Never let it be said that Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin let the press or public opinion influence their personnel decisions. Going into the 2014 NFL Draft the unquestioned conventional wisdom was that the Steelers first two picks would be cornerback-wide receiver or wide receiver-cornerback, depending on availability.
- I guess we know what that says about the quality of sources that the Pro Football writers of Pittsburgh have inside the Steelers draft room.
Less than 24 hours after bucking everything the punditry had been saying for months when they picked OSU’s Ryan Shazier, the Steelers did it again by selection Notre Dame’s defensive end Stephon Tuitt.
In his predraft breakdown of Tuitt, Behind the Steel Curtain’s Neal Coolong observed this:
If Notre Dame’s Stephon Tuitt played at the same position for an entire game, it’d seem like the first time. He possesses the quickness to play on the edge yet the size and power to attack from the interior, making him one of the most versatile down linemen available in this draft.
He’s a first round pick, and could be a target of the Steelers, selecting 15th overall.
Tuitt stands out as a prospect because of his size, power and agility, but he’s a refined rusher for his age and experience.
Tuitt was indeed viewed early on as a first round prospect, and several early mock drafts did in fact have him going to the Steelers. However a foot injury discovered at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis dropped his value, and he fell to the Steelers in the second.
Based on video highlights of Tuitt available on You Tube, it is easy to see why commentators such as Coolong rated him so highly.
Tuitt will join a defensive line that, like much of the rest of the unit, has seen an extreme make over since 2011.
The “old men” are now nose tackle Steve McLendon is the only player who was with the 2010 Steelers AFC Championship team, and Cameron Heyward who was a rookie in 2011. The Steelers also signed Cam Thomas during free agency to replace the departed Al Woods.
In drafting Tuitt in the second round, the Steelers brain trust may have bucked the critics, but in picking a defensive lineman, they did address what Steel Curtain Rising’s Steelers Draft Need Matrix pegged as their greatest area of need.
Welcome to Steelers Nation Stephon Tuitt.