Make Up Your Minds: Help for the Offense or Defense on Draft Day

Matt SContributor IJanuary 30, 2010

LOS ANGELES - SEPTEMBER 1:  Idaho guard Mike Iupati #77 leads block against USC at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 1, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. The Vandals were defeated by the top-ranked Trojans won 38-10. (Photo by Kevin Terrell/Getty Images)
Kevin Terrell/Getty Images

With all the bitchin about Bruce Arians this year and his inability or unwillingness to run the ball, I'm surprised at how many Steeler fans are saying the Defense needs the biggest help. 

I don’t mean just here but almost every site I visit our draft “experts” are calling for Defensive help first.  A lot of these guys are the same ones who blast me when I say the Offense is for the most part doing a good enough job to win our Division, Conference, and maybe even the Super Bowl. 

I've been saying this all year but all I get is Arians is the biggest problem; he should be run out of town; string him up! 

So why all the hype now about getting defensive help? 

Was I right all season just to get blasted every time I was saying our biggest problem wasn't so much Arians and the Offense but rather the in ability of the Defense to close out games? 

After all, five of our seven losses came after the Defense lost leads in the fourth quarter.  Many also say that it is Arians fault because we couldn’t run the ball thus running the clock out.  And to a point I’m not totally disagreeing with you but as I’ve said many times over, I don’t care how we get three to five yards as long as we get them when we really need to control the clock late in the game. 

Look at the two teams in the Super Bowl—the Colts and Saints

The Colts are the worst running team in the NFL and the Saints weren’t by any stretch of the imagination a running team.  Both teams demonstrated the ability to move the ball through the air. 

Quite often, Payton Manning was alone in the backfield on 3rd-and-one only to throw a three-yard completion for a first down, thus moving the ball and keeping the clock running.  I feel this is a valid way to pick up a first down but of course not the only way and not the way long-time Steeler fans expect or demand. 

I prefer a more balanced attack than the two teams in this year’s Super Bowl, but man are they fun to watch.

Back to my point. 

The majority of the posts I read seem to have the same guys who blasted me all season long about Arians and the Offense wanting to pick mostly Defensive players in this coming draft.  I think Coach LeBeau will be able to get the Defense back on track with little help through the draft. 

We should get a healthy DE Smith and S Troy P back.  I don’t see anyone in the draft who can match up to these two guys at their positions so its almost like getting these two guys with our first and second round picks.  There are some guys I’d love to get on  Defense but the ones who come to mind will be long gone before our 18th pick rolls around. 

Guys like Suh, Haden, Berry, and McCoy come to mind as first rounders we don’t have a snowballs chance to get. 

There is one guy I’d like to trade up to get if he falls out of the top 10 and that’s Rolando McClain from Alabama.  He would be a great replacement for our aging James Farrior.  I think he would be able to step right in under certain situations to give James a rest and maybe even prolong his career by one or two years. 

Other than McClain, I don’t see us trading up to get any Defensive players in this year’s draft.  The others mentioned above would cost us too much to reach them and subsequently pay them. 

We could trade back to get NTs Dan Williams (Tenn.) or Cody (Ala.) but both guys' draft positions have been falling so far during the Senior Bowl.  Not sure I’d want to take a chance on Cody with his weight issue.  Not sure why Williams is fading but he may turn it around at the Combine.

With that said, I’d like to get some Offensive help so we can get to the balanced attack I think we’d all love to see. 

To start with I’d take Iupati G from Idaho or Bualga OT from Iowa.  Both guys are beasts who can play all across to Offensive line.  Both of them have been doing very good at the Senior Bowl and are projecting as first round picks. 

I’d like to get a replacement for Hartwig at Center (even though he went to my high school) but the only good Center, Pouncey, would be a long shot with a first-round pick and won’t last until our second round pick.  With our second pick I’d like to see the best available ILB, S or NT.  We all know both Farrior and Hampton are getting older so I’d like to see us get some future help for either of these two. 

Hard to say who may still be here at this point but Spikes ILB from Florida would help with James but another guy who would help the secondary is Chad Jones, S LSU.  I know I said NT but Jones is a hard-hitting Safety and we need help there, too. With no NT worth taking late in the second round I see Jones as a good pick.  We may have to wait for a Hampton replacement until next year. 

With our third round pick and back to the Offense, I’d like to see Gerhart, RB Stanford.  I think he should have won the Heisman this year. He was number one in more categories than Ingram on a team that was inferior to the Crimson Tide. You’d expect Ingram to do what he did, to put up the numbers he did but nobody thought Gerhart would have the year he had. 

I’d like him to come to Pittsburgh and be our Red Zone/Goal Line power back.  He has too many skills to be passed up at this point in the draft. 

The fourth round is harder to predict who is still on the board but a couple guys I’d like to see selected are Asante S Neb or Rolle, S FSU who sat out last year to study at Oxford.  I saw an interview with him and he was very impressive.  Plus he mentioned working out with several Steeler players lately and would love to come to Pittsburgh. 

With the fifth through seventh round picks we need to draft quality back ups for our starters and guys who are proven Special Team players. 

I read an interesting article last year that said the first and second rounds aren’t as important towards building a championship team as the third through seventh rounds are because most the players in the first two rounds “usually” end up as starters. 

The real homework by the teams shows up in the later rounds, trying to find hidden gems and high quality back up players.  It is here the Steelers really need to get smart.  This past year our lack of depth really showed. 

When Aaron and Troy went down with injuries we didn’t have the right guys to replace them.  Now I know we can’t completely replace those two guys but the back ups we had really showed their inexperience and poor play.  This is what I feel our real demise was this past year. 

We really need to get quality depth at all positions. 

Anyway, this is what I’d like to see with our draft this year or at least something similar.  There are thousands of opinions out there and the draft is really too far off to truly know who will fall where outside of Suh going to the Rams.


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