Those of you who were around last off-season may recall that I dipped my toe into the murky pond of mock draftery. Since I don't watch college football, and thus knew nothing about the players in the draft class, I decided to go with my own metric - BLA, or Best-Looking Available. To my surprise, I actually found a piece of research that supports the idea that those who are endowed with physical attractiveness are also more likely to be athletically gifted. Not that I actually required this motivation to seek out the best-looking possible players to add to the many fine-looking men on the Steelers roster, but it gives the exercise the faintest tinge of scientific validity.
So here goes. I'm not going to start out with a lot of assumptions about who we sign or don't, because the idea is that we take the best looking player available. However, I won't look at QBs, WRs, RBs, or kickers, because I have to draw the line somewhere. The intensive research required for these mocks means that eyestrain is a constant danger, so I'm going to limit myself. If I get into the late rounds in future mocks I might take a look at the odd WR. I've also decided to give two or three possible picks for each round, so that we have choices as players come off the board. When it comes to this sort of research, I'm nothing if not thorough.
Well, I've made my feelings plain - I would be ecstatic if Mike Pouncey, OG, fell to us. I can't imagine a better way to instantly upgrade the looks of our offensive line than by adding Maurkice's twin brother. And of course he doesn't just bring some very fine looks to the table - he brings an array of footbally skills. Furthermore, this way we aren't likely to lose our fabulous center as soon as he's a free agent to the team that signed his brother. Unfortunately, I'm well aware that Mike is the top-rated guard in the draft, and that unless the Steelers are prepared to trade up, possibly a rather long way, we aren't likely to get Mike. Therefore, I'm sticking with the O-line, which admittedly needs help, and pick #2 for Round 1 is Derek Sherrod, OT.
Highly rated for both character and ability, Sherrod was honored this season as one of 16 players to be selected to the National Football Foundation’s Scholar-Athlete Class of 2010. Candidates must "have a grade point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale, have outstanding football ability as a first team player and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship." He would be a wise choice if we don't manage to re-sign RT Willie Colon, and although Colon is an accomplished tackle, Sherrod is a definite upgrade in the looks department. Given the current uncertainty at the tackle position, Sherrod would be a worthy first round pick. If Sherrod is unavailable, or other factors (such as which of our free agents we sign) make an OT not the best fit for round 1, I hereby present a prospect for OG who is really intriguing me - Danny Watkins.
Fortunately I watched an interview with Watkins rather than just skimming over the Google Images, because I would have missed a fine-looking man who definitely doesn't photograph well. At age 26 he is the oldest player in the draft, but he only has four years of football on him, and has a lot of maturity and life experience that would be a fabulous addition to the Steelers locker room. Obviously his visage would be a fabulous addition to the right guard slot as well, and he has the flexibility to play tackle if necessary. Fortunately he is a former fireman, because it's going to be pretty hot when he's around!
Although my BLA metric implies that only the best-looking player available to us in any given round will be selected, I am no more bound by my metric than I think the Steelers are by the BPA metric - in other words, practical considerations naturally color the final result. The practical considerations that led me to pick O line first and defensive backs second should be obvious - the best of the defensive backs will almost certainly be long gone by the time we pick in round 1, but there are a number of interesting possibilities available in later rounds. And even if we manage to re-sign Ike Taylor, only a hitherto unimagined new defensive strategy on the part of our resident genius Dick LeBeau would make the selection of a corner or two unwarranted. And while I'm not discounting that possibility, I'm taking the more conventional route and choosing three corners for round 2. My first choice, who like my first round pick of Mike Pouncey might not be achievable, is Ras-I Dowling.
Dowling seems to be a popular choice on many BTSC mock drafts, and from a footbally perspective he's certainly interesting. But one glance at the photo below should demonstrate why he was my top corner pick.
His defensive coach made two interesting statements - a) "he has no weaknesses as a player," and b) "this is the kind of man that you get down on your knees and pray every night that your daughter brings home." Because of injury concerns, it seems that we might be lucky enough to pick him up in round 2, and that would suit me just fine. If we don't, my second Round 2 pick is Brandon Burton:
Burton is a junior, which it seems that Tomlin likes. Admittedly his stock seems to be rising, and he may go well before we pick in Round 2, but if he's there and Dowling isn't I'd be happy to see him fall to us. If not, Davon House is my backup pick.
House has great hair, which is always an asset, and turned in some nice numbers at the combine, so his tenure at lowly NMSU shouldn't unduly influence us.
I'm going to mix things up a bit in Round 3 and begin with, yes, another CB, Marcus Gilchrist.
This fine young man from Clemson has a lot of potential. When asked about going to the Combine by TheClemsonInsider.com, he stated "Hopefully I can turn a couple of heads." Well, he turned mine, and I would be very happy to see him join the Steelers backfield. But if he isn't available, my next choice is Curtis Marsh, also a CB.
A running back until 2009, Marsh impressed sufficiently to get an invite to the 2011 Under Armour Senior Bowl. He's been rather under the radar because of his late conversion to CB, but he has the potential to be a fine corner if given a chance to develop, and his fresh-faced looks make him a starter from Day 1... If he's gone by pick #99, I'm moving over to the linemen, and picking Cliff Matthews, DE. The picture gives you an idea of some of his assets, but he has
many others. He has been praised for his work ethic and athleticism, as well as his explosive pass rush. He's also nice to look at with the helmet off, which I fear is not as common as I might like. I've seen him as projected to go anywhere from the first to the sixth round, so you never know your luck.
Well, that's about all the research I can stand. When I recover, I'll look at putting up rounds 4 - 7. Ladies (and gentlemen), what you think?