i think i understand what you're saying and i agree. we have been paying him too much money to be a back up for the last two years and could've picked someone at 1.15 who would've been a full time starter at another position. however, i don't think you can blame the front office for making a 'mistake' in drafting him. remember at the time, we had just released joey porter, and james harrison had never shown any signs of the superstar he was to become. even our own coaching staff who watched him every day were shocked at his production once he was given the opportunity. in a 3-4 defense, the weak side linebacker is your biggest playmaker. you can't gamble and hope that an UFA with no starting experience (harrison) can carry your defense. you have to draft the best OLB available and that was timmons.
i don't think it was so much an issue of timmons taking too long to develop. i think he was just stuck behind a surprising new starter they hadn't/couldn't anticipate. much like when the chargers drafted phillip rivers only to have drew brees emerge as a pro-bowler. only we didn't trade our 'drew brees'... we extended him.
now the question is what do we do with timmons? i see two good options. first of all, let him play out his current contract at ILB and see how he does. if he shows he can adjust to that position effectively, we re-sign him long term and save our draft pick. (i think that's what the FO is hoping for). if he shows he can't adjust, we trade him in his final year and get a new draft pick while also saving money to extend our other starters. in the meantime, remember, james harrison WILL get hurt at some point this season. WHEN he does, timmons should be able to step in without losing too much. he's not as strong as harrison, but he's much quicker and better in pass coverage. timmons could literally save us a game or two and preserve home field for the playoffs, and that alone will be worth the 1.15 pick.
in hindsight, had we known harrison would emerge, sure we would've gone with a different pick. but that's not a bad problem to have. mitch berger is a bad problem to have. willie colon is a bad problem to have.