If various members of the Pittsburgh Steelers were stocks or funds, here's what they might be. Granted, I'm fairly young and my 'portfolio' is about as non-existant as our pass-protection and special teams prowess last year, but bare with me, and as always, jump in with your own suggestions:
Ben Roethlisberger: Google - GOOG: Nasdaq
Tech stocks have been known to be a touch more volatile on average than other sectors, but Google's stock price has been quite the roller-coaster ride. Much like Ben Roethlisberger, Google's perceived value escalated enormously on the day of its initial public offering (IPO). Big Ben's stock spiked when he was forced into action early on in the 2004 season and proceeded to lead his team to a remarkable 15-1 season. Both Google and Big Ben however, suffered substantial setbacks. After reaching an eye-popping $747 per share late last year, Google plummetted precipitously, all the way down to the mid $400s. Ben too suffered a substantial setback in the form of his 2006 season, when his motorcycle accident and his alarming interception totals had some wondering if he was worth investing in long-term. Both have bounced back in a big way, with Google posting earnings 30% higher than expected just the other day, sending its stock back up nearly 20% over $530 per share. And Roethlisberger, of course, had a huge 2007 season, securing his long-term contract, and convincing Steelers fans far and wide that he would take us back to the Super Bowl multiple more times before his career was over. But, for all the upside they both provide, both Google and Big Ben carry with them risk. Roeth plays with a wreckless abandon that could catch up to him injury-wise in his career, and he's still not yet ridded his tendency to force the ball into tight spaces when nothing's there. As for Google? I see no future that Google is not a part of, but I'd imagine people said the same thing about Netscape, Excite, and other tech companies back in the 1990s.
Lawrence Timmons: Oppenheimer Developing Markets Fund - A Shares - ODMAX
Strong LB play has always been a necessity in the NFL, but in recent years, organizations have in many instances bypassed proven collegiate LBs who may be less athletic in favor of rawer, more physically gifted LBs like Lawrence Timmons, who was drafted by the Steelers last year in the top 15 of the 1st round despite being only 20 years old and having just one year of starting experience at Florida State. The upside was there though, and the Steelers' brass were confident investing in him.
In a somewhat similar fashion, emerging market funds have become attractive to investors and fund managers this decade. As technology allows capitalists to tap into the largely untouched or underutilized markets of Vietnam, South American countries, and of course, China and India, investors have been eager to place their bets on strong returns from such places. Timmons, like ODMAX, is in the doghouse a bit with fans and investors, as many regarded his rookie season as disappointing, and ODMAX recently posted a negative -6.5 % return this past 6 months. But over the long haul, it's been a remarkably profitable bet, pulling in average annual increases of 25.58% over three years, and 36.93% over five years. Timmons too provides similar risk-reward. He's struggled with injuries for much of his short career, but if he can stay on the field, the returns he may provide Dick LeBeau's defense could be exorbitant.
Ricardo Colclough: Universal Express, INC. USXP: OTC.
This dumpy, over-the-counter penny stock is priced at 1/100th of a penny per share, and is equally worthless and disappointing as Colclough's contributions were for us in year's past. The other significant parallel is that penny-stock day traders greedily spend way too much of their time and money on this play, as evidenced by its average volume of 25+ milion shares per day. Because he was a 2nd rounder and still young, the Browns were interested in Colclough, despite his miserable performance to date.
Ike Taylor: Intel - INTC: Nasdaq.
Taylor, like Intel, has established itself as a trustworthy option. His outstanding play in 2005 earned him a big paycheck and extension in '06. After a disappointing 2006, he bounced back nicely in '07, even stirring up disucssions if he was Pro-Bowl worthy this past year. He was not ultimately, and he likely will never be unless he's able to improve his interception totals. But even if he is, the bigger problem is his competition - i.e. the bigger name shutdown corners like Champ Bailey who get much of the fan vote simply from his name. Intel has a similar problem with its competition, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). The two stocks generally play off each other - when one rises slightly, the other dips slightly, and vice versa. The problem for both companies is that they both make great products that are found in lots of our computing machines. It's very, very difficult for either to break free from each other and secure a larger market share. For that reason, it has a ceiling as an investment, despite being very dependable and a safe, solid addition to a portfolio. In many ways, Ike Taylor is quite similar for a competitive defense. Solid, reliable, even great at times, but with a proven ceiling on upper echelon performance.
I'll leave it at that for now. If anybody gets a small chuckle or found this even mildly entertaining as we count the hours down to the draft, I'll do more, as I found it quite fun.