SIGNINGS / Extensions
Jerome Bettis, RB
Will Blackwell, WR
John Fiala, LB
C. Fuamatu-Ma'afala, RB
Jeff Hartings, C
Mike Jones, ILB
Mike Logan, FS
Tommy Maddox, QB
Ron Rivers, RB
Mike Schneck, C
Chad Scott, CB
Bobby Shaw, WR
Jason Simmons, S
Deshea Townsend, CB
John Turman, QB
Hines Ward, WR
D. Washington, CB
Jon Witman, FB
Chris Conrad, OT
Courtney Hawkins, WR
Dermontti Dawson, C
Kevin Henry, DE
Richard Huntley, RB
Levon Kirkland, LB
Jasaon Peace, WR
Shar Pourdanesh, OT
Scott Shields, S
Jeremy Staat, DE
Mike Vrabel, LB
Draft Class of 2001
Click on player name for bio.
Casey Hampton * DT Texas
Kendrell Bell * ILB Georgia
Mathias Nkwenti * OT Temple
Chukky Okobi * G Purdue
Rodney Bailey * DE Ohio State
Roger Knight * OLB Wisconsin
Chris Taylor * WR Texas A&M
* = Player under contract.

Scroll down for Mac & Wife's knee-jerk draft reactions...
The Mighty Casey:
Did the Steelers Strike Out?
Well, we went into the draft wanting a defensive lineman, and we got him. Initially, however, Pittsburgh's selection of Texas DT Casey Hampton with their #1 pick gave me about as many warm fuzzies as would the discovery that my wife was actually my sister. Eeewww.

Poll Results
Overall, how would you rate Pittsburgh's 2001 draft class?
Over the Top!
 ( 5%)
Above Average
 ( 28%)
 ( 54%)
Below Average
 ( 8%)
 ( 5%)
In hindsight, I think I over-reacted. There's little question that Hampton fits our 3-4 scheme perfectly (he's a HUGE man and an outstanding run-stopper) and he's expected to contribute immediately. And in my defense, the fact that we drafted him never bothered me... it's that we drafted him #1. Hampton was expected to be no higher than a 2nd-round pick, and on several boards, he wasn't projected to go until early in the 3rd round.

For now, I'll just have to trust that the powers that be know what they're doing. The "success" (???) of our recent draft classes offers little comfort, however. The front office was at least smart enough to trade down to get him (although it seems to me they could've traded down a bit more). The other bonus is that unlike #1 picks Edwards and Burress, this guy doesn't come to the 'Burgh with a 'tude... the general consensus is that Hampton has his head on straight.

I feel considerably more confident when it comes to #2 pick Kendrell Bell. True, he's no Dan Morgan, but he looks to be an outstanding player and will add a great deal of speed and blitzing ability to the linebacking corps. Pittsburgh's signing of free agent LB Mike Jones (St. Louis Rams) means Bell doesn't figure to start many games in 2001. But he immediately adds quality depth and should be an ace on special teams. All indications are that this guy has what it takes to be a playmaker for years to come.

The question is, did the Steelers manage to draft the kind of impact players they so desperately need to bump the team to the next level? Hey, if I could answer that, bruthas and sistas, I wouldn't be doing this for free.

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CLICK HERE to view our pre-draft musings and predictions.