The 2016 season is unfortunately over, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are now embarking upon their latest offseason journey, heading back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the postseason is now behind us, there is plenty left to discuss.
And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the offseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: How does yesterday’s news of Jabrill Peppers’ diluted sample at the Combine affect how the Steelers view the player?
This is obviously an impossible question to answer because we don’t know for certain what the Steelers thought of Jabrill Peppers before yesterday, nor do we know what they think of him for sure right now. But it has been a major point of discussion, and, well, to quote The Big Lebowski, new **** has come to light, man.
As you’ve no doubt already read, Peppers, the potential first-round utility player out of Michigan, was reported to have failed a drug test at the Combine because his sample was diluted. His representative claims that he superhydrated by drinking 6-8 bottles of water after falling ill en route to Indianapolis.
Whatever ends up happening, Peppers will have technically already added a failed sample to his folder. What teams, not just the Steelers, have to consider is whether or not they can believe the player and his story.
If his diluted sample was produced purely because of excessive hydration, then you can essentially ignore the failed drug test and chalk it up to extenuating circumstances knowing in good conscience that there is no reason to believe it will happen again.
Not everybody is going to buy that story though, and reportedly that is already the case. I saw one Tweet of somebody quoting an anonymous team executive basically saying that Peppers must think they’re all stupid.
The Steelers have taken chances on ‘character’ players before such as Mike Adams, but they have enough on their plate already with Martavis Bryant and Le’Veon Bell. How does that shape their perception of Peppers’ diluted sample?
Kevin Colbert said yesterday that the really only indicator of whether or not “someone is going to get into trouble is “knowing he’s been in trouble before”. He also said that they will “reject guys based off of character and our feel for them” and that it doesn’t have to come from something on their record.
This is really more of an open discussion since we’re not going to be privy to the answers to these questions, perhaps ever. But what if Peppers falls to the second round? Would those on the fence be more on board with that pick if it came in the second round rather than the first? And would that diluted sample really threaten to push him back that far?