If you’re a fan of utter nonsense all you need to do is tune into a press conference with Pittsburgh Steelers executives prior to any of their drafts.
Now we know there is a need for some cloak and daggering in NFL drafts, some whispered conversations in dark alleys and all that, but heck, spies are trained to tell much better lies.
But…You can’t handle the truth!
Obviously Kevin Colbert feels exactly the same about Steelers fans as Jack Nicholson’s character did about prosecutors in A Few Good Men as some of the general manager’s pre-draft comments were virtually unbearable to hear. Things that sounded like: “We don’t draft for need.” “We like who we have.” “We’re just looking to bring in some competition for camp.”
C’mon Mr. Colbert. We only look stupid. At least…most of us.
If you actually want to see all of the Steelers cards on the table you’ll merely have to review their draft selections. Hmmm…a pass rusher in the first round…two corners in the first four rounds. A tight end. A safety. Some defensive line help. Another wide receiver. You’re right Kevin—we didn’t need any of those players.
Fortunately, with Steelers Depot, the truth is dished out daily here and in double portions.
So here are three key observations in reading the tea leaves of the 2015 rookie draft class:
The Allstate Initiative
As much as they gave teary-eyed fare-thee-wells to fan favorite Ike Taylor as he rode away into the NFL retirement sunset, the Steelers brass could be heard whispering something under their collective breath: “The next dudes are going to be able to catch.” If there was one strong statement in their 2015 draft it was that the Steelers were tired of seeing balls slip through the walrus-like flippers of their secondary. Many of us still have horror-filled reels of film in our head replaying crucial fourth-quarter interception drops over the past few years that resulted in Steelers losses.
In selecting players like Senquez Golson, Doran Grant and…in particular…Gerod Holliman, the gauntlet of a new focus has been thrown, and in this case it might actually be caught. They may be too short, or too unwilling to tackle, but at least you’re in good hands with this group. In many ways, this is a testimony to the Steelers offense. The team no longer has to shut opponents down on defense. They merely need to get the ball back in the hands of Big Ben. Getting turnovers will be a key objective moving forward…not just in word…but in talent.
Steelers Freak Out
You can learn much about the Steelers present mentality by examining their last three draft picks…all linebackers. In 2013 the team chose a player in Jarvis Jones who was high on productivity in college but questionable in raw athletic talent. The subsequent selections of Ryan Shazier in 2014 and Bud Dupree in 2015—both of freakish athletic abilities—reveals they’ve had a change of heart. Jones may still prove his mettle as an NFL pro, but he has yet to show he has the strength or explosiveness to be a star. It was Chuck Noll who told his scouts to bring him athletes and his coaching staff would turn them into NFL players. It looks like they’re back on track with that Super Bowl winning approach.
Holding The Line
All is quiet on the Steelers front…and apparently that’s a good sign for 2015. Many touted the arrival of offensive line coach Mike Munchak in 2014 as the most significant acquisition of the year and that proved prescient. Not only were the rest of the free agents who joined the Steelers mostly disappointing but Munchak proved up to the hype. The fact that the Steelers didn’t draft an offensive lineman this year speaks volumes to the confidence they have in the front five and at least most of their back-ups. After such a strong performance last year, if the arrow points up even a little with this young squad they will be spoken of as among the league’s elite.