Okay, I do not believe one fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers in America was excited when the words Terrell Edmunds spit from their TV sets on draft night. This pick was the epitome of un-sexy. It was Roseanne Barr. The excitement that had Steelers Nation pumped up from seeing Ryan Shazier bravely walk across the stage was quashed by a bucket of cold water in hearing the name of our first round pick.
Draft day is always so exciting. It’s Christmas, and you want that present so badly that you want to rip the package open. Maybe you were tingly all day, imagining a nice new quarterback of the future. Maybe it would be Lamar Jackson or Mason Rudolph -- someone who will save the team when Big Ben’s threats of retiring finally become reality, or one of his injuries is career ending.
Or, maybe you were getting goosebumps thinking Pittsburgh might have a shiny new running back who will make everyone forget how Le’Veon Bell might not show up to camp, or might play hard ball and miss the first four games of the season, before we ultimately lose him next year as he rides out of town in a stuffed Brink’s truck. Sony Michel, Nick Chubb, Derrius Guice – a new stud in town, one tethered to the team for years in a rookie contract.
Instead, fans get a safety. Fine, a safety. It’s a need, right? Okay, so which of the top rated safeties according to the “mocksters” did we get? Well, none of them, of course.
So, all Steelers fans felt this sinking feeling. Some probably got angry, some probably just deflated emotionally, and others were certainly just perplexed. I can’t believe any yelled, “Hooray!”
Well, take heart in the case of NT Casey Hampton. I recall the same feeling when I heard that name come from the commissioner’s mouth in the 2001 draft as he went No. 1 at pick 19 to the Steelers.
He wasn’t mentioned by anyone to go to the Steelers. He was in no “expert” first round mocks. The Steelers were in great need of a nose tackle since there had been a huge void there when Joel Steed left. So, I knew all the defensive tackles who were out there. Why? Because I read all the mock drafts and read all the draft information that I could, knowing that my beloved Steelers needed a DT/NT. I saw the rankings.
Gerrard Warren, Richard Seymour, Damione Lewis, Marcus Stroud, Ryan Pickett, Kris Jenkins. These were first rounders. These were the guys to draft. Everyone said so.
Casey Hampton wasn’t supposed to go number 19! This was crazy! My God, what did my team do?
Casey Hampton turned out to be the heart of one of the Steelers’ greatest defenses, an immovable fire hydrant. He was the key cog to a near impenetrable run defense. The Patriot pick, Richard Seymour, probably turned out a bit sexier than Hampton, since he had more athleticism and pass rushing was in his arsenal much more than run-stuffer Hampton. However, what Hampton offered was exactly what the Steelers needed and wanted.
So, this is our hope. Trust in the scouting department of the Steelers that they very well know better than mock geeks and so-called experts in what has become an incredible cottage industry.
You really have no choice at this point.