With the 32nd pick in the Mock Draft Among Blogs, the Pittsburgh Steelers select:
Fili Moala, Defensive Tackle, USC
I had a hard time with this pick. Everyone knows that the Steelers need offensive line help. However, all of the offensive tackles that I was interested in are gone. William Beatty was borderline, but I ultimately decided that he didn't deserve a first round selection. The only interior lineman that I thought was worth a 1st round pick was Alex Mack, but he was taken by the Philadelphia Eagles (curse you!!!!).
I looked hard at defensive backs. I absolutely love Sean Smith, and he would have been my selection had I not taken Moala. The Steelers lost Bryant McFadden in free agency, so CB is a need. However, backup William Gay is ready to start, so that need isn't as pressing as it may seem. We definitely need depth at both CB and safety, but we can take care of that later in the draft.
I was ecstatic when the Arizona Cardinals took Beanie Wells with the 31st pick. Now I won't have to explain not taking him to Steelers fans who are dying for a "power back". Besides, we took Rashard Mendenhall last year. 2008 was essentially a redshirt year for him.
Ultimately, I couldn't overlook the fact that all of the Steelers' defensive line starters are over 30 years old. Aaron Smith will be 33 this season. His days are winding down, and Dick LeBeau's system is complex. Few players start on the Steelers' defense in their first year. We need to bring in Smith's replacement now to give him a year to learn, and prepare him to take over in 2010.
Fili Moala is a 6'4", 303 lbs. defensive tackle who has started 38 games in one of the best programs in the country (USC). I have Moala rated as the 3rd best defensive tackle in the draft. However, I have him rated right below Tyson Jackson as the 2nd best 3-4 defensive end in the draft. Moala's knock as a defensive tackle is that he is more of a run stopper than a pass rusher. He just doesn't get enough sacks. However, he is lauded for his rare strength, and his ability to collapse the pocket and make tackles despite fighting off double teams. Hmmmm, a 300 lb. run stopper who can handle double teams and collapse the pocket. Sounds like a 3-4 defensive end to me. Aaron Smith's successor has been found.