We SHOULD NEVER PICK A DEFENSIVE END IN THE FIRST ROUND for our defense.
Ziggy and Heyward are not good values, period.
Even if they turn out to be fine starters, those picks should have gone elsewhere.
I hear all the time how "our Dline is the key to our defense."
NOT TRUE. Never WAS true.
Our great talent in the front 7 needs to be with LINEBACKERS not the line.
"We need great Dlinemen to "free up the Linebackers".
Truth. Yes, our Dlinemen "free up" our linebackers. You DO NOT need "Great" Dlinemen to do that.
Here is some knowledge to back up my claim:
Casey Hampton....How valuable was he? Fact: our team was statistically BETTER when Hoke played. Our team was 17-1 in games Hoke started. It is the cool thing for "enlightened fans to point to Casey as some kind of key cog but he was replaced capably by a noname with no ill effects whatsoever.
ONE PLAYER PLAYED ABOVE EXPECTATIONS last week- McClendon, a mere free agent. I see no difference between him and Casey in his prime. McClendon is quicker faster and more athletic. Perhaps Casey was "harder to move". Yabba the Hut would be hard to move but Jabba cant make plays. You watch McClendon will be "better" than 1st rounder Casey EVER was when all is said and done.
Aaron Smith was our best defensive lineman. Why? Not because he was so great at "freeing up lineman" but because HE MADE MORE PLAYS than most defensive ends in our defense. But he can never truly dominate because our scheme does not allow it.
"Well he was key in freeing up linebackers who made plays".
Really? For most of his career Smith lined up next to the lesser of the two outside linebackers. Joey Porter and Clark Haggins? Smith was on Haggins side, while Porter was next to Kimo then Beard. DPOY James Harrison? Smith was on the left, Harrison was on the right next to the Beard. The Steelers best run defense of Smiths career was the season he missed 10 games. We had the leagues number one defense and allowed 3.0 yards a carry went to the Superbowl. Woodley after the injury to Smith had three 2 sack games in the regular season and a sack in all three playoff games with Ziggy in place of Smith.
Smiths absence had ZERO effect on Woodleys game.
You ask, "Well what happened to Woodley since then"? 2011 with Ziggy, Woodley had 9 sacks in his first 8 games. He was on a career high pace averaging more than a sack a game. He was on pace for Harrisons team record, when he got injured. Injuries, and being out of shape have plagued him since. He played the best ball of his career next to the scrub Ziggy.
If the linebacker is a great talent he DOES NOT need great talent on the line to free him up. It is a lie.
We need not EVER use premium draft picks on the Dline (OK if it is a RARE talent we could put at NT like Ngata sure, but that is rare)
I could EASILY see the following Dline being FINE once Keisel is gone:
McClendon/ Fangupo/ Woods. (Did you see what Woods did in preseason?)
Our Dline would in fact be STRONGER physically albeit less athletic perhaps than one featuring our first rounders Hood and Heyward.
ALL free agents. Cost NO draft picks.
Considering the fourth rounder we had in Taamu I see no need to have used ANY premium draft pick on the line.
Think people, where were the following players taken?
Smith? Keisel? Kimo? Hoke? Travis Kirschke? Nick Eason? NONE was a premium pick!!!!!
Casey at nose was the only one.
We will never know what we might have gotten had we not WASTED picks on defensive ends.
I really dont think they give us ANYTHING their free agent backups cant do just as well if not better.