draft_category-logo_horizontal_180x24

4 picks = 4 key facts

**

Getting comfortable:** The Steelers offensive line got a boost with the selection of Jerald Hawkins out of LSU in the fourth round. Offensive line coach Mike Munchack said Hawkins would initially be worked at left tackle, where no firm starter is set, but the key is to work him where he feels most comfortable.

"The biggest thing with linemen coming in is to build their confidence up," said Munchak. "They are coming to a new experience. The Steelers, they'll start hearing the Steelers tradition and what goes on here over the years. So I think he is a guy that comes in comfortable at left. That doesn't mean anything, just to start him at left to see how his reps go. Then you see what he can handle. Then you start moving him to both sides, instead of mixing them right away. I'm assuming left is what he is most comfortable at to begin with, then we will start him there and then just go from there. But he wouldn't be tagged as a left or right tackle. We think he has the ability to play both. That was the excitement about picking him."

Something special: The Steelers went back to defense in the sixth round selecting linebacker Travis Feeney from Washington, a player outside linebacker coach Joey Porter said will add depth at the position, brings speed and will get work on special teams.

"You become a star in college, and when you make it to the league you realize you are a special teams player," said Porter. "When you get to the NFL, there are that many good guys on the team already where you have to earn your keep on special teams. He runs too good for him not to be willing to do what we ask from him on special teams. Special teams is nothing but personality. The guys that love to play football will do whatever it takes to get on the football field."

Return game: In the seventh round the Steelers selected wide receiver DeMarcus Ayers, somebody who will give them a spark on special teams as he will compete for the job as punt returner. Special teams coordinator Danny Smith likes what he has seen from Ayers, and was highly energetic when talking about him.

"When I evaluate a returner, I look at their hands, quickness, do they muff, are there fumbles, what's their decision making, what's their vision, what's their ability to avoid, do they break tackles, are they fearless, are they tough, will they outrun coverage, are they sideline returners, are they middle returners, can they make cuts at full speed, can they make the first guy miss. I plus and minus those qualities. This kid had more of those qualities as a punt returner than any kid I evaluated."

  • Highly productive: The Steelers finished out the draft taking their fifth defensive player with the selection of Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich, who won the Bronco Nagurski award for the top defensive player in 2015.

"When we graded Tyler, he is not the biggest, not the fastest, but he is a heck of a football player and highly productive," said General Manager Kevin Colbert. "He gets his hands on passes, on fumbles, he makes interceptions, and he gets PBUs (passes broken up). He can be a special teams contributor. He played three downs of football for them consistently since the middle of his freshman year. We are anxious to see what he can do in the mix." 

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.
Advertising