- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Ohio. Thank goodness for the Browns and the Bengals.
- 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??)