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Old 04-26-2007, 06:01 AM   #1
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Default Steelers' second-round picks don't always produce

Steelers' second-round picks don't always produce

By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, April 26, 2007

As with every team, talk of the upcoming NFL draft regarding the Steelers is dominated by whom they will take in the first round.

But the pick the Steelers make in the second round, assuming they keep the 46th overall selection, also is shaping up as a critical one.

The Steelers have needs at multiple positions, and history -- their own and the rest of the league's -- shows that great players can be found in the second round.

Hall of Fame linebackers Jack Ham and Jack Lambert were Steelers second-round selections, as were Pro Bowl linebackers Levon Kirkland and Chad Brown two decades later.

If recent history is any guide, the Steelers either will hit it big with the player they take in the second round or whiff on the selection.

Consider that in the past 10 years, the team has taken offensive tackle Marvel Smith, wide receiver/punt returner Antwaan Randle-El and linebacker Kendrell Bell, who was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2001, in the second round.

But the list of second-round picks in the last decade also includes defensive end Jeremy Staat, safety Scott Shields and linebacker Alonzo Jackson.

Ouch.

Cornerback Ricardo Colclough also could fall into that category of second-round misses if he doesn't convince the Steelers during training camp that he can be a key contributor this year.

"I would say that they are the rule and not the exception," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said of the Steelers' recent boom-or-bust history in the second round.

Indeed, the Steelers are far from the only team that has dual histories of success and failure in the second round.

What makes it such an intriguing round is that plenty of future stars have been found in it, and some provide an immediate impact.

Take last year, for example.

The Houston Texans tabbed defensive end Mario Williams with the first overall pick, but it was second-round selection DeMeco Ryans who shined as a rookie in 2006. The middle linebacker racked up 156 tackles and 3 1/2 sacks -- one less than Williams had -- and won NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.

The Jacksonville Jaguars experienced something similar with their top two picks.

First-rounder Marcedes Lewis, a tight end out of UCLA, played sparingly and caught just 13 passes.

His college teammate, Maurice Jones-Drew, teamed with Fred Taylor to give the Jaguars one of the top running back tandems in the league. Jacksonville's second-round pick proved to be a dynamic kick returner, as well.

Only LaDainian Tomlinson and Larry Johnson visited the end zone more times than Jones-Drew in 2006, and three of his 16 touchdowns came on kickoff or punt returns.

One reason players of Ryans' and Jones-Drew's caliber slip into the second round, said Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, is that teams often make mistakes in the first round, drafting a player to plug a hole.

"(There is) pressure from your fans, and maybe even from your owner, to take the guy in the first round that you really need," Holmgren said. "And you overanalyze, and sometimes, you take a guy maybe for the wrong reasons."

A team may end up taking a player for the wrong reason in the second round based on what happens in the first round.

A player with impressive size and speed may drop and tempt a team to draft him.

Such measurables don't always translate into success in the NFL, but teams have a little more latitude to take a chance in the second round because the stigma of missing with that pick isn't nearly what it is for first-round busts.

The best way teams can avoid making mistakes in the second round, Mayock said, is not to stray from the evaluations and strategy they have taken into the draft, no matter how it plays out.

"To me, more and more, you've got to trust the film that you watch, and you want a kid that's fairly clean off the field because I think you start to eliminate a lot of variables,especially in the first day of the draft, if you can stay consistent in that philosophy." Mayock said.

Ultimately, teams probably fail as much as they succeed in the second round -- or any round, for that matter -- because drafting is an inexact science and mistakes are inevitable.

"When you draft a player high and he doesn't work out, it's not the player's fault, it's our fault," Steelers' director of football operations Kevin Colbert said, "because we're the ones that said he was worthy of a pick."

A second look

Here are some notable picks the Steelers have made in the second-round since 1990:

Hits

1992 Levon Kirkland, LB
Two-time Pro Bowler was one of the top linebackers in the 1990s

1993 Chad Brown, OLB
Broke the bank in free agency after 13-sack season in 1996

2000 Marvel Smith, OT
Started at right tackle as a rookie and is now the starting left tackle

2001 Kendrell Bell, LB
Made a huge impact as a rookie before injuries derailed his career

2002 Antwaan Randle-El, WR
Excellent return man started at wide receiver in 2004-05 for Steelers

Misses

1990 Kenny Davidson, DE/DT
Had eight sacks in four seasons with the Steelers

1997 Will Blackwell, WR
Caught two touchdown passes in five seasons with the Steelers

1998 Jeremy Staat, DE
Didn't have a sack in the three seasons he played for the Steelers

1999 Scott Shields, S
Had four interceptions as a rookie but lasted just one more season in Pittsburgh

2003 Alonzo Jackson, OLB
Career line with the Steelers: nine games, eight tackles

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_504623.html
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Old 04-26-2007, 10:37 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers' second-round picks don't always produce

UH OH...... someone is gonna get in trouble....how dare they question the draft track record of this organization.

Someone better tell him that they drafted 4 HOFers in 74...

Comeon Mr. Newspaper Man....your not allowed to criticize....you know the drill

ROOT....ROOT, ROOT for the home team
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