Post-Gazette Steelers beat writer Ed Bouchette was unusually critical of the Steelers earlier this week in PG Plus when he came down hard on the organization for “ignoring the tackle position.”
Regular Steel Curtain Rising readers know that I essentially agree with him. In the Colbert Record columns and other run ups to the 2008, 2009, and 2010 drafts, I have repeatedly called for the Steelers to return to the unofficial policy of the Cowher years to use a premium pick (1-3) on an offensive lineman.
One could argue on that, if the Steelers were to exclusively draft for need, offensive and defensive lineman should have been their focus on the first three rounds.
As feared, Max Starks injury has ended his season, and injury ended Willie Colon’s before it started. The Steelers began the season thin on the offensive line, and are now thinner.
So while agreeing with Bouchette in spirit, it’s hard to give his argument an unqualified endorsement.
Danger of Distortion When Drafting in 20/20 Hindsight
Redoing drafts in 20/20 hindsight is easy to do. But sometimes that 20/20 hindsight can obscure the forest for the trees.
Quality offensive tackles, and offensive lineman in general (and defensive line for that matter) have frequently been scarce when the Steelers has come to pick in premium rounds of most of not all of the drafts in the Mike Tomlin era.
Drafting for need has certain appeal, but the fact of the matter is that drafting for need easily leads to reaching, and reaching can get you into trouble. Does the name Troy Edwards ring a bell?
One final point. Bouchette reminds readers that had the Steelers not signed Fozell Adams, Tony Hills and Jonathan Scott would be their two starting tackles (and let’s not breath a sigh of relief yet, this could happen before all is said and done.)
Bouchette is right of course, that would be a bad situation for the Steelers.
But any NFL team would quickly find itself in dire straights if it lost both of its starting offensive tackles.
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