ESPN and NFL Network Coverage Of The 2013 draft, Steelers.

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Friday April 26 rounds 2&3

ESPN’s second and third day coverage was much better because Berman doesn’t work them.  Both Networks had analyst that didn’t understand the Steelers second round pick of Le’ Veon Bell. All agreed it was the Steelers type of back but some thought it was to high and a reach to take Bell that early. Linebacker Arthur Brown from Kansas State was available. Some thought the Steelers might take him in round 1. The have a definite need for an inside linebacker. Foote is old and there are is no decent backup. Sylvestor Stevenson wouldn’t be on any other roster in the NFL right now if not for the Steelers throwing him a lifeline. He has had zero production as an inside linebacker in his Steelers career.  Worse yet the Ravens took Brown with their second round pick. Brown is the second pick I hated to see the Ravens get.


I felt Bell is a back is much like Jonathon Dwyer and Isaac Redman and the tape backed that up. He is a power back but was shown hurdling defenders multiple times in his highlight reel ala LeGarrette Blount (former Tampa Bay RB who was traded to New England during the draft.)  I thought they were looking for a change of pace back like UCLA’s Jonathon Franklin for the new zone blocking scheme (thus the reason the Steelers were targeting Ahmad Bradshaw in free agency.) I was disappointed as neither network showed any highlights of the Steelers 3 round pick WR Markus Wheaton.

Safety D.J. Swearinger out of South Carolina taken #57 by Houston was the clear day 2 winner on the highlight reel. Unquestionably the best hitter in the draft. He was exploding helmets off of receivers and backs with missile like hits.  Goodell’s must be having nightmares over Swearinger’s highlight reel. The Commissioner doesn’t want players to hit like that in the NFL. Swearinger could be the first player Goodell suspends for hitting too hard. That seems the direction Goodell is going.

SaturdayApril 27 rounds 4-7: Tebow is out Chip Kelly is in

Two words that were said the most during draft coverage was “Chip Kelly” the new Eagles coach from Oregon. He is clearly ESPN’s new NFL poster boy. According to ESPN everything Kelly touched turned to gold, Kelly is a genius and there is no better coach in the business.  The coverage of Kelly was nauseating.  ESPN reporter Sal Paolantonio will be living at the Eagles headquarters this year. Any player that got drafted from the Pac 12 brought out a Chip Kelly reference. Not an Oregon player but any Pac 12 player.  You have been warned. Again thank you DVR.

After trading next years #3 pick to Cleveland for this years 4th round pick (#111) the Steelers selected Syracuse Safety Shamarko Tomas. I hated the trade of losing a 3rd rounder next year but Thomas is my favorite pick of the entire Steelers draft. Both networks agreed Thomas is a Steelers type player. Very muscular, fast, has a 40 inch vertical, compact and powerful. Hits a ton.  He was also one of day 3 highlight reel stars as he blows up plays.  He fills a definite need and is the type of physical presence the Steelers need. Thomas like Matt Elam from Florida, is also a clone of former Indianapolis Colts safety Bob Sanders.

The 4th round also had my most hated Steelers pick of the draft and most analysts from both networks agreed. Rich Eisen challenged the NFL Network analysts on why the Giants and the Steelers would draft quarterbacks in the 4th round when their two quarterbacks were in their prime. Like many people Eisen thought this was too high and a wasted pick at that point for a player who is just going to sit on the bench. Eisen could not get a straight answer and kept prodding the analyst panel why teams with Eli Manning and Roethlisberger would draft quarterbacks so high. Finally Mike Mayock was the only one who attempted an explanation stating the value for the pick was too good to pass up even if the player sits on the bench because a higher rated talent raises the overall talent level of the team, even if the higher rated talent doesn’t play and the 4th does.  Does that sound logical to you?

Trent Dilfer went on a tirade trashing the Oklahoma program, trashed Oklahoma’s offensive play calling and Landry Jones’s senior year. Someone from Oklahoma must have done something to Dilfer. The Cardinals, Jaguars and the Browns are 3 organizations who have not had any stability at the quarterback position for several years and all were in the market for quarterbacks. Yet none of these 3 teams picked a quarterback. It was a bad quarterback class. It was a bad pick for the 4th round. Bill Polian for GM of the Colts and Todd McShay were the only two analysts who liked the pick. If you read my article a few weeks back then you know I was hoping the Steelers picked Ohio State’s John Simon who was projected as a late 3rd round pick.  The Ravens took him in round 4 after the Steelers took Landry Jones. This being the third pick the Ravens took that killed me. See more on this in my article tomorrow.

As the draft goes on the networks do not show tape on all of the players as they get caught up talking about bigger story lines. Only one network had some tape on the Steelers 5th pick Illinois CB Terry Hawthorne and they were pedestrian. The network analysis on the Hawthorne pick was that it was a slight reach and there were better corners the Steelers could have taken. In comparing the highlight reels on the corners taken after Hawthorne, that assessment would seem to be true. However Hawthorne may fit a specific type the Steelers are looking for.

Only one network had tape on the Steelers 6th pick out of Florida State inside linebacker Vince Williams who is considered a project and only a 2 down back by the network analysts. Williams looked like he can deliver a hit. The Steelers needed to get significantly better at inside linebacker in the 2012 draft. Two drafts later have they have failed to do so? The Steelers had an opportunity in round 2 to pick first round rated inside linebacker Arthur Brown from Kansas State University.

Nether ESPN or the NFL Network had any tape or had much to say about the Steelers 6th pick WR Justin Brown out of Oklahoma or Steelers 7th round pick defensive lineman Nick Williams out of Samford. However Williams had great measurables for a DE (4.84 forty and 33 inch vertical) and one has to wonder why he went so late. As it stands now the Steelers have too many wide receivers and running backs and will have to cut at least one of each before the season starts. If this draft fails it will probably come down to 2 decisions the Steelers made in this draft. Not taking Arthur Brown in the second and then taking a quarterback in round 4 who may never play for the Steelers. They also ignored the offensive line even though they only have 6 offensive lineman under contract.  Somewhere Doug Legursky must have loved this draft.

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