Re: Both Scenarios - Making and Missing the Playoffs
I made this point in the other thread about mocks, but I feel it's still relevant and I'll post a much longer, much more thought out version of it.
If we lose out, we're going to be picking in the 11 - 13 range and have one of the best pass rushers on the board if we so choose to go that direction. I was looking back over the last decade to see how we've picked when we've had (by our standards) bad seasons and, more importantly, our picks after these seasons.
2003 Draft / 10 - 5 - 1
Going 10 - 5 - 1 isn't necessarily all bad, but it's not great, either. So, why is it on here? For those that don't remember, we picked a little known guy named Polamalu with the 16th pick in this draft. Again, this is mid-range and middle of the pack and managed to find him after having a mediocre season.
2004 NFL Draft / 6 - 10
This one I'll keep short and sweet - we got Roethlisberger after picking 11th. That's all I need to say.
2007 NFL Draft / 8-8
'07 might be one of our best drafts in the first two rounds in a long, long time. Why? We had picks in the middle of rounds. We managed to grab Timmons and Woodley and both are outstanding 'backers on this team. Having two picks in the first 46 was huge and allowed us to find talent even in the second round which is something we haven't been able to do when we're picking at 28 - 32 and 60 - 64 range.
2010 NFL Draft / 9-7
We grabbed Pouncey - arguably the best Center in the game right now - in the middle of the first round. Here's what could be more important, though - we were able to grab guys like Emmanuel Sanders too because we had picks in the middle of the third round and not the latter half of it.
It's important to note here that these guys are all integral parts of this team and were picked in the 10 - 20 range which allowed us to find talent in the middle of the later rounds as well. In a class like this that is so defensive-talent heavy, maybe going 7-9 wouldn't be a tragedy. Maybe going 7-9 is a small price to pay so we can win the AFC North again for the next 5 years and allow us to reload - not rebuild - this defense.
Maybe 7-9 ain't that bad after all.