I have been a life long STEELER Fan and as I watched the STEELERS draft I listened to fellow FANS as they rattled off the good, the bad and the ugly of MIKE TOMLIN'S previous drafts. I looked over to a friend and said, "YOU KNOW, COWHER did not do such a good job in his drafts either". That is when the debate started over who or what regime was better at drafting.
To better understand and compare the two coaches and their drafts we will only look at the first 7 years from each coach since Tomlin has only been a Head Coach since 2008.
Below you will see the drafts classes (BOLD = Pick that retained value) Others are misses
Lets look at the COWHER ERA or the "BLITZBURGH ERA" as I refer to it first.
92 Draft- 1. Leon Searcy, 2. Levon Kirkland 3. Joel Steed 4. Charles Daventport 5. Allan Haller 7 Russ Campbell 7. Scottie Graham
94 Draft- 1. Charles Johnson 2. Brenston Buckner 3. Jason Gildon 3. Bam Morris 4. Ta'ase Famui 5. Myron Bell 5. Gary Brown 6. Jim Miller 6. Eric Ravotti 7. Brice Abrams
95 Draft- 1. Mark Breuner 2. Kordell Stewart 3. Brendan Stai 4. Oliver Gibson 4. Donte Jones 5. Lee Flowers 5. Lance Brown 6. Barron Miles 7. Henry Bailey 7. Cole Ford
Now the TOMLIN ERA or the "SIXBURGH ERA" as I refer to it:
09 Draft - 1. Evander Hood 3. Craig Urbik 3. Mike Wallace 3. Keenan Lewis 5. Joe Burnett 5. Frank Summers 6. Ra'Shon Harris 7. A.Q. Shipley 7. David Johnson
10 Draft- 1. Maurkice Pouncey 2. Jason Worilds 3. Emmanuel Sanders 4. Thadeus Gibson 5. Chris Scott 5. Crezdon Butler 5. Stevenson Sylvester 6. Johnathan Dwyer 6. Antonio Brown 7. Doug Worthington
11 Draft- 1. Cameron Heyward 2. Marcus Gilbert 3. Curtis Brown 4. Cortez Allen 5. Chris Carter 6. Keith Williams 7. Barron Batch
12 Draft- 1. David DeCastro 2. Mike Adams 3. Sean Spence 4. Alameda Ta'amu 5. Chris Rainey 7. Toney Clemmons 7. David Paulson 7. Terrance Frederick 7. Kelvin Beachum
13 Draft- 1. Jarvis Jones 2. le'Veon Bell 3. Markus Wheaton 4. Shamarko Thomas 4. Landry Jones 5. Terry Hawthorne 6. Justin Brown 6. Vince Williams 7. Nick WIlliams
Comparing the first 7 years of each coaches drafts they are very similar. Cowher would select, develop and produce 7 pro bowlers (8 if you count Mike Vrabel who would eventually be let go as a free agent to the Patriots)
Cowher's best draft class among the first 7 years would be 1994.
Mike Tomlin in his first 7 years would select and develop and product 5 pro bowlers but would also let go of future starters Craig Urbik (BILLS) and Keenan Lewis (SAINTS). Tomlin's best draft prior to the 2014 draft class would be a tie between 2010 and 2013. The 2010 draft class would produce All Pro's Maurkice Pouncey & Antonio Brown and eventual starters Emmanuel Sanders & Jason Worilds whom both had career years in 2013. The 2013 Draft class which is still yet to be determined may be his best yet but 2014 will be a major indicator of that with rising starts such as Le'Veon Bell, Jarvis Jones, Markus Wheaton and Shamarko Thomas.
Both coaches also had major failures in their drafts. Cowher's 96 & 97 draft classes would fail to produce any stars , pro bowlers and only 3 starters. Even more glaring was the fact we missed in both draft classes with our first and second round picks by selecting Jamain Stephens (RD1), Steve Conley (RD3) in 1996 and then Chad Scott and Will Blackwell in 1997. In 96 we missed or passed on players like Amani Toomer (WR-Giants), Tony Brackens (DT- Ravens), MIke Alstott (RB-Tampa Bay) and Lawyer Milloy (S- New England). In 1997 we passed on Trevor Pryce (DT- DENVER), Tiki and Ronde Barber (RB and CB NEW YORK GIANTS and TAMPA BAY BUCCS), Corey Dillon (RB- CINCY), Sam Madison (S- MIAMI), Darren Sharper (DB- MINN) and Jason Taylor (DE- MIAMI).
Mike Tomlin's best player on the board approach in 2008 would rear it's head later on as one of the worse Steeler drafts with none of the drafted players no longer on the team. Opting to select Rashard Mendenhall (RD1) passing on players like Chis Johnson (RB -Titans), Mike Jenkins (CB- PANTHERS), Duane Brown (OT- TEXANS) Brandon Flowers (CB- CHIEFS), Matt Forte (RB- BEARS) and De'Sean Jackson (WR - REDSKINS). Then there was Limas Sweed (RD2) and again missed on players like Ray Rice (RB- RAVENS), Jamaal Charles (RB - CHIEFS), Martellus Bennett (TE- DAL), Earl Bennett (WR- CHI) and Pat Sims (DT- CIN).
One thing to remember amongst all of this is that there were 2 GM's and two different Head Coaches with two different styles. Based on all of the data presented, I ask you STEELER NATION, who has had the better draft classes over their first 7 years? The decision is in your hands. Lets hear what you have to say and lets put this bad boy to bed!
STEELERS 4 LIFE