As predicted on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers lost 4th round pick Thaddeus Gibson to the San Francisco 49ers when they claimed the rookie off of the waiver wire.
The injury, and subsequent decision not to place Aaron Smith on injured reserve, meant the Steelers needed to waive someone to make room for Steve McLendon, whom they’ve activated to the practice squad.
Mike Tomlin justified the move, explaining that Gibson was the low man on the totem pole in a position area where the Steelers are particularly deep. Quite true, and it is also true that unlike Stevenson Sylvester and Jason Worilds, linebackers taken in the 2nd and 5th round of the 2010 NFL draft, Gibson had neither shown anything on the field as a backup or special teamer.
Oddity of NFL Personnel Moves
You’re an NFL general manager. Like your peers, you monitor the waiver wire, in search of some else’s cast off that you think can help you.
During the first 8 weeks of the season, one team makes too rookie defenders available.
The first has game experience, and proves his competence by helping shut down the NFL’s primer rusher, Chris Johnson. He even recovered a fumble.
The other 4th round pick is a reserve line backer, who not only does nothing to distinguish himself on special teams or as a back up, but he fails to dress.
A smart NFL GM takes the guy who has show he can play, right?
Not by the seemingly progressively perverse logic that dictates NFL personnel decisions, because what happened is the exact opposite.
The Steelers signed Steve McLendon to the practice squad after cutting him in training camp, and activated him for the Tennesssee game. If memory serves, they not only cut him after that game, but activated and cut him once more.
In spite of that, no team took a stab at McLendon.
Gibson won fast praise for a strong start in training camp, but little was heard of or from him since then. Yet as soon as he became available, he another NFL team snapped him up.
Perhaps McLendon has less of an upside the Gibson, but you would think that a guy who has actually played, played well, and under difficult circumstances, might peek a little more interest over someone who has yet to strap on a helmet.
But that is not apparently how it works in the NFL in 2010.