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Hawaii 5-0 10-21-2012 02:43 PM

Steelersí inconsistency linked to draft duds
Steelers insider: Steelersí inconsistency linked to draft duds

By Alan Robinson
Published: Sunday, October 21, 2012

Steelers Ricardo Colclough against the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium Oct. 2007.

There are 186 days until the NFL Draft. Thatís six months to watch college games, read draft reports, monitor the NFL Combine and figure out what name Roger Goodell should announce as the Steelersí first-round pick.

If the first 13 drafts conducted by Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert are any indicator, itís a day that could alter team history ó one way or another.

By the way, that first Colbert draft occurred 4,572 days ago ó about one day for every projected yard that 2004 first-round pick Ben Roethlisberger might throw for this season.

That 2004 draft perfectly illustrates the ups and downs of drafting, an art form at which Colbert often excels.

The Roethlisberger pick was clearly the gem of his picks, but the next one ó second-rounder Ricardo Colclough ó was arguably his worst.

While Colbert (and coaches Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin, who have a say in the matter) enjoyed a string of first-round successes in Roethlisberger, Maurkice Pouncey, Troy Polamalu and Heath Miller, he has struck out, too. Thatís no different than every other NFL general manager.

The ups and downs of this seasonís unpredictable Steelers are reflected in those up-and-down drafts. One year, the picks are Pouncey, Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown; another year, they are Limas Sweed, Bruce Davis and Tony Hills.

So, letís do what Colbert canít: Turn back the clock, rewrite history and redraft. This isnít to suggest what Colbert should have done, but to look back at what he could have done.

2004: Ricardo Colclough, second round, No. 38 overall.

Maybe the Steelers should have stopped after taking Big Ben, but they traded with the Colts to move up and get a player Cowher loved. The first red flag should have been his college (tiny Tusculum); it proved to be a case of little school, big bust. The Colts used the Steelersí pick to grab future Defensive Player of the Year Bob Sanders.

2005: Fred Gibson, fourth round, No. 131.

Gibson, a wide receiver, got into trouble at Georgia for selling his SEC Championship ring. But that was nothing like his bill of goods someone sold the Steelers. Gibson was cut at the end of training camp and later landed in the NBA D-League. They could have had Josh Cribbs or defensive tackle Chris Canty, who went to the Cowboys on the very next pick.

2006: Anthony Smith, third round, No. 83; Willie Reid, third round, No. 95.

Perhaps the worst single round in Steelers draft history. Smith was best known for ill-advisedly guaranteeing a win over the unbeaten Patriots; Tom Brady torched him then taunted him. Reid was more of a punt returner than a receiver, and he did neither well in a seven-game Steelers career. The Steelers could have had receiver Brandon Marshall and defensive end Elvis Dumervil.

2008: Limas Sweed, second round, No. 53; Bruce Davis, third round, No. 88.

They badly needed a receiver. Instead they got, well, a bad receiver in Sweed. Two picks later, Ray Rice went to Baltimore. And even Adam Dunn hasnít struck out like the Steelers did with the nonathletic Davis, a linebacker; the Lions grabbed sack machine Cliff Avril four picks later.

2010: Jason Worilds, second round, No. 52.

Worilds leads the Steelers with three sacks, and he isnít close to being a certifiable disappointment. But there was considerable debate whether the Steelers should have grabbed Penn State linebacker Sean Lee of Upper St. Clair. Lee is now one of the NFLís leading tacklers.

PhantomJB93 10-21-2012 03:11 PM

Re: Steelersí inconsistency linked to draft duds
Everyone on that list did indeed set us back but I disagree with putting Worilds there. Sean Lee would have indeed been a better pick put Worilds looks much improved this year and should be a decent replacement for Harrison when his time is up. Everyone else on that list is a bust but Worilds could still be a successful pick.

LVSteelersfan 10-21-2012 05:22 PM

Re: Steelersí inconsistency linked to draft duds
Drafting is a gamble no matter who you pick. Every team in the league has busts at more than 50% of their draft picks. There just aren't that many NFL calibre players out there. They can't handle the speed of the game.

steelerchad 10-21-2012 05:39 PM

Re: Steelersí inconsistency linked to draft duds
You could go through all the other teams and put a similar list of under achievers together. Especially when you are talking about 3rd and 4th round guys (usually late in the round picks for the Steelers as well).

Again the Steelers have mostly picked in the 20's of each round for the last decade or so, but how many teams have nailed the first round as well as the Steelers.

03- Troy
06-Holmes (love him or hate him, he was money when he was here)

Hood and Heyward still need to prove their worth, but they're young. Troy and Ben are possible HOF's. Pouncey, Heath, Holmes, Timmons, and Mendy are all solid reliable starters and are above average in the league at their positions. DeCastro, I think we all agree will be a great player for years to come.

I'd put our first round up against any in the league the last decade and most of that decade we've picked towards the end of the draft.

desertsteel 10-21-2012 06:14 PM

Re: Steelersí inconsistency linked to draft duds
hindsight is 20/20

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