George Young's Planet Theory applied to the Steelers on the verge of the 2014 NFL Draft

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Draft the big guys who excel in the trenches. That was the philosophy of legendary NFL personnel man George Young. It's been applied among the Steelers' lines often and looks to factor into their plans again.

Steelers Digest editor Bob Labriola brings up a classic George Young quip recently on the team's web site.

The Planet Theory: Since there are only so many people on the planet with the size and quickness to succeed on the offensive and defensive lines in the NFL, you have to take those players early in the draft. The league followed that theory last season, writes Labriola, in that 18 of the 32 picks in the first round played in the trenches, including the first seven picks.

The Steelers have dipped into the Planet Theory plenty of times in the last few years, Defensive end Ziggy Hood in 2009, center Maurkice Pouncey in 2010, DE Cameron Heyward in 2011 and right guard David DeCastro in 2012.

A lineman isn't necessarily the team's expected route as far as positions go when the 2014 NFL Draft's first round begins Thursday, but it very well could be, simply given the need for talent at both positions who match the rareness Young spoke of many years ago. That doesn't mean it won't happen, though.

2014 SBN Bloggers Mock Draft

We've written at great length about the value Pitt's Aaron Donald would have, even if he's not a prototypical Steelers defensive lineman. Like him, fans should have confidence Steelers defensive coordinator could find a way to get Jadeveon Clowney on the field, but there's little chance either player makes it to 15.

Players like Notre Dame's Stephon Tuitt and Minnesota's Ra'Shede Hageman, though, are both attainable in the first round and both possess high-level skills that, with some coaching, could turn into excellent players.

The Planet Theory doesn't speak as much to individual picks as much as it does to "taking the dudes in the trenches early." Perhaps the Steelers should keep with that tradition and look to replenish some depth lost among those positions.

Talent is talent, and both Hageman and Tuitt have that.

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