Found February 10, 2013 on
SteelBlitz Steelers Blog:
There has been a lot of talk this off-season about the Steelers last couple of drafts. Many fans are upset with the Steelers last few drafts and believe they need to turn things around in 2013 to get back to the playoffs. The problem with that thinking is that the last three drafts for the Steelers haven’t been all that bad. In fact, the Steelers have found some very good players the last three years.
The reason many fans may be looking down on the last few drafts is, most likely, due to the performance of the 2012 draft class. However, it’s hard for a draft class to show much when two of the first three picks are lost to injury before the start of the regular season. What also has to be remembered is that the Steelers were picking 24th last year, 31st in 2011 and 18th in 2010. Those aren’t exactly the highest draft choices and when you are drafting on the back half of each round it can be harder to find the best talent.
Also, when evaluating the NFL draft you have to keep in mind that picks after the third round are often risky. Then there are sixth and seventh round picks that rarely turn into anything of value. So with all of that in mind let’s take a look at what the Steelers have done with their 29 picks over the last three years.
Busts - We’ll start with the players that didn’t make the cut. DT Doug Worthington, OG Chris Scott and OLB Thaddeus Gibson in 2010. OG Keith Williams in 2011 and CB Terrence Frederick and WR Toney Clemons in 2012. That list includes a fourth round pick, a fifth round pick, a sixth round pick and three seventh round picks.
Of the 29 players the Steelers have drafted the last three years only eight of them are no longer with the team. Those eight include the six busts listed above as well as CB Crezdon Butler and RB Chris Rainey. Butler showed some promise as a corner, but he left for Arizona in free agency. Rainey was supposed to be the kick returner of the future as well as an offensive play-maker, but off-field issues led to his release.
That leaves 21 players on the roster from the last three drafts or an average of seven per year, which is the amount of picks each team starts with each draft. Now of those 21 players there are 12 that could be starters at the beginning of the 2013 season. That includes possibly all five starting offensive lineman. Maurkice Pouncey (2010 first round) will, of course, be the starting center. The guards could be David DeCastro (2012 first round) and Kelvin Beachum (2012 seventh round) and the tackles are expected to be Marcus Gilbert (2011 second round) and Mike Adams (2012 second round).
Antonio Browns (2010 sixth round) could be the Steelers number receiver in 2013 with the impending loss of Mike Wallace. Also at receiver is Emmanuel Sanders (2010 third round), who could be the second or third receiver on the depth chart next year. If the Steelers don’t find a new running back in the off-season Jonathan Dwyer (2010 sixth round) could be the starter in 2013 and Baron Batch (2011 seventh round) could be the Steelers third down back. At tight end the Steelers may be forced to start David Paulson (2012 seventh round) until Heath Miller returns from a knee injury. Mike Tomlin really likes Paulson and expects big things so that could turn out to be a pleasant surprise.
On the defensive side of the ball the Steelers could be starting Cortez Allen (2011 fourth round) at corner if Keenan Lewis leaves in free agency. Their other young corner Curtis Brown (2011 third round) would then be the front runner to be the Steelers nickel corner in 2013. Larry Foote is a free agent and if he is not re-signed the Steelers could start Sean Spence (2012 third round) or Stevenson Sylvester (2010 fifth round). However, if neither player starts in 2013 they will still both play lots of special teams snaps.
James Harrison and Brett Keisel could both be cap casualties this off-season due to the Steelers salary cap issues. That means Cameron Heyward (2011 first round) and Jason Worilds (2010 second round) could be starters on defense next season. Many have pegged Worilds as a bust, but when you have the 2008 Defensive Player of the Year, Harrison, and LaMarr Woodley in front of you it’s hard to make much of an impression.
The spot that Worilds is expected to fill (unless the Steelers find a new outside linebacker in the off-season) was held, at least at the beginning of the 2012 season, by Chris Carter (2011 fifth round). He will be competing for a job again this summer and if he has added some size and strength he could be an option to replace Harrison.
Finally, we have Alameda Ta’amu (2012 fourth round). Like Rainey, Ta’amu had off-field issues his rookie season and will have to regain the team’s trust if he wants to stick around. Ta’amu was one of the best nose tackle prospects in 2012 and if he can develop could be a candidate to replace Casey Hampton, although that spot will likely go to McLendon making Ta’amu the back-up.
Now like I said the Steelers haven’t exactly had mind blowing drafts the last three years, but they haven’t been terrible either. The last three draft classes could account for 12 starters in 2013 depending on off-season moves and could contribute 22 players to the active roster. For a better understanding that would be 55% percent of the starters on the team and 42% of the total roster coming from the last three drafts.
I guess what that means is either these drafts haven’t been as bad as many have made them out to be or we are looking at a very bad Steelers team heading into the future. As for me I think we are looking at more of the former and I believe these three draft classes along with the upcoming 2013 draft class will help the Steelers return to form in 2013 and take them back to the playoffs.
The post The Steelers Last Three Drafts Haven’t Been Great, but They Haven’t Been Terrible Either appeared first on SteelBlitz Steelers Blog.
BEST OF MAXIM
Bill Cowher once had three straight non-playoff seasons yet retained his job as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers and later won a Super Bowl. In six seasons as Cowher’s replacement, Mike Tomlin has made the playoffs four times and has advanced to two Super Bowls, winning one.
What Cowher and Tomlin have in common though are tough, ‘never-should-have-happened’ losses in...
The Pittsburgh Steelers offseason continues on and we too will continue on now with our breakdown of the free agents as we inch closer towards the start of free agency. Next up on the list of unrestricted free agents is veteran tight end Leonard Pope.
Player: Leonard Pope
Position: Tight End
Experience: 7 Years
Free Agent Status: Unrestricted
2012 Salary Cap Hit: $565,000
Remember 2005 and 2006?
More people were using MySpace than Facebook, banks didn’t need bailouts and Bill Cowher was still the Pittsburgh Steelers coach.
The 2005 and 2006 NFL drafts were the Steelers’ last two under Cowher, and they continued to stock their roster with players who would contribute to Super Bowl teams.
Three months after winning Super Bowl XL, the Steelers drafted...
As we get closer to the start of the free agency signing period, more and more names of free agent players are being suggested as potential targets for the Pittsburgh Steelers on social media sites and the blogosphere.
Every year it is my job to play the bad cop and remind everyone how the Steelers are not a team that has been very active during the free agent signing period ever...
There is a reason that Mike Shanahan has always had a very good running game; it’s known as the zone blocking scheme. Todd Haley implemented that scheme in Kansas City and he had the number on rushing team in the league. Last year the Chiefs used the scheme again with new Steelers offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. and they had the fifth best rushing team in the league. Shanahan...
According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, some people within the Steelers organization believe that wide receiver Mike Wallace could end up with the Browns, since they have so much cap room.
The Browns have about $30 million in space and will be big spenders under new owner Jimmy Haslam and team president Joe Banner. Many in the Steelers organization believe Wallace will end...
Now that the Super Bowl is behind us we can expect that the Pittsburgh Steelers will begin ramping up their offseason business transactions.
Currently the team has 51 players under contract for 2013. That number will need to grow to 90 by the time training camp rolls around. 7 or 8 of those players will be draft picks and a good 10 to 15 more will likely be undrafted free agents...
The Pittsburgh Steelers are currently looking for a new wide receivers coach after it was announced on Friday that Scottie Montgomery was leaving to become the new offensive coordinator at Duke University, his alma mater.
Although we don't know who head coach Mike Tomlin will be interviewing for the open position on his staff, you would have to think that former Arizona Cardinals...
The Pittsburgh Steelers are up against the salary cap again this offseason and they will have to make a lot of tough roster decisions. Last offseason, the team cut ties with veterans Hines Ward, Aaron Smith, James Farrior, Bryant McFadden and others in order to get under the cap. This time around the Steelers are looking at the possibility of losing six starters from week one of...
Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel probably will go down as having one of the dopest beards in all of sports let alone beard history.
Keisel has allowed his beard to grow for years, but recently cut it off to be a part of the “Sheer Da Beard” promotion to benefit the cancer programs at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh at UPMC.
Keisel spoke about why he shaved and what the...
The Pittsburgh Steelers are up against the salary cap again this offseason and they will have to make a lot of tough roster decisions. Last offseason, the team cut ties with veterans Hines Ward, Aaron Smith, James Farrior, Bryant McFadden and others in order to get under the cap. This time around the Steelers are [...]
[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full...
Hines Ward made his cameo on “The Walking Dead” last night as a zombie. And he was dealt with as many zombies on the show are: by being shot in the head. Seeing as how most people who aren’t Steelers fans hate Hines, quite a crowd-pleasing move by the show. For the record: Hines survives Bane in The Dark Knight Returns, but not the zombie apocalypse. Nice to have some closure...
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports posted an article over the weekend that offers a number of notes regarding cap situations around the league.
The most interesting tidbit included in his article could be that “many in the Steelers organization” believe WR Mike Wallace could end up signing with the Browns this offseason.
The connection here is that new Browns owner Jimmy Haslam...
The Minnesota Vikings are rumored to be exploring trades for Percy Harvin. That of course means fans from every team have now decided that they should make a trade for him. Sorry to burst your bubble Steelers fans, but it’s not happening.
Now I can see the thought process here. The Steelers are losing a fast play-maker receiver in Mike Wallace so why not replace him with another...
Now that the Super Bowl is behind us, and Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has won the game MVP award, the annual list making of the offseason has begun.
Former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb was recently asked to rank the top ten quarterbacks on NFL Total Access and he ranked Flacco fifth overall and three spots higher than Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger...