2011 NFL Draft: The Truth About Drafting the Best Available Player

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2011 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 says "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, the name that 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 concensus from most draft boads, 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 - Patrick Peterson, CB - LSU

2 - Nick Fairley, DT - Auburn

3 - Marcell Dareus, DT - Alabama

4 - Von Miller, DE - Texas A&M

5 - A.J. Green, WR - Georgia

6 - Da'Quan Bowers, DE - Clemson

7 - Julio Jones, WR - Alabama

8 - Prince Amukamara, CB - Nebraska

9 - Blaine Gabbers, QB - Missouri

10 - Robert Quinn, DE - North Carolina

11 - Cameron Jordan, DE - California

12 - Aldon Smith, DE - Missouri

13 - Adrian Clayborn, DE - Iowa

14 - Ryan Kerrigan, DE - Perdue

15 - Nate Solder, OT - Colorado

16 - Tyrone Smith, OT - USC

17 - J.J. Watt, DE - Wisconsin

18 - Cam Newton, QB - Auburn

19 - Akeem Ayers, LB - UCLA

20 - Anthony Castonzo, OT - Boston College

21 - Mark Ingram, RB - Alabama

22 - Ryan Mallett, QB - Arkansas

23 - Corey Liuget, DT - Illinois

24 - Camerson Heyward, DE - Ohio State

25 - Gabe Carimi, OT - Wisconsin

26 - Drake Nevis, DT - LSU

27 - Mike Pouncey, OG - Florida

28 - Jake Locker, QB - Washington

29 - Allen Bailey, DE - Miami

30 - Stephen Paea, DT - Oregon State

31 - Muhammad Wilderson, DT - Temple

32 - Derek Sherrod, OT - Mississippi State

 

(This is the draft board from FFToolbox.  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, take off every quarterback and tight end. The Steelers have no need to draft anyone at either of those positions, so those players are immediately taken off the list.

With the emergence of Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown, you can pretty much eliminate the possibility of any receiver to be taken in the first round, so cross them off as well.

My guess? The players that the Steelers would not even consider have been removed from the board. Take out the QB, WR, and RB, as none of those positions are needed.

Having drafted three LBs in the last draft, and already having starters in place, means that is not a position that the Steelers will be looking at in the first round, so they are out as well.

1 - Patrick Peterson, CB - LSU

2 - Nick Fairley, DT - Auburn

3 - Marcell Dareus, DT - Alabama

6 - Da'Quan Bowers, DE - Clemson

8 - Prince Amukamara, CB - Nebraska

10 - Robert Quinn, DE - North Carolina

11 - Cameron Jordan, DE - California

12 - Aldon Smith, DE - Missouri

13 - Adrian Clayborn, DE - Iowa

14 - Ryan Kerrigan, DE - Perdue

15 - Nate Solder, OT - Colorado

16 - Tyrone Smith, OT - USC

17 - J.J. Watt, DE - Wisconsin

20 - Anthony Castonzo, OT - Boston College

23 - Corey Liuget, DT - Illinois

24 - Camerson Heyward, DE - Ohio State

25 - Gabe Carimi, OT - Wisconsin

26 - Drake Nevis, DT - LSU

27 - Mike Pouncey, OG - Florida

29 - Allen Bailey, DE - Miami

30 - Stephen Paea, DT - Oregon State

31 - Muhammad Wilderson, DT - Temple

32 - Derek Sherrod, OT - Mississippi State

 

These are the most likely players that will be available when the Steelers draft. Now, if you take into account what the Steelers need, it changes just a little bit. Players no longer have their original number but instead, one for where they will be rated on the Steelers' draft board.

1 - Anthony Castonzo, OT - Boston College

2 - Corey Liuget, DT - Illinois

3 - Camerson Heyward, DE - Ohio State

4 - Gabe Carimi, OT - Wisconsin

5 - Drake Nevis, DT - LSU

6 - Mike Pouncey, OG - Florida

7 - Allen Bailey, DE - Miami

8 - Stephen Paea, DT - Oregon State

9 - Muhammad Wilderson, DT - Temple

10 - Derek Sherrod, OT - Mississippi State

 

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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