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mesaSteeler
05-16-2010, 10:18 AM
Steelers draft solid ... in '05
Sunday, May 16, 2010
By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10136/1058612-150.stm?cmpid=collier.xml

Time again for my quasi-annual column analyzing the Steelers' draft, a column that is not, as some would protest, three and a half weeks late, but rather right on time when you consider it's been roughly five years since the draft I'm analyzing.

Since football executives like to tell you that you really can't fully analyze a draft until four or five years out, I've come up with this exclusive patent-pending system called waiting to see how things work out. It has failed to get me a gig as a draft expert on ESPN, where winners and losers in the draft are identified before the picks even have posed properly with their jerseys and explained their tattoos, but that probably has as much to do with how different I look from Hannah Storm.

Anyway, for a draft in which they extracted 37.5 percent of the crop from notorious football coldbeds Northwestern and Temple, the 2005 Steelers did all right, no thanks to Fred Gibson. Coming off a 15-1 season in which they evidenced no real needs except maybe to win an AFC championship game once in awhile, the Steelers took Gibson in the fourth round to help ease the transition away from Plaxico Burress.

Class of 2005

Everyone agreed Gibson, a 6-4 wideout out of Georgia, was a great value in the fourth round at the time, mostly because he could "stretch the field." It didn't seem to matter that he was less successful at stretching a dollar, which is perhaps why he sold his Southeast Conference championship ring, an NCAA violation. Who knew?

If Gibson could stretch the field, he wasn't terribly interested in stretching it across the middle, nor in stretching his attention span to such parameters that he could actually learn how to play. Last seen, he was on the roster of the Albuquerque Thunderbirds, an NBA development league team, after being cut by the Atlanta Falcons and failing to launch with the Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, St. Louis Rams and Edmonton Eskimos.

Maybe he should retry the jewelry business.

Fortunately, the Steelers got a tremendous receiver three picks earlier, a tight end who was still available when they picked 30th partly because of a sports hernia, and partly because it wasn't regarded as all that impressive that he caught a 52-yard touchdown pass against Pitt that year in the Continental Tire Bowl.

But Heath Miller remains among Kevin Colbert's finest first-round picks, ending a dark era when the tight end was virtually ignored in the Pittsburgh offense. You may have heard that the Steelers have won two Super Bowls since installing the quiet 6-5, 255-pound clinician up front, and despite a roster replete with NFL stars, there have more than a handful of days in those five years when Heath Miller has been the best player on the field.

There were plenty of future Pro Bowlers still on the board, including guard Logan Mankins of the New England Patriots, but Colbert and Bill Cowher knew when it was Miller time.

In the second round, the Steelers selected Bryant McFadden, a Florida State cornerback who developed just quickly enough to contribute mightily once Super Bowl 43 came around, by which time he was so impressive the Arizona Cardinals threw $10 million at him and lured him to the desert in his walk year. He has since been traded back to the Steelers, a poor indication of how he was playing late last season. But the Steelers are thrilled because they're fairly desperate in the secondary and because McFadden has a thorough understanding of Dick LeBeau's defense.

And it's pretty clear what that means. When McFadden gets beaten deep, at least he'll know why.

But that's where the 2005 Steelers draft started spinning off course. The third pick was Northwestern tackle Trai Essex, who had been the Northwestern tight end until he ate himself across the 300 threshold and into the interior line. Essex, despite plenty of opportunity, has failed to establish himself as a starter in five seasons. The Steelers reached for him, too. I don't remember anyone saying he was even a fourth-round pick.

Next came Gibson, then Rian Wallace, a linebacker from Temple. Wallace returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown in a 2006 game, but not even the tutelage of Larry Foote and James Farrior triggered enough development in him. He was last seen professionally on the roster of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

With the sixth pick, the Steelers tapped Uikelotu Kemoeatu, or Chris as his friends call him. Kemoeatu was a highly offensive lineman and an anger management major at Utah, where he'd drawn a suspension after being ejected from consecutive games for kicking people.

The No. 1 pick in the draft that year was the quarterback Kemoeatu protected, Alex Smith. Smith's opinion was that Kemoeatu was so superior he should have been taken in the first round. Too bad Kemoeatu couldn't have offered the San Francisco 49ers the opinion that Smith should have been taken in the sixth round. In hindsight, that would have prevented a lot of Bay Area hand-wringing.

Kemoeatu eventually made himself into a starter, if not a terribly good one.

Pittsburgh's final two picks met the fate of many teams' final two picks. Brigham Young defensive end Shaun Nua never played and was last seen in Buffalo, and Northwestern running back Noah Herron went on to brief stays on the margins of the Cleveland Browns, the Green Bay Packers, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the New York Jets, the UFL's Hartford Colonials, the Radio City Rockettes and the North Atlantic Tuna Advisory Board.

Almost.

For all that, the 2005 Steelers draft earned a B-.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10136/1058612-150.stm?cmpid=collier.xml#ixzz0o6NOEH28

Steely McSmash
05-16-2010, 01:33 PM
the quiet 6-5, 255-pound clinician up front,

Ah... that means he's a health care professional :noidea:

zulater
05-16-2010, 02:20 PM
Kemoeatu eventually made himself into a starter, if not a terribly good one

I think Kemo's on the verge of being a very good starter. Up until he got hurt late in the season he was playing as good as any left guard in the conference.

Mark it down, Kemo will make it to the Pro Bowl this year.

markymarc
05-19-2010, 10:15 AM
I think Kemo's on the verge of being a very good starter. Up until he got hurt late in the season he was playing as good as any left guard in the conference.

Mark it down, Kemo will make it to the Pro Bowl this year.

I do agree that Kemo was playing very well until he got hurt last season. He is very close to becoming a very good LG for the Steelers. IMO he might be 2 years away from the Pro Bowl.

markymarc
05-19-2010, 10:20 AM
To me the 2005 draft was all about getting Heath Miller. While I don't wish injury on anyone we are very lucky he had the sports hernia issue. Otherwise he doesn't drop that far.

IMO Heath could easily be the best Steelers TE ever by the time he retires.

Dino 6 Rings
05-19-2010, 05:41 PM
Miller, McFadden and Kimo make that draft a B+ for my dollar.

Its not like you are gonna ever get Terry, Mean Joe Greene, Franco Harris, LC Greenwood, Mel Blount and Jack Lambert all in one draft. It takes time. If 3 of your picks, 5 years later are starters that are actually high value and have meaningful impact on your team, then to me, that's a damn fine draft class.

Psyychoward86
05-19-2010, 06:12 PM
To me the 2005 draft was all about getting Heath Miller. While I don't wish injury on anyone we are very lucky he had the sports hernia issue. Otherwise he doesn't drop that far.

IMO Heath could easily be the best Steelers TE ever by the time he retires.

already happened :wink:

Mags87
05-21-2010, 02:16 AM
already happened :wink:

not many of my friends understand why i/the nation root for a TE so hard. but then again, none of my friends like a team with such a great TE :tt02:

Wallace108
05-21-2010, 03:25 AM
IMO Heath could easily be the best Steelers TE ever by the time he retires.

If he retires tomorrow I'd consider him the best Steelers TE ever ... :tt02: