View Full Version : Tomlin/Colbert "double down" in drafts (07 LB, 10 WR, 11 CB)

02-20-2012, 03:10 PM
In Tomlin's first draft with the Steelers, we recognized the importance of linebackers to the success of our overall defense and also acknowledged the age of a few of the guys who starred at linebacker for us in the last few years of the Cowher regime. We ended up doubling down on linebackers with his first two picks of that draft, bringing in Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley. In 5 seasons (3 as a starter), Timmons has amassed 384 tackles, 17 sacks, 21 passes defensed, 4 interceptions, and 8 forced fumbles. In 5 seasons (4 as a starter), Woodley has amassed 225 tackles, 48 sacks, 14 passes defensed, 4 interceptions, and 7 forced fumbles. Both were rewarded with handsome contract extensions last offseason.

After trading away Super Bowl XLIII MVP Santonio Holmes, WR depth was a big need behind starters Hines Ward and Mike Wallace, so we doubled down on wideouts in 2010. Ward and Wallace both developed from 3rd round picks into stars, so we went the 3rd round WR route once again with Emmanuel Sanders, and then took a later round flyer with Antonio Brown (the 5th round pick we got from the Jets for Holmes was traded to Arizona for Bryant McFadden and a 6th round pick that was used to take Antonio Brown). Sanders has been befallen by multiple injuries so far in his career, but he has shown the ability to be productive when healthy (50 catches for 664 yards and 4 TD's in his short career so far), while Brown improved tremendously from a 16 catch, 167 yard rookie campaign to 69 catches for 1108 yards and 2 TD's in his second season. Both guys also show tremendous promise on special teams due to their return abilities.

Coming into this last draft, cornerback was considered to be our weakest link (Ike Taylor was considered to be our only viable player there, and he was an unrestricted free agent at that time). Time for another double down...this time Curtis Brown in the 3rd round and Cortez Allen in the 4th round. While Brown did not receive much playing time as a rookie on defense, he displayed the type of tenacity on special teams coverage units that typically bodes well for an up-and-coming player on the defensive side of the ball. Cortez Allen, coming from the Citadel, was considered by many to be more of a project at corner than a Curtis Brown from Texas, but it was Allen who was getting regular playing time in the dime defense as the season wore on. Both guys ended up succumbing to late season-ending injuries, but both should be back to compete once again with Ike Taylor and Keenan Lewis (UFA William Gay might not be back) for P.T. on D in Latrobe this summer.

Coming into this draft, improving our OL appears to be job #1. Sure, we could use an ILB or NT of the future to be the heir apparant to James Farrior and Casey Hampton, respectively, but the one place where we could use multiple upgrades would be on the offensive line. The team essentially "doubled down" on Gator o-linemen in back-to-back drafts with C Maurkice Pouncey #1 in 2010 and OT Marcus Gilbert #2 in 2011, but other than those two, we've got a mish-mosh of oft-injured players, mediocre former undrafted free agents (quality depth, but average starters), and the guy who sat on his couch for the first month of the 2011 season before stabilizing our line (but is now both injured and unsigned). Realistically, we could choose multiple o-linemen with our first 4-5 picks in this upcoming draft. Who we take is still up in the air, but should that stop us from speculating on their career impact already? No way! That's what we do here.

So, which pair do you think will go down as the most successful draft duo in the Tomlin/Colbert era? The 2007 linebackers have the most pelts on the wall, since they have been here the longest, but do you think that the 2010 wideouts, the 2011 corners, or the unknown 2012 o-lineman could ultimately have better careers in a Steeler uniform? Take your pick!

02-20-2012, 03:52 PM
They better double down on OL this draft or they may have to figure out what to do with a Top 15 pick in 2013 because Ben was injured in 2012.

Time to quit ignoring the offensive side of the ball specifically the OL.

02-20-2012, 04:15 PM
I think it will easily be the LBs. Mostly because they were drafted in the first 2 rounds, unlike any of the other picks

02-20-2012, 04:43 PM
Time to quit ignoring the offensive side of the ball specifically the OL.

Well, drafting Gilbert in round 2 a year ago and drafting Pouncey in round 1 a year before that doesn't exactly qualify as ignoring the o-line. But I do agree about the benefit of using another prime pick or two to further address the OL.