With the 2015 NFL Draft less than a week away, my guess is as good as anyone's as to who the Steelers will take with the 22nd selection.
I do know whoever Pittsburgh does select will have at least one very bright red flag to be concerned about. And even if he doesn't have a red flag, he'll probably be selected because so many other players still available will have plenty. That's the thing about a team picking so low in the first round; there are certainly no guarantees and freedom from red flags regardless of where a player is projected to be drafted (Jameis Winston, anyone?), but it's a much greater concern as the first round inches closer to the second.
Reading the profiles of each possible Steelers selection, you're initially happy and excited, but by the time you get to the bottom, you feel about as uneasy as you would right before taking the doctor prescribed medication you always see advertised on TV--you know, the ones that spout off a giant list of possible, dangerous side-effects.
The Steelers need to upgrade the secondary after the retirement of Ike Taylor and the possible poor evaluation of Cortez Allen? Why not draft Marcus Peters, a highly-talented cornerback formerly of Washington. I say formerly, because he was dismissed last November for, among other reasons, clashing with his coaches. For a player as accomplished and talented as Peters to be dismissed by his college team is a pretty big red flag. But, he does appear to have a pro-level skill-set and could just be the future shut-down corner the Steelers have been looking for.
However, drafting Peters could cause the following:
-- yelling, screaming, swearing or punching (by Peters, his coaches or the fans);
-- A desire to write an article about the Steeler Way;
-- A counter article dispelling the "Steeler Way" as a myth (with the title obviously in quotation marks) and citing examples such as Mike Adams, Santonio Holmes and/or LeGarrette Blount;
-- A sudden uptick in traffic for Deadspin.com and TMZ.com originating from computers in Pittsburgh in-particular or Steeler Nation in general, following a mean Tweet posted by Peters directed at an innocent Steelers fan;
-- Mike Tomlin banning all players from social media;
Maybe the Steelers will go after an offensive lineman. This seems like a bit of a stretch, considering the many needs on the defensive side of the ball. But one never knows when the next Alan Faneca or Larry Brown could come into the fold. Therefore, it could be hard to pass on La'el Collins (guard, LSU) or D.J. Humphries (tackle, Florida) if either were available at 22.
However, since the Steelers have already drafted four offensive linemen in the first or second round over the past few years, selecting one in the first round this Thursday could cause the following:
-- Rants about Mike Adams being a wasted second round pick;
-- Me receiving emails questioning Kevin Colbert's/Mike Tomlin's competency and wondering if I think he/they should be fired;
-- A variation of the "I hope Marcus Gilbert doesn't injure him" joke being used for the 1,000,000th time;
-- Nausea, vomiting or an upset stomach upon recalling not only the selection of Adams in 2012 but the new contract given to Gilbert last August;
-- Trashy Twitter and/or blog comments from non-Steelers fans, such as, "Thanks for picking yet another lineman, Pittsburg (poor spelling included), and allowing us to select Kevin Johnson.";
Maybe even as much as cornerback, an invigorated pass-rush is certainly a top need for the Steelers and something that must be improved in-order for the defense to get back to its dominant days of the recent past. With that in mind, in addition to Bud Dupree out of Kentucky and Eli Harold out of Virginia, Randy Gregory, an edge-pass rusher from Nebraska, could be a possibility.
However, since there are questions in abundance, drafting Gregory could cause the following symptoms:
-- A comparison of a recently drafted linebacker/small college defensive end to Alonzo Jackson for the 3,000,000th time;
-- Stomach ulcers and intestinal bleeding (your symptoms) and dry-mouth (his symptoms) after a report surfaces that Gregory, who has tested positive for marijuana once already, has been suspended for the first month of the regular season after two more positive tests;
-- Rants on why "Godell" hates the Steelers so much. "First Bell and now our first round pick? Why does GODELL force our players to smoke pot and then suspend them!";
-- More frequent trips to the kitchen to grab things to eat due to boredom during an opponent's prolonged scoring drive in the face of an impotent pass-rush (your symptoms) or due to just being hungry thanks to a suspension because of, well....(his symptoms);
-- Yet another unwanted debate about the pros and cons of marijuana use taking up bandwidth and/or airtime in Pittsburgh in-particular or Steeler Nation in-general;
-- A variation of the "James Harrison was just fined" joke being uttered for the 4,000,000th time;
So, you see, given the crap-shoot nature of the draft, a selection as low as 22 could prove to be fruitful, but it could also cause you to search the Internet in the coming days and years, wondering why you'e feeling so sick.