Ed: Steelers Swung, Missed on OLBs in First Round
WEDNESDAY, 23 JANUARY 2013 WRITTEN BY ED BOUCHETTE
I know you're not a fan of draft talk this early in the year, and neither am I -
This is not a player specific question - It's more of a position specific question.
Let's say Harrison refuses to take a paycut and is cut, and they lose Wallace to free agency -
Sitting at 17, they have a choice between a stud OLB and a stud WR (say they have them rated 1a and 1b on their board). Who do they take? I guess I should just have asked "which position is more important to the Steelers - OLB or WR"? And could they draft a DE and convert him to DE a la Woodley?
They’ve been drafting defensive ends and converting them to outside linebackers for 30 years. It’s almost the only way to get a 3-4 outside linebacker. I would say the stud OLB would be far more preferable to the stud WR at No. 17. Here comes the interesting part: The Steelers have not drafted someone on the first round to play outside linebacker in the past 21 years. The last time they did so, it was a disaster picking defensive end Huey Richardson of Florida No. 1 in 1991. Since that time, they have drafted four wide receivers on the first round and two tight ends. They also failed miserably drafting another defensive end to play outside linebacker when they took Aaron Jones of Eastern Kentucky No. 1 in 1988. The only outside linebacker the Steelers drafted on the first round who had any success since Chuck Noll took over as coach in 1969 until now was Robin Cole in 1977.