´ Steel Curtain Rising: Steelers 2009 Draft Need Matrix

What position(s) should be the Steelers highest priorities in the draft?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Steelers 2009 Draft Need Matrix

The 2009 NFL Draft has arrived.

For all of the hype, you’re now treated to sitting and watching Roger Goodell read names off of pieces of paper interspersed with pontifical sound byes from the Oracle of Calvert Hall, Mel Kipper Jr.

Alas, the draft is not broadcast in Argentina, so yours truly will miss all of that….

During the past week Steel Curtain Rising has assessed the Steelers draft needs at defensive line, offensive line, wide receiver, defensive back, tight end, running back, linebacker, quarterback.

The Steelers needs are fairly evenly distributed. They should stick to their boards and draft the best available athlete/football player when their number is called. Need, should only become an issue when two players of equal value present themselves.

What to do then? Well, Steel Curtain Rising proudly presents the Steelers 2009 Draft Need Matrix:

  • Defensive line takes precedence over offensive line
  • Offensive line takes precedence over wide receiver
  • Wide receiver takes precedence over defensive back

Defensive line, offensive line, wide receiver, and defensive back take precedence over everything else.

  • Tight end takes precedence over running back (although the two players would have to be rated exactly equal)
  • Running back takes precedence over linebacker

And all of these positions take precedence over quarterback.

Why No Predictions?

Steel Curtain Rising makes no predictions on the draft, and will offer little in the way of (original) assessment of the players once the picks are in.

There are a couple of reasons for this.

Even when I lived in the US, I did not follow the college game. Got nothing against it, in fact, I enjoy college football when I watch it. But I simply never got into it (probably because my school did not have a football team.)

And relying on the pundits is of little help.

  • Tony Mandarich. Huey Richardson. Andre Ware. John Rienstra. Todd Blackledge. Darryl Sims. Blair Thomas. Jamain Stephens. Ryan Leaf. Aaron Jones. Akili Smith. Keith Gary. Vinny Testaverde. Walter Abercrombie.

All of these were either franchise changing or blue chip players on draft day.

All floundered.

I do not pretend to be the one who can separate the information from the noise on draft day. If you doubt that, (and there is no reason you should) I compelling proof.

Steel Curtain Rising did not exist in 2004, but when I got word that the Steelers had drafted Ben Roethlisberger I emailed friends saying it was a mistake.

Yep. It is true.

My rational was that for every Peyton Manning there were at least two Ryan Leafs. Thought we could win with Tommy Maddox, and that hence, picking Roethlisberger was too risky….

Friends told me I was crazy, including one Ohioan who is a true Bengals fan. He said “My guess is in three years, you’ll be quite happy with the pick.”

He was wrong. It only took half a season.

So while we’ll look at how the Steelers addressed their needs, Steel Curtain Rising will make no pronouncements as to the quality of the players they take.

Day to Dream

The draft is over-hyped and over-analyzed. The predictions become trite and the pronouncements become downright tiresome.

But the draft is still something to behold. It is a Day to Dream.

  • Each name called equals one young man who gets a shot live the dream that we all imagined when we picked up our first Nerf football
  • Teams suddenly see the potential to cement a dynasty, establish themselves as contenders, or end a tortured history of losing
  • Fans can fantasize about a star they loved in college making it big in the pros.

There are definite winners and losers in each draft. But in truth (shh, don't tell this to Mel Kipper Jr.), those won’t be known for at least three years. Disappointments in some form or other are inevitable. Hopes fade to quiet resignation and often disillusionment.

Sometimes this happens quickly (Huey Richardson), in other cases it’s gradual (Walter Abercrombie.)

But draft day remains the one moment when all is possible.

Enjoy.

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