We're in the final home stretch before the 2011 NFL Draft finally commences. It's been a fun and busy last ten weeks or so since the Pittsburgh Steelers were denied a seventh Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl XLV. I can't thank all of you enough for your help in keeping the conversation lively and interesting this past few months. With no free agency to follow and an ongoing lockout that still has not sorted itself out, we've had to preoccupy our thoughts and time with obsessing over the draft. And though it's not my very favorite time of the year, this draft season has definitely been the most fun and interesting for me thanks to the help of the contributing authors and all of you in the fanposts.
So, with the first round set to begin at 8 pm eastern time from Radio City Music Hall in New York City, let's squeeze in one last post about which way Kevin Colbert, his staff, and the rest of the Steelers scouting department might be leaning in terms of their strategy this evening. Now, being that the Steelers pick at No. 31 -- the second to last pick of the round -- it goes without saying that their strategy will be in constant flux as they see what unfolds in front of them. But it's safe to say that Colbert & Co. have a handful of contingency plans in place while they see what materializes before their turn.
I've been an advocate of trading up since this whole process began. I just don't think there's a need for quantity in this draft, just two, three or four quality guys that can either be starters right away, or at minimum earn helmets throughout the '11 season and provide immediate depth. The window to win is wide open for the Steelers, and in my humble opinion, the focus should be on the immediate, even if it means sacrificing depth for the 2013-2014 seasons.
Anyway, after reading the profile on Cameron Heyward recently published here on BTSC, it reminded me to share this outstanding article about Heyward from Yahoo! earlier in the week. The article is quite interesting. It touches on Heyward's upbringing as Craig 'Ironhead' Heyward's son, the death of his father, his very intentional efforts at not fitting into the stereotypes most football players have as dumb jocks uninterested in school, the role his mother has played in his life, his father's successful struggle at overcoming an alcohol addiction only to die before the age of 40 due to a brain tumor.
One thing is clear, the younger Heyward has his head on his shoulders. He's going to live a productive, happy life as a result of the choices he makes and the options that will be at his disposal because of those choices. A model human being it seems like, and one that can play ball to boot. However, having said all those glowing things, I don't think he's a great pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 31. You obviously hope to add high character guys in the draft, but without knowing the young man, I do feel comfortable saying that I have reservations about just how interested he'll be in committing his life to football for the next decade. Again, that's just speculation on my part. But for a guy who has experienced what he has already in life, and has made it a point to make himself into a well-rounded individual, I suppose I just wonder if he'll have that desperate hunger to maniacally pursue greatness on the football field for the next decade.
Anyway, I'm going to stick with my guns and predict that the Steelers trade up in the first round to acquire a highly coveted offensive line prospect that is almost assuredly not going to be on the board when they pick near the end of the round. If that does in fact happen, which of the following guys do you most hope the Steelers sacrifice picks and draft positioning to acquire? Poll is below.
Finally, just a heads up that you can watch the entire broadcast of the 2011 NFL Draft live on NFL.com. I'll be back with an open thread for us to chat in here in a bit.