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Author Topic: Why the Steelers are 0-fer  (Read 5556 times)
Finnegans Wake
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« on: Oct 10, 2013 at 12:56 »

I've been outspoken about the draft picks the past few years, sensing that Colbert was neither as infallible as many think, and sensing that Tomlin likes guys who don't fit here.  But then again, I'm just an armchair GM, and I cobble together draft pieces with far less data than our dear FO.

Then again.

A History of TomBert Drafts

2007 - Pittsburgh Steelers
RD SEL # PLAYER POSITION SCHOOL

1 15 Lawrence Timmons  LB Florida State
2 46 LaMarr Woodley  LB Michigan
3 77 Matt Spaeth  TE Minnesota
4 112 Daniel Sepulveda  P Baylor
4 132 Ryan McBean  DE Oklahoma State
5 156 Cameron Stephenson  G Rutgers
5 170 William Gay  CB Louisville
7 227 Dallas Baker  WR Florida

Timmons has been solid.  Maybe not the impact player 1.15 might suggest, but solid.  Weak draft class, not just for the Steelers.  Timmons was probably best value there, and Woodley in R2.  Woodley is sailing on fumes of his reputation at this point.  I'd trade his ass in a minute.  Lazy, fat, racking up sacks like the reincarnation of Jason Gildon.  Spaeth and Gay were here, gone, and are here again, but can't say they ever did much besides make the roster.  Sepulveda, injuries.  The rest, dreck. 

Net:  Timmons, a solid ILB.  Woodley, declining.
Superior Gambits:  OG Marshall Yanda (3.83 - Ravens) for 3.77 Spaeth; OT Doug Free (4.122 - Cowboys) for 4.112 Sepulveda; TE Brent Celek (5.162 - Eagles) for 5.156 Stephenson; K Nick Folk (6.178 - Jets) or K Mason Crosby (6.193 - Packers) for 5.170 Gay; RB Ahmad Bradshaw (7.250 - Giants) for 7.227 Baker.
Grade:  C-/D+


2008 - Pittsburgh Steelers
RD SEL # PLAYER POSITION SCHOOL

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

What to say.

Net:  Jack.  Fucking. SHIT.
Superior Gambits:  Too numerous and painful to fully explicate.  Includes, however, any of the following. LT Duane Brown, WR Jordy Nelson, RB Matt Forte, WR DeSean Jackson instead of Mendenhall.  Ray Rice instead of Limas Sweed.  TE Jermichael Finley, FS Thomas DeCoud, RB Tashard Choice, DT Red Bryant instead of Davis.  Kroy Biermann instead of Tony Hills. 
Grade:  F


2009 - Pittsburgh Steelers
RD SEL # PLAYER POSITION SCHOOL

1 32 Ziggy Hood  DT Missouri
3 79 Kraig Urbik  T Wisconsin
3 84 Mike Wallace  WR Mississippi
3 96 Keenan Lewis  DB Oregon State
5 168 Joe Burnett  DB Central Florida
5 169 Frank Summers  RB Nevada-Las Vegas
6 205 Ra'Shon Harris  DT Oregon
7 226 A.Q. Shipley  C Penn State
7 241 David Johnson  TE Arkansas State

Hood seemed out of position as a 3-4 DE at draft time.  Still does.  Urbik is playing well, elsewhere.  Wallace and Lewis were your best picks here, now elsewhere - Steelers messed up letting Lewis walk, perhaps not so much with Wallace.  Shipley, whom I liked at the time, bounced over to Philly before landing as the Ravens starter. 

Net:  A DE taken in R1 benched for another DE taken in R1.  (The same pipeline effect is taking place with Woodley, Worilds, and Jones.)
Superior Gambits:  Too numerous and painful to fully explicate.  Includes, however, any of the following. S Jairus Byrd, G Andy Levitre, RB LeSean McCoy (!), OT Phil Loadholt for Hood, et al.
Grade:  D


2010 - Pittsburgh Steelers
RD SEL # PLAYER POSITION SCHOOL

1 18 Maurkice Pouncey  C Florida
2 52 Jason Worilds  LB Virginia Tech
3 82 Emmanuel Sanders  WR Southern Methodist
4 116 Thaddeus Gibson  LB Ohio State
5 151 Chris Scott  T Tennessee
5 164 Crezdon Butler  DB Clemson
5 166 Stevenson Sylvester  LB Utah
6 188 Jonathan Dwyer  RB Georgia Tech
6 195 Antonio Brown  WR Central Michigan
7 242 Doug Worthington  DE Ohio State

Pouncey, Brown, Worilds, Sanders, Dwyer.  The first two are complete players, though Pouncey has been injured a lot.  Worilds hasn't shown a bunch in 3+ seasons, and looks to be odd man out already.  Sanders flashed great potential, but is half the player of Brown.  Dwyer, who really fucking knows?; flashed, but flawed.  Should have worked a R3 pick in the 2013 draft for Sanders, taken OLB Corey Lemonier, and used the R1 on WR Hopkins or CB Rhodes.   Apparenly Sylvester is back, yay for STs.

Net:  Pouncey and Brown, and sometimes Worilds, Sanders, Dwyer (but not enough).
Superior Gambits:  Too numerous and painful to fully explicate.  Includes, however, any of the following. DB help (Morgan Burnett, Major Wright) for the soon-to-be-formerly-a-Steeler Worilds.  Eric Decker for Manny Sanders, straight up.  Or LB Navorro Bowman.  Or some TE named Jimmy Graham.  Seriously.  Any of those.  Thaddeus Gibson?  Oh, how about DT Geno Atkins.  KR Trindon Holliday for any of the R5-6 guys. 
Grade:  B


2011 - Pittsburgh Steelers
RD SEL # PLAYER POSITION SCHOOL

1 31 Cameron Heyward  DE Ohio State
2 63 Marcus Gilbert  T Florida
3 95 Curtis Brown  DB Texas
4 128 Cortez Allen  DB The Citadel
5 162 Chris Carter  LB Fresno State
6 196 Keith Williams  G Nebraska
7 232 Baron Batch  RB Texas Tech

A large and unrelenting pile of retch-up.  Should have seen more from Heyward by now, switch with Hood feels desperate, but Heyward in small stretches looks OK.  We'll see.  Gilbert is OK but hardly dominant at RT.  Curtis Brown is STs, looks like a bust.  Allen showed some good stretches last year, not this, is also in danger of being benched.

Net:  Heyward, maybe; Gilbert, to the extent that he can.
Superior Gambits:  Too numerous and painful to fully explicate.  Includes, however, any of the following. Hard to assess WRT Heyward, but still available were QB Kaepernick, TERudolph, and WR Torrey Smith. LB Justin Houston for Gilbert any day of the week. RB DeMarco Murray for Gilbert.  TE Jordan Cameron for Curtis.  K Alex Henery for Curtis.  TE Julius Thomas for Cortez.  CB Richard Sherman for ANYONE we drafted. 
Grade:  C-/D+



2012 - Pittsburgh Steelers
RD SEL # PLAYER POSITION SCHOOL

1 24 David DeCastro  G Stanford
2 56 Mike Adams  T Ohio State
3 86 Sean Spence  LB Miami (Fla.)
4 109 Alameda Ta'amu  DT Washington
5 159 Chris Rainey  RB Florida
7 231 Toney Clemons  WR Colorado
7 240 David Paulson  TE Oregon
7 246 Terrence Frederick  CB Texas A&M
7 248 Kelvin Beachum  T Southern Methodist

DeCastro has fought back from injury and appears to be making strides, but is still far short of where I expected him to be.  Adams appears to be a backup, and that's being hopeful.  Spence, injury.  The rest I didn't like, and so far only Beachum has done anything to really prove that wrong.

Net:  DeCastro, maybe; Adams, though not likely; Beachum, in his role.
Superior Gambits:  Too numerous and painful to fully explicate.  Includes, however, any of the following. QB Russell Wilson, CB Josh Robinson, RB Bernard Pierce for Gilbert.  WR T.Y. Hilton for Spence.  OT Bobbie Massie for Ta'amu.  RB Alfred Morris for Rainey.  LB Trevathan for Rainey. 
Grade:  C-/D+


We suck because our drafts have been THE SUCK.


I don't see how anyone could argue otherwise.
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aj_law
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« Reply #1 on: Oct 10, 2013 at 15:40 »

Was so tempted to delete this thread... Cool.  Would've saved it first, obv.

Great post.

I don't know if I'd go so far as to compare [insert Pittsburgh draft flop here] with whichever quality player taken later.  That's a bit too easy; hindsight, 20/20, etc..  However, what might be a little more telling is seeing which quality players at a specific position were taken after a Steeler player drafted at the same position.  It would really serve as a further indictment of their evaluation of talent...or lack thereof.

As an example, take a look at the year Mendenhall was drafted, 2008.  27 RBs were taken that year.  Obviously, Mendenhall was their R1 pick.  He was the 4th RB taken.  Of the 23 taken after Rashard, the following RBs of note were selected -- Chris Johnson; Matt Forte; Ray Rice; Kevin Smith; Jamaal Charles; Steve Slaton; Tashard Choice; Ryan Torain; Tim Hightower; Peyton Hillis; and Justin Forsett.  Almost half were "notable" RBs.

I realize that there's an inherent flaw in this approach too because (generally speaking) it's not like they go into the draft saying, "OK, we're gonna take the best RB on the board at 1.23."  I assume they grade all players on their big board across all positions so when it's their turn, they take the BAA...with an eye towards filling an area of need.  So, of all the players on the board when it was their turn, he was ranked the highest.  That's quite a fail at talent selection...and sadly, he's one of their better picks.  Bottom line, when you consistently swing and miss this often, heads usually roll.  When they don't and you stick with that losing formula, that talent pool dries up.  It's one thing to have a draft pick bust...it's a whole 'nother story to have an entire class be a bust.  Go back and look at the 90s and even into the early 2000s.  They'd hit a triple or a home run almost every single year; several years they'd hit multiple.  In the last 8 or 9 years (following Ben and Heath), where's the deep shot?  Pouncey?  Brown?  Timmons?  Woodley?  Holmes?  Maybe a handful of those guys qualify. 

Ain't gonna cut it.  They need new blood and new sets of eyes making these decisions.

We suck because our drafts have been THE SUCK.

Thanks for the new forum signature.
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We suck because our drafts have been THE SUCK.
pensodyssey
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« Reply #2 on: Oct 10, 2013 at 18:38 »

Quote
Urbik is playing well, elsewhere.

He's on the IR iirc.
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #3 on: Oct 10, 2013 at 19:39 »

Quote
Urbik is playing well, elsewhere.

He's on the IR iirc.

Yeah, but on the whole, has showed as well as one might expect.  What triggered Tomlin's itchy trigger finger WRT Urbik?  Big mystery.
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msdmnr2002
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« Reply #4 on: Oct 10, 2013 at 22:07 »

Funny, I was just thinking about this this morning.  Steelers way is to build almost exclusively through the draft.  I have no problem with that.  But, in order for it to work, you have to hit not just once, but consistently over a period of 5 years or so to build a SB contender.

Late 60's early 70's drafts led to the dynasty because of hitting on future HOF players both early and late.  Led to a decade of success arguably the best in the SB era.

From the late 70-s into the late 80's, very little to hang your hat on.  Mark Malone?  Tim Worley?  Long stretch of mediocrity led to the 7-9, 8-8 era.

Cowher got things on the right track with his fire and spit, but don't think he got over the hump because drafts still weren't consistently good in high concentrations of years.

Late 90's early 2000's we start to hit the aforementioned triples and homers in bunches.  Faneca. Ward.  Hampton.  Polamalu, Ben, Heat, Aaron Smith - even the "worst draft pick ever" Ike Taylor has held down a corner for a decade.  Result - two SB wins and 3 AFC championships.

As noted, since 07 we have sucked at drafting, and it's hitting home now in full force a la 1985ish.

Long story short - looks like a problem that took years to reveal itself, and will take years to fix.
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #5 on: Oct 11, 2013 at 06:34 »

And it does no good to "draft" a rent-a-player (K. Lewis, M. Wallace) if they're one and done... and the guys you do retain are the William Gay/Matt Spaeth "Just A Guys."

I get trying to rebuild the lines.  Spent 2x R1 on DE and 2x R2 on OT.  Unfortunately, it's not looking particularly good on those picks.  So the lines still need built AND we missed out on impact players. 
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Manimal
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« Reply #6 on: Oct 11, 2013 at 06:50 »

Great post. What a depressing recent history.

On the bright side, I'd just say that things can turn around more quickly than we might expect. I REMEMBER thinking during that dreck of a season in 1999 that the team had no talent, and the good players could be counted on one hand. We seemed to be a mess at QB, WR, O-line, and the secondary, and even the linebackers, having lost Greene and Lloyd, weren't much of anything.

Turning that around did depend on the front office finding stars outside of round 1, like Ward, Porter, Aaron Smith, Marvel Smith, each and every season for a few in a row, in addition to hitting in the first round.

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Preacherman0
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« Reply #7 on: Oct 11, 2013 at 07:52 »

Didn't have quite the same research approach, but...

http://homefieldupstate.blogspot.com/2013/09/steeler-problems-go-above-field.html

Honestly, when the Steelers draft poorly, there is no other recourse and the team becomes the steaming mound we are currently witnessing.

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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #8 on: Oct 11, 2013 at 08:53 »

Didn't have quite the same research approach, but...

http://homefieldupstate.blogspot.com/2013/09/steeler-problems-go-above-field.html

Honestly, when the Steelers draft poorly, there is no other recourse and the team becomes the steaming mound we are currently witnessing.


That's good stuff right there, Preach.
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #9 on: Oct 11, 2013 at 09:04 »

Great post. What a depressing recent history.

On the bright side, I'd just say that things can turn around more quickly than we might expect. I REMEMBER thinking during that dreck of a season in 1999 that the team had no talent, and the good players could be counted on one hand. We seemed to be a mess at QB, WR, O-line, and the secondary, and even the linebackers, having lost Greene and Lloyd, weren't much of anything.

Turning that around did depend on the front office finding stars outside of round 1, like Ward, Porter, Aaron Smith, Marvel Smith, each and every season for a few in a row, in addition to hitting in the first round.


I don't think the 90s FO was very astute in the early goings of free agency.  Lost more than they gained, Bettis the notable exception.  Took years to get the talent back, and then of course we had years where Cowher and Kordell did the Heisenberg:  we knew he had speed, just didn't know what position to play him (QB? WR?); conversely, stuck him at one position (QB) and didn't know how to utilize his speed.

Interesting list there (Ward ... Marvel):  none was a R1 selection.  Those guys were R2-R4, which is pretty much the weak area of recent drafts.  The R2-4 in the TomBert years has had some hits, mostly guys no longer here, and a bunch of guys (Woodley, Sanders, Worilds) who you can't say are playing at consistently high levels like an Aaron Smith.  (Man, I miss that guy.)  Even the R1 infallibility of Colbert has to be questioned, given Mendenhall, Hood, maybe Jones.
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