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Old 09-29-2009, 04:37 AM   #1
Galax Steeler
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Default Steelers' 2008 draft class a bust so far

They say it takes three, four, maybe even five years to fairly evaluate an NFL draft class. Running back Rashard Mendenhall and wide receiver Limas Sweed are doing their worst to disprove that. It's almost as if they are trying to prove that the Steelers' 2008 draft class is a bust.

It's bad enough that Sweed -- a second-round pick in '08 -- dropped a touchdown pass in the 23-20 loss Sunday to the Cincinnati Bengals. We've come to expect that from him. He has been awful. But it's much worse that Mendenhall -- the first-round choice -- did such a poor job preparing for the game that he was benched by irritated coach Mike Tomlin. This guy is supposed to be a professional? He certainly doesn't look like one.

Mendenhall's actions really are reprehensible. "Rashard wasn't on the details this week," Tomlin said of his decision not to play him on offense. How can that be? How can Mendenhall let his teammates down like that? How can he let himself down?

"It was a bunch of little stuff," Mendenhall said when asked what Tomlin meant.

I'm guessing it was more than that. Certainly, Tomlin didn't consider it to be "little stuff." Coaches rarely call out a player publicly and embarrass him. That's a drastic step.

Shame on Mendenhall.

Is he not smart enough to realize the opportunity he has with the Steelers?

Last week, Tomlin hinted Mendenhall was ready to get more touches. In the loss Sept. 20 at Chicago, Mendenhall had turned a bad flat pass into a 13-yard gain, then ran for 39 yards to set up a touchdown. Those were his two best plays as a pro. They also made you and probably Tomlin think for the first time that maybe the kid has a chance to be pretty good after all.

Then Mendenhall gets benched?

Inexcusable.

Part of Mendenhall's problem is he doesn't have a veteran running back to guide him, to show him how to prepare and practice, to teach him what it means to be a pro. Starting back Willie Parker had Jerome Bettis, one of the great leaders in Steelers history. Lucky Willie. But Parker, though a great runner at times in his career, isn't much of a leader. Carey Davis was the closest thing to one among the Steelers' running backs, but he was cut this summer when Tomlin decided to go with rookie Frank Summers. Many veterans on the team will tell you that was a mistake, and their argument picked up steam Sunday when Summers was put on the inactive list.

Still, Mendenhall has to find a way to figure it all out. It's nice to think he will learn from this harsh lesson from Tomlin and start taking his well-paid job more seriously. "You always want your coach to feel good about you and have confidence in you," he said. We'll see this week how much Mendenhall wants that. We'll see what he does on the practice field and in the meeting room. We'll know if he has earned Tomlin's trust again Sunday night when the 1-2 Steelers play the San Diego Chargers at Heinz Field in as close to a must-win game in early October that a team can have.

The Steelers desperately need Mendenhall to be successful. There's a good chance Parker will leave as a free agent after the season. If Mendenhall can't justify that No. 1 pick -- not to mention his five-year, $12.55 million contract -- the team will be in a real dilemma.

At least the Steelers have better options than Sweed.

Even before Sunday, rookie Mike Wallace had surpassed Sweed as the No. 3 receiver. Then, Wallace, who looks like a steal as a third-round draft choice, caught everything thrown his way against the Bengals -- seven receptions for 102 yards -- and Sweed dropped the 34-yard touchdown pass that would have given the Steelers a 20-9 lead in the third quarter. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger couldn't have put that ball in a more perfect spot.

Hey, at least Sweed didn't stay down this time and fake an injury the way he did after dropping a touchdown pass in the AFC championship game in January, costing the Steelers an important timeout.

Tomlin should be thankful for small miracles, right?

Not surprisingly, Sweed didn't get back in the game Sunday. Now, I'm wondering if he'll ever get back on the field for the Steelers, barring injuries.

Veteran Shaun McDonald, who was inactive against the Bengals, would be a better choice than Sweed as the No. 4 man against the Chargers. At least he will catch the ball. Tomlin can't count on Sweed to do that. Roethlisberger can't count on him, even though he rushed to him on the sideline after the drop to console him. "To be a professional, you've got to be able to put things behind you," Big Ben said. "I told him I'll come back to him when the time comes. I'm going to have confidence that he's going to make the play the next time he has the chance."

Pardon me for not believing that.

Really, how can anyone have faith in Sweed?

What's most troubling is that Sweed doesn't seem to have a clue that his job could be in jeopardy. "It happened. I hit the ground and the ball bounced out," he said of his latest drop.

That's pretty lame.

Sweed's game is lame.

There really is no reason to think Sweed will do his part to save the '08 draft class.

The Steelers already have cut linebacker Bruce Davis, their No 3 choice in that draft. That leaves Mendenhall, Sweed, offensive tackle Tony Hills (can't get off the inactive list on Sundays), quarterback Dennis Dixon (the No. 3 man) and safety Ryan Mundy (a backup) from the '08 class.

Go ahead, keep telling yourself it takes three, four, maybe even five years to fairly evaluate any group.

Say it enough times and you might believe it.

Or not.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09272/1001626-87.stm
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Old 09-29-2009, 05:04 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers' 2008 draft class a bust so far

Hey Bud, the common reply to anything negative in regards to the Steelers is: "The Steelers Front Office always knows best." Learn it, live it, and love it.
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Old 09-29-2009, 06:56 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers' 2008 draft class a bust so far

I havent given up on Mendenhall or Sweed yet.

Yes we can give up on Davis and Hills has been surpassed by UDFA Ramon Foster.

The air is slowly leaking out of this draft class but not all is lost just yet.
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Old 09-29-2009, 09:34 AM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers' 2008 draft class a bust so far

Guess we better trade them before everyone else figures out they suck, or before they become too expensive to fit under the cap six years from now, or whatever.

Last edited by fansince'76; 09-29-2009 at 10:13 AM.
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Old 09-29-2009, 09:45 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers' 2008 draft class a bust so far

Nate had bad hands like Sweed but eventually came around. I just hope that Sweed will do the same.
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Old 09-29-2009, 09:55 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers' 2008 draft class a bust so far

Sweed will be ok he just needs to relax and stop pressing. Will he see the field again this year? I think so. As for the rest of that draft class Mendenhall needs to get his head in the game fast and Hills take notice of where Bruce Davis is now. You are next out the door.

1. Mendenall
2. Sweed
3. Davis
4. Hills
5. Dixon
6. Humpal
6. Mundy
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Old 09-29-2009, 10:05 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers' 2008 draft class a bust so far

Fire the Front Office!
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Old 09-29-2009, 10:13 AM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers' 2008 draft class a bust so far

Ive come to understand a few key points about this draft class. The draft is a risk and a bargain game. Not everyone is made for the nfl coming out of college and some players just cant adjust.

Mendenhall needs to get his head on straight I see potential and the steelers will not give up on him because they have invested 5 years into him and Colbert and the F/O does a good job scouting guys. The problem with mendenhall is that hes young and stupid. Im 22 and the kid is a bit younger than me. He needs time to develop and to become an adult. You have to think once you finish college you are expected to be able to work in a professional and adult environment. He left his junior year and I think he just needs this year to take it all in and become more mature. If he is more mature about his play and attitude he will have the passion and the drive to make big plays and show this team he can cut it in the nfl.

Sweed on the other hand is not getting many chances because he is not reliable. You can take as many snaps in training camp and practice but when gametime comes you need to be able to produce. He has stone hands and you can help with technique but that may not always help. Sweed needs to see more playing time in 4 wide sets as the 4th receiver and learn to catch better. He has the ability to seperate and get some room but cannot catch the ball. I think he will be off this team by next year if he does not come up and play at a higher level. Going back to the age difference Sweed is 25 and most rookies come into the game at 20-23. At this point many players are starting their prime and playing at a great level.

Davis and Hills never will pan out and thats why Davis is gone. I heard a while ago that Hills would of been a first rounder if he was not hurt during college but maybe this is not the team for him and our blocking scheme may not be what he is made for. Hills will be gone for someone who is able to backup Starks. I see a rookie coming in next year or a 3 or 4 year veteran to take his place.

Dixon will be around for a while I believe. I think Batch will be done after this year and the steelers like a threat at qb. Big Ben is a great passer and has the accuracy and power to throw a good ball. He can also evade the passer and is dangerous out of the pocket. Dixon is a threat to run the ball and is a decent backup. I see the steelers maybe picking up a vet like they did with leftwich.

Humpal was not ready for this league and was injury prone. Bad pick and he never would of worked out.

Mundy has some upside. He can play both safety spots as well as corner. He plays smart and I think he may stick around for a while.
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Old 09-29-2009, 10:25 AM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers' 2008 draft class a bust so far

Quote:
Part of Mendenhall's problem is he doesn't have a veteran running back to guide him, to show him how to prepare and practice, to teach him what it means to be a pro
pure nonsense.
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Old 09-29-2009, 10:26 AM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers' 2008 draft class a bust so far

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steelers & I View Post
Hey Bud, the common reply to anything negative in regards to the Steelers is: "The Steelers Front Office always knows best." Learn it, live it, and love it.
Dude, please. Everyone knows that the FO does make mistakes. They aren't perfect. But they make many more GOOD decisions than bad. Find me another team that is better at finding and developing UDFAs than the Steelers. This year's draft already is looking pretty damn good with Mike Wallace already making a significant contribution and Ziggy Hood is looking like he's going to be a pretty good player. You don't win 2 championships in 4 years or have the overall run of success the team has had over the past 18 years by making consistently bad football decisions. That is why they deserve the benefit of the doubt when they DO make a mistake.
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