There will be some growing pains with rookies & 1st year starters. Not everyone they have to plug in will be a 1st rounder & we saw last year you get those pains with a 1st rounder. The problem here is the Steelers were too good for too long on defense. They chose not to address some of those positions. They missed on a few & also let some get away. They over estimated the shelf life of some of the vets & the decline hit hard & fast.
If they want to close the gap...They will have to dip into FA & also HOPE they hit in the draft. There is no getting around playing a rookie or two and a 1st year starter on defense in 2014 if they don't dip into FA. Coming off back to back 8-8 seasons...I really don't think ANYONE in that organization can be comfortable with leaving questions unanswered in hoping a rookie can assume a starting role going into camp. I think you have to sign an mid to upper level FA at FS & sign a CB with starting experience. If Ike declines the same as '12-13 in 13'-14...He may not even be Nickel caliber CB. The Steelers can't be comfortable going into camp with Gay, C Brown, & a rookie to step up to the challenge IF that happens. I saw the same think in Clark & Taylor I saw in Harrison his last year here. They break down rapidly as the year goes on. Clark should receive NO offer & I would have no problem if the Steelers cut Ike & used his $$$ to get another starting CB.
The good news is that I hear we can expect some compensatory picks coming our way from Wallace and Lewis. I think I agree with most of what is being said, the bottom line being that we need to foster a depth situation like Seattle had this past couple years. I think in particular, we need to look at their model, as it relates to their secondary. They got a bunch (i.e. a "legion") of cover guys, just flying around the football field.
Now granted: Earl Thomas' and Shermans don't grow on trees. (Chancellor is good, but he is a product of playing next to two All-Pros IMO.) But look at their secondary, in terms of draft round:
Thurmond III, 4th
They drafted Thomas highly because he was a can't-miss prospect. After that though, their plan was to just draft as many athletic MFers. Hence, they are now a legion of guys, to cover with. So I don't believe you need to waste a pick where we are picking (15), on someone who is "just" going to be one of those cover guys. To me, Clinton-Dix is not an Earl Thomas talent. (He seems more just like a Reggie Nelson or Antrel Rolle kind of guy... just a good player.) If Darqueze Dennard turns into (e.g.) Leon Hall (a good player), that just seems a waste. What we need to find here, is someone who can be more than "just" that (a good player).
I think the other point, is that this D needs an unexpected infusion of some kind. In SEA, Richard Sherman went from 5th rounder to DPOY material. For us, James Harrison went from camp body, to actual DPOY. When you get that level of unexpected over-output, you have something. We need someone on the current roster, to surprise us... if we wan to vault back into the mix right away. We need (e.g.): a guy like Sean Spence to come back and become a whirling dervish like he was at the U... we need maybe Cortez Allen to emerge... (I'm having a hard time thinking of others with that sort of potential, which says something about our depth) Maybe one of these D-lineman to emerge as a player. Otherwise as J-P-N says, we aren't going to flip the script in '14.
It's not just the players, it is how they are used. Seattle DBs attacked the WRs and did not sit back and "tackle the catch." The Front 4 (yes Front 4 not 3) had one task, attack the LOS and the QB. They didn't do this "occupy blockers BS. Even on other teams that run the 3-4 they don't occupy blockers...think JJ Watt occupies blockers?
Our problem is we are using the players we have wrong whether so many want to recognize that or not.
Last edited by Oviedo; 02-03-2014 at 06:11 PM.
1.25 DT Vernon Butler, La Tech, 64 323
2.58 CB Artie Burns, Miami, 511 189
3.89 OLB, Alex McCalister, Florida, 66 240-Jarvis Jones replacement
4.123 S Jayron Kearse, Clemson, 64 216-hybrid type we could use in 3-3-5 defense
6.220 OT Stephane Nembot, 67 322-raw talent with ton of upside
7.229 CB Brian Poole, Florida, 510 210
7.246 WR/KR Ed Eagan, Northwestern State, 5 10 185-need WR depth and returner
For fun, let me turn this argument on its head.
Suppose Manning had an OL that could have given him 3 secs? Would the game have turned out differently? At the least, it would have been more of a game.
Suppose the Steelers draft OL instead of D? A "shutdown" OL?.... Remember the days of the power run game? When teams KNEW the Steelers were going to pound it and STILL could not stop it! That is the case of an offense dictating what the defense does.