(if you want to access the links, you can do so here: http://dt970sports.blogspot.com/)
MONDAY, APRIL 26, 2010
Everyone knows you can't judge the success of a draft until the players, you know, actually play. But, that doesn't stop hundreds of people from slapping a letter grade on the past weekend's activities. Fans want answers, so the media gives it to them. What the talking heads should be doing is looking at the 2007 draft and seeing how that turned out. (Yea, I'll do if for you later and I'll get my buddy at Back to Foulke to do the same for the Pats.)
So what does the draft tell us other than who is going where? It tells us what a coaching staff and front office think of their team's personnel. When the Steelers take a linebacker in rounds 2, 4 and 5 they are sending a message, actually more like screaming it, that they aren't happy with their depth at the position. With that in mind lets take a look at which veterans on the current roster aren't likely to be back because of what took place this past week.
Offensive Line: With the selection of Maurkice Pouncey in round 1 the Steelers have started remaking the line. With the addition of an undrafted free agent today the team has 14 lineman on the roster, including two long snappers.* Obviously one of those guys goes. If the team carries nine it means Doug Legursky and either Tony Hills or newly-signed Jonathan Scott is gone. Fifth round pick Chris Scott is probably headed for the practice squad. Trai Essex and Willie Colon may be in their last season with the club.
*I don't understand why every fringe NFL lineman doesn't spend all his free time practicing long snaps. While it certainly is an important role for every team, it is not a difficult skill. There is NO reason teams should allocate a roster spot solely to this. If I ever have a kid who projects to be over six feet tall, I'll have him long snapping in the backyard every afternoon. Is there an easier way to half a million bucks?
Wide Receiver: Third round draft pick Emmanuel Sanders and free agent signees Antwaan Randle-El and Arnaz Battle mean theLimas Sweed era in Pittsburgh was a brief one. Battle's special teams versatility gives him the edge unless Sweed has a big training camp.
Secondary: William Gay was horrible last year. It's telling that he will be best-known for this. Thanks for coming. Anthony Madison's Steelers days are over as well. Deshea Townshend wasn't resigned and Bryant McFadden was re-acquired from AZ. It's time for Ryan Mundy, Keenan Lewis and Joe Burnett to step up. Fifth round pick Crezdon Butler is probably headed to the practice squad.
Linebacker: Clearly the organization is worried about it's depth at this position. Drafting three linebackers and resigning Larry Foote means Patrick Bailey and Andre Frazier are done. Keyaron Fox is in his last season.
Oher guys that might surprise you but aren't likey to be back include Nick Eason, Chris Hoke, Mewelde Moore and Stefan Logan. Only 53 spots. Unfortunately for most of these guys they have cashed their last NFL paycheck.
Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments.