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Mike Tomlin: Pittsburgh Steelers added playmakers

One thing should be evident when Pittsburgh Steelers' rookies hit the field for minicamp this weekend: speed.

The Steelers clearly entered last week's draft targeting fast talent to weld to their veteran base.

Among the additions, general manager Kevin Colbert drafted linebacker Ryan Shazier (4.38 40-yard dash time), running back/kick returner Dri Archer (4.26) and receiver Martavis Bryant (4.42).

The key for the Steelers was that all three are fast football players, not just sprinters.

"I think you cover speed obviously, but it's football not a track meet," coach Mike Tomlin said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "If you get a capable football player who happens to be fast, it's an asset. Speed players that we were able to acquire in this draft fit the bill in that regard. They are football players first who happen to be extremely fast."

Shazier specifically was drafted to help transform a defense from old and slow to young and fast.


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"Sub-4.4 for a linebacker is moving," linebackers coach Keith Butler said. "I like him a lot. You try to fit a need, and we thought with him we couldn't pass him up when he was there. He had that type of speed that you can't pass up. He's going to make us immediately faster on defense, which is going to help."

Aside from backing up Le'Veon Bell, Tomlin intimated Archer will be used as a Swiss Army-knife player.

"Is he a running back? Is he a wideout?" Tomlin asked. "He's a splash playmaker. Regardless of position, he's a playmaker. He's a guy that gets yards in chunks and rings up the scoreboard."

The need for speed was apparent in watching the Steelers' 2013 tape. Pittsburgh fans have seen unproductive speed before in the form of the now-infamous Limas Sweed. This time around the Steelers believe they selected speed that can play.

The "Around The League Podcast" predicts which rookie quarterbacks will start first and what veterans are in trouble after the draft.

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