Second Day Musings

A lot of folks are going to kill the Steelers over not taking a defensive back today and, given the performance of the secondary down the stretch, maybe they should. I wasn't surprised that the Steelers passed on a DB in the 2nd round though. It had been pretty obvious for a while that the FO and coaches wanted to add depth at OLB and Worilds was the guy they coveted (with a guy like Thad Gibbson as a possibility if they didn't get Worlids). He makes a lot of sense in the 2nd for me.

Also, don't go making Worilds/Bruce Davis comparisons (even though I just sort of did there). Worilds is a super high motor guy who has a blazing first step and a whole lot of upside in coverage. He's a long-armed, aggressive, and passionate player - meaning, he has all the physical tools and the attitude to develop into a starter down the line. The guy is a prototypical Steelers OLB and, I think, very little bust potential. At the very least you'll get a good backup OLB who will become a core special teams player (something the Steelers can't have enough of these days). Remember, if Bruce Davis could EVEN play on special teams he'd probably still be wearing the black and gold today. As you can see, I'm bullish on Worilds - who I think was good value where he was picked -although I don't love it as much as I loved the Pouncey pick.

Why not a DB in the 2nd? Well, I certainly wouldn't disagree if they had taken one, but in general Colbert and Tomlin didn't seem to think it was a huge need going into the offseason. The feeling I get is they want better depth at DB but don't necessarily think the need a marquee player back there. Or, rather, that they need another marquee player besides Troy. Tomlin and DB coach Ray Horton are apparently very high on Joe Burnett and it would not surprise me if he were starting beside Ike Taylor in the season opener.

Also, on the matter of pass defense there are two basic schools: Invest in premium DB's to cover WR's or invest in premium pass rushers to get to the QB before he can exploit your DB's. Which school do you think the Steelers belong to? From the Steelers point of view, Worlids IS an upgrade to the pass defense.

Finally, Worilds is a great addition to an already great, but very shallow LB corps. Don't forget that if Harrison or Woodley were to go down you're long-term backup might be...Patrick Bailey? Timmons is, in my humble opinion, ill-suited to be a fulltime OLB and outside of him there's absolutely no one on the roster who wouldn't embarrass themselves if asked to take over for either of our two outside studs. And, keep in mind that Woodley only has a year left on his contract (although, he should be resigned....scratch that MUST be resigned before the season) and Harrison is 32. It'll be nice to be able to spell them for a few snaps per game for the next couple of years. Again, this is a good pick from my perspective

On the subject of Emmanuel Sanders though...I'm as puzzled as most of you probably are. I will say that I'm willing to give the FO quite a bit of leeway when it comes to picking up 3rd round receivers. The last one the Steelers took had nearly 800 yards in his rookie year and more touchdowns than former Super Bowl MVP (and former Steeler) Santonio Holmes.

The kid certainly put up good numbers at SMU and showed them he has a lot of raw physical ability at the combine. However, unlike Wallace he's rarely played against elite competition. Still, he fits nicely as that field stretching 3rd receiver that the Steelers like. Again, I think we ought to try and resist comparisons to Wallace (even though, again, I already have); Wallace is a special player.

Sanders comes out of June Jones' run-n-shoot offense at SMU so whatever stats you find will be a bit inflated. On the other hand, there's got to be a ridiculous amount of tape of him catching in a lot of different sorts of situations. The Steelers must have really likes something they saw.

It would not surprise me if you saw a few more spread looks from the Steelers this year, especially early on when a guy like Dennis Dixon might be behind center. So, in that sense it makes sense to invest in a speedy guy with good hands that can get you some real yards after the catch. In the long term, I think this speaks to how worried the Steelers are about Hines Ward. Ward is an amazing player - my all-time favorite Steeler (I was wearing his jersey while watching the draft today) - but he probably hasn't gone into a game without some fairly painful injuries since sometime in 2002. The man plays a very physical brand of football and that is going to steal a couple of years from the tail end of his Hall of Fame worthy career. Sanders can in no way be a replacement for Ward, but he might be a guy that's able to take a little pressure off him in the next couple of years.

So...I don't dislike this pick, but I felt like a DE like Corey Wootten or an NT/DE like Cam Thomas would have made a bit more sense from a positional standpoint. A CB like Brandon Ghee would have been nice as well. Still, certainly not a terrible selection...like, say, trading 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rounders to Baltimore to draft Tim Tebow. I hope McDaniels parents make Ozzie apologize for taking advantage of their son someday soon.

What to expect tomorrow? I really don't know. It would not surprise me at all if the Steelers went with Cam Chancellor in the 4th tomorrow - even though I think he still might be available with one of their 5th rounders later. It also wouldn't surprise me if they waited another round and took either a high upside tackle like Selvish Capers or an RB like Jonathan Dwyer or Anthony Dixon in the 4th/5th either. Finally, I've got to believe a great 3-4 DE prospect/project like the aforementioned Corey Wootten is surely in play if available next round.

There's still a boatload of talent out there. I, for one, can't wait till tomorrow.

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