Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13

Thread: Excellent Article on Correctness of NOT Drafting OL

  1. #1
    Legend
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    13,846

    Excellent Article on Correctness of NOT Drafting OL

    This guy sees it right. You don't panic and reach for players who aren't worth the pick.

    Steelers should've drafted an O-lineman?


    By Ryan Wilson
    SteelCityInsider.com
    Posted Sep 26, 2008


    Rashard Mendenhall gets his first NFL start on MNF, but some think the team would've been better drafting an offensive lineman.

    The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gene Collier has lost his mind. Considered the best columnist in town, Collier has taken leave of his senses in recent weeks. In August, he upset Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin when he described Anthony Smith's training camp antics as "thuggery" (to be fair, I'm hardly Smith's biggest supporter, but I can understand why Tomlin might've taken issue with Collier's choice of words), and yesterday, he penned quite possibly the worst column of his storied career.

    Rookie first-round pick Rashard Mendenhall is overrated, folks. That's basically what Collier has surmised after three short weeks, a handful of plays, and the fact that the offensive line is, as we all predicted last year, in shambles. Genius. And if Monday night doesn't produce a Pro Bowl effort, well, it'll undoubtedly jump-start the "why did the Steelers draft the next Ki-Jana Carter" discussions. At least to hear Collier tell it.

    Look, I was as dumbfounded as any Steelers fan after watching what transpired in Philadelphia last Sunday afternoon, but to suggest that drafting Mendenhall instead of much-needed offensive line help isn't just revisionist history, it's, well, insane. We've had this conversation countless times since Pittsburgh fell to Jacksonville in the wild card game in January. The o-line is a joke. Shocking, I know. Losing Alan Faneca didn't help things, although, franchising him wasn't the answer, either. He was already angry about not getting a new deal and keeping him in town against his will for another season wouldn't have been good for anybody. Not only that, but have you seen him with the Jets? In retrospect, the front office did the right thing. Whatever, I was driving the Branden Albert bandwagon early this offseason, and even suggested that the Steelers might trade up to get him because he could immediately start, if not at tackle, then at guard. As it turned out, his stock rose right through draft day and the Chiefs ended up selecting him with the 15th overall pick. In fact, seven offensive linemen went before Pittsburgh settled on Mendenhall with 23rd selection.

    But Collier just waves blithely at the facts as he neatly builds his straw man:

    Roethlisberger spent a few minutes with Mendenhall after practice [Wednesday], 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.

    Sigh. I'll admit that Otah has played well in Carolina, but I was under the impression the Steelers weren't all that enamored with him in the weeks leading up to the draft, and even if they were, THE PANTHERS TRADED UP TO TAKE HIM. I suppose some of the eggheads at Carnegie Mellon could lend Kevin Colbert their top-secret time machine stored in the bowels of Hammershlag Hall (allegedly, of course) and he could go back to that fateful Saturday in late April and find a way to snag Otah ... or, maybe, as Collier writes, the front office could revisit the possibility of taking Brown with the 23rd pick. The same Duane Brown, by the way, who was summarily abused in the season opener.

    Collier also fatuously claims that "the Steelers had no business waiting until the fourth round to attempt to get help up front." Because if Pittsburgh had used their first four picks on offensive linemen, Ben Roethlisberger wouldn't still be writing his name on his hand for identification purposes after what happened in Philly last week. There's absolutely no way any rookie, no matter what round he was drafted, would be in Pittsburgh's starting lineup right now. The only player available in Round 1 was Brown, and the NFL Network's Mike Mayock had him with a third-round grade. The Colts selected Mike Pollak at the end of the second round, and even if the Steelers had taken him instead of Limas Sweed, all he would be doing is occupying Sweed's spot on the sidelines. You see where I'm going with this; unless the team finagled their way into the the top 15 -- four times -- Marvel Smith, Chris Kemoeatu, Justin Hartwig, Kendall Simmons and Willie Colon were still going to be on the field when the season started. Why is that suddenly so hard for Collier to fathom?

    And while bellyaching about the o-line woes has become a tiresome exercise (and I take full responsibility for contributing to the madness), why is Collier bringing it up now? I mean, I know why, but if this was weighing so heavily on his mind, why not mention it prior to Week 1 or Week 2 or, hell, Week 3? My guess: he didn't think it was a concern, and like many of us, was lulled into a false sense of security after watching Big Ben emerge relatively unscathed from the Texans and Browns game. Of course, prior to the draft Collier wrote these words under the headline, "For Every Faneca, There Is a Bust":

    A week from today, the Steelers will use the 23rd pick in the NFL draft on an offensive lineman, or at least they should, so you might want to hope they don't.

    Collier then spent several hundred words explaining why using a first-round pick on a lineman is wrought with pitfalls, which is a perfectly defensible position to take. Too bad he didn't take his own advice.

    On Wednesday -- one day before Collier penned his "Duane Brown RULZ!1!11!" masterpiece, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Joe Starkey wrote a thoughtful column explaining that the Eagles debacle was a team effort ("an equal opportunity disaster on offense") before calmly pointing out that it's way too early to "render a verdict on the offensive line."

    Consider that left guard Chris Kemoeatu was making just his second road start, against a very good defense.

    Could we give him, oh, another quarter or two before we write him off? Lastly, while it's true the Steelers haven't drafted an offensive lineman in the first two rounds since 2002, taking linemen high in the draft hardly is a prerequisite to winning Super Bowls.

    Starkey offers two examples: the Steelers teams of the '70s featured exactly zero first-round picks along the o-line, and of the last five Super Bowl winners, only the Steelers "had a front built with high draft picks." Collier might want to read the whole thing, and it would serve him well to peruse the papers before putting forth hare-brained theories generally reserved for the tin-foil-hat crowd, or the five people who still read Mark Madden.

    As long as we're making out a reading list for Collier, might i suggest this. Hours after Pittsburgh selected Mendenhall and Sweed, Tomlin made it clear that there was more than one way to protect the quarterback. Cobbling together a capable offensive line is the convention, and that's something I think Roethlisberger would fully support (well, when he's not lobbying for tall wideouts; note to Ben: in the future, you might want to keep your mouth shut). But surrounding a quarterback with gobs of talent at the skill positions creates all sorts of problems for a defense, and, in theory, can also provide the quarterback some cover. Bruce Arians is still working out the kinks, but I understand the philosophy. (Although, I'm still unconvinced Arians is the guy to carry it out; that's a discussion for another time, however.)

    Remember, Gene, the more you know...

    Oh, and one last question: if the Steelers had drafted Duane Brown, who's the starting running back with Willie Parker out?
    Playing Fantasy Football does not qualify you to be the in the front office or on the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are professionals and you are not!

  2. #2

    Re: Excellent Article on Correctness of NOT Drafting OL

    Great article.

    Whether or not Mendenhall was the guy (and I liked the pick), after the run on tackles, oline simply wasn't the way to go in the draft this year. Yes, the Steelers had (and still have a need), but, unfortunately, the board didn't fall that way.

  3. #3
    Starter
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Out with the chickens...
    Posts
    642

    Re: Excellent Article on Correctness of NOT Drafting OL

    "the five people who still read Mark Madden."


    http://i177.photobucket.com/albums/w...URES/NCFAN.jpg

    "18 and D'OH!" ---headline on NFL.com 2/5/08

  4. #4
    Hall of Famer costanza2k1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,571

    Re: Excellent Article on Correctness of NOT Drafting OL

    Great read! Thanks. Imagine this if we drafted a lineman with our first pick like the Chin wanted to we wouldn't have Ben. We'd have nice oline but no QB...oh wait a minute didn't we have that in 90s???
    ours is not to wonder why just invert and multiply...

  5. #5

    Re: Excellent Article on Correctness of NOT Drafting OL

    Quote Originally Posted by costanza2k1
    Great read! Thanks. Imagine this if we drafted a lineman with our first pick like the Chin wanted to we wouldn't have Ben. We'd have nice oline but no QB...oh wait a minute didn't we have that in 90s???
    Right now, we wouldn't even have that. Andrews has been hurt the past couple of weeks, and I've heard some mention out here that surgery is being considered (although I haven't really paid attention to the details)...

  6. #6
    Legend RuthlessBurgher's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Where the Rubber Meets the Road (in NEPA)
    Posts
    21,998

    Re: Excellent Article on Correctness of NOT Drafting OL

    Quote Originally Posted by phillyesq
    Great article.

    Whether or not Mendenhall was the guy (and I liked the pick), after the run on tackles, oline simply wasn't the way to go in the draft this year. Yes, the Steelers had (and still have a need), but, unfortunately, the board didn't fall that way.
    Yup...board didn't fall that way and there was nothing we can do about it with only 6 picks total going into the draft. However, in the next draft, we should have 9 or 10 picks, meaning that we have the option of trading up to get the lineman we want instead of worrying about all the good ones getting gobbled up before we pick. We did it with Troy and Santonio, and it is time to trade up for an elite lineman in 4/09.

  7. #7
    dcsteelerfan
    Guest

    Re: Excellent Article on Correctness of NOT Drafting OL

    To me the fact that Collier mentions Duane Brown blows my mind...I am a VT grad and watched him for 3 years, and IMO he was an above average college OT. I think he will be solid at best after a few years, but as Steelcityinsider states he would not be starting anyway unless he was the next Jonathon Ogden or Anthony Munoz. Most analysts said the Texans were reaching just to draft an OT who most experts had him labelled as a 2nd-3rd rounder at best.

  8. #8
    Hall of Famer costanza2k1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,571

    Re: Excellent Article on Correctness of NOT Drafting OL

    Not only will we need to draft people on the Oline we need to draft them to fit our scheme. If the scheme isn't good, meaning it doesn't improve as the year goes on, then we need to replace the Oline coach. Other teams have crappy line but I think they're coached right and they play better. Time will tell...starting tonight and every game after.
    ours is not to wonder why just invert and multiply...

  9. #9
    BigBen2112
    Guest

    Re: Excellent Article on Correctness of NOT Drafting OL

    Quote Originally Posted by costanza2k1
    Not only will we need to draft people on the Oline we need to draft them to fit our scheme. If the scheme isn't good, meaning it doesn't improve as the year goes on, then we need to replace the Oline coach. Other teams have crappy line but I think they're coached right and they play better. Time will tell...starting tonight and every game after.
    Yeah and that is why the OL coach and OC need to be the first to go.

    I was FINE with how our 1st and 2nd round picks went, but as usually I think we failed miserably from there on. I know there are those who are claiming Bruce Davis is the next great thing, but I agree with the sentiment that its really weird that he cannot even earn a spot on the field on special teams...Timmons played special teams...so did many other key starters for the Steelers now.

    I certainly would rather have Anthony Collins right now than Bruce Davis and Tony Hills and the way our DL is taking a hit I certainly would have liked Collins in the 3rd and taking big Red Bryant later.

    It is one thing to say that a rookie would not help right now, and I agree with that, but it is another thing to completely neglect the OL and rarely add top talent to it via the draft or by FA. That is what we're facing. Yes, a rookie might not help this year, or maybe he would, but he certainly would be a good start towards building a capable OL, which we have not had in the last several years here in Pittsburgh.

  10. #10
    Hall of Famer costanza2k1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,571

    Re: Excellent Article on Correctness of NOT Drafting OL

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBen2112
    Quote Originally Posted by costanza2k1
    Not only will we need to draft people on the Oline we need to draft them to fit our scheme. If the scheme isn't good, meaning it doesn't improve as the year goes on, then we need to replace the Oline coach. Other teams have crappy line but I think they're coached right and they play better. Time will tell...starting tonight and every game after.
    Yeah and that is why the OL coach and OC need to be the first to go.

    I was FINE with how our 1st and 2nd round picks went, but as usually I think we failed miserably from there on. I know there are those who are claiming Bruce Davis is the next great thing, but I agree with the sentiment that its really weird that he cannot even earn a spot on the field on special teams...Timmons played special teams...so did many other key starters for the Steelers now.

    I certainly would rather have Anthony Collins right now than Bruce Davis and Tony Hills and the way our DL is taking a hit I certainly would have liked Collins in the 3rd and taking big Red Bryant later.

    It is one thing to say that a rookie would not help right now, and I agree with that, but it is another thing to completely neglect the OL and rarely add top talent to it via the draft or by FA. That is what we're facing. Yes, a rookie might not help this year, or maybe he would, but he certainly would be a good start towards building a capable OL, which we have not had in the last several years here in Pittsburgh.
    Agreed. At some point and time we're going to have to draft talent on the lines and get them trained up to play.
    ours is not to wonder why just invert and multiply...

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •