Steelers sign mid-round picks Harris, Davis

Updated: July 20, 2006, 12:23 AM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed two middle-round selections from their nine-player 2006 draft class, reaching three-year accords with fourth-round defensive lineman Orien Harris and fifth-round tight end Charles Davis.

Both players were chosen with extra selections the Super Bowl XL champions received as compensatory picks. They join fourth-round offensive lineman Willie Colon, who was signed in mid-May, as Pittsburgh rookies who have signed their initial NFL contracts.

The latter of the team's two picks in the fourth round, Harris was a three-year starter at defensive tackle for the Miami Hurricanes, but likely will play end in the Pittsburgh 3-4 alignment. His contract is worth $1.358 million and includes a $278,000 signing bonus and minimum base salaries for all three seasons.

Harris is the younger brother of San Francisco offensive tackle Kwame Harris, who was the 49ers' first-round pick in the 2003 draft.

The 133rd player chosen overall, Harris, 23, possesses the kind of physical dimensions (6-foot-3 1/4, 301 pounds) and skills-set to become a solid 3-4 end in the NFL. Despite his size, his frame is such that he probably would have a difficult time moving inside in a 4-3 front. But he has a long wing span and powerful hands, holds the line well and can push the pocket, things the Pittsburgh scheme demands from its ends.

In 48 appearances, including 34 starts, Harris totaled 159 tackles, 30 tackles for losses, 11 sacks, 54 quarterback pressures and two passes defensed. He has good balance but might have to add some upper-body strength to be better able to anchor against the run.

Davis was the 167th player chosen overall and the second of Pittsburgh's two picks in the fifth round. His $1.18 million contract includes a signing bonus of $104,000.

The former Purdue standout is a little different breed of tight end than Pittsburgh usually employs. Although he has prototype size (6-foot-5 1/2, 263 pounds) for the position, Davis, 23, is more a finesse than muscle player. The Steelers use a lot of multiple-tight end sets and Davis will have to improve his in-line blocking to carve out playing time.

Davis has a long frame and can actually afford to add another 10 pounds. He is a smooth receiver and had 78 catches for 865 yards and four touchdowns for the Boilermakers. Davis started in 33 of his 49 appearances.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here Insider.