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Chris Long: Defensive end of the Steelers' dreams?

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Updated Oct. 06, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.
By Mike Wilkening

Chris Long is all but certain, save for some extraordinary circumstances, not to be on the board when the Steelers pick 23rd in April's draft. Every indication is that he will be drafted in the top 10, so Pittsburgh would have to make a bold move to get him. But if he starts to slide, it will be no surprise if the Steelers start to work the phones. Kevin Colbert, the Steelers' director of football operations, called Long a "perfect 3-4 defensive end." And Pittsburgh has a need at end, with Aaron Smith starting to get up in age and Brett Keisel an average starter. 

Sure, it's wholly unlikely the Steelers would ever get to do more than dream about the prospect of Long joining their lineup. But it's a fun hypothetical all the same.   

The Steelers have made some bold Draft Day moves before: they moved up with Kansas City for S Troy Polamalu in '03; two years later, they traded a slew of picks to the Giants to get Santonio Holmes. They are adept at fixating on a top prospect and trading the draft picks needed to get their guy.

I doubt Colbert's praise of Long was a smokescreen; again, no one thinks he'll get to No. 23. But what about No. 11? Or No. 12? Still very unlikely, but a scenario that might call for the Steelers to spring into action. 

Assuming other teams didn't beat them to the head of the line, of course.  

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