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2011 NFL Mock Draft: Could Steelers Pick Jon Baldwin In First Round?

In a word, no. Steelers Lounge, in responding to this mock draft at Bleacher Report, has a good article about tall receivers and the possibility of the Steelers drafting Pitt wideout Jonathan Baldwin because of the perceived need for a tall receiver. Well, maybe "possibility" is the wrong word, since there's just about no chance that the Steelers, who have a glaring need at cornerback and areas of concern on the offensive and defensive lines, will use their first-round pick on a guy who plays one of their deepest positions.

Steelers Lounge probably wouldn't disagree with any of that. But, fine. What about Baldwin?

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Ignoring for a second that [Mike] Wallace was one of the most dominant wide receivers in the NFL this season without anything close to a long-and-tall receiver to complement him, Baldwin joins a list that includes Martin Nance and Matt Jones to be projected to the Steelers over the years all because of some perceived need for a tall receiver. This has become an annual event ever since Plaxico Burress left via free agency after the 2004 season. In past years Ben Roethlisberger has been one of the people pushing the agenda, but even he’s piped down on the topic ...

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Back in the early days of Football Outsiders Ryan tackled this topic and found that size in a receiver is overrated. I decided to re-visit it for the 2010 season and take a quick look at the top-30 receivers in the NFL using FO’s DVOA (as always, you can read up on it here). The results: Of the top-30 receivers only 12 of them are listed as being 6-foot-2 or taller, including only two of the top 11.

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Well, right. Steelers Lounge later notes that, as it turns out there is no particular correlation between height and actually being a good NFL receiver. This isn't to say, obviously, that tall receivers like Baldwin should be avoided, only that their having a prototypical body type shouldn't be a huge factor in where they're drafted.

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The Steelers have plenty of good receivers. Wallace is becoming one of the best in the business. Hines Ward is in the twilight of his career, but he has his moments. And Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown emerged late in the season as serious threats. Baldwin will be an early-round pick, for sure, but not for the Steelers. Baldwin looks pretty likely to be a good NFL receiver, and he's local, but those aren't good enough reasons to draft him.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.