ROUND 1—Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Illinois, 5-10, 224, No. 23 overall. Big Ten offensive player of the year after rushing for school-record 1,681 yards and catching 34 passes last season on Rose Bowl team, his only college season as a starter. He started 14 of 35 career games. ... Ranked second in the Big Ten and eighth nationally with 262 carries. His 1,999 all-purpose yards also were a school record, as were his seven 100-yard games. ... Averaged 8.2 yards on 78 carries as a backup his junior season. ... Ran for 214 yards vs. Indiana and 203 yards vs. Minnesota. Had a three-touchdown game against Syracuse. ... Ran for at least 131 yards in all but one of his final five games, gaining 96 yards in the game he didn’t. A physical runner who should complement speedy Steelers RB Willie Parker. ... College coach was Ron Zook, a former Steelers assistant coach. ... Starred at Niles West High School in Skokie, where he also was a track standout. ... Turned down Arizona, Arizona State and Northwestern so he could play with older brother Walter at Illinois. ... Had a 162-yard game against Penn State as a junior. ... A big back who relies on superb vision rather than quick cutting or outright speed. Downhill, one cut-style runner, but not totally a runaway type. ... Sports management major.
ROUND 2—Limas Sweed, WR, Texas, 6-4, 220, No. 53 overall. Second in school history with 20 touchdown catches despite missing final seven games of senior season with a wrist injury. His 124 career catches are the sixth-most at Texas. ... As a high school receiver at Brenham High in Houston, 31 of his 72 catches in his final three seasons went for touchdowns. ... Caught 36 passes for 545 yards and 5 TDS on Texas’ national championship team during his sophomore season. ... Made at least one TD catch in seven consecutive games as a junior. ... Tall and rangy, Sweed has a 36-inch vertical jump that makes him play even taller than his size, according to Steelers wide receivers coach Randy Fichtner. ... Started his final 39 games at Texas. ... Graduated in December with a degree in youth and community services. ... Is named for his father, Limas Lee Sweed.