Picture to the right are Pittsburgh Steelers' owners Dan Rooney (right) and Art Rooney III (left). In between them is Steelers's quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, one of their many great draft picks, holding the AFC Championship trophy.
The Steelers have the best front office in the league and, with the exception of the New England Patriots, are undoubtedly the best drafting team in the history of the NFL. Don't believe me? Here are some of their first round draft picks from the last decade:
2003—Troy Polamalu, starting safety
2004—Ben Roethlisberger, starting quarterback
2005—Heath Miller, starting tight end
2006—Santonio Holmes, starting wide receiver
2007—Lawrence Timmons, starting line backer
2008—Rashard Mendenhall, starting runningback
So as you can see, the Steelers rarely miss on a player in the first round, but that's not where they've made their team. They are historically good drafters throughout the whole draft, including the late rounds.
They have always been able to tackle the late rounds and find quality players wherever they are picking, and that's why they have more superbowl victories than any other NFL team. On the other hand, there is a team like the Detroit Lions. They have had coaching and front office problems for the past 10 years. Its no secret how poor drafting has scorned this team and caused the team's misfortune. Here are some of their past first round picks from the last decade:
2002—Joey Harrington, quarterback bust
2003—Charles Rogers, wide receiver bust
2004—Roy Williams, wide receiver underachiever
2004—Kevin Jones, runningback underachiever
2005—Mike Williams, wide receiver bust
With the exception of Calvin Johnson (wide receiver, Pro Bowl Starter), the Lions have missed on nearly every first round pick in the early to mid 2000s and that caused them to have the first 0-16 winless season in the NFL history.
Now, all the Steelers' success and Lions' failure was under the old draft format. The old format included two days. One with the first and second rounds and one with rounds three through seven.
This year will be different.
This year's draft will be held on three different days on April 22, 23, and 24. Thursday, the first round will be held in primetime. Friday, the second and third rounds will be held in primetime. And on Saturday, the fourth through seventh rounds will be held throughout the whole day.
This is going to change a lot.
Not only will the time change help media coverage, it will help the poorer drafting teams.
When the Steelers go into draft day, they have everything planned out from their first pick to their last pick. They know the order of their needs and which players can fill their needs.
When the Lions go into draft day, they have their first few picks planned and just seem to go with the flow through the rest of the draft.
Under the schedule change, the Lions and other poorer drafting teams will have a chance to go home and reset their draft board after the first and third rounds. This will help them tremendously.
The Steelers are given the short stick in this change of schedule. Already a great drafting team, it will only give very minimal help to their drafting strategy, but it will give moderate help to every poor drafting team in the league.
This is something to watch out for when draft day comes and looking forward into the next few seasons.
With the new draft format and the the removal of the salary cap, look for a shift in power in the next few years of the NFL