Steeler Nation: Why I Never Worry About the NFL Draft

Five reasons:

  1. Team Philosophy. The team has a philosophy of personnel to which they generally adhere.  This means that the team will usually draft someone who can be called “A Steeler.”  This is markedly different than someone who can drive to the training camp.  There is a certain temperament, disposition, and style associated with the team.  Usually, players who are not Steelers do not get drafted by the Steelers.  There have been exceptions to the rule.  This doesn’t mean that the Steelers never miss on Draft Day.  It simply means that they don’t usually make the kind of mistakes that can cripple a franchise.  The team has been consistently good.  They’ve only had 3 relatively high first round draft picks in 20 years.  They took Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Polamalu and Tim Worley.  I can live with that.
  2. Always Solid, Never Desperate. The Steelers philosophy has been to focus on a few core positions to ensure dominance.  Linebacker is clearly the position of focus for this franchise.   No NFL team is even remotely close to the Steelers in the number of high-quality linebackers drafted over the past four decades.  The other position that has been a focal point for the franchise is center.  The thing is — they’ve done it so well, they rarely have to do it.  This is a year when the team needs to recapture the magic of a Mike Webster or Dermontii Dawson.  It’s time for a new guy to hold down this position until my children go to college.
  3. They Just Won the Super Bowl. I just don’t have great expectations for the draft this season.  I expect them to do well, but not to make a huge splash.  I expect that the team will draft for starters in Rounds 1 and 2…and draft for depth in the succeeding rounds.  If they ever decide that Willie Parker might be more effective with a fullback, they may find some value on the 2nd day.  It’s worth a look.  Either way, I’m fine with how this plays out because there will not be many open roster spots for rookies in the fall.
  4. Ohio. Thank goodness for the Browns and the Bengals.
  5. Shock and Awe. I’m shocked they won the Super Bowl this season.  The team was flawed.  Parker missed significant time.  They’re getting long in the tooth along the defensive line.  The offensive line was maligned beginning in Week 2 until the end of the season.  At no point in time were the Steelers obviously superior to their opponents.  The team has tremendous potential to become more dominant on both sides of the ball.  The players and coaches should be awed by the prospect of achieving a measure of greatness that only a few teams have known.

I plan to enjoy the day and watch as fans of franchises with track records of desperation and exasperation try to reinvent themselves — again.  Whatever happens on Saturday and Sunday, I am absolutely certain it’ll all work out.  I’m going to miss Bryant McFadden, but this is a business.  I’m very happy for him and his family.  This career does not last long — nor do many of the men who play it.  It’s a killer.

One for the Tall Man  in 2010.  (What do you do with 7 rings, anyway??)

2 comments

  1. Another reason to never worry, is that the team very rarely drafts very high. That means less pressure to pick the “hot” guy that Mel Kiper says is a can’t miss star. Teams that draft high are often pressured into taking those types of picks where someone will say that they are a can’t miss type and the team would be stupid to not draft them.

    Going to what you said about the team getting “Steelers”, the team also does a good job of not going for the big names. Look at most of the players on the past year’s team. You’d be hard pressed to find any of them be their college team’s star. And if they were, like Ben, they may have come from a smaller school. Less potential of a player with the big head and sense that they are bigger than what the team is trying to do.

    Flaws on last year’s team? lol You’ve got to be kidding T3! All past season and post-season, all I did was point out the team’s flaws. Fortunately, they were able to overcome them in their run that culminated in them winning #6. Whether they would be able to do it again, that’s another question. Tomlin’s a good coach, (probably be one of the best one day), but even good coaching can only cover up team flaws so much.

  2. “They’ve only had 3 relatively high first round draft picks in 20 years.”

    Exactly.

    I think there was some luck involved in their run last year as well. I don’t think the playoff field was particularly strong. The Colts didn’t scare me. I believe they would have had a tough time with the Titans. The Steelers D, for all its success, didn’t turn people like the Ravens. Tennessee would have DESTROYED the Ravens, but Baltimore did what Baltimore does. They imposed their will when it mattered most.

    GN and I talked about their flaws too last season. Everyone had them. I think they’re going to be much, much better next year — if they’re focused.

    Good point about stars in college. Holmes was the man at Ohio State; Woodley was the man at Michigan. Polamalu was the man at USC. Other than that, it’s hard to find many. I suppose we could throw Heath Miller in…maybe. Great insight, kos.

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