PITTSBURGH - It's far too early to tell about the Steelers draft, especially when the lockout bars players from even talking to coaches.
But you have to feel good about first-round pick Cameron Heyward, defensive end from Ohio State.
The Steelers' need at the position may not be immediate, but it will be felt as soon as 2012.
Heyward is big, strong and fast, and apparently has a gold-plated work ethic.
How much he can play as a rookie is up for debate. The Steelers' schemes aren't easy to master, and he'll be at a disadvantage since the lockout has shut down all classroom work.
When the Steelers' turn came in the first round, they only needed a few seconds to make their choice.
That speaks to how happy they were to find Heyward still available at No. 31.
As far as the rest of the draft, it's wait and see, as it always is.
The wait could be even longer this year because of the labor dispute.
The Steelers are upset with Rashard Mendenhall's Twitter posts.
Social media is a whole different element for teams, which try to control news as much as possible.
Suddenly, every player has the ability to issue his own news release. It's enough to drive coaches crazy.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have come to look forward to their trips to San Diego, and it's not just because of the fabulous weather.
Trainer Brad Henderson has been organizing visits to the local Navy training base, where the elite Navy SEALs work.
Players don't mind getting up before their usual wake-up call to take part. About 30 members of the traveling party were on hand for Monday's trip. This one had fortuitous timing.
The SEALs were just coming off a successful mission in Pakistan, which resulted in the elimination of Osama bin Laden. Although those in San Diego weren't part of that exercise, they all took great pride in accomplishing a difficult task.
By all accounts, the players and Pirates and staffers are pretty wide-eyed when they make their visit.
It's fun, but it also comes with a healthy respect for the work being done there. Playing baseball at the major league level isn't easy, but working as a SEAL is a completely different challenge. The players couldn't say enough positive things about their experience.
Turns out red, white and blue is a pretty good combination with black and gold.
Mehno can be reached at email@example.com