As I was looking at our second and third round options today I kept thinking of how long these players would take to be impact players.
I could see 1st round pick Heyward getting some spot duty in his first season, and then coming on and competing for legit playtime his second year. I think he's in the category of talent that includes Troy, Porter, Woodley, Ziggy, Mendenhall, and Wallace. Guys that had the skills to play right away, but really developed in their second year when they had NFL experience under their belt. while those guys had various contributions their first season, all established themselves in their second year.
A lot of very good players turn into players in their third season. Ike Taylor, Lawrence Timmons, Chris Hope, etc. Also a lot of players hang around until their third season and then are gone. Players that sometimes start to look like busts turn into players, and sometimes guys that seem destined to turn their talent into production never do.
I think we have two picks that will be additions to that category today. I'd love to see Curtis Brown play some outside corner this season and then step in and start next year, moving up to the class above, but for all his positives he has genuine work to do to be a starter, most of the guys in the above list just needed to adjust to the NFL. Marcus Gilbert also looks like a guy who will need some time.
This line of thinking led me to look at the guys we have on our roster right now who are facing an important third season. Keenan Lewis is probably the biggest name there. Will he make the final adjustment and be the starting quality corner he has the talent to be, or is he doomed to bounce around some teams and become either a career back up or fall out of the league? He's not the only guy. Sonny Harris is still on the practice squad. Heyward is likely going to bounce Harris out of Pittsburgh but I am interested to see if Sonny can turn into a player in his final preseason with the Steelers.
Limas Sweed's injury last year has given him a second third year shot at making it, and after the setbacks he's had I'll spot him a year of eligibility and give him a lost shot. Tony Hills will be getting a 4th year as well, after showing strong improvement last year he may well still develop farther, or if his third year was legit, he'll fill a role as a solid back up.
We've also got some intriguing 2nd year questions this season with Butler and Worilds showing raw talent (I think they are 3 yr kids) and Dwyer, Brown and Sanders in limited action showing they had the skill sets to potentially be 2nd year players.
I wanted to post this after all the excitement of this draft (a corner back for goodness sake!) to hopefully put a little perspective on what these players mean to our organization's immediate future. Also, seriously, CB, the position to watch this year in camp.
It'll be fun to see what we add in day three. I don't think we have a lot of roster spots we need to draft for at this point, so I am thinking trades and hoping for a nickel back, or Ahmed Black at Safety. We do need some HB's though.