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Pick #226: Steelers select A.Q. Shipley

April 26, 2009 By: Admin Category: Draft/Free Agency

April 26, 2009
By Donald Starver

With their first pick in the 7th round, the Steelers selected A.Q. Shipley, center, Penn State.   Shipley stands 6’1″, and weighs 304 lbs.


A natural leader, Shipley was the first center to serve as team captain since 1996.  He was the winner of the 2008 Rimington Trophy, given annually to college football’s best center.  He was also named a 1st-team All-American.

A local boy from Moon Area High School, Shipley has been on the Steelers’ radar for quite some time.

Shipley is an intelligent player who comes from a very high quality program at Penn State.  He has good vision and recognizes blitzes.  He has excellent technique and his physicality and tenacity are unmatched in this year’s class of centers.  If anything holds Shipley back, it won’t be his desire or effort.

Unfortunately, Shipley has physical limitations that caused some scouts to downgrade him as a potential NFL center.  He is short for the position, and has very short arms.  He also needs to increase his lower body strength.  He can be bull rushed by larger defenders and pushed into the pocket.  This may be an even greater liability in the AFC North, where huge nose tackles abound.

Shipley lacks mobility, and is unable to offer guards much help in run  blocking.  He also isn’t a powerful blocker, and he struggles to generate movement by himself in the running game.

The bottom line is that Shipley is limited physically, but his heart, determination, and high football IQ should help him find a way to make an NFL roster.

To read about the Steelers’ previous pick, click here.

To read about the Steelers’ next pick, click here.

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4 Comments to “Pick #226: Steelers select A.Q. Shipley”

  1. GARY GREEN II says:

    Im a long life Steelers fan I wish we could of move up in the draft and got one of the two best centers that was taken in the first round of the draft, the center that we took in the 7th round A.Q. Shipley the center from Penn State is more of a project. I hope this pick will help the team in the long run. I also feel like the Steelers should of pick former USC line backer Rey Magogula in which the Bengals took in the later round of the draft. I mite of spell his last name wrong sorry about that. Rey fit that mold of all of the great Steelers line backers in the past he’s a warrior on that foot ball field.

  2. I’ve gotta disagree, the USC LB (I’m not going to attempt to spell his name) has “character issues” and the Steelers are loaded at the LB position.

    AQ Shipley is far from being a “project”. If he was 2 or 3 inches taller, he would’ve been taken in the first or second round. He won’t get bull-rushed like what we saw from the interior of the line in the Super Bowl.

  3. Gary,
    I agree on both counts. I really wanted Alex Mack much more than I wanted Shipley. He’s a better player. But Shipley was a good value where we got him.

    Maualuga is a phenomenal player. But we really didn’t need another young linebacker. We have a good set of LB’s already. But Maualuga was definitely the best value on the draft board when the Steelers’ pick came around.

  4. Collin,
    The problem with A.Q. Shipley isn’t his height. It’s his arm length. That is very important for a center. That is why he fell so low, despite being the Rimington Trophy winner.

    Shipley has a lot of heart, but he is definitely a project. Personally, I don’t think he can handle the huge nose tackles in the AFC North.


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