The 2013 NFL Draft is only days away which means its time for Steel Curtain Rising’s latest edition of the The Colbert Record, and in depth review of Kevin Colbert’s performance.
Last year The Colbert Record praised the Steelers General manager for never missing on a first round pick. The development (or lack thereof) of Ziggy Hood and/or Cameron Heyward might force us to revise that, but even then Kevin Colbert’s record in the 1st round of the NFL draft would remain without no peer. (Click here for a full review of Colbert’s 1st round record.)
- This year we take aim at Kevin Colbert’s body of work in the second round.
Although still highly coveted, second round picks in the NFL Draft are considered second best, and they are a lot harder to evaluate. Indeed, during the 1980’s the NFL Draft’s second round became known as the Steelers “Jinx” round as Pittsburgh misfired on players like Charles Lockett and Derek Hill (to name two).
How has does Kevin Colbert’s record in the second round stack up against that of Tom Donahoe and Dick Haley? Today we take a look.
In his time in Pittsburgh, Colbert has made 11 second round NFL Draft picks, opting to trade the pick in the 2006 and 2009 NFL Drafts.
Here’s a Snap shot of Colbert’s Second Round Picks (click on the name for a more detailed profile)
2000: Marvel Smith, tackle
2001: Kendrell Bell, linebacker
2002: Antwaan Randle El, wide receiver
2003: Alonzo Jackson, linebacker
2004: Ricardo Colclough, cornerback
2005: Byran McFadden, cornerback
2006: Traded to to get Santonio Holmes
2007: LaMarr Woodley, linebacker
2008: Limas Sweed, wide reciever
2009: Traded out of 2nd Round for 3rd round picks Mike Wallace, Keenan Lewis, and Kraig Urbik
2010: Jason Worilds, linebacker
2011: Marcus Gilbert, tackle
2012: Mike Adams, tackle
2012: Scoring Kevin Colbert’s Second Round Record
When Kevin Colbert arrived in 2000 the Steelers were mess at tackle even though Tom Donahoe had invested heavily at the position throughout the late 1990’s. Unfortunately most those Donahoe picks were busts, from Jamain Stephens in 1996, to Paul Wiggins in 1997, to Chris Conrad in 1998, and Kris Farris in 1999.
Colbert sought to rectify that by picking Marvel Smith in the second round of the draft, and Smith became an immediate starter and developed into a Pro Bowler. After starting at right tackle, he moved to left tackle following Wayne Gandy’s departure, and helped anchor a line that led the Steelers to victory in Super Bowl XL.
Smith suffered from a series of injury issues, and the last one which came in a street fight down in Jacksonville, ultimately cost him his career. But Marvel Smith he was an excellent second round pick.
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The Steelers traded down in the 2001 NFL Draft and still got the man they wanted, Casey Hampton. Trading down in the first allowed the Steelers to move up into the second, where they signed Kendrell Bell.
Kendrell Bell was an immediate sensation who appeared incapable of wrong . His goal line stop of Jerome Bettis during training camp and the ensuing “crack” that was heard all over Latrobe were the stuff of legend.
- Bell took the league by storm as a rookie, registering nine sacks and earning AP all Rookie Honors.
Unfortunately, like previous Steelers who’d won the Joe Greene Rookie of the Year award (see Delton Hall, Troy Edwards), Kendrell Bell turned out to be a one year wonder. Injuries set him back in 2002, but when healthy he was effective. In 2003 he appeared lost, with some commentators suggesting that Tim Lewis had “coached the aggressiveness out of him.”
Injuries again were an issue in 2004, and Larry Foote replaced him in the starting line up, and he openly discussed about whether he wanted to jeopardize his value on the free agent market by playing the Steelers playoff games.
Bell clearly had athletic talent, but apparently resisted learning coverage schemes and assignments, an attitude which can cost you dearly in the NFL.
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Antwaan Randle El is easily the most versatile of Kevin Colbert’s 2nd round picks. Randle El made an immediate impact as a rookie returning kickoffs, returning punts, catching passes, running reverses, and throwing passes.
Randle El continued to be a quadruple threat for the Steelers in 2003 and 2004, before graduating to the starting role in 2005. Measured in pure quantitative terms, the trend line of his production dropped after his rookie year, but in qualitative terms his contributions got larger.
While a legitimate threat running a reverse, this former college quarterback also threw four regular season touchdown passes for the Steelers, showing he could hurt the opposition in multiple ways.
And of course his most pass was the last one he threw in his first stint with the Steelers. You might remember it from Super Bowl XL:
Randle El of course returned to Pittsburgh in 2010 for a second tour of duty.
And while the coaches were unimpressed with his speed or by how much he’d forgotten of the playbook, El gave it his all and his 2-2-0-2 passing record shows the element of unpredictability he brought to the offense.
Shortly after the 2003 NFL Draft the Steelers Digest published a profile of him at Steelers mini camp with a photo of Jackson warning number 95. Upon seeing that I uttered aloud (much to the confusion of my wife), “Son, you have to earn the right to wear Number 95 in Pittsburgh.” (“95” of course being the number worn by the legendary Greg Lloyd.)
Unfortunately, Jackson either never understood that or quite simply lacked the God given ability to live up to the challenges of the NFL.
In 2 seasons with the Steelers, Jackson appeared in only 9 games and recorded 2 tackles.
- Alonzo Jackson was an unmitigated bust.
Amazingly Ricardo Coclough lasted 4 seasons with the Steelers, showing some promise as a rookie and in his sophomore season as he registered 2 sacks and one interception while appearing in 30 games.
Things petered out quickly for Coclough in the third game of his third season as he fielded a punt he should not have, allowing Cincinnati to back the Steelers up deep in their own territory. Bill Cowher put him in injured reserve the next day.
- Mike Tomlin actually gave him a second chance, but Coclough only made token appearances in three games.
At the end of the day, Coclough was neither able to make the transition to NFL corner nor was he able to make himself a threat in the return game. Another bust.
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It’s never really a good thing when play 6 years in the NFL and your best play comes in your rookie year, as Byrant McFadden’s did when he made a key pass defense in the end zone in the Steelers AFC Divisional Playoff victory vs. the Indianapolis Colts.
However, unlike Kendrell Bell, Bryant didn’t fade after his rookie year, but rather never quite seemed to realize his potential. As a second round pick Bryant was supposed to replace Deshea Townsend, but never could quite beat him out, and when he finally did, he had to split time with William Gay
The Steelers of course allowed McFadden to defect to Pittsburgh West after Super Bowl XLIII, only to bring him back during the 2010 NFL Draft. While McFadden was an improvement over William Gay (who struggled as a starter in 2009), he clearly wasn’t the answer and lost the starting job to an improving Gay in 2011.
You’d generally like to see a little more out of a second round pick, but the Steelers got decent value for B-Mac, and he certainly was no bust.
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The first two picks of the Mike Tomlin era were both linebackers, and for a long time Steelers Nation often wondered if the order shouldn’t have been reversed. LaMarr Woodley did not get a ton of playing time as a rookie, but he made four sacks in spot regular seasons duty.
- He turned it up with two more in the Steelers playoff loss to Jacksonville.
When the Steelers reached the playoffs in 2008, Woodley again turned it up registering two sacks in each of the Steelers playoff games, including a strip sack that ended any chance of a Kurt Warner fueled comeback in Super Bowl XLIII.
- Woodley continued his playoff sack streak in 2010, and the streak was not broken until the Tebowing in January 2011.
“Streak” may be a key word with Woodley, as he does appear to run hot and cold, and injuries have ruined the second half of his 2011 season an most of 2012.
- But clearly LaMarr Woodley is one of Kevin Colbert’s second round picks.
You know things are bad when you’re a wide receiver whose signature plays are critical drops in playoff games and one hellacious block in the AFC Championship Game vs. Balitmore.
Limas Sweed had a lot of talent. What many people forget is that on those infamous drops, Sweed had completely burned the DB’s tasked with covering him.
But Sweed suffered from psychological issues, and had the misfortune to injure himself during the Steelers nightmare 2010 off season.
- Some things are not meant to be, and so it was with Limas Sweed, another of Colbert’s second round busts.
Entering his fourth year, more is unknown rather than known about Jason Worilds. And that is not necessarily a knock on the college defensive end turned linebacker.
Worilds had the good luck to be drafted by a team with a strong tradition at linebacker, and one whose 3-4 defense thrives on dominant outside linebacking. Worilds had the bad luck to be drafted by a team whose two starting outside linebackers were LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison.
Worilds played well on special teams as a rookie and flashed in spot duty. In 2011 Worilds got extensive playing time as both Harrison and Woodley were injured for periods. Worilds performance was pedestrian at best, but the linebacking corps as a whole suffered with multiple players playing out of position.
Worilds got more time in 2012, and early in the season was the team’s sack leader. Clearly the kid has some upside, but 2013 will likely prove to be the definitive “make or break” year for Jason Worilds.
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Marcus Gilbert wasn’t supposed to see action as a rookie, but an opening day injury to Willie Colon changed all that. Gilbert was forced in the starting line up, and did fairly well considering the circumstances.
Their was talk of Gilbert moving to left tackle in 2011, but that did not happen. Gilbert also had the misfortune to collide with several Steelers, either injuring them badly or ending their seasons. Gilbert struggled in 2012 and then got injured himself in mid 2012 and was lost for the year with an ankle injury.
The jury is still out on Gilbert, assuming he fully recovers from the injury. If the Steelers take a tackle early on in the 2013 NFL Draft, that’s a clear sign that they’re concerned.
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Mike Adams holds the distinction of being the only collegiate player to get himself knocked off of the Steelers draft board only to work himself back on.
Adams had been projected as a first round pick, but his positive test for marijuana knocked him into the second round where the Steelers swooped him up, and immediately decided to move Willie Colon from tackle to guard.
Adams, however, did not win the starting left tackle position during training camp, but injuries to Marcus Gilbert did force him into the line up, where he did well for a rookie, until he himself got injured vs. Cleveland.
- It is way too early to make a pronouncement on Adams, but clearly the Steelers are counting on him.
Out of his eleven second round picks, Kevin Colbert has drafted four players who developed into solid starters or better in the form of Marvel Smith, Antwaan Randle El, Bryant McFadden and LaMarr Woodley.
Kendrell Bell was a solid contributor for a year, then provided nothing, while Jason Worilds has delivered some value in the opportunities that he’s been given.
Alonzo Jackson, Ricardo Colclough and Limas Sweed were busts, there’s no way to sugar coat that, no other available conclusion exists.
It’s too early to reach a conclusion on either Marcus Gilbert or Mike Adams.
So to score it, Kevin Colbert has 4 clear wins and 3 clear losses in the 2nd round, with one break even (summing the contributions of Worilds and Bell), with the fate of 2 undetermined picks left to be decided.
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