About Mike Tomlin:
1. Tomlin wants competition, at every position. Bring in vets to compete with young guys, let the best player win the job. I have a feeling he has no trouble parting with people who lose position battles, or at least risking losing them. Think Sonny Harris etc. He isn't worried about protecting projects, he wants the best men on the field.
2. Tomlin drafts players who are young and can fill an immediate role later in the draft. Last year our Corners were both expected to see the field during the season and were expected to help on ST. Didn't work out exactly as planned, but the idea was still there. We are drafting athlete's and a lot of speed. This year we are looking for ST guys who can make the roster. OLB reserves are crap, and no young ILB exists. Enter 3 LB picks who all look to be ST players. 2 of them should make the team, all 3 could. The report on Sylvester is a coverage/open field chaser ILB. A Dungy style LB (think Derrick Brooks, only not that awesome I'd bet)
About the Steelers for this season:
1. This is not a typical draft. All these guys look to make the team, or at least fight it out to make it. Immediate help at ST (OLB) that can make it on the roster without fighting a veteran or talented youth. WR speed to get the most out of Bruce Arians system, and guys that look more ready to play right away, while having lower ceilings. Trading for McFadden and his 1 year under contract, resigning Big Snack and no DT drafted. This team is preparing for one big push, throwing all the cards on the table to win right now, and win big. Being out of the restricted trade teams and not having a cap forced on us (we have our own cap that is growing steadily) we have taken advantage and brought in quality veteran depth. Guys who know the system and we know can help right now. Tomorrow is not the focus, this year is our shot. We are taking it.
My overall impressions of the draft and our teams direction.
I like the way Tomlin works. A good mixture of mentalities going on here. BPA picks, trades for veteran depth, sick athletes to develop on the bench. Not drafting today's need, but drafting three years ahead, and still going to get them on the roster. I like the competition he's creating. It's at every position, look, every position but NT and maybe FS has competition for starters or second string.
Remember that talk of a future switch to a 4-3 defense? It's not going away. Just read the points before accusing me of Blasphemy.
1. Dick Lebeau didn't invent the 3-4 and we didn't switch to it when he came, he's a freaking Genius and can work any system, he invented his defense off the 3-4, it isn't a pure 3-4 we put anywhere from 0 to 5 guys on the line on any given play. That's not a pure 3-4. Tomlin isn't going to run Dungy's 4-3 either, but you can see players that fit the ideas of the Dungy D creeping into our depth chart. I'm not saying Tomlin is telling LEbeau to get out and let him run things, quite the opposite. Read below.
2. A Hybrid? I don't think so. I expect a different take than you see anywhere, a new wrinkle on our defensive ideology that keeps us ahead of the curve and lets us pick players that others aren't necessarily looking for (like when few were running 3-4 and we got great DE's for cheap) NFL Football is an economic game, best talent for least money, and competition drives up the price. Notice our NT's are still old. Notice how fast our new LB's are. There is something cooking in LeBeau and Tomlin's minds, and I am excited about it.
Lastly, the rest of the division. The Ravens had another good draft, but no DB's. That should change, Ozzie is a damn good GM and he hasn't forgot you have to cover people. However as they look today, our WR's would tear the Ravens limb from limb. Browns grabbed some good talent, but McCoy? That poor boy isn't going to survive the Steelers and Ravens. I think Holmgren isn't going to work in this division, our defense and the Ravens defense destroy West Coast offenses. Cincy put a lot into WR's, but I don't see a repeat of last year. The Ravens are still going to be there, and our lack of depth is fixed. If Ben has himself in good form this division should come down to Ravens and Steelers again. And right now I like the Steelers. (let's see if the CB problem gets addressed for B-More)