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The Steelers Way vs. The Patriots Way
So hear it goes. Free agency starts and the Steelers brass shelve everything to sign the players they want to keep Sometimes it’s a star but, usually it’s 2nd tier players that they could have signed post Draft. Then the world stops as the Steelers prepare for the Draft. Another month or so goes by. Post draft they assess the cap situation and sign the rest of players they want to keep (if they haven’t walked already) and then around the end of free agency they sign the miscellaneous acquisitions usually not to improve the team but merely to replace the players that walked and they’re almost always trading down. They trust in the draft to bring in players to improve the team with a spotty success rate.
For an example let’s use the Patriots. Free Agency starts and they are all over the waiver wire. Often they sign a star that is past their prime but still a good football player. They prepare for the draft all the time never slowing down and insuring their key players get signed. Were the steelers signings almost ensure a roster spot the Patriots don’t. There job is to acquire talent it’s the talent’s job to make the team. I think it’s easy to see the superiority of the ‘Patriots Way’ In recent years the ‘Steelers Way’ has usually worked but, hardcore fans remember all to well wandering in the darkness of the 80’s and early 90’s.
With the majority of teams using their version of the Patriots Way and the Steelers with their ‘you can’t walk while chewing gum’ approach it’s only a matter of time before the other teams pass them up.
2013 Draft Tweak
As usual I can’t stop tweaking my draft. You can see my initial draft here.
1st Rd – RB Eddie Lacey AL
2nd Rd – CB Desmond Trufant OR – or
2nd Rd – CB Jonathan Banks Miss. State – The wiry Banks is a Gen 2 corner back at 6’2” 190# he is built to Handle the Calvin Johnsons and Larry Fitzgeralds of the league. (Well, as well as anybody can handle them.) A soft handed ball hawk, he has great leaping ability is hard hitting and plays faster than his listed 4.51 forty. Cornerback is one of the strongest positions in this pretty weak draft so there are a lot of other CB’s you could take early.
3rd Rd – OT Kyle Long OR – or
3rd Rd -OT David Quessenberry SJ St. – 6’5” 300# Tackle that mirrors his assignment. Great at playing on an island with a good kick slide. Quessenberry a former Tight End is very athletic and fluid in run blocking, making it to the next level and delivering multiple hits.
4th Rd – WR Stedman Bailey WVU – with WR and WVU players always under valued by the NFL, Bailey could still be available this late in the draft. Ending his college career with 12 TD’s 12,000 yards and an average of 17.9 yards per catch. It is Bailey and not the more famous Tavon Williams that leaves as WVU’s all-time leading receiver. And besides he has a cool-ass name “Bailey, Stedman Bailey.”
5th Rd – S Shawn Williams GA
6th Rd – OLB Bruce Irwin WVU – Good height and weight to play OLB in the NFL. Blazing 4.43 speed. Irwin is a pure pass rusher. He has good initial punch and sweep moves to create space and disengage blockers. Shows a strong bull rush when his man is moving backward. Had 15 TFL, 8.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles. Can get beat when teams run right at him. A solid situational outside pass rusher for the NFL.
6th Rd PK Dustin Hopkins FSU
7th Rd – COG Joe Madsen WVU – 4 yr starter for the mountaineers Madsen is a good pass blocker and a football smart QB of the Offensive Line. All Big East for his career with the Mountaineers. More depth at C-OG position.
College Free Agents
This is a weak draft but it is very even, meaning a lot of the players that will go late or not at all are of a quality not much removed from Day 1 prospects.
QB – Jordan Rogers Vanderbilt – Brother of Aaron, Rogers has an NFL caliber arm, mobility and football smarts but, lacks NFL height at 6′-1”. He moves very well to find the throwing lanes however. If he succeeds it won’t be the first time an under-sized QB has done so. As you can tell I’m a sucker for strong blood lines so who knows..
RB – Onterio McCaleb Auburn – The slight McCaleb 5′-10” 170# has a blazing fast 4.34 40 speed and averaged 6.1 yards per carry with 570 yards and six touchdowns as a senior. Maybe the change of pace back we’ve yearning for. Yearning’s a weird word isn’t it.
FB – Cody Johnson Texas – A real Fullback, strong in short yardage, blocking and receiving. Or
FB – Joe Suhey Penn State – Son of Matt, another real Fullback with the potential to be the Rocky Blier to Eddie Lacey’s Franco. And he’s from Penn State. What??!!
OT – Tanner Hawkinson Kansas – A big 6’5” 300# tackle, he is fluid in pass protection rarely out of position with good hand placement. Shows some power and finesse in run blocking. A former TE he could be a contributor in his first or second season. Tackle eligible plays!
OG – James Wilson Florida – A back-up for most of his career in the whirl of NFL quality linemen the Gators have been producing, Wilson has gone mostly unnoticed. Good run blocker and willing pass protector he is a good developmental player and could fight for a roster spot in a year or so and be a good NFL backup.
DE – Mike Purcell Wyoming – 6′-3” 300# 83 Tackles, 2 sacks, 10 TFL and 2 FF in his senior year this 4-3 DT could kick outside in the 3-4.
OLB – Travis Long Wash.St. – Strange that a player this talented could go undrafted. 61 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, 9.5 sacks, four passes batted, an interception and a forced fumble in 2012 .
CB – Travis Howard Ohio St. – 6’1” 196# Travis had 39 tackles, five passes defensed and four interceptions 2012.
S – Brandon Bishop NC State – good size 6′-2” 205# and playmaking ability defines this sleeper prospect.103 tackles 7 pass broken up 2 forced fumbles and 3 interceptions in 2012.
The Offensive Line
The Tweak that never un-tweaks – I’ve got to return to the offensive line and the following is a far more modest move than my previous tweak. The biggest name being Tyson Clabo who given his modest contract requirements 4.5 Mil. with the Falcons and his reliability and talent make him near impossible to pass up. Backed up by Marcus Gilbert, Deuce Letui follows to challenge David DeCastro for the starting LG spot. The reliable Doug Legursky behind Pouncey, RG Antione Caldwell backing up Foster at RG and Kyle Long backing up Adams at RT. This would make for a very affordable and deep line should things go gafluey like they did last year. These 3 additions to the line could be a very good value.
LT Tyson Clabo LG David DeCastro C Maurkice Pouncey RG Ramon Foster RT Mike Adams
LT Marcus Gilbert LG Deuce Letui C Doug Legursky RG Antoine Caldwell RT Kyle Long
Up next: Day to day coverage of the Draft and Post Draft reviews of the Steelers and the AFC North and I’ll probably have a Final Final Draft somewhere in there..
by Jeffrey Burton