Lack of Depth Due to Steelers Off Field Decisions May Haunt 2013 Season

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The Steelers would have been set at tight end for another 10 years had they drafted Tyler Eifert. Right about now Eifert would be looking real good as a Steeler. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Draft: No Need to Target Specific Positions

Had things fallen into place as I had planned -which most likely they usually do – when – you actually have a plan, there would have been no need to target specific positions in the draft. Targeting players in the draft has been considered draft taboo. It would appear the Steelers targeted their first 5 picks of the 2013 draft (Jarvis Jones, LeVeon Bell, Markus Wheaten, Shamarko Thomas and Landry Jones) because they felt those were positions of need.

With James Harrison still in the fold there would have been no need to target an outside linebacker. With Ahmad Bradshaw and Stephens Howling on board there would be no need to target a running back. In a draft article I wrote how I would have like to seen the Steelers draft Notre Dame TE Tyler Eifert with their first pick. Eifert who went several picks after the Steelers selection to Cincinnati is a Miller clone but bigger, faster and can jump higher. The Steelers with the drafting of Eifert would have been set at the tight end position for the next 10 years.

In the second round I would have drafted Kansas State inside linebacker Arthur Brown (Ravens round 2) who according to Gerry Dulac of the Post Gazette was was in strong consideration to be the Steelers first round pick in the draft. Brown would have been a steal in the second round.

Inside linebacker Arthur Brown (4) from Kansas State would have been my second round choice. The Steelers passed and he is now a Raven. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

After hoping California receiver Keenan Allen, originally a first round graded talent, would slide all the way to the Steelers at pick #75 in the third round. Allen went to San Diego with the 71st pick. I may have considered trading up to get Keenan Allen but again I want to stick as close as possible to what was there for the taking. Most likely it would have cost at least next year’s #2 pick to trade up to get Allen so I stay with the 75th pick and take Markus Wheaton in round 3.

I loved the pick of safety Shamarko Thomas in round 4 and do believe they needed to trade up for him as Dallas who drafted at #112 was looking for a safety.What I absolutely didn’t agree with was what occurred to get the Thomas pick.

Ohio State Buckeyes defensive lineman John Simon (54) could have been a Steeler. Instead the Steelers drafted Landry Jones a third string quarterback for a #3 pick in the 2014 draft to “Freshen’ up the (quarterback ) room” according to coach Mike Tomlin.  The world champions Ravens drafted Simon, a Chris Spielman like player and leader, a few picks later. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Before the draft I wrote how strongly I was against drafting a quarterback to be a back up in this league. Unless drafting for a franchise quarterback it has been proven to be a wasted pick and the Steelers track record of drafting quarterbacks after the third round is a great example of this. (See my prior article on this subject here.)  The Steelers have wasted so many draft picks after the third round on quarterbacks in their past draft history with not a single one of the 8 they have drafted since 1990 panning out. It is a trend around not only the Steelers but the entire NFL. There are plenty of former #1 picks out there with actual NFL experience to sign as back ups.

Instead of Landry Jones I take Ohio State’s John Simon with the Steelers second pick of the 4th round as he brings great leadership and work ethic which I also wrote about before the draft. Simon (Ravens 4th round) would enable the Steelers to carry one less linebacker since he can play inside or outside. The Steelers blew next years #3 draft pick  for a third string quarterback who may never play more than a few minutes in the next 4 years. I will then concur with the remaining Steelers picks in rounds 5 through 7.

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Tags: 2013 Preseason Bruce Gradkowski James Harrison Jason Worilds John Simon Keenan Lewis Landry Jones Max Starks Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Adam Banig

    A lot of what you said just want going to happen.

    Keenan Lewis went for the $ and to his hometown.

    Mike Wallace went for the $.

    The team needed to move on from Max Starks and see what their young tackles had in them before they are in contract years.

    I do agree with you about pay cuts. The team
    Should have asked some of the vets to take paycuts but that doesn’t mean we keep the guys I mentioned before- Lewis, Wallace, Starks and Hampton.

    The steelers have pretty good depth, just much of it is young and unproven but that doesn’t mean it’s not good depth just because we aren’t sure what they can do yet. The young DL, LBs and DBs look like they have good potential. The young wrs and TEs the same.

    The concern for me is the depth at OL but we have to remember we were facing the giants DL, one of the best in the league- even their reserves. The team can’t be stacked in every position though and they just need to develop a few of thee reserves more like Beachum, Malinecki, Long and Golid

  • disappointed

    This site is usually writes better articles. Very disappointing one here. You are ignoring the fact that multiple people have said Max Starks is not a good fit for a zone blocking scheme, and that he wasn’t even that effective in run blocking period. He also stated he wanted to start only. It takes 2 to tango. Cortez Allen is viewed as an upgrade to Kennan Lewis, so not breaking the bank on him allowed us to extend McLendon, who looks like a beast; and match the offer for Sanders.

    Our depth is fine outside of the OL. Don’t forget, this year the rosters for camp increased from 80 to 90. This is 10 extra players each team gets, and I bet most of them were used on OL and DL. So that’s a smaller pool of the players available for backup positions. When the waiver cuts come, we’ll probably find a backup tackle we can use, and we’ll be ok.

    As for extending Foote, he plays well for us, and we had no good ILB prospects on the team. The young guys that are making headlines in the preseason were unknown quantities. They still are unknown in my opinion, as promising as some of them seem. But at the time of free agency, this was unknown.

    Your premise we would have drafted Eifert had Harrison stayed is also extremely flawed. The team made a very generous and fair offer to Harrison. He chose to reject it. Again, 2 to tango. Colbert said that the team considered Jarvis Jones one of the 5-7 elite players in this draft class. He didn’t mention if Eifert was another one of them, but I doubt it. Tight ends are rarely labelled as elite. So chances are high the Steelers would have drafted Jones anyway.

    I don’t know why everyone is upset about the 4th round pick of Landry Jones. After the 3rd round, any pick that makes the team is a bonus. People are really anti-Landry and/or really think a 4th round draft pick is guaranteed to succeed. Yes, we had luck with some lower round WR picks, but we have far more failures than successes in later rounds, as do all teams.

    Considering the cap and the challenge in front of him, I thought Colbert had one of his best offseasons as a GM. We are looking like a very competitive team, with some true potential super stars. (Jarvis Jones, Wheaton, Shamarko).

  • Milliken Steeler

    I appreciate what you’re trying to say in the article however, I think there are a few things you are missing.

    He wanted to go back to New Orleans where he was from and stated this to the organization. Being a Steeler for life wasn’t in his way of thinking.We have had a few issues with players (Wallace,Mendenhall) that above their neck, did not seem to fit a true Steeler player. I actually think that went into the thought process as well as cap space and how they drafted.

    Starks as a back up maybe for the right price. He wanted to start and he doesn’t fit our new scheme. He is going to be the back up in San Diego and was blown up by his man when they were playing Chicago and almost got Rivers killed. Rivers got sacked, fumbled and turned the ball over. I think the Steelers wanted a change regardless as it just was not working and Ben has been still getting hit to much.

    Deebo is debatable. He wound up signing for less money with the Bengals. For less money when the Steelers are the team that gave you your opportunity? Im going to say PUSH on that situation.

    Heyward Bay?lol

    I’m not really concerned about this team except for depth on the O-line. We have nice depth on the D-line at middle linebacker and I like our WR’s. Ill take AB,Sanders,Cotch,Wheaton and Justin Brown any day of the week. Yes I said Justin Brown, he’ll make the 53

  • blustrk

    Fantastic article. One of the best in-depth analysis of personnel that I have ever seen. Of course everything cannot be done as you presented it, but the possibilities make you wish the Steelers had gone in your direction. Whatever the criticism of your article may be, the FACT remains that we lost a number of good players and that we are very thin behind our starting players.