The Steelers are generally known as an organization that drafts the best available athletes to plug holes in the team a few years in the future. Usually that is because there are very few holes in a deep roster and many of those draft picks are draft selections not needed for immediate impact.
This year though it is a bit different. Why?
Coming off a sub-par 9-7, non-playoff year. Starting QB out at least four games. The defensive line starters all well into their mid-30s. Starting inside linebacker 35 and slowing down every day. Starting receiver thrown away for personal issues. An offensive line that can't open up holes when they have to and give up the most sacks in the league. A starting cornerback with cleat marks up and down his body from being run over. A defense that is one all-pro safety's injury away from being average...
Need I go on?
So what did we get? A back to the future sequel.
We got back our starting cornerback from two years ago. He is now two years older and was so dismal at this last team that they gave him away. A receiver that was a third receiver on our team four or five years ago and is four or five years older now and who has not exactly lit it up since leaving either. An inside linebacker who left the team because he knew he was going to lose his starting job and who is now back as a 30-year-old back up to the starting 36-year-old.
Hey, let's not stop here. The Jets just cut Alan Faneca. Let's sign him up too!
From the draft I love Pouncey to take over sooner than later from Justin Hartwig, one of the lowest rated centers in the league. I think Dwyer will be the steal of the draft and will be the thunder to Mendy's lightning. But beyond that what help did we get here?
From the second round where we needed an impact player to fill in one of the many needs above, what do we get? A player that by the Steelers own admission will have to "earn his stripes on special teams" without much expectation of him helping as an outside linebacker for the next few years.
From a second round pick in one of the deepest drafts ever? We couldn't find one player that would provide an immediate impact now?
Then we draft a receiver who relies on speed and quickness but doesn't have "vertical stretching" ability, who is not known as an effective blocker, and who is so slightly built that people question his durability. From the third round? Again, in this deep a draft we couldn't get some impact on next season?
Next we went back and picked up yet another outside linebacker who at best will not help for a couple of years. Then we finally pick a tackle that has problems with speed and foot work to get to the outside on speedy defensive ends. What does Big Ben think about that? Sounds like Tony Hills all over again.
Past that, except for Dwyer, it really doesn't sound like we picked anyone who will even make the team, let alone help next year.
So is this what we get from the deepest draft in decades? This does not shape up to rival the '74 Steelers draft for sure.
It sounds to me like Kevin Colbert and team just followed the same old, same old draft plan. They did so without consideration of the glaring needs of this team and the fact that this was supposed to be a draft for the ages.
The only good news is that when some of these older Steelers don't get the job done because they are slowing down and this year's draft choices don't provide the help, we will get higher draft choices next time. Let's just hope that Kevin Colbert is not around to make those choices or that we get smarter about it at least!