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fordfixer
09-26-2008, 12:41 AM
Draft-day error? We'll know soon
Thursday, September 25, 2008
By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08269/914874-66.stm

Too good to pass up -- that was Rashard Mendenhall in April, in that first round of the NFL draft.

Maybe not too good to have passed up -- that was Rashard Mendenhall in August, when he was littering preseason lawns with fumbled footballs.

Not too good at all -- that has been Rashard Mendenhall in September, when he has managed less than 3 yards per carry and compelled no one to clamor for his presence on a troubled Steelers offense.

Not too good to pass to -- that was Rashard Mendenhall Sunday in Philadelphia, where he dropped the only ball thrown his way.

And finally, just plain not -- that's what has defined Rashard Mendenhall's attendance in the running game the past two weeks.

"He's not Willie Parker," Ben Roethlisberger noted as the Steelers began the intense portion of their preparations for the looming Monday nighter against Baltimore. "But he doesn't need to be a Willie Parker, he just needs to be the best Rashard Mendenhall he can be."

You know, like in April, when he was too good to pass up. Which introduces a wicked little irony, does it not?

Here's a running back with a CliffsNotes resume who somehow becomes the first pick of a club with serious offensive line issues, a club that ignored that particular shrieking need for the first three rounds on draft day, swooning at the likes of Rashard Mendenhall and Limas Sweed, a club that, with an injured Parker, now turns to Mendenhall to re-enable an offense that hasn't scored a touchdown in nine quarters.

So now, No. 34 floats through a surreal week of practice at the far end of which he will take the field for his first pro start, in prime time, in that goofy yella throwback helmet, and what does he see in front of him? A club with serious offensive line issues, due in some part to its enchantment with him.

"I'm not concerned about it," Mendenhall was saying yesterday. "I just want to take it all in stride and come in well-prepared. I'm going to try to keep everything as normal as I can this week."

Yeah, good luck with that.

On a team averaging worse than one fallen starter per week so far, Mendenhall is in a real difficult spot. Even with the All-Pro Parker at its disposal, the Steelers have converted exactly five of their past 25 third-down opportunities. With its front line ripped to tatters Sunday in Philadelphia and its quarterback found mostly under 600 pounds of Eagles defensive personnel, the chance that suddenly Mendenhall can set up makeable third downs seems dubious.

"It's not gonna be easy; they have the No. 1 defense in the league," right tackle Willie Colon said of Rashard vs. the Ravens. "For the most part, I think he'll be able to handle it. He's a mature kid. He's a downhill kid. He likes the contact. He'll be ready. It's just a matter of making him aware of what he needs to be aware of."

Roethlisberger spent a few minutes with Mendenhall after practice yesterday, as did head coach Mike Tomlin, as did running backs coach Kirby Wilson. Presumably, they were not making him aware of how much they'd have liked to have had Jeff Otah, the Pitt offensive tackle who has started his first three games with Carolina, which swiped him four picks in front of the Steelers April 26. Nor were they expressing any second thoughts about passing up left tackle Duane Brown, who has started both games for the Houston Texans.

It's true the Steelers weren't the only club that desperately needed offensive line help that day. Seven of the first 21 players taken were blockers. It's also true the Steelers had no business waiting until the fourth round to attempt to get help up front. Tony Hills of Texas, your fourth-round pick, hasn't given much indication that help is even on the way.

Roethlisberger spent part of yesterday listing the ways the Steelers can help Mendenhall operate in a storm of inexperience and ragin' Ravens pressure. He mentioned that fullback Carey Davis will do "a lot of helpin'," and the offense lined Sean McHugh up in front of Mendenhall for a few plays in practice yesterday as well. Roethlisberger didn't mention who, if anybody, will help No. 7.

"It wasn't anything they did," Hines Ward kept insisting about the Eagles' onslaught Sunday. "It was a communications breakdown. Ben has to read hot routes, and the receivers have to break hot."

No one seemed to want to mention what Mendenhall's gotta do. He's gotta get 25 carries. He's gotta get 100 yards. Should he fail, even for reasons well beyond his control, Tuesday will bring a lot of discussion on the matter of who was and who wasn't too good to pass up.
First published on September 25, 2008 at 12:00 am

Djfan
09-26-2008, 01:24 AM
Sounds like what most of us are saying around here.

Shawn
09-26-2008, 02:18 AM
Mendenhall is a beast. Anyone wanting to doubt that already is drawing premature conclusions. Should we have taken Brown? Ehh...looking at our line it would be tempting but I still like the pick.

BURGH86STEEL
09-26-2008, 06:30 AM
We won't know if Mendenhall is a real disappointment until 2 or 3 years from now. If he turns out that way, we know why the Steelers rarely took a RB in the 1st round of the draft. Going into the draft I did not think the team needed to take a RB in the 1st round. What's done is done. I really hope Mendenhall plays well.

rpmpit
09-26-2008, 08:25 AM
Mendenhall is a beast. Anyone wanting to doubt that already is drawing premature conclusions. Should we have taken Brown? Ehh...looking at our line it would be tempting but I still like the pick.

I hope you're right, Shawn. And I'm excited to see what he can do as a starter.

My philosophy on a big back vs. a speed back is that a big back helps to hide weaknesses on the o-line. I think Bettis did this for us for a long time. A big back doesn't need a huge hole to run through. Backs like Bettis can turn a small opening into a huge gain. Where a smaller, faster rb needs the hole or to take it outside. Hopefully Mendenhall can be the bruiser that he's been advertised as and FWP's injury a blessing in disguise.

phillyesq
09-26-2008, 08:49 AM
I'll give Mendenhall more than a preseason and a few garbage carries against the Texans before giving up on him. And the Ravens are always tough to run on -- not going to discount him if he doesn't have a big day against them.

It takes most Steelers rookies at least half a season, if not a full season, before they make some contributions. Holmes didn't really contribute until the second half of his rookie year. Burress was awful his first year. No contributions from Troy P, Timmons, etc. as rookies. I realize that the transition for RB should be a bit easier, but I'm not going to give up on Mendenhall this early in his career.

As for drafting an OL in the first round, it would have been great. But they were all gone. Duane Brown is the only one who was available, and most people thought that he was a huge reach in the first. It is easier for writers now to go back and criticize the lack of picks on the line, but there was a big first round run on tackles, and not a lot worth taking in the second or third, either.

Hardliner
09-26-2008, 09:30 AM
RB is a tough position to evaluate, especially so for a young ball carrier. I'm reminded of that classic line from the movie, Jerry McGuire, when assessing the skills of NFL RBs:

"Like popcorn in a pan. Some pop, some don't."

And so it is. And then, there are those RBs who seem to be late bloomers like Larry Johnson. He languised on Dick Vermeil's bench during his first two seasons because of his inability to block for his QB (He still sucks at this task) and his overall sulky attitude. Then he explodes for two huge seasons before again, reverting back to his rookie year.

Sometimes a RB explodes onto the scene, takes the ball and literally runs with it over, under and through defensive walls. Other times, the RB just needs time to adjust to the NFL game. Mendenhall may well be one of these types?

proudpittsburgher
09-26-2008, 10:08 AM
I don't think anyone doubts Mendenhall's potential. What he showed int he preseason was a running back who is ahead of where most rookies are at this point in their career, from a hole-recognition and hard running standpoint. That being said, the dude just couldn't hang onto the ball, and I don't care who you are: Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith, pick anyone, if you can't hang onto the ball, I really don't care what else you bring to the table, you are going to hurt the team. Now, I think RM's ailments are easily correctable with a few adjustments to where and how he carries the ball, and how upright he runs, so I'm very pleased from that standpoint, but I don't think it is a stretch to say that all of those on here and the Trib board who wanted to trade WP after the draft and hand the spot over to RM were wrong, or at the very least premature. I'm really looking forward to the game this week, because I expect big things out of RM, as far as overall improvement against a really tough Ravens D.

Jom112
09-26-2008, 10:16 AM
We won't know if Mendenhall is a real disappointment until 2 or 3 years from now. If he turns out that way, we know why the Steelers rarely took a RB in the 1st round of the draft. Going into the draft I did not think the team needed to take a RB in the 1st round. What's done is done. I really hope Mendenhall plays well.

I don't think you have to wait 2 or 3 years to find out if a RB is good or not. RB can make a difference a lot earlier than other positions. The only question is will he get the playing time to prove that.

That being said if Mendenhall does bad or even horrible against the Ravens, I wouldn't read much into it. No one should be expecting Mendenhall to do something that even Willie Parker has not been able to do in several years...


I don't think anyone doubts Mendenhall's potential. What he showed int he preseason was a running back who is ahead of where most rookies are at this point in their career, from a hole-recognition and hard running standpoint.

I wouldn't say he's ahead of most rookies. McFadden, Johnathan Stewart, Chris Johnson and Felix Jones have all looked good thus far. I don't think you can say one is ahead of another with the limited play we've seen so far with all the RB's...

RuthlessBurgher
09-26-2008, 10:21 AM
We won't know if Mendenhall is a real disappointment until 2 or 3 years from now. If he turns out that way, we know why the Steelers rarely took a RB in the 1st round of the draft. Going into the draft I did not think the team needed to take a RB in the 1st round. What's done is done. I really hope Mendenhall plays well.

I don't think you have to wait 2 or 3 years to find out if a RB is good or not. RB can make a difference a lot earlier than other positions. The only question is will he get the playing time to prove that.

That being said if Mendenhall does bad or even horrible against the Ravens, I wouldn't read much into it. No one should be expecting Mendenhall to do something that even Willie Parker has not been able to do in several years...


I don't think anyone doubts Mendenhall's potential. What he showed int he preseason was a running back who is ahead of where most rookies are at this point in their career, from a hole-recognition and hard running standpoint.

I wouldn't say he's ahead of most rookies. McFadden, Johnathan Stewart, Chris Johnson and Felix Jones have all looked good thus far. I don't think you can say one is ahead of another with the limited play we've seen so far with all the RB's...

You forgot Matt Forte, too, who outperformed all of those other rooks so far, with 409 combined rushing & receiving yards in 3 games with a couple of scores as well.

Oviedo
09-26-2008, 10:24 AM
Mendenhall is a beast. Anyone wanting to doubt that already is drawing premature conclusions. Should we have taken Brown? Ehh...looking at our line it would be tempting but I still like the pick.

Does everyone remember Game #1 when Harrison abused Brown? Why in the world would we want him and what would he really be adding right now. Mendenhall was the right pick. The only other option worth considering would have been DL. Kentwan Balmer was there but he is only a back up at SF. It was definitely not worth any OL at that spot. Round 1 should be impact players. OL does not qualify as an impact position IMO.

RuthlessBurgher
09-26-2008, 10:27 AM
Mendenhall is a beast. Anyone wanting to doubt that already is drawing premature conclusions. Should we have taken Brown? Ehh...looking at our line it would be tempting but I still like the pick.

Does everyone remember Game #1 when Harrison abused Brown? Why in the world would we want him and what would he really be adding right now. Mendenhall was the right pick. The only other option worth considering would have been DL. Kentwan Balmer was there but he is only a back up at SF. It was definitely not worth any OL at that spot. Round 1 should be impact players. OL does not qualify as an impact position IMO.

I agree with the value of the RB that fell into our laps over the lack of value of the OL & DL that were still avaialble even though OL & DL were more pressing needs. I agreed with this when the draft took place in April and I still agree with it now.

BURGH86STEEL
09-26-2008, 10:29 AM
We won't know if Mendenhall is a real disappointment until 2 or 3 years from now. If he turns out that way, we know why the Steelers rarely took a RB in the 1st round of the draft. Going into the draft I did not think the team needed to take a RB in the 1st round. What's done is done. I really hope Mendenhall plays well.

I don't think you have to wait 2 or 3 years to find out if a RB is good or not. RB can make a difference a lot earlier than other positions. The only question is will he get the playing time to prove that.

That being said if Mendenhall does bad or even horrible against the Ravens, I wouldn't read much into it. No one should be expecting Mendenhall to do something that even Willie Parker has not been able to do in several years...


I don't think anyone doubts Mendenhall's potential. What he showed int he preseason was a running back who is ahead of where most rookies are at this point in their career, from a hole-recognition and hard running standpoint.

I wouldn't say he's ahead of most rookies. McFadden, Johnathan Stewart, Chris Johnson and Felix Jones have all looked good thus far. I don't think you can say one is ahead of another with the limited play we've seen so far with all the RB's...

You are right that teams don't have to wait to find out if RBs are good or not. I said that because we have a proven starter in Parker.

proudpittsburgher
09-26-2008, 11:00 AM
We won't know if Mendenhall is a real disappointment until 2 or 3 years from now. If he turns out that way, we know why the Steelers rarely took a RB in the 1st round of the draft. Going into the draft I did not think the team needed to take a RB in the 1st round. What's done is done. I really hope Mendenhall plays well.

I don't think you have to wait 2 or 3 years to find out if a RB is good or not. RB can make a difference a lot earlier than other positions. The only question is will he get the playing time to prove that.

That being said if Mendenhall does bad or even horrible against the Ravens, I wouldn't read much into it. No one should be expecting Mendenhall to do something that even Willie Parker has not been able to do in several years...


I don't think anyone doubts Mendenhall's potential. What he showed int he preseason was a running back who is ahead of where most rookies are at this point in their career, from a hole-recognition and hard running standpoint.

I wouldn't say he's ahead of most rookies. McFadden, Johnathan Stewart, Chris Johnson and Felix Jones have all looked good thus far. I don't think you can say one is ahead of another with the limited play we've seen so far with all the RB's...

You are right, Jom. I don't think I stated that very well. What I meant to say was he is showing signs of potentially being very good at the things that you can't teach a running back to do, find the hole, running hard in the holes, things like that. His potential right now is very high, it just doesn't matter if you have fumbleitis.

Jom112
09-26-2008, 11:02 AM
Mendenhall is a beast. Anyone wanting to doubt that already is drawing premature conclusions. Should we have taken Brown? Ehh...looking at our line it would be tempting but I still like the pick.

Does everyone remember Game #1 when Harrison abused Brown? Why in the world would we want him and what would he really be adding right now. Mendenhall was the right pick. The only other option worth considering would have been DL. Kentwan Balmer was there but he is only a back up at SF. It was definitely not worth any OL at that spot. Round 1 should be impact players. OL does not qualify as an impact position IMO.

Two things:

1. Brown was starting his first career NFL game in Pittsburgh going up against the likes of James Harrison. If he shut him down or even did decent in that situation he would have been a top 5 draft pick. You can't read too much into that. In the same light you can't call Mendenhall a bad pick if he does bad against the Ravens.

2. OL is not an impact position? The Cleveland Browns and Joe Thomas say differently. Also there are later OL picks that make huge differences their first season, Marcus McNeil of the Chargers comes to mind. Mendenhall was not a bad pick and I really think he will become a good RB in the NFL in time. But you don't need to dismiss other positions to justify the pick.

Oviedo
09-26-2008, 11:31 AM
Mendenhall is a beast. Anyone wanting to doubt that already is drawing premature conclusions. Should we have taken Brown? Ehh...looking at our line it would be tempting but I still like the pick.

Does everyone remember Game #1 when Harrison abused Brown? Why in the world would we want him and what would he really be adding right now. Mendenhall was the right pick. The only other option worth considering would have been DL. Kentwan Balmer was there but he is only a back up at SF. It was definitely not worth any OL at that spot. Round 1 should be impact players. OL does not qualify as an impact position IMO.

Two things:

1. Brown was starting his first career NFL game in Pittsburgh going up against the likes of James Harrison. If he shut him down or even did decent in that situation he would have been a top 5 draft pick. You can't read too much into that. In the same light you can't call Mendenhall a bad pick if he does bad against the Ravens.

2. OL is not an impact position? The Cleveland Browns and Joe Thomas say differently. Also there are later OL picks that make huge differences their first season, Marcus McNeil of the Chargers comes to mind. Mendenhall was not a bad pick and I really think he will become a good RB in the NFL in time. But you don't need to dismiss other positions to justify the pick.

Outside of a concensus Top 10 OL pick I do not think that OL is a justifiable pick in Round 1. And we never pick in the Top 10. That's just my opinion but I think you get more value and impact from going for DL, WR, CB, LB, TE over OL. A good OL is about synergy between 5 guys not the standout performance by one.

phillyesq
09-26-2008, 11:47 AM
Outside of a concensus Top 10 OL pick I do not think that OL is a justifiable pick in Round 1. And we never pick in the Top 10. That's just my opinion but I think you get more value and impact from going for DL, WR, CB, LB, TE over OL. A good OL is about synergy between 5 guys not the standout performance by one.

I think that is really a year to year kind of thing. Faneca was picked outside the top 10, and he did ok. Especially late in the first round, in some years, there is great value on the offensive line. Guys like Mangold, McNeil, just to name a few -- they were late first or early second round picks.

This year, guys that could have been decent values in the late first (Cherilus, for example) were overdrafted because of the run on tackles.

Shawn
09-26-2008, 12:36 PM
Mendenhall is a beast. Anyone wanting to doubt that already is drawing premature conclusions. Should we have taken Brown? Ehh...looking at our line it would be tempting but I still like the pick.

I hope you're right, Shawn. And I'm excited to see what he can do as a starter.

My philosophy on a big back vs. a speed back is that a big back helps to hide weaknesses on the o-line. I think Bettis did this for us for a long time. A big back doesn't need a huge hole to run through. Backs like Bettis can turn a small opening into a huge gain. Where a smaller, faster rb needs the hole or to take it outside. Hopefully Mendenhall can be the bruiser that he's been advertised as and FWP's injury a blessing in disguise.

Very good observation. Mendenhall just needs a crack to make yards...and he will drive some piles. That's what Parker lacks.

SteelerOfDeVille
09-26-2008, 01:20 PM
I've said much of this before... been saying it for years, but, now, i get to reflect on it with the present situation in mind.

It is MY belief that a team needs 2 good RBs to succeed. It has been that way for several years now. Look at the last several SB champs.

05-06 -- Steelers win Super Bowl with Bettis and Parker. Due to injuries, either started at various points.

06-07 -- Colts win Super bowl with a backfield of Addai and Rhodes; Both started at different times. They faced the Bears backfield of Thomas Jones and Ced Benson.. that year, it was BOTH SB teams

During the 2007-08 regular season, FWP goes down. The Steelers struggle during the playoffs with Najeh. For a team that relies heavily on the run, they were actually in pretty bad shape. Coincideltally, they were beaten by Fred Taylor and MJD's Jags. After that, they witness :

07-08 -- Giants win with a backfield of Jacobs, Bradshaw and Ward, all of whom are capable of carrying the load if any of the others went down. And they DID when players went down. At different points, Sammy Morris and Maroney both started for the Pats...

So, now, April 2008 draft time comes around and RB is on your short list because you don't want to have Parker go down and lose game(s) because of it again.

By the time the Steelers select, not only are all the projected 1st round OTs gone, but, we've already made it through the "early to mid 2nd rounders" like Gosder Cherilus and Sam Baker who we spent all offseason debating whether they were reaches at #23 (or wherever we picked). Duane Brown was projected early 3rd in many projections - he's the top OT available.

But, alas, an "elite" RB is available. He's #1 overall according to some. And your decision is this: Take a 3rd round project OT, or the "elite" RB.

Let's think back for a moment when the team selected Troy Edwards. An "elite" OLB/DE was on the board. Cowher said something like, "we didn't need an elite OLB, so we filled a need @ WR" or something like that. So, he reached on Edwards and passed on Kearse. And we were ALL ticked off about it. A decade later it still bugs me to think about.

In any event, Tomlin just had the same situation fall in his lap. And I can't believe ANYONE who lived through the Troy Edwards fiasco would have considered OT at that point. For a writer of a newspaper to suggest otherwise - he should probably lose his writer's pass.
FWIW, after Brown, NOBODY selected an OT until the 3rd round.

Oviedo
09-26-2008, 01:24 PM
DeVille--you clearly don't have a problem with mis-remembering. Excellent post.

phillyesq
09-26-2008, 02:02 PM
DeVille--you clearly don't have a problem with mis-remembering. Excellent post.
:Agree

I'll second that.

buckeyehoppy
09-27-2008, 01:49 PM
I don't know about any of you, but the Steelers are probably going to lose at least two OL players to FA after the season. That figure includes two Ts, one of whom is the LT starter.

They have drafted 9 OL in the Big Ben era. Only 5 are still around and two (Max Sucks and Essex) are FA at the end of the season. Max Sucks WILL NOT be back :Clap

That leaves Kemo, Willie and Tony Hills as the only OL left at the end of this season that have been drafted since BB arrived. Are you impressed? I'm not.

At this point, Hills is a big question mark. I have been firmly in his corner, but he has not impressed. He may not make next year's cut if current trends continue.

Willie has been less than stellar at T and could be moved to G.

Kemo is now starting LG and his stature is rising.

I'd say, at this point, that there is a better than 50/50 chance that no one on the depth chart at OT will be on next year's opening day roster. If I was the Steelers brain fart trust, I think I'd be concerned at this point.

Smith's re-signing will come with a hefty price tag at the end of the season since they didn't wrap it up before this season. Max Sucks has basically proven he won't be worth what he will arrogantly command. That leaves Essex. The Steelers may have to bite the bullet in the name of continuity, but I don't think I go there if I am part of the brain fart trust. Essex is a career backup and will continue to be one.

No pressure! But unless Hills really ramps up his play, the Steelers will need 2 brand new starting Ts (one if they are willing to limp with Willie for another year). It is almost a guarantee that the starting LT on the Steelers opening day roster next year is someone who is not currently on their roster. They will also need a couple backups. That is why the Steelers may be interested in keeping (and, perhaps, overpaying for) Essex.

They may also want to draft another G or C for interior depth.

I can see the Steelers drafting as many as three or even four OL in the upcoming draft, as well as signing a high profile FA to step in at LT.

Friends, the Steelers don't have a lot of options at this point. It's either the current players who will be left after this season will really need to step up soon or they will have to load up the draft on players who will challenge them for jobs.

And, FWIW, Tomlin needs to take a good, hard look at Zierlein. He is directly responsible for the OL unit and their under-performance. If his unit can't respond before the end of the year (and they may not) then he needs to be launched at the end of the season.

There will be no easy solutions for the Steelers OL. But one thing is clear, something will need to be done in the off-season to address this unit. The Steelers will have no choice.

RuthlessBurgher
09-27-2008, 02:27 PM
Here is what I think they will...scratch that...should do:

1. Draft a tackle with your first round pick. Trade up if you have to in order to get a good one. We didn't have the trade-up option last year with only 6 picks and many needs, but next year they should have 9 or 10 picks (the pick that they got for Mahan plus one or two untradeable compensatory picks). Since you don't want to have to start a rookie tackle, even an elite one, you can buy the new kid some time if you...

2. Franchise Marvel in '09. We know that the team does not like giving lucrative long term extension to guys of his age and past health issues, but a one year deal at a premium price may be worthwhile, since you don't have to worry about the dead money cap hit you might take if you resigned him to a long term deal and he regressed in his mid-to-late 30's. Unlike the Starks transition tag fiasco, he would be worth paying $7.5 million (or whatever the number will be next year) in order to have him for one more year while the rookie top pick adapts to the NFL and is ready to start in 2010.

3. Sign Kemoeatu to a long term deal for starter's money. We probably could have gotten him for less than Simmons' deal if we drew up this contract during this past offseason, but now the price tag will be more than Simmons' deal this coming offseason.

4. If Essex is willing to return for reasonable backup money, welcome him back as an swing player that can backup multiple positions along the line. If he fancies himself worthy of anything close to starter's money for some odd reason...hasta la bye bye, Trai.

5. Laugh, cry, kiss $7 mil goodbye. Nice severence package, eh, Max?

6. Draft another o-lineman or two for depth after taking the best possible d-lineman with your second pick in the draft.

buckeyehoppy
09-27-2008, 03:40 PM
1. Draft a tackle with your first round pick. Trade up if you have to in order to get a good one. We didn't have the trade-up option last year with only 6 picks and many needs, but next year they should have 9 or 10 picks (the pick that they got for Mahan plus one or two untradeable compensatory picks). Since you don't want to have to start a rookie tackle, even an elite one, you can buy the new kid some time if you...

If the Steelers were willing to trade up for a luxury pick like Holmes when they could have had Mangold with the same pick, then they should be willing to trade up for their future starting LT. You pick Mangold and you don't have to deal with signing Mahan and Hartwig.

(Caveat: Holmes has worked out as well as I expected, so that softens the blow of not drafting Mangold. But, as FWP has proven, you don't need to be drafted to prove yourself as a quality skill position player in the NFL. Based on the success the Steelers have had recently in the UDFA market...FWP and Harrison, among others...I'd say they had a 50/50 shot at success in finding a serviceable WR in UDFA).

I have no problem starting a rookie LT, if he proves to be able. But...


2. Franchise Marvel in '09. We know that the team does not like giving lucrative long term extension to guys of his age and past health issues, but a one year deal at a premium price may be worthwhile, since you don't have to worry about the dead money cap hit you might take if you resigned him to a long term deal and he regressed in his mid-to-late 30's. Unlike the Starks transition tag fiasco, he would be worth paying $7.5 million (or whatever the number will be next year) in order to have him for one more year while the rookie top pick adapts to the NFL and is ready to start in 2010.

...franchising Marvel (something I didn't even consider) is a trump card the Steelers should play, if necessary. If they are willing to franchise Max Sucks at $7M, they should be willing to franchise Marvel at $8M, or whatever it will take.


3. Sign Kemoeatu to a long term deal for starter's money. We probably could have gotten him for less than Simmons' deal if we drew up this contract during this past offseason, but now the price tag will be more than Simmons' deal this coming offseason.

I believe Kemo is already proving himself worthy of a lucrative long term deal. Not bad for a 6th Rounder (pick #204 overall). Kemo is proving to be the best second day draft pick among O players in the Colbert era.


4. If Essex is willing to return for reasonable backup money, welcome him back as an swing player that can backup multiple positions along the line. If he fancies himself worthy of anything close to starter's money for some odd reason...hasta la bye bye, Trai.

He only gets backup money, period, with whoever he signs with. He hasn't proven himself to be a NFL starter...and he never will. The other teams in the league have to know this. It's why the Steelers have a chance of signing this guy at anything resembling reasonable money.


5. Laugh, cry, kiss $7 mil goodbye. Nice severance package, eh, Max?

I'm willing to bet this guy gathers dust on the open market trying to get starter's money. Max Sucks is a legend in his own mind and he is proof positive that you have to be a professional player on game day and on the practice field. His lack of professionalism in the latter has cost him in the former. And it will cost Max Sucks dearly in the future.

Adios, Max Scumbag!!! Don't let the door dent your fat @$$ on the way out.


6. Draft another o-lineman or two for depth after taking the best possible d-lineman with your second pick in the draft.

Assuming they won't have to give up too much to move up to get their future starting LT, I think they will need to consider using up to half of their draft picks on the OL. After the second round, the draft is pretty much a crap shoot anyway. This is why the Steelers need to consider doing this.

It is absolutely possible that as few as five current Steelers OL will be on next year's opening day roster (Kemo, Hartwig, Simmons, Darnell and Willie). That is why the Steelers absolutely must be willing to go long on the OL this next off-season. Franchising Marvel will bring that number up to 6 and if Essex realizes that he is just a backup, then there could be 7. Hills could make the number 8, but it doesn't seem like the Steelers have much confidence in him (another patented Colbert goof on OL draft picks).

But having as many as 12 OL in camp next year to compete for spots doesn't seem unreasonable at all considering the current state of the Steelers OL.

Once again, good stuff RB! :tt1

fordfixer
09-27-2008, 06:21 PM
I'm afraid that after the performance of the o-line ( or lack there of ) they will have a hard time finding a team that wants to sign them, so they had better start playing if any of them want's a job next year

Shawn
09-27-2008, 08:55 PM
All I know is this...on draft day...when it came to our pick...looking at the draft board...I was jumping up and down yelling "we're going to draft Mendenhall...we're going to draft Mendenhall!!!". He was the obvious pick with the talent left on the board. The only other guy like previously mentioned was Balmer. But, he was all potential...no production.

Ozey74
09-27-2008, 11:59 PM
All I know is this...on draft day...when it came to our pick...looking at the draft board...I was jumping up and down yelling "we're going to draft Mendenhall...we're going to draft Mendenhall!!!". He was the obvious pick with the talent left on the board. The only other guy like previously mentioned was Balmer. But, he was all potential...no production.


Back in April, I recall seeing very little complaints on the board about taking Mendenhall. If he turns out to be a bust, we all will be upset, but nobody should be saying they saw it comming.

:2c

RuthlessBurgher
09-28-2008, 01:07 AM
All I know is this...on draft day...when it came to our pick...looking at the draft board...I was jumping up and down yelling "we're going to draft Mendenhall...we're going to draft Mendenhall!!!". He was the obvious pick with the talent left on the board. The only other guy like previously mentioned was Balmer. But, he was all potential...no production.


Back in April, I recall seeing very little complaints on the board about taking Mendenhall. If he turns out to be a bust, we all will be upset, but nobody should be saying they saw it comming.

:2c

I have no idea where any bust talk is coming from. Because he let a few balls hit the carpet in some preseason games during his rookie year? Really??? I didn't see "bust" coming in April, and I don't see it now. My initial impression of Mendenhall was a more sane version of Marshawn Lynch. I haven't really wavered from that. I think this kid can potentially do it all and could be a really good one. I'm pumped to see what Rocket Rashard does against the brutally tough Raven rush D on Monday. :tt2 :Steel :tt1

Ozey74
09-28-2008, 06:37 AM
All I know is this...on draft day...when it came to our pick...looking at the draft board...I was jumping up and down yelling "we're going to draft Mendenhall...we're going to draft Mendenhall!!!". He was the obvious pick with the talent left on the board. The only other guy like previously mentioned was Balmer. But, he was all potential...no production.


Back in April, I recall seeing very little complaints on the board about taking Mendenhall. If he turns out to be a bust, we all will be upset, but nobody should be saying they saw it comming.

:2c

I have no idea where any bust talk is coming from. Because he let a few balls hit the carpet in some preseason games during his rookie year? Really??? I didn't see "bust" coming in April, and I don't see it now. My initial impression of Mendenhall was a more sane version of Marshawn Lynch. I haven't really wavered from that. I think this kid can potentially do it all and could be a really good one. I'm pumped to see what Rocket Rashard does against the brutally tough Raven rush D on Monday. :tt2 :Steel :tt1


Very true. Most backs have a bad stretch of "the fumbles" every now and then -his just happen to come as soon as he saw action. I'm more interested to see if he can shake their effects mentally. A stat line like this would be awesome for tomorrow:

26-137, 2 TD, 0 Fumbles!!!!

:Beer

SteelStallion
09-28-2008, 11:05 AM
I thinks everybody's frustrated with the o-line situation and a number of fans are spitting venom at the draft. They had a great draft process, and by most peoples' judgements, a very good draft. They went BPA and got some big name people who have a high probability of being big time players. They tried to go more need day two with some trades but it didn't work out. Experts agree the more you reach for need the higher probability of bust.

The Steelers don't get nearly enough credit for rebuilding the sorry LB core that Tomlin inherited in 07.

Much as everybody wants it now for Big Ben (after waiting 2+ decades for a Big Ben to finally land here) the rest of the team is in a rebuilding process. Hopefully by Tomlin's third draft the process can focus on a smaller number of needs.

mshifko
09-28-2008, 02:24 PM
stupid article...you cannot evaluate draft classes until 3-4 years down the road

we got some playmakers and i am glad we went the route we did...when it's all said and done everyone will agree