As the 2014 draft comes to a close, the sports world is in a frenzy.
"Manziel to the browns?"
"Clowney beside JJ Watt?"
"Why should I care if Manziel is dropping?"
"Why didn't we get a top corner?"
"Who lets their kid have the name Ha Ha Clinton Dix?"
Loads of bantering and debate flows through this board and many others, as it should, especially during a big event such as this. However the one point that has been biting me personally in the back of my head is a feeling of both happiness and sorrow. I personally adored our draft this year. I really feel like the last pieces of the puzzle were finally filled the last few days. What was once a team that had more holes than Swiss cheese, now has current and possible future stars all around. This draft almost seemed like a continuation of last years draft. The last two years have been about filling holes left behind by old legends.
As I look at the names of our players now and imagine where their positions will be however, I get a little sad. I think to my self, "you could almost put these guys attributes and playstyles next to the old legends and it might be a near mirror image".
I see the bus in Leveon Bell(with perhaps better catching skills).
Ryan Clark is Mike Mitchel.
And now with this draft, that outlook on the team becomes less and less vague. Ryan Shazier(James Farrior),Daniel McCullers(Casey Hampton),and Stephon Tuitt (Aaron Smith). But in appropriate fashion, two guys that are still around and still elite players on the team are also players that you could instantly point out as part of the "old guard" and are the two guys that most well defined the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 2000s. Ben and Troy. New faces come and old faces go but these two guys have been as ever present with the Steelers as the logo that sits on their helmets.
We like to think that Troy will always be flying over offenses and blowing our minds and Ben will always be there with defenders hanging on his back, but the draft has showed us that even these guys will eventually be gone. Players like Shamarko Thomas are evidence to that. While the draft may be bring sadness as it makes the feeling of these guys leaving much more realized, we should all be proud that the Steelers are one of the few organizations that sticks to their roots. So many other teams feel they need to come with all these sweet and complicated schemes or that they need to be a soft passing team that puts up great stats. A team that was originally hard and physical now feels it just needs to get a quarterback and a few receivers to win the super bowl. It's things like this that made me very happy we didn't use our first and second round picks on receivers.
Keeping your team and players in the same consistency that the team is known for not only keeps the team competing, but it also shows respect to those who came before and made wearing the black and gold such an important honor in the first place.
As we go on to eventually cheer for these new kids, we are also cheering for the old guys too. The steelers drafting just makes that much more realized.