Steelers had inside info on SMU's Sanders

SMU senior wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders has been selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2010 NFL Draft.

By Gerry Dulac
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It's not as though the Steelers needed any more convincing about Emmanuel Sanders, a slippery wide receiver from Southern Methodist. In fact, not wanting to risk waiting until the fourth round to draft him, director of football operations Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin decided to take Sanders in the third round for fear of losing him to another team.

But, during the process of evaluating Sanders as a possible replacement for Santonio Holmes, the Steelers received a character reference and scouting report about the 5-foot-11, 180-pound receiver from an unlikely source. And he just happened to be next door in the same building.

Before he became the defensive coordinator at Pitt, Phil Bennett was the head coach at SMU and the man responsible for recruiting Sanders, who went on to become the school's all-time leader in receptions (235), receiving yards (3,791) and touchdown receptions (34).

When Sanders visited the Steelers' South Side facility for a pre-draft interview several weeks ago, he and his former head coach had lunch together in the team's cafeteria.

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