Having left Piitsburgh & moved to Atlanta for work purposes a few yrs ago, I started following the Falcons
a bit just bc it was nice to go watch some live NFL ball during weekends the Steelers
played a night game, or a bye, etc. So much cheaper and easier to get into games here, obviously. Anyway... I want to take a look at two drastically different offseason approaches in 2011, using the Falcons and Steelers as examples. Personally, as it relates to the 2011 offseason, I think the Falcons are nuts and the Steelers are the greatest franchise in any sport ever on any planet & Pittsburgh is the best sports town in America and its not even close. But I'm a son of two hardcore yinzers...
IN 2011, after the Falcons went 13-3 and considered themselves on the cusp of Superbowl and/or as good as any team in the league, they felt they were missing just 1 more explosive piece on offense to keep up with the Packers
, NFC elite, etc. So they used 5 draft picks on a WR. More specifically they used a 1st, 2nd, 4th, 1st, 4th, with the last two picks being in this yrs draft. A TON to give up, enough to make Art Rooney II & Kevin Colbert's heads explode I'm sure. But to be fair, they got what looks like an absolute beast of a player in Julio Jones
and will no doubt have him for the next 10 yrs as Matt Ryans go to. He's a 6'4 kid that can fly and has serious power too, my favorite thing about Julio is that he said in rookie yr that he wants to "block like Hines Ward
". Gotta like him for that no?
The Steelers, who can almost always be said to be on the cusp of another Super Bowl title, did what they always do. Stick to their draft board, pick the best remaining players available when theyre on the clock. Here is who the Steelers took in those 1, 2, 4, 1, 4 draft slots that the Falcons used on JJ (note: the Steelers picked after the Falcons in both drafts. 31st in 2011, then the pick immediately after Atlanta's in 2012)
1-Cam Heyward 2-Marcus Gilbert
4- Alemeda Ta'amu
So you have Keisels replacement in Heyward. Cam already logged some serious minutes in his rookie season, blocked a FG, pushed Olineman into their own QB. Gilbert at right tackle since his rookie yr and will be a fixture there for yrs, Allen currently the #3 corner, possible #2 if he beats out Keenan Lewis
this yr, DeCastro who will start his rookie yr until 2022 at right guard, and Casey hamptons eventual replacement in Ta'amu. Now granted, Ta'amu could be a bust, no doubt. But he could also be a fixture at Nose tackle for the next decade, he is a 'wait and see'. The other players have already proven themselves in their rookie seasons, which is very impressive for those on defense, Lebeau rarely starts rookies in his complicated scheme, we know that. DeCastro is going to be Decastro. There will be no surprises with this kid.
So I ask you, what strategy do you like, or do you like both for each individual team's needs? I tell my new friends in Atl this all time, that 2011 draft trade was NUTS.