How many times have we heard Keith butler say he always screaming to the guys to draft LBs. he got his wish when we drafted 3 in 1 year. And they're all gone just 3 years later (Gibson, sly, forget other guy).
Heck, he was campaigning to take Hightower just last year when the obvious bigger need was decastrro.
Do you think Mitchell just sits on his hands and keeps his mouth shut when there's a DL on the board he likes?? Then you also the the defensive coordinator chiming in as well as Colbert
In my opinion the reality about Hood and Heyward is that they are late first round picks and needed this time to develop into serviceable (hopefully, better than that) NFL defensive linemen. Neither came in with the "can't miss" label. Hood will get his chance this year to prove where he's at developmentally and Heyward will get reps, Kiesel is probably gone next year and unless they are drafting a "can't miss" prospect Heyward gets the job, let's hope he's ready.
Each of these guys probably has followed the exact path that the Steelers expected when they drafted them, draft them, teach them, train them, develop them, give them minutes to get accustomed to the pro game and then replace long time vets once they either retire or are being outplayed. I don't see either of these guys not being where the Steelers expected them to be when they were drafted. The Steelers would have liked for better, but I believe that would have simply been icing on the cake.
1.22) Dante Fowler, OLB, UF
2.56) PJ Williams, CB, FSU
3.87) Ben Koyack, TE, ND
4.120) Kurtis Drummond, FS, MSU
5.152) David Johnson, RB, North Iowa
6.183) Sean Mannion, QB, Oregon St.
7.214) Lynden Trail, OLB, Norfolk St.
"Before you can win a game, you have to not lose it." -- Chuck Noll
Hell, if Keisel and Aaron SMith were black they wouldn't stand out to Steeler fans... I'm joking but not really. DE's in our scheme aren't supposed to stand out and most fans use underrated when talking about these guys.
But the fact that the team hasn't extended him tells me they don't believe in him either. And all of a sudden we're in a precarious position with Heyward where his deal will be running out before we really know what we've got.
At the end of the day, DLinemen are going to be a project in our system. Whether we pick em in the first round or the 7th. I'd prefer we bring a couple guys in every year as late rounders or UDFAs and just see who develops. And focus the premium picks on skill positions where it's not as big a gamble to figure out if we can convert them into the system.
Hood hasn't been extended because he has not shown himself to be a particularly good player. You "occupy blockers" when you cannot be blocked individually. Aaron Smith commanded double teams. Ziggy Hood, on the other hand, does not.