Today was one of the most active days at Pittsburgh Steelers headquarters. Not only was it the first day that the players could begin voluntary weightlifting and training under the supervision of coaches, the franchise welcomed back veteran QB Charlie Batch on a one-year contract and welcomed four more college prospects for pre-draft visits.
The re-signing of Batch is an interesting pick-up at this stage of the offseason; but in no way should it be a surprise. All offseason, general manager has stated the he want both Batch and QB Byron Leftwich to return for 2012. The only hint of a differing opinion came from head coach Mike Tomlin, stating that the team would like to acquire a young developmental prospect via free agency or the draft. At this point, it would be a surprise to see Leftwich return, unless he is to compete with Batch to be QB Ben Roethlisburger’s primary back-up, as it would be hard to again carry four quarterbacks on the roster.
In Batch, the Steelers have a solid player, who can still produce when called upon. The 37-year old quarterback is a Homestead native living a dream playing for his childhood team and has demonstrated to ability to lead the team when called upon, boasting a 5-2 record as a starter. Last season, he threw for 208 yards in leading the Steelers to a 27-0 win over the St. Louis Rams in his only start of 2011.
While they were busy completing the contract, they also played host to a diverse group of four prospects. These players all play different positions, but definitely fit in with the trend established with the other visitors. Of the prospects, the headliner so to speak would be either defensive end / outside linebacker Andre Branch from Clemson or Louisiana-Lafayette tight end Ladarius Green, a potential game changer as a dynamic receiving threat. Those two were joined at the facility by Michigan State wide receiver / kick returner Keshawn Martin and Cincinnati nose tackle John Hughes.
With the addition of these prospects, the Steelers have now met with 25 or their allotted 30 out-of-town pre-draft visitors. In all, there have been seven linebackers (four outside and three inside), four offensive linemen (two tackles and two guards), four defensive linemen, three tight ends, three wide receivers, two running backs, one cornerback, one safety and one long snapper. As always, Steelers 101 is keeping track and profiling the pre-draft visitors. To this point, the Steelers have brought in or scheduled visits with these players:
Ohio State offensive tackle Mike Adams(Steelers101 profile 3/30)
Miami (Ohio) offensive guard Brandon Brooks(Steelers101 profile 4/1)
Regina defensive tackle Akiem Hicks
Florida International wide receiver T.Y. Hilton(Steelers101 profile 3/31)
Virginia defensive end / linebacker Cam Johnson
Stanford long snapper Zach Nolan
Cincinnati defensive end Derek Wolfe
Colorado wide receiver Toney Clemons(Steelers101 profile 4/4)
West Virginia cornerback Keith Tandy (Steelers101 profile 4/8)
Alabama linebacker Jerrell Harris
Cincinnati running back Isaiah Pead(Steelers101 profile 4/4)
Ole Miss offensive tackle Bobbie Massie(Steelers101 profile 4/9)
California Inside linebacker Mychal Kendricks (Steelers101 profile 4/10)
USC defensive end / linebacker Nick Perry
Missouri tight end Michael Egnew
Miami (Florida) defensive end / linebacker Olivier Vernon
Alabama linebacker Dont’a Hightower
Oregon running back LaMichael James
Oregon tight end David Paulson
Midwestern State offensive guard Amini Silatolu (Steelers101 profile 4/12)
BYU nose tackle Hebron Fangupo (Steelers101 profile 4/14)
Wayne State safety Jeremy Jones (Steelers101 profile 4/15)
Clemson defensive end / outside linebacker Andre Branch
Cincinnati nose tackle John Hughes
Michigan State wide receiver Keshawn Martin
Louisiana-Lafayette tight end Ladarius Green
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