Lost in the day-after wailing and gnashing of teeth over the Steelers’ failure to draft a running back was the fact that on Monday they did add a running back (two, actually) among the crop of undrafted free agents.
We predict one of them will make the team. That would be Gary Russell, running back from the
Why did Russell go undrafted? Well, for one, he didn’t play last year. Injured? No. Too small, too slow? No, and no. Buried on the depth chart, a la Willie Parker at
Gary Russell didn’t play last year because he was ruled academically ineligible.
He dropped out of school.
That took him out of the spotlight and almost completely off the radar screen. So, give the Steelers credit for signing this guy. Maybe they had a deal worked out before the draft.
They must have had competition. This guy was no secret.
When he played for the Golden Gophers during the 2006 season, Ross started only game but split time in the backfield with Laurence Maroney, last year’s number one draft choice of the New England Patriots. Maroney and Ross each went over 1,000 yards rushing, and Ross scored 19 touchdowns for
This followed a stellar high school career in his hometown of
For more details, check out the “strengths” and “weaknesses” listed in his “Prospect Profile” on NFL.com, which compares him to
“Russell actually looks a bit like a former Cowboy, Emmitt Smith, as he has excellent explosion and cutback ability, along with that low center of gravity that makes it tough for defenders to attack his legs.”
If anything, Russell reminds us of Kenny Irons, the
Which brings us back to the draft.
As noted in this space before the draft, we would have preferred to see the Steelers draft Purdue’s Anthony Spencer, so it will be interesting to see how their respective careers play out. For us, Timmons will always be measured against Spencer and Jarvis Moss (who went just two picks later), as well as two linebackers who went in last year’s draft: Ernie Sims, his predecessor at Florida State, who went number nine overall to Detroit and led the team in tackles his rookie year; and Camerion Wimbley, who went number 13 overall last year and has the look of a mainstay on the Browns’ defense for many years to come.
Second Round: While we are less than enthralled with the Timmons selection, we are very happy that the Steelers were able to add
Third round: Matt Spaeth, tight end,
Fourth Round: Daniel Sepulveda, P, Baylor. Not to say, “told you so,” but once again we wrote in this space before the draft that we hoped the Steelers would draft either Sepulveda or Adam Podlesh (
Fourth Round: Ryan McBean, DL, 6-4 1/2, 285,
Fifth Round: Cameron Stephenson, G, 6-3, 306,
Fifth Round: William Gay, CB,
Seventh Round —
The Steelers also signed some intriguing receivers from D2 schools as undrafted free agents. Long shots, all, but it’s always fun to watch whether any of these guys will emerge from the pack.