When Pittsburgh's turn came to make the 15th selection of the 2007 NFL Draft, they didn't waste any time in selecting Florida State linebacker Lawrence Timmons. The strongside linebacker started all 12 games of his senior season, leading the team in passes deflected, tackles for loss, and sacks.
Timmons isn't a huge linebacker for the 3-4 scheme, which might be a hint that new head coach Mike Tomlin intends eventually to convert the Steelers to a 4-3 system.
AOL Sportsblog contributor J.J. Cooper thinks the Steelers stretched for Timmons at #15, and his colleague Ryan Wilson agrees.
I'm actually a big Ryan Wilson fan, but one storyline that I think gets over-emphasized each year is the notion of "stretch" picks. I always find it an odd reaction during or just following the draft because if there's one thing that's abundantly clear each year, it's that it's near-impossible to predict who will take which player, and when. Almost no one saw Quinn falling to #22. Nobody predicted Ted Ginn going at #9. We saw Marshawn Lynch go at #11 and Brandon Merriweather at #24.
The whole idea that you're "stretching" for a player - that he'll be there later on - seems nonsensical when you consider how utterly unpredictable the whole thing is. NFL teams apparently agree, which is why we see teams pick the guys they want, rather than worry about what the projection artists are saying.
As for whether Timmons will pan out or not, we're not in any position to thumbs up or down him at this point, but I'll second that Kevin Colbert deserves every benefit of the doubt in these matters. The Steelers have drafted exceptionally well under his direction, and everything we're hearing is that the front office and coaching staff loves the kid.
Good enough for me.
Welcome to the Steeler family, Lawrence Timmons.