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John Clayton's Top 5 Draft Teams

I usually like most of what hall of fame journalist John Clayton has to say and write. Unlike Chris Mortensen, who can be good at times, but tends to be more of a rumor mongurer, Clayton usually just lets the numbers and facts do the talking for him. His recent column listed the Steelers at the 4th best drafting franchise in the NFL, behind the Patriots, Colts, and Chargers, and one spot ahead of the Ravens. Clayton says the 5th spot was debatable, citing the solid job GB and JAX have done in recent years.

Here's what Clayton had to say about the Steelers:

Stability has been the strength of the Steelers. Under former coach Bill Cowher, Pittsburgh kept stockpiling linebackers and letting them sit a year or two to learn the 3-4 scheme. Before long, those linebackers became stars. Top personnel man Kevin Colbert is one of the best in the business at filling needs though the draft. The Steelers' offense line has been built mostly on draft choices. The secondary is primarily a byproduct of the draft. The team might sign a veteran free agent, if needed, but the mission is to build the team through the draft and identify the best young players for contract extensions.

The system won't change under current coach Mike Tomlin. Pittsburgh has 31 draft choices on its roster, including 23 from the top four rounds. Because the Steelers are usually thinking ahead, they don't get caught in situations in which they need more than four new starters in any given offseason. The Steelers know how to stockpile talent through the draft and, with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, Pittsburgh will be an annual Super Bowl contender.

This guy knows talent when he sees it.

31 guys on our roster who were draft selections. That's impressive stuff. This is a extremely vital draft for this organization. A homerun this April by Colbert and Co. puts us in great shape in 2010 and 2011 in particular.

We're getting closer! We may have dissenting opinions on how to use our picks this year, but one thing we should be able to agree on, is that when you take the long view of what our front office has done in the salary cap era via the draft, there's plenty of reason to be optimistic and confident in the decisions that will be made in the warroom by Colbert, Rooney, Tomlin and his staff.