The Pittsburgh Steelers 2014 Draft is now into the history books. What can we say about how well the Steelers did or didn’t draft?
- In a word, not much.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. gave them an A-. Mark Kabloy says B. CBS Sports marks the Steelers draft with B+. All of which means nothing. Football’s Future and Sports Illustrated instant the Steelers 2008 draft similar high marks, and 2008 was the Steelers worst draft since the 1980’s.
- Real evaluations of the Steelers 2014 Draft begin this summer at St. Vincents, and will continue for several years.
But that doesn’t mean we know nothing about the Steelers 2014 Draft. Far from it, in fact Steelers Nation need not wait years to know what will define the Steelers 2014 draft – Speed, Size, and Surprise.
Colbert and Tomlin Stick to Their Playbook
Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin devised their own draft plan and then told no one about. Everyone expected the Steelers to go for corners and wide outs early in the draft, if not early and often.
- Colbert and Tomlin had other plans, which surprised almost everyone, although it shouldn’t.
In one way, we can already say the Steelers 2014 Draft is similar to their 2008 draft. The Steelers opened the ’08 off season with a stated need for offensive and defensive lineman. Mike Tomlin himself said so much himself. Yet lineman came off the board in droves, and Colbert and Tomlin refused to reach.
- Something similar may have happened here.
Perhaps the Steelers had wanted to take a corner. Just because everyone said that corner was Darqueze Dennard doesn’t mean Tomlin and Colbert agreed. Regardless, it’s clear that the Steelers Brain Trust saw something in Ryan Shaizer that was special, and took him without hesitation. In fact, the Steelers made all of their picks quickly.
- This follows in keeping with past observations that Colbert and Tomlin do not make personnel decisions out of fear.
Far from it. When asked about the corners they have, both Kevin Colbert and Carnell Lake talked about the players they had as much as Shaquille Richardson.
Of Size and Speed and the Steelers
One of the things that stuck out during the Seahawks Super Bowl win was how incredibly fast they were.
Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert took note, taking the fastest linebacker in the draft in Shazier, and the fastest man in the draft in Dri Archer. Likewise, defensive end Stephon Tuitt is fast for his position, if tapes are any guide.
- But the Steelers didn’t totally sell out on speed.
In Dan McCullers they got the biggest man in the draft and Martavis Bryant gives Ben Roethlisberger a wide receiver that’s almost 6’4” – if he can make the team.
Steelers 2014 Draft Class at a Glance
Here’s a snap shot of the Steelers 2014 Draft Class:
For those longing to delve into more detail, click on the player’s highlighted name for a brief profile and bio:
- 1st round, Ryan Shazier, inside linebacker, Ohio State University
- 2nd round, Stephon Tuitt, defensive end, Notre Dame
- 3rd round, compensatory, Dri Archer, running back, Kent State
- 4th round, Martavis Bryant, wide receiver, Clemson
- 5th round, Shaquille Richardson, cornerback, Arizona
- 5th round, compensatory, Wesley Johnson, offensive line, Vanderbilt
- 6th round, Jordan Zumwalt, linebacker, UCLA
- 6th round compensatory, Dan McCullers, nose tackle, Tennessee
- 7th round, Rob Blanchflower, tight end, UMASS
On paper this is an impressive group. But, as mentioned at the beginning, so-called experts outside of Pittsburgh said the same thing about the Steelers 2008 draft class.
Some of these men will fail. That’s the simple reality of it.
- But now is not the time to harp on that, nor should it be.
For 99.5% of the people that play football in some form or fashion, playing in the NFL is and always will be a dream. But with a simple phone call, Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin gave each of these men a shot at transforming this dream into a reality.
As we welcome the Steeles 2014 draft class to Pittsburgh and Steelers Nation, it is our sincere wish that as many of them succeed as possible.