2014 NFL Draft: The Silver lining to an 0-3 start and the beginning of a very long season

Gregory Shamus

The one bright spot to this terrible start and likely sustained ineptitude of our favorite team this season is that it will bode a top draft pick in 2014. So should we, the diehard faithful of Steelers Nation, actually be so inclined to root for a truly abysmal season in order the right the wrongs of our roster?

While Steelers Nation is still reeling from yet another lackluster game by the offense I'm instead choosing to focus on the positives. I have to, otherwise I would need a bottle of Zanax to pull me out of the deep depression the Steelers would normally have me in after these first three performances.

I would LOVE it if the Steelers were tops in their division but given this auspicious start it may be time to root for the Steelers to pack it in already and look a head to a top draft pick in 2014. That's the one benefit to this train wreck of a season so far.

This roster is certainly not devoid of talent, both young and old, but the biggest issues currently facing the Steelers cannot be solved without a high draft pick, as the Steelers don't sign top free agents and couldn't afford to anyway, and another 8-8 season just won't do it. We can go over the Steelers diverse needs, both immediate and down the line, but this team needs offensive tackles plain and simple. Elite offensive tackles come at a premium in the draft and picking at 17 again isn't going to get us what we need.

Of course talent always tends to fall on draft day, Jarvis Jones is certainly proof of that, but the prospects being picked at the top are being picked for a reason. I'm sure by now everyone from the fan base to the front office realizes that Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert are nothing more than human turnstiles and the Steelers still have to face the likes of Jared Allen, Terrell Suggs, Mario Williams, and others this season. Suffice to say it's going to be a very long, grueling season for all of us. I'm sure no one wants to suffer through an agonizing, heart-breaking 4-12 season, I know it'll be painful, but that top 10 draft pick will be just what the doctor ordered going forward.

The Steelers and Kevin Colbert need to subscribe to the Ted Thompson school of drafting which is to select an excessive amount of offensive linemen. Given attrition, injuries, etc. combined with the fact that most offensive linemen are semi-versatile enough to play multiple positions along the line it stands to reason that every team should try to create a stockpile of linemen. In the case of the Steelers, where linemen seem to drop like flies year in and year out, it would pay to dedicate at least two picks every year, especially when the law of averages says that not every prospect will pan out.

The 2014 draft is looking quite promising for offensive tackle prospects but outside of the top three of Texas A&M's Jake Matthews, Michigan's Taylor Lewan, and possibly UNC's James Hurst, most of those prospects look like better fits on the right side rather than the left. That means that another mediocre season like last year might cause the Steelers to miss out on the elite few that could turn this offense in the right direction.

Based on current NFL standings the Steelers are in line for a top-six pick. Beyond that also means a top six pick in each subsequent round, minus the third round pick traded to the Cleveland Browns for trading up to select Shamarko Thomas. But the Steelers should also receive a third round compensatory pick for Mike Wallace as well as a probable fourth or fifth round pick for Keenan Lewis. That's a lot of firepower for a quick rebuild if Kevin Colbert can draft the right players.

Despite using multiple early round picks on offensive linemen over the last few years the line has been the Achilles Heel of the Steelers offense since the glory days of Marvel Smith, Alan Faneca, and Jeff Hartings. The interior of the offensive line appears to be set with Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, and David DeCastro but the Steelers could still use at least one more lineman who can play both guard and center.

At tackle Marcus Gilbert will be a free agent in 2015. Now because of his age, starting experience, and relatively low cost due to no other team probably wanting to sign him the Steelers will probably resign him to keep as a backup option. Mike Adams on the other hand would greatly benefit from a move to the right side where he won't have to face the opposing teams top pass rusher. With one early first round pick in 2014 the Steelers could immensely help their cause, and if they take another tackle at some point in the later rounds who pans out they could simply allow Marcus Gilbert walk when the time comes for renewal.

So who's with me? Shall we chant it together? "Curse(the season) For Hurst', "Lay down for Lewan",or "Break for Jake"!

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