It's not that the draft is not closely looked at. All fans are very interested in who the team picks and can't wait to see if they pan out. But for some casual fans, that's just about it. Wait until July Training Camp and the pre-season games and watch all the new players. [me too] But now with these message boards it is not hard to get a line on possible picks for the team and also a line on who the really future stars might be. Plus there is You Tube to further get a look at players mentioned. This really is making the Jan to Apr period very interesting. The only bad part is if the team doesn't get the player. But this year for me a new dimension was added. There was a thread last week started by STEELBLOOD which listed a number of players to watch for in the East West Shrine Game. This is of course just one of quite a few of these post season college all star type games which gives players of varying draft status the chance to showcase their skills. Next up is the Senior Bowl which is considered the top game of this type. This got me to thinking. Here are games [a half dozen or more] which gives everyone a chance to see just about every possible player compete and in the case of the pro teams, evaluate them for further use. Then there comes the Combine and more evaluation. Then all the teams have a Pro Day. More evaluation. Uhh! These players have been scrutinzied since they were junior high school kids, 4 years in HS, 4 years in college etc. Then comes the draft. Then how is it like say in 2006 Pittsburgh comes up with 1 25 Santonio Holmes WR Ohio State 3 83 Anthony Smith DB Syracuse 3 95 Willie Reid WR Florida State 4 131 Willie Colon T Hofstra 4 133 Orien Harris DT Miami (Fla.) 5 164 Omar Jacobs QB Bowling Green State 5 167 Charles Davis TE Purdue 6 201 Marvin Philip C California 7 240 Cedric Humes RB Virginia Tech Okay, toss out SH who is great and the only value pick there is Willie Colon. 4th rd pick. Capable starter for many years. One more example. 2008 1 23 Rashard Mendenhall RB Illinois 2 53 Limas Sweed WR Texas 3 88 Bruce Davis LB UCLA 4 130 Tony Hills T Texas 5 156 Dennis Dixon QB Oregon 6 188 Mike Humpal OLB Iowa 6 194 Ryan Mundy FS West Virginia Very possibly there will be none of these players here 2013. Maybe Mundy a 7th rd pick. Now to the point. It is absolutley not to be negative or critical about the teams drafts. It is only to point out how difficult it is to find true nfl calibre players. The Steelers actually do this better than anyone, yet as you can see the number of players who did not even make it at all are quite a few. But why? Why is the percentage of players nfl capable so low. Maybe it is the overall draft strategy? As I said earlier, the thread listing those players to watch in the Shrine game made me think. My draft strategy for this year is compile lists of only those players that perform well in these games.[plus their prior body of work] Screw the combine, screw the pro days screw the rankings etc. My opinion is the draft board should already be finalized at least 95% already. Only the character and integrity of the players on the list should now be double checked. It just seems like championship teams have a lot of smart, troublefree type players. But just out of curiousity, I am going to see how and/or if any of those players the Steelers drafted played in any of these post season games. And if they did how did they do. In other words were those players picked because of some pre-contrived listing of where they would be drafted said so. In other words does anyone really believe player ranked #273 is better for sure than player #397? Get real. Do you really believe anyone can grade these players 1 to 999 with any real accuracy? I don't. BTW: Where is the list of players to watch for in the Senior Bowl?