GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 23: Center Maurkice Pouncey #53 of the Pittsburgh Steelers laughs while Chris Kemoeatu #68 looks on from the bench during their game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images)
[In case you're wondering, the picture is not because I chose Pouncey, but because I can't imagine what I was thinking to leave him out...]
Since there's not going to be a lot of Steelers news for the next week (or at least we hope not, as news would be most likely to be injuries or worse,) it seemed to me that the time was ripe to grade my 2010 draft picks. For those of you that are new to the site, I'm a pretty new football fan, and don't watch college football, so I decided to put together a mock draft based on my own metric, the BLA, (Best-Looking player Available.) I made my decisions by studying many hours of "film" - still pictures, actually, and judging them with my patented PHI (Player Hotness Index.)
The 2010 off-season was, as I'm sure we all remember, absolutely full of turmoil, and included the Santonio Holmes trade, the Ben Roethlisberger birthday bash gone bad, and an unprecedented flurry of free-agency pickups by the Steelers. This was in addition to a highly uncharacteristic statement by Art II that publicly addressed some weaknesses in the 2009 team. As a result, I ended up putting together three mocks, using three different sets of suppositions. The first, a three-round mock, mainly addressed the needs of the female fans, and was basically all about the BLA:
Brandon Graham, DE/OLB
Toby Gerhart, RB
Myron Rolle, S
The second came after the free-agency activity and Art II's declaration that "we need to run the ball better." In other words, I actually looked more closely at the team needs and tried to reconcile them with BLA. At that point I had actually discovered an exciting fact: "A new study states "the better an American football player, the more attractive he is, concludes a team led by Justin Park at the University of Bristol, UK." You can read more about it here. I'll be the first to admit that there are certainly some exceptions. It would presumably also depend upon whether one was comparing, say, left tackles to other left tackles, rather than a left tackle to any other position, when gauging attractiveness." And as this draft was a month or so later than the first one, it took into consideration the changing fortunes on the draft charts. My 5-round mock therefore offered these players:
Zac Robinson, QB
Dorin Dickerson, TE
And finally, after Millidgeville and Twittergate, I put together a mock based on character. My theory was that the Steelers were even less likely to take any chances with someone that had any stains on their character. It also took into consideration the Holmes trade and the strong likelihood that Ben would be suspended, and thus I reluctantly dropped Earl Thomas. Not, I hasten to add, because of any character concerns, but just because I felt that the O line would have to be addressed, both because of the running game and because of more fragile quarterbacks than Ben holding down the fort. (I had the right idea – I just made the wrong choice.) Here was my final 3-round mock:
And before I get into evaluating my choices, I will state that BLA is a very subjective judgement, and is based upon very incomplete evidence. For one thing, I was completely dependent upon the visual information available for easy Googling. I discovered last season how this can lead you astray when I happened upon a short video interview with Danny Watkins. His pictures had not impressed, but when you saw him speaking and interacting his true attractiveness shined brightly through. So I freely admit that many of my choices are probably based upon insufficient information.
So let's look at how my 2010 choices have panned out in the past two years.
Graham was actually drafted by the Eagles, who traded up to take him at #13, so he wasn't on the board when the Steelers drafted. He recorded his first sack in a game in Week 2 of 2010, which was a promising start. Before December of 2010, when he tore his ACL and was IR'd, he had 12 solo tackles, 1 assist, 1 stuff, 2 forced fumbles, and 3 sacks. He started this season on the PUP, and was activated on November 5th. In 2 games he has 3 solo tackles.
Earl Thomas went to the Seahawks, and lucky for them, too. They chose him at #14. (I've always had expensive taste, what can I say?) Thomas is, maybe not even arguably, the best player on the Seahawks. I would sure love to see him in Black and Gold. But then we wouldn't have Pouncey, and I don't think that all of Thomas' awesomeness would make up for not having Maurkice as one of the sole bright spots on the O line last season.
Mike Iupati was drafted by the 49ers at #17. He has played all 25 games since the start of the 2010 season. He has played well, and the Pro Football Writers Association named him one of their 2010 NFL All-Rookie selections.
Gerhart was selected by the Vikings at #51, and had a solid if unremarkable season for them. His stats this year aren't as good as they were last year. Why, I don't know, as I don't watch the Vikings.
Benn was drafted by Tampa Bay at #39. His first season was a disappointment for such a high selection, but this season his stats for 9 games are almost as good as last year's for 15, so it will be interesting to see how he develops.
I clearly overvalued Rolle in my first mock (although not in terms of the PHI!) and moved him to Round 5 in my second draft. Rolle was actually selected in Round 6 at #207 by the Titans, and played in the last 7 games of 2010. During that time he accumulated no stats. I guess this is the first big bust for BLA. The Titans released him, and as far as I can tell no one else picked him up. Fortunately he has a host of other options...
Zac Robinson turns out to be a pretty interesting story. He was drafted, just – the Patriots picked him up with one of their thousands of draft picks in the 7th round, at pick #250. They signed him to a 4-year contract in July of 2010 and released him a month and a half later. The Seahawks picked him up for their practice squad, then activated him to back up Charlie Whitehurst when Hasselbeck was injured. They waived him a week later and Detroit picked him up. Detroit waived him after training camp this year and the Bengals picked him up for their practice squad. Another big miss for BLA : (
Toby Gerhart would have represented better value in the third round than the second. Too bad the Vikings didn't ask me.
Dorin Dickerson was drafted by the Texans in the 7th round at #227. Coach Kubiak intended to make him into a WR. Instead, he made him into a free agent. Well, that's life in the NFL.
Well, there you have it. I guess it's a good thing that it isn't me doing the drafting for the Steelers. After all, almost anyone can pick well in the first round. I'm hoping that my 2011 Mock Draft will fare better, and that I can use these disappointments to refine my methods.