Steelers

Steeler 2011 Draft Targets

By: Mike Vukovcan
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Pittsburgh (KDKA)- After previewing 3 prospects on the defensive side of the ball, it’s time to take a look at an offensive lineman that many believe would fit right in with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Aside from cornerback, most Steeler fans will tell you the Steelers top priority in this draft is to get help on the offensive line.

If the Steelers are going to continue to have success, they’ll need to keep quarterback Ben Roethlisberger healthy. Over the last 3 seasons, he’s been one of the most sacked and hit quarterbacks in the NFL.

Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert struck gold last year when they selected center Maurkice Pouncey in the 1st round.

Some think they’ll have similar success if they draft Baylor guard Danny Watkins.

Here’s a closer look at Watkins:
Height/Weight: 6-foot-4, 310 pounds
Age: 26
40-yard dash: 5.40
Bench Press: 29
Vertical jump: 26.0
Broad Jump: 7’8

Watkins is an interesting story because he didn’t play organized football until 2007. In high school, he played hockey and rugby. It wasn’t until attending Butte College in California that Watkins started playing football. After becoming one of the best junior-college guards in the country, Watkins became an immediate starter at left tackle for Baylor. He stepped in and replaced former 1st round pick Jason Smith and went on to start all 12 games in 2010.

His lack of experience and age will be a concern to some NFL teams but most NFL scouts believe Watkins has all the athleticism and strength needed to become an excellent NFL guard. He’s also a prospect that’s expected to step right in and play immediately. That’s something that could really benefit the Steelers, who have needs on the offensive line.

Watkins Strengths:
*Excellent pass blocker
*Shows above-average agility and athleticism
*Good drive blocker
*Can pull reasonably well
*Does a nice job blocking in space
*Displays consistent footwork and technique despite his lack of experience on the line
*An extremely hard worker with an impressive work ethic and willingness to improve
*Heavy and violent hands, uses his hands well
*Mean streak, very physical

Weaknesses:
*His age (26), old prospect?
*Lacks the height and lateral ability to line up as a left tackle in the NFL, potential as an NFL guard
*Requires improvement as an immediately forceful lineman
*Will stand upright into his stance when pass blocking
*Allows his hands to get a little high and wide at times

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