40 years after the greatest draft in NFL history comes...........the greatest draft in NFL history.
Now before you claim it's sacrilege, hear me out. I'm not saying there were be 4 HOFers selected by the Steelers this year. Too many things have changed in the NFL for alot of guys no matter how great they are during their career to be inducted. I could go off on the guys like Kevin Greene, Bettis not being in yet, but I'm pretty sure they'll get in eventually. What I'm saying is in today's NFL, there should be no question Greene, Bettis, and even Ward belong in the HOF, but yet there are enough detractors to at least defer their induction if not prevent it. That's sacrilege! And don't get me started on Greenwood.
What I am saying is this: The 2014 Steelers draft contributed the most to their seventh and eighth Super Bowl Trophies.
1st round - Ryan Shazier - ILB - I admit I bought into the predraft info. that this guy was too small, but after I looked for reasons to justify the pick. I didn't have to look far. Farrior admits to having played at under 220lbs. Shazier has that kind of potential and with more speed than Farrior could have hoped for. Shazier was a tackling machine for a top big10 school and didn't nearly have the help around him that Mosley did at Alabama. This pick should demonstrate Lebeau's ability to match his defense to evolving offenses around the NFL. Prediction: spot starter on mostly passing downs in 2014. 3 down starter 2015 - 2024. Team leader in tackles and/or forced fumbles in 8 of his 10 years with the team.
2nd round Stephon Tuitt - DE/DL - If he wants it and he certainly is saying the right things, Tuitt will be as good against the run as Aaron Smith and threaten JJ Watt annually with the most impact on the passing game from a 3-4 DE position. He may not bat down as many passes a year, but half of that will be notable. This guy looks 10 feet tall. and yes, he'll move inside when we go to the nickel. Prediction: starter opening day 2014. will suffer some growing pains but by the end of the season it will be clear he is the man. 12 year starter for Steelers and some will argue HOF induction, but will fall just short in vote count for a few years because only 51 career sacks, but makes it in his 5th year of eligibility.
3rd round - Dri Archer - ow/kr - I wasn't too keen on this at first - like most I wanted a CB. After watching the highlights- and yes I know they're just highlights - I see a Devin Hester-like threat. Yes, I would spend a 3rd round comp. pick on this guy in return for the TD's and field position battle we win nearly every game. Let's face it ST's and field position has cost us plenty of games in recent years. Add in his offensive weapon status when he takes a 3rd down swing pass or draw to the house and multiple first downs and this guy contributes as much as any 3rd or 4th round CB would have. Prediction: 7 return TD's in his 4 year Steeler career. 18 in his NFL career. Sorry, some other team prices him out of range in 2018. No HOF consideration, but will hold career playoff record for return TD's and is the 3rd special team player inducted into the Special Team HOF in the inaugural class in 2027.
4th round - Martavius Bryant - wr- Big - check. Fast - check. Talent - check. 2nd round talent in the fourth round - check. As soon as he figures out he has to go get the ball instead of relying on his speed, he'll be a great downfield threat. Prediction: Spot starter due to injury in 2014. In 2015 takes over 2nd receiver spot. Misses 3 games due to injury, but makes big impact opposite AB with 3 TD's against the Ravens in primetime game. 2016 - Becomes hero of 7th Lombardi with his 4 catch 176 yard performance in SB. Has a few moments of immaturity, suspended twice in his career, but it also allows the Steelers to keep him through his second contract. Only catches more than 60 balls once in his 7 years with team, but makes the most of it, contributing multiple TD games a whopping 18 times. Not bad for a second wideout.
5th round - Shaq Richardson - CB - This is the only guy we drafted that I knew nothing about. Luckily Lake knew about him and the Steelers pull a Bill Nunn a week after his passing. And I hate to call him Shaq, it invokes too much early 90's underachieveness(is that a word) - but fans enjoy chanting it for years. Shaq, has enough length and talent to achieve stardom. He's agressive, fast, and smart. Very good at baiting young inexperienced QB's, but prone to biting on pump fakes and occasionally being out of position because of this. Prediction: ST contributor in 2014. Flashes enough playmaking ability to earn playing time in 2015. Emerges as a star. Has occasional lapses in coverage but more than makes up for it with splash plays. A poor man's Rod (dare I say it....Yes) Woodson. After 7 years as starting CB for Steelers and 4 PB's - moves to safety and leads young secondary to 9th Lombardi. Retiring as a 3 time SB champ and debateable HOFer.
5th round - Wesley Johnson - OL - Yeah I know versatile is the best way to describe this guy. If he clears waivers he should be ps material for a year and swing lineman/ backup once he builds his strength up. Prediction - PS in 2014. Roster 2015 as backup OL only dresses 2x. 2016 Starts 2 games at guard, 1 at tackle during regular season playing beyond talent level in AFC championship game, helping Steelers to SB. Signs w/ Dolphins after 2016 because their entire OL is suspended/cut by the team for essentially laying down and allowing Tannehill to be sacked 13 times in the regular season finale in an effort to get the first pick in the 2017 draft. The decision backfires as QB and savior Rumple Stiltskin is injured (broken spine) in the 2017 opener when Johnson is beaten to the outside by 10' tall 700lb DE Tuitt. It's the first and last time the NFL schedules the opening game between the Best and the Worst teams from the previous year.
6th round - Jordan Zumwalt - LB - How was this guy still available? Solid all around versatile backer with a motor that never quits. Prediction: Special special team demon and spot starter for 11 year steeler career. An all- unsung heroes team member, but recognizable in Pittsburgh for decades as he tops jersey sales for retired Steelers for 13 years after his career. Notable outside of PA as the man who ended Tom Brady's career after knocking him unconscious with an up the middle sack/ strip in 2015 and credited with the beginning of the downfall of the Emperor Belicheck. 1st inductee to the Special Team HOF in its second year. Come on, he's Luke Skywalker.
6th round - Daniel McCullers - NT - May be the biggest man I've ever seen. I loved Hampton and always envisioned our NT as short and stout. McCullers changed my mind. Prediction - Longtime runstopper for Steelers helping them finish 1st against the run 6 of 9 years with the team. First player to include entire first, middle, and last name on jersey.
7th round - Rob Blanchflower - TE - poor man's Heath. Should win last TE spot. Able to contribute in passing and blocking game. Should never have been available in the seventh. Prediction: Contributes early and often making critical plays at critical times during his 12 year career. Aptly takes over #1 TE duties when Miller retires. Is widely considered the last of the throwback tight ends in the new 4 TE sets of the NFL. Hired as asst. off. coach in 2027.promoted to Off. Coord. 2 years later. Refuses to accept Head coach position with Jaguars in 2032 and is falsely credited with the quote that marks the first in the series of my autobiographical E-movies when he tells the Jaguars through the media, "F**K Off, U Jag-Offs, I'm Steelliving!"
FA - Josh Mauro -DE - Reminds me of Aaron Smith. enough said.