This time it is not the Post-Gazette or Tribune Review that is under the microscope, it is Steel Curtain Rising itself! That’s right, keeping true to the spirit of the Watch Tower, it is time to eat my own dog food.
Early in the 2008 off season, Steelers Director of Football Operations Kevin Colbert declared that the Steelers were not going to take a need-specific approach to the draft, that they were going to draft the best player available.
One two separate occasions, Steel Curtain Rising politely took exception to Colbert’s remarks. On the first occasion, we pointed to the fact that Colbert had said “we like our defensive backs” immediately after the 2002 season, the year in which the Steelers secondary collapsed. Two of the Steelers first three picks in the ensuing 2003 draft were Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor.
The second time around, Steel Curtain Rising again suggested that fans watch what Colbert does, not what he says. We also suggested that the team return to its semi-official policy of the Cowher era of using one premium pick on an offensive lineman.
Mike Tolmin and Kevin Colbert were very explicit that the Steelers needed to “get younger and bigger” on both the offensive and defensive lines. But they stuck to their word.
By the time the Steelers came to make their first pick, 7 offensive lineman had been taken, and five defensive lineman had been taking. Meanwhile, Rashard Mendenhall, who’d been projected to go as many as ten picks higher was sitting right there.
Likewise, by the arrival of their second pick 12 defensive lineman had been taken, and 9 offensive lineman had been taken. Again, Limas Sweed, a player the Steelers had listed as one of the 25 best overall in the draft was still on the board after 52 names had been called. Again, Colbert and Tolmin kept their word.
Through all of this, both men kept their cool. While the Steelers only had 6 picks, they could have packaged some of this year’s picks with picks from the 2009 to try to move up. They didn’t. Credit both Colbert and Tomlin for staying true to their word.