Molding the Future
All things considered, the Steelers did another damn good job in the draft this year. In addition to some nice pickups on the O-line (guard Alan Faneca & tackle Chris Conrad), Cowher and Company snagged a couple of real steals in Hines Ward (Slash, part II) and Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala (a real bulldozer). I was a little stunned that we picked up ZERO LBs, and the corners that were drafted are pretty shrimpy, but overall, I'm pleased. On the lighter side, I can't WAIT to hear good 'ole Myron Cope try to pronounce Fuamatu-Ma'afala's name!

Click on the Draftee's Name for Bio.
Rnd Name School
1 Alan Faneca: OG Louisiana State
2 Jeremy Staat: DT Arizona State
2 Traded to N.Y. Jets  
3 Chris Conrad: OT Fresno State
3 Traded to N.Y. Jets  
3 Hines Ward: WR Georgia
4 Deshea Townsend: DB Alabama
4 Carlos King: FB N.C. State
5 Jason Simmons: CB Arizona State
5 Traded to N.Y. Jets  
6 Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala: RB Utah
6 Ryan Olson: NT Colorado
7 Traded to Atlanta  
7 Traded to Atlanta  
7 Traded to Atlanta  
7 Angel Rubio: DT Southeast Missouri St.

1. Alan Faneca, G, Louisiana State

Faneca stands 6-foot-4, 322 pounds. ... Taken with the 26th pick on the first round. ... Is the third offensive lineman taken in the first round during the Bill Cowher era and the second guard selected in the first round in the team's history. The other was John Reinstra in 1986. ... Was one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy as college football's best linemen. ... Started the final 36 games of his collegiate career, seeing action at guard and tackle. ... Could have played one more season at LSU, but decided to come out early. Has been timed at 5.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash and has a 26-inch vertical leap. ... Bench pressed 225 pounds 20 times at combine workouts. ... Was a All-American first-team selection by The Associated Press. ... A powerful run blockers who graded out at 90 percent for blocking consistency as the Tigers averaged 410.6 yards per game. ... Faneca allowed only one sack last season and just five in his college career. ... In a 28-21 victory over Florida, Faneca graded out at 100 percent in helping LSU rush for 181 yards. ... As a junior, he was an All-SEC first-team choice and started at right guard. ... Showed how well he can move by making a touchdown saving tackle on Houston linebacker Vaughn Washington, who had recovered a fumble. ... As a sophomore, he started at right guard and had 49 knockdowns (of defensive lineman) as LSU offense averaged 356.7 yards per game. ... Faneca was redshirted as a freshman, but played on the scout team as a offensive tackle. ... Faneca was born in New Orleans and resides in Rosenberg, Texas. ... He was the Houston Touchdown Club Player of the Year at Lamar Consolidated High outside Houston. ... Faneca, 21, is a sociology major and has a sister.

2. Jeremy Staat, DT, Arizona State
Staat stands 6-5, 299. ... Taken with 41st pick in the second round. ... Steelers traded their second round choice (56th pick) and one of their third-round choices (87th) and fifth-round pick (149th) to move up and get Staat.

A very aggressive player who transferred to Arizona State after two years at Bakersfield Community College in California. ... Has been timed at 4.96 seconds in the 40, which is good for a player his size. ... Staat was in on 62 tackles this past season with 20 of them being tackles for losses. Also had 9 ½ sacks from his tackle position. ... Was a first-team All-American Selection by the Football Writers Association this past season and was the only junior college transfer named to the team. ... Had perhaps his best game against Brigham Young with 10 tackles and a pass break up. Had nine tackles with five stops behind the line of scrimmage against Arizona. Closed out his college career with six tackles and three sacks against Iowa in Sun Bowl. ... As a junior, he played in every game as a reserve defensive tackle. Staat was in on 22 tackles that season. ... In junior college, Staat played offensive tackle as a sophomore and tight end as a freshman. ... Staat is also a track athlete and placed fifth in the shot put (56-3) and fourth in the discus (180-1) at the Sun Angel Track Classic. ... Has outstanding strength and bench pressed 225 pounds 30 times at combine. ... Played at Bakersfield High School in California and lettered three time in track. ... Born in Bakersfield, Cal., and is an elementary education major.

3a. Chris Conrad, OT, Fresno State
Conrad stands 6-6, 301. Selected with 66th pick in the draft. ... Versatile blocker who can play tackle or guard because of his excellent footwork. ... Has been timed at 5.24 seconds in the 40 and has great leg drive. Bench pressed 225 pounds 20 times during combine workouts. ... An All-Western Athletic Conference first-team selection, Conrad, 22, was named Fresno State's Most Valuable Lineman and started 10 games at left tackle, recording 80 knockdowns as the offense gained 3,798 yards. ... His best game was against Nevada-Las Vegas in which he graded out at 87 percent. Fresno State rolled up 404 yards total offense in that game. ... As a junior, he started every game at left tackle as team's offense averaged 426 yards per game. He was credited with 79 knockdown blocks. Had his best game against Hawaii in which he graded out at 86 percent. Fresno State piled up 250 yards rushing in 20-0 victory against Hawaii ... As a sophomore, he started in five games at left tackle. ... As a redshirt freshman, he started first 10 games and collected 60 knockdowns for an offense that gained 5,097 yards. Conrad gained All-WAC honorable mention in the process. ... He was redshirted in 1993. ... Played at Olinda High in Brea, Calif., where he earned all-state honors in football and also was a member of the track team. ... Born in Fullerton, Calif., and resides in Brea, Calif., he is an art major at Fresno State.

3b. Hines Ward, WR, Georgia
Ward stands 6-0, 194. ... Taken with the 92nd pick overall in the third round. ... Versatile athlete who has started at flanker, tailback, quarterback and split end. ... Displays good concentration while under pressure and accelerates quickly after the catch, but is considered raw as a wide receiver because he played so many positions. ... Blocks well and runs sharp routes. ... Recently timed at 4.47 in the 40-yard dash and also had a 33-inch vertical leap. ... Second on Georgia's all-time list with 144 receptions. ... Third in school's receiving list with 1,965 yards. ... His 3,870 all-purpose yards second only to Herschel Walker at Georgia. ... In 1997, he was named All-SEC with 55 receptions for 715 yards (13.0) and six touchdowns. ... Ended his career with 12 receptions for 154 yards in 33-6 victory against Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl. ... In 1996, he was named an Academic All-SEC choice, with 52 catches for 900 yards (17.3) and five touchdowns. ... In 1995, he started the first two games at flanker before moving to tailback for game three, quarterback for game four, tailback for game seven and then quarterback for the final three games. ... Against Georgia Tech that season, he completed 23 of 32 pass attempts for 242 yards and one touchdown in an 18-17 Georgia victory. ... In the '95 Peach Bowl, he completed 31 of 59 passes for 413 yards and rushed nine times for 56 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown, and was named the game's most valuable player. ... Played in every game during his 1994 freshman season, starting four games at tailback. ... He also was named to the All-SEC freshman team by the Knoxville New-Sentinel. ... Consumer economics major.

4a. Deshea Townsend DB Alabama
Was taken on the 117th pick in the draft. ... Townsend is 5-foot-9, 179 pounds and has run the 40 in 4.61 seconds. ... A four-year starter at right cornerback for the Tide, he had 39 tackles, one interception and broke up eight passes as a senior. ... As a junior, he had 39 tackles, one sack for a 12-yard loss and two interceptions. He also broke up 14 passes and blocked a field goal attempt against Bowling Green. ... As a sophomore, Townsend had 25 tackles with four interceptions and knocked away five passes. He returned a blocked field goal 90 yards for a touchdown against Georgia. A punt returner, he had 13 for 75 yards in 1995. ... As a freshman, Townsend stepped right into the starting lineup and finished with 30 solo tackles and helped out on nine others. Had a 42-yard interception return against Florida. Averaged 10.6 yards on 11 punt returns. ... Born in Batesville, Miss., he was a quarterback at South Panola High School, leading team to state's 5-A title in 1992 when he accounted for 1,800 yards of offense and 18 touchdowns. ... Townsend is a business management major at Alabama.

4b Carlos King RB North Carolina St.
Was taken with the 122nd pick in the draft and the last in the fourth round. ... King finished his career with 1,026 yards rushing in 211 carries and caught 48 passes for 487 yards. ... Has run the 40 in 4.71 seconds. ... As a senior, he started every game at fullback, carrying 70 times for 380 yards and one touchdown. Also caught 20 passes for another 207 and a touchdown. Had his best game against Duke when he rushed for 75 yards on eight carries and caught two passes for 18 yards. ... As a junior, King started three games but played in all 11 rushing for 227 yards on 50 carries and catching 13 passes for 161. ... As a sophomore, he played in just five games, rushing for 124 yards on 22 carries and catching five passes for 48 yards. Was suspended for part of the season for violating a team rule. ... As a redshirt freshman, played in 11 games and gained 257 yards on 63 carries with 11 receptions for 62 yards. In his first game for the Wolfpack, he rushed 14 times for 75 yards in 20-15 victory against Bowling Green. ... King enrolled at N.C. State in 1992 but was academically ineligible. He attended Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., to improve his grades in 1993. ... A resident of Booneville, N.C., he rushed for 4,503 yards in four years at Booneville High and 1,620 yards and 22 touchdowns on 147 attempts as a senior. ... A communications major, King was a three-sport star in football, basketball and track in high school.

5. Jason Simmons CB Arizona State
The Steelers traded three of their four picks in the seventh round, Nos. 199, 203 and 215, to Atlanta so they could take Simmons. ... Simmons, who is 5-8, 188, was taken with the 137th pick in the draft. ... He doesn't have great speed in the 40, running it in 4.58 seconds. ... An All-PAC second-team selection, Simmons started 10 games at left cornerback and finished with 41 tackles, 36 of then unassisted, with three interceptions and 10 pass deflections. Had perhaps his best game against Washington State with eight tackles and a pair of pass deflections. In the Sun Bowl, he had six solo tackles and two pass deflections. ... As a junior, Simmons started every game at right cornerback and had 43 tackles for 39 solo stops and an interception. ... As a sophomore, he started every game at right cornerback and had 62 tackles with two interceptions. In a game against Stanford, Simmons had 12 tackles. ... As a freshman, he played in every game and finished with 20 tackles. ... Born in Inglewood, Cal., he played cornerback and quarterback at Leuzinger High in Lawndale, Cal., passing for 950 yards and 10 touchdowns and rushing for 713 yards and eight scores. ... Simmons is a political science major.

6a. Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala RB Utah
A big running back who weighed as much as 280 pounds at one time. ... Listed at 5-11, 252, Fuamatu-Ma'afala was taken with the 178th pick in the draft. ... Is surprisingly quick for a back his size, running the 40 in 4.84 seconds. He has bench pressed 415 pounds and done 675 in the leg squat. ... Was not asked to block much in college and is being looked at as a backup to Jerome Bettis in the Steelers' system. ... Ranks third on Utah's all-time rushing list with 2,635 yards and scored 22 touchdowns. Caught just 15 passes for 125 yards, but is said to have good hands. ... In 1997, started seven games finishing second on the team with 814 yards on 154 carries and four touchdowns. Gained 143 yards on 26 carries in 27-21 decision against Louisville. Was bothered by an ankle injury second half of the season. ... In 1996, started first seven games and the final contest, rushing for 982 yards on 168 carries and nine TDs. Gained 236 yards and scored three touchdowns on 28 carries in 34-7 victory against Texas-El Paso. ... In 1995, he gained 834 yards on 141 attempts and scored nine touchdowns. He rushed for more than 100 yards four times, gaining 180 yards on 19 tries in victory against Utah State. ... A native of Samoa but lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, and was an all-state choice at St. Louis High School there and rushed for 893 yards on 97 carries as a senior. ... General studies major at Utah.

6b. Ryan Olson LB Colorado
Taken with the 186th pick in the draft and played nose tackle in college, but is projected as an inside linebacker by the Steelers. ... Olson is 6-2, 268 and runs the 40 in 4.85. ... Started every game this past season with 76 tackles, three sacks and three tackles for losses. He was selected All-Big 12 by the league coaches. ... As a junior, he finished with 91 tackles and 8 1/2 sacks. He had eight tackles, four for losses and two sacks, in victory over Kansas State. ... as a sophomore, he started all 11 games and earned All-Big Eight honorable mention with 48 tackles and four sacks. He had a season-high eight tackles against Nebraska. ... As a redshirt freshman, played in seven games and finished with 27 tackles and one sack. ... Born in Wheat Ridge, Colo., he is majoring in civil engineering at Colorado and has a grade-point average of more than 3.5. ... Played at Green Mountain High in Lakewood, Colo., where he was a two-time all-state selection. ... He is from the same college that has given the Steelers Kordell Stewart, Charles Johnson and Joel Steed.

7. Angel Rubio NT SE Missouri St.
Was the 221st pick in the draft and the Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year last season with 114 tackles and seven sacks. ... The Steelers are looing at Rubio, who is 6-2, 300 and has run the 40 in 5.22 seconds, as a backup to Joel Steed at nose tackle. A fierce competitor, Rubio seemed to play his best at 275 pounds. ... As a junior, he was a second-team OVC player with 103 tackles, including 15 for losses and seven quarterback sacks. ... In 1995, he was a medical redshirt after suffering a major knee injury in first game of the season. ... In 1994, was second-team OVC with 86 tackles, 3 1/2 sacks and two fumble recoveries. ... As a freshman, Rubio saw limited playing time and ended year with 22 tackles and three sacks. ... Played high school ball at Ceres High outside Los Angeles and is an accounting major in college.

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