The good people of Pittsburgh are about to defy the conventional wisdom that nobody cares about this year's NFL draft. As soon as the phone lines are open today, local radio shows will be flooded with calls, because every Steeler fan is going to have an opinion, and it'll probably be one of these:
1) We should have drafted a cornerback or offensive lineman. How did we not draft either a cornerback or offensive lineman?
2) We drafted Ironhead Heyward's son. This is, by definition, awesome.
3) We should have traded like 7 of our picks in order to move up and take Mike Pouncey.
Let's take these one at a time.
First, you don't draft for need in the first round. It's always a bad idea. Bob Smizik thinks otherwise. It's possible Bob doesn't remember Troy Edwards. Don't get me wrong, if Prince Amukamara was sitting there at No. 31, the Steelers should have and would have taken the cornerback. But the best guys left on the board were Aaron Williams and Brandon Harris, and not only were those two generally not considered to be in the same tier of talent as Heyward, but most scouts think Williams will need to be moved to safety. The Steelers are trying to get to the Super Bowl right now - or as soon as they can get on the field - and if Williams and Harris aren't starting caliber right now, what good is that? You might as well look for CBs who are value picks in the second or third round - guys who can start down the line. Reaching for an offensive lineman would have made even less sense. The Steelers played in the Super Bowl in February with three starters - Willie Colon, Max Starks, and Maurkice Pouncey - on the sideline. And the offensive line played fine. All of a sudden you're telling me we just have to draft Derek Sherrod? Please. You never even heard of that guy before last night. Take a tackle or two in the later rounds. Besides, outside of cornerback, I would argue that the defensive line is the Steelers' biggest problem area. I don't have a calculator, but I think the combined age of the three starters is 142.
Second, it is sort of awesome that Cameron is Craig's son. Ron Cook is thinking the Steelers like the big fella. Bloodlines aren't everything - and Ironhead wasn't such a great pro as best I can recall - but Kevin Colbert generally knows what he's doing. Look at his track record.
Third, that's insane. You maybe - MAYBE - trade away multiple picks if you can move up and take a can't-miss franchise guy like Andrew Luck or Ndamukong Suh. Mike Pouncey is a guard, by all accounts he's not as good as Maurkice, and he has a much less fun name for Pittsburghers to say.
Some other quick notes from the first round, most of which I DVR'd and fast-forwarded through:
- John Gruden is the new golden boy at ESPN. He really commanded the panel last night, with his weird haircut and unsettling facial expressions. Whatever Gruden says, he says with supreme confidence. Things like, "I really like what this guy brings to your team. A) energy." And then there is no "B." Love that guy.
- Christian Ponder at No. 12?
- The Browns took massive NT Phil Taylor, I guess to pair with massive NT Shaun Rogers. Curious. But the Browns did luck out when Atlanta traded them multiple picks to move up to No. 6 for Julio Jones.
- Peyton Hillis - who looks like an ultimate fighting version of Nick Lachey - announced the Taylor pick and thanked Jesus Christ for putting him on the Madden cover. Will he thank Jesus when he blows out his knee in the second game of the season?
- Adam Schefter reminds me of a young Donald Trump in that he says nothing of substance with total assuredness. Except he's not the slightest bit entertaining.
- Baltimore took the talented cornerback with the off-field issues, Jimmy Smith. Not good news for Pittsburgh, unless he tries to emulate Ray Lewis by witnessing a murder and obstructing justice. Hope for the best.
- Great day for New Orleans. The Saints snagged top prospects Cameron Jordan and Mark Ingram. Perhaps the most touching moment of the night came when a sobbing Ingram sent a message to his father, who is in prison for tax evasion or something. "I miss you, dog," said Ingram. And in that spirit, I just want to say to my father, who is not in prison right now but is instead probably golfing, "I miss you, dog."