brought back third time when Al Woods was picked up by Tampa Bay. He now is with the Houston Texans. So he was released three times in three years and never really played. Grade: D
Round 7- A.Q. Shipley- The Steelers traded into the 7th round to get Shipley. He was released but signed to the teams practice squad. After the drafting of Maurkice Pouncey the next year Shipley asked if he could be released to try and play somewhere else. The Steelers released him. Grade: F
Round 7- David Johnson- Johnson was brought in to be a back up tight end and turned into the starting H-Back. I am not a fan of Johnson and would like a real fullback and have Johnson go back to being a blocking tight end. He is better served in that position. He is a starter though and any pick this late in the draft that becomes a starter deserves a good grade. Grade: B
If you as a player do not even make it to your second year you are getting an F even if you were a good pick at the time. The Steelers released 3 of these 9 picks before there second year. That really brings what was a pretty good draft class way down. The Steelers did get at least 3 starters out of this class and possibly 4 depending on what happens with Keenan Lewis. The Steelers also stole away Mike Wallace who has become a top tier talent in the NFL.
If you were to grade this class like a report card the Steelers would have gotten a C-. The fact that Wallace is a star and Ziggy Hood looks like he can be the next 10 year Defensive End makes the grade go up. It is not enough to get it to a solid B but it will get a solid grade. Grade: B-