Steelers Show That a Good Draft Needs Time To Ferment

George LiederhausContributor IMay 7, 2009

CINCINNATI - OCTOBER 19:  Lawrence Timmons #94 of the Pittsburgh Steelers sacks Ryan Fitzpatrick #11 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the NFL game at Paul Brown Stadium on October 19, 2008 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Like any good draft you need to allow for proper fermentation. 

OK, I know that the play on words may be a bit cute, but there is validity to the premise. Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert have now put together three drafts and the Steelers are reaping the benefits.

Let's break down the first draft for the Steelers. The player that has had the most success thus far is the beast that is Lamar Woodley. Woodley has proven that the bigger the stage the bigger the performance.

In the history of the NFL there is only one person that has had two sacks in every playoff game he has ever played. And while Woodley has been the benchmark for the Tomlin Era thus far his running mate may revolutionize the inside Linebacker position in the 3-4. 

Lawrence Timmons was the firs pick under Tomlin and most consider him to be "Tomlin's Guy." After a lackluster first season, Timmons came into his own last year and established himself as a force to be reckoned with. He is a match-up problem for every Offensive Coordinator  in the league and he is a toy that Dick LeBeau uses like a bigger, stronger version of Troy Polamalu.

Rounding out that first draft are William Gay, who is likely to be the starting corner this season, and Matt Spaeth, who may not be Mark Bruener but continues to contribute in the passing game. Even without these last two that is an A draft no matter how you slice it.

But let's not forget Daniel Sepulveda. He is going to be a solid Punter in this league for the next decade. He is going to single handedly eliminate one of the biggest weaknesses from last years team. A+

That brings us to last years draft. Once again Coach Tomiln has been consistent with his message that second year players are expected to contribute. Everyone looks at Rashard Mendenhall and Limas Sweed as potential busts from last years draft. I, of course, will go the other way and say that these two guys are ripe for breakout seasons.

Mendenhall is only 22 years old. In fact he is still one of the youngest running backs in the entire league. There is no question that he has to prove that durability won't be an issue, but having said that most people "in the know" think that he is destined to be the real deal. 

Limas Sweed is a different issue. Sure he had a hand issues, I mean I don't want to seem harsh but Edward Scissorhands was laughing at him. But lets back up a bit. The biggest issue for young receivers is adjusting to the routes and the speed of the game. Neither of those two things were an issue for Limas. He got open regularly and he took great angles on his blocks. The hands will come. Remember that nobody dropped more balls than Jerry Rice his rookie season. Sweed will succeed.

Bruce Davis and Ryan Mundy both have the potential to be solid additions to the best defense in the league. Let's be patient with these guys. Throw in Dennis "WildCat" Dixon and we have th potential for a solid B Draft this year and that grade could explode depending on the Rocket and Limas.

So let's let Ziggy, Sonny, Tank, Smokin' Joe, Kraig, D.J. and the Nawlin's Boys ferment a bit before we decide that this year's class is a success or a failure. Until otherwise noted Tomlin and Colbert deserve the benefit of the doubt. A fact that we will all agree on this season while we watch Juan Timmons rack up more "Splash" plays than a Portuguese Water Dog.

Of course that's just my opinion...pass the Primanti's.