Again, we have the 2011 NFL Draft to occupy our attention, but let's round off the top ten draft 'successes' and 'busts' of the Kevin Colbert era with a quick shoutout to who I believe is deserving of the top spot -- shutdown cornerback Ike Taylor, taken in the fourth round of the 2003 Draft.
Even though Taylor has never made a Pro Bowl, been named to an All Pro team, and only has a modest 11 interception in 91 career starts, the Louisiana Lafayette product has been the team's best lockdown corner on several league-leading defenses.
Taylor has been remarkably durable for the Steelers, which is no surprise when you read about his ridiculously intense offseason workout regiments back home in Louisiana each summer. Taylor has appeared in all 96 of the team's regular season games since 2005, not starting in only seven, five of which came in '06 when he was benched by Bill Cowher for reasons that I'm still not too sure about.
Here are the Steelers final DVOA Rankings against the pass since 2005 when Taylor became a full time starter. Rather than using traditional metrics, it makes more sense to use Football Outsiders' primary metric for the simple fact that teams throw more against the Steelers because of how futile it is to try to run the ball:
Hopefully Taylor has not played his last down in a Steelers uniform. It's quite possible that he has, and if so, I can't say I'd blame him for wanting to chase a huge pay day before entering the final stages of his career. As much as Steeler Nation wants him back, I don't think anybody would hold it against him were he to part ways with the Steelers after eight outstanding seasons with the black and gold.
To conldue, I wonder if the 'always rational and level-headed' Mark Madden might want to have a mulligan in this 2003 article in which he boldly proclaimed that Taylor was the worst pick in Steelers franchise history!
Taylor was a tailback at Louisiana-Lafayette in 2001, making the team as a walk-on. Taylor's draft profile on NFL.com says he did not play in 2000 because he "concentrated on academics." Before that, he was a Prop 48. Before that, he was dumb. Probably still is.
Probably not dumb enough to pick himself in the fourth round, though. This pick makes no sense. On a scale of one to 10, Ourlads Scouting Service gave Taylor a one. They projected him to be drafted when hell froze over.
But Taylor is a Steeler. I guarantee he will make the team. Taylor could lose a leg at rookie camp, have a lobotomy at minicamp and develop a heroin habit at training camp, and he would make the Steelers. When a team makes a bad draft choice, cutting him right away fairly screams the club's stupidity in all-too-short order.
Go Ike! Please come back in '11 and beyond to finish your career where you started it! Go Steelers!
Kevin Colbert's Top 10 Draft 'Successes'
Kevin Colbert's Top 10 Draft 'Busts'
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