Don't Be So Quick To Throw Kevin Colbert To The Gallows

Due to some recent draft failures there is a lot of people calling for GM Kevin Colbert's head. With the success Colbert has had in the past, it isn't fair to judge him on a few bad drafts. The NFL Draft is a gamble in the biggest way and no one is going to bat a thousand when doing the job. Before you tighten the noose around Colbert's neck maybe you should check out the 3 lists that follow.

List 1

James (J.T.) Thomas

Ken Phares

Roger Bernhardt

Gail Clark

David Reavis

Larry Clark

Ron Bell

Glen Scolnik

Nate Dorsey

Loren Toews

Bill Janssen

Bracy Bonham

Don Wunderly

Bob White

Willie Lee

Rick Ferguson

Roger Cowan

Charles Cross

Glen Nardi

Mike Shannon

List 2

Dave Brown

Bob Barber

Walter White

Harold Evans

Brent Sexton

Marvin Crenshaw

Wayne Mattingly

Tim Kropp

Al Humphrey

Eugene Clark

Bruce Reimer

Kirk Heyer

Archie Gray

Randy Little

Greg Murphy

Robert Gaddis

Mike Collier

Jim Thatcher

Marty Smith

Miller Bassler

Stan Hegener

List 3

Benny Cunningham

Ray Pinney

Mike Kruczek

James Files

Ron Coder

Ernest Pough

Wonder Monds

Theo Bell

Rodney Norton

Gary Dunn

Jack Deloplaine

Barry Burton

Ed McAleney

Wentford Gaines

Gary Campbell

Roland Fuchs

Bill Carroll

Larry Kain

Wayne Fields

Mel Davis

Randy Butts

Kelvin Kirk

Now you are probably wondering who are these people. Everyone is familiar with the Pittsburgh Steelers 1974 NFL Draft Class as it is commonly thought of as the greatest draft of all time producing 4 Hall of Fame players. The lists above are a little less known as they are the 1973 Draft (List 1), the 1975 Draft (List 2), and the 1976 Draft (List 3), respectively.

There are 63 players that were drafted in the 3 years above and out of them all, they produced 71 seasons played for the Steelers (1.13 years per draftee). Of those 71 seasons, 52 of them belong to just 5 players leaving a mediocre 19 seasons among the other 58 players(0.33 years per draftee). Only 6 draftees played 5 years or more for the Steelers (That's 9.5%). Kevin Colbert might have some bad years under his belt, but I don't think even his worst 3 years equal this calamity.

The three drafts above produced as many Hollywood actors as Pro Bowl seasons for the Steelers at one each. One has to ask themselves how do you get 4 HOFers from 1 year's draft and only one Pro Bowler from three other years. The answer is easy, it is called the NFL Draft and with that comes more failures than successes. It is true that recent drafts have been slightly disappointing, but you could be a Browns fan where everything is disappointing.

The funny thing about these three draft classes is that even a Steeler & Football History Buff like myself only recognizes about 15 to 20 names. Out of the names I do know, only about 6 or 7 hold any significance to me, and one of those is just a man I have been fortunate enough to get to know personally and consider a friend.

So in closing if the men behind the greatest draft of all time can also be responsible for 3 disasters like the 3 years above, then maybe Kevin Colbert deserves a little slack for a few off-years. Colbert's success has outweighed his failures and there are many teams in the league that would grab him in a heartbeat if the Steelers were to let him go. Remember the Steeler Way is built on stability, not hanging someone out to dry after a few bad decisions. Maybe Colbert has just been building up to his version of the '74 Draft and this could be the year that he hits it out of the park (or not). Hindsight is 20/20 and no matter what we may think, none of us could do better and there could be a lot worse.

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