2012 NFL Draft: The Truth About Drafting the Best Available Player

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2012 NFL Draft: The Truth About Drafting the Best Available Player
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There is a widely known belief that the Pittsburgh Steelers draft the BEST AVAILABLE PLAYER, when it comes to their pick in the NFL draft.

Everyone knows it. ESPN talks about it, and so do all the Pittsburgh area papers. It is the reason they drafted Rashard Mendenhall in the first round in 2008.

I have even made many comments in many articles that simply say "BEST AVAILABLE PLAYER."

The thinking to this goes something like this: Whatever name is at the top of the Steelers draft board, when it comes time for them to draft, that name is written on the card and turned in on draft day.

But I think there is more to this than I, along with MANY others, have realized.

Based on the consensus from most draft boards, let's take a look at the top 32 names in the NFL draft.

This is not the official draft board of any team, so don't anyone comment on how anyone should be higher or lower. It is an example.

1. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford

2. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor

3. Matt Kalil, OT, USC

4. Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

5. Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

6. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

7. Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College

8. Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina

9. David DeCastro, G, Stanford

10. Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

11. Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina

12. Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

13. Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

14. Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State

15. Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis

16. Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

17. Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

18. Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

19. Whitney Mercilus, DE, Illinois

20. Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

21. Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC

22. Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama

23. Cordy Glenn, OT/G, Georgia

24. Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin

25. Devon Still, DT, Penn State

26. Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama

27. Mark Barron, SS, Alabama

28. Vinny Curry, DE/OLB, Marshall

29. Allen Bailey, DE - Miami

30. Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

31. Andre Branch, DE, Clemson

32. Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina

 

(This is the draft board from Walterfootball.com.  All draft boards are examples, and this is the one I am choosing to use.)

I am also quite sure that the Steelers draft board looks NOTHING like this.

For starters, you can cross off all of those players that the Steelers are already strong at, or have used high draft picks in the last few years on those positions, and the players who are working out.

That would eliminate the quarterback, defensive ends, center and tight end.  All of those players can be removed.

 

3. Matt Kalil, OT, USC

4. Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State

5. Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU

6. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

7. Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College

9. David DeCastro, G, Stanford

10. Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

12. Michael Floyd, WR, Notre Dame

13. Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama

14. Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State

15. Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis

16. Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama

17. Kendall Wright, WR, Baylor

18. Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

20. Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

21. Nick Perry, DE/OLB, USC

22. Courtney Upshaw, DE/OLB, Alabama

23. Cordy Glenn, OT/G, Georgia

25. Devon Still, DT, Penn State

26. Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama

27. Mark Barron, SS, Alabama

28. Vinny Curry, DE/OLB, Marshall

30. Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina

32. Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina

 

The Steelers can now eliminate the players on this list where they already have young guys either ready to move into the starting lineup, or close to it.  That would eliminate the CB, WR and OLB.

 

3. Matt Kalil, OT, USC

6. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama

7. Luke Kuechly, ILB, Boston College

9. David DeCastro, G, Stanford

10. Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa

14. Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State

15. Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis

18. Michael Brockers, DT, LSU

20. Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford

23. Cordy Glenn, OT/G, Georgia

25. Devon Still, DT, Penn State

26. Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama

27. Mark Barron, SS, Alabama

 

Now, you can eliminate the players that are certainly not going to be available when the Steelers are on the clock.  Notice now, how the ranking numbers have changed to reflect the Steelers draft board, instead of the big board.

 

1. Cordy Glenn, OT/G, Georgia 

2. Michael Brockers, DT, LSU 

3. Devon Still, DT, Penn State 

4.  Jonathan Martin, OT, Stanford 

5. Mark Barron, SS, Alabama 

6. Dont'a Hightower, ILB, Alabama 

 

So, when you hear that the Steelers are taking the best available player, or when they are drafting someone at a position of need, realize that it is a mix of both. They DO draft a player of need, but also the best one that is available to them.

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