With little to no Steelers related football news trickling in these days, I look forward to our community mock draft progressing on. You can find the #1 overall pick, which was made last night, here. Here goes a random and speculative debate that won't be settled for a number of years now: which former 1st round draft pick is more likely to re-sign with the Steelers and play at least the bulk of his career in Pittsburgh, Lawrence Timmons or Santonio Holmes. (hat tip to ROTB for idea).
Let's make the case for each after the jump:
Free Agent: 2011
Holmes, who was drafted with the 25th overall pick of the 2006 NFL Draft, has already cemented his status in Pittsburgh Steelers folklore for generations to come, regardless of whether he has any more productive years before becoming a Free Agent after the 2010 season. I suppose we might have a better idea of whether the Steelers front office will have to prioritize the WR position in future years based on several things. Firstly and most obviously by what we do in this year's draft. Secondly, if Limas Sweed fails to develop significantly in year two of his career, the organization might have to go out of their way more than they typically do to lock down Holmes next offseason. The team does after all have a tendency to re-up their players the offseason before the final year of their contract. So 2009 in many ways should be an audition of sorts for Holmes and his future in Pittsburgh. Will he keep his nose clean and continue the upward trajectory that he's been on since the middle of this past season? Or will he and others on the team suffer from the frequent Super Bowl hangover that afflicts so many teams and their players the year after winning it all?
Free Agent: 2012
First of all, isn't it beautiful to be reminded that Lawrence Timmons is still not yet 23 years of age. He's got two years of football experience under his belt now and is still at least two or three years away from truly hitting his stride physically and mentally out there. Timmons, who was taken 15th overall in the 2007 draft, has been a special teams demon in years one and two of his brief career, and in 2008 also contributed significantly in Dick LeBeau's defense. He had five sacks including a crucial take down of Joe Flacco to put the Ravens out of FG range when the Steelers and Ravens met for the second time in December.
It's still too early to truly know what kind of player Timmons is going to be. My hunch is he's going to be as good as they come once he truly gets comfortable out there and is able to just play instinctively without overthinking things too much. That may not be for another year or two though, which would be pushing up against the end of his rookie contract after the 2011 season. Obviously Larry Foote and James Farrior will be out of the picture by the time Timmons were to be a free agent, so it's either going to be Timmons or a guy we've yet to become acquainted with who will be asked to roam the middle of our 3-4 next decade. The other fact worth mentioning is that Timmons is represented by Drew Rosenhaus. I think Rosenhaus gets a bit of an unfair rap and at the end of the day, it's still somewhat up to the player to decide where he wants to be, assuming he has options, which Timmons will.
So if you had to make an educated guess with lots of pertinent information in the future still to be determined, who would you pick as the most likely to re-sign with the Steelers beyond the end of their rookie contracts: Santonio Holmes or Lawrence Timmons?