It sure seems like Christmas ads start earlier and earlier each season. Whoops, did I say Christmas ads? I meant to say coverage of the NFL Draft.
While ads featuring Jolly Saint Nick start popping up in early November, mock drafts, they start filling my computer and TV screens as early as December. Who am I kidding? They never stop. Don't believe me? Here's a link to a 2016 mock draft. (By the way, the Tennessee Titans and their fans should be pretty angry at WalterFootball.com. But we Steelers fans should be feeling pretty good--Pittsburgh isn't mocked to draft until 32nd. Get it? Get it?)
Perhaps it's fitting I associated the annual NFL Draft with Christmas, because I know you, yes, you will wake up on April 30, and either proclaim vocally or on the Internet that it feels like Christmas morning and that you can't wait to open your present--unless, of course, the box contains a cornerback, which, will no-doubt lead to you swearing and then smashing your laptop/phone. (The second part is what I picture you doing when you rant about Steelers picks after they happen, and you don't like them.)
"I can't believe the Steelers picked Jalen Collins!" is something you may scream. "I can't stand that guy!" Really? You know so much about Jalen Collins, a cornerback prospect from LSU that is projected by many to land somewhere in the mid-to-late first round (and dined with Mike Tomlin, recently), you'd get angry and pass judgment on him the second he's selected? You do realize, no matter who the Steelers select in the upcoming draft, it will be just that, a selection. It won't be them losing the Super Bowl in the final seconds. (That can't happen, anyway, since they'll be drafting 32nd next year.)
Once more on the Christmas theme. When it comes to this time of year and all the coverage of the draft, I feel like one of those jerks who shows up to a Christmas party with no present or even a nut roll. It's not that I don't follow the draft or research some of the prospects. It's just there's so much information out there, it's hard to process it all and really get a feel for who are legitimate candidates for Pittsburgh and who aren't.
I do know the Steelers finished near the bottom of the league in passing yards allowed a year ago. They also haven't been able to find a consistent pass-rush and have lacked the ability to take the football away at an acceptable rate since 2010. Therefore, if they pick a corner like Collins or an outside linebacker such as Bud Dupree (who, by the way, I didn't even know existed until about 10 minutes ago), considering both players have been consistently mocked in the first round, I'd be cool with that, given Pittsburgh's needs.
Speaking of needs. I also know Pittsburgh will probably be without Troy Polamalu next season. That means, if Landon Collins, a safety out of Alabama who has also been linked to the Steelers in some mock drafts, is the choice, I'd be OK with that, too. (Judging by the comments associated with the linked BTSC piece, you, yes, you will probably smash your laptap/phone if Collins is the pick.)
You're probably wondering why I can be so passive about who the Steelers might select in a few weeks. It's not that I'm passive. It's just that, when it comes to discussing the draft, I feel like one of those boyfriends/husbands out Christmas shopping with his girlfriend/wife. Sure, I like Christmas and presents, but anytime I offer an opinion on what to buy, I hear, "Seriously?"
I just know if I endorse a prospect like Jalen Collins, someone will tear him down so much, by the time the analysis is over, I'll probably just say, "Get whatever you want. I just want to go home and watch the game."
In a lot of ways, the lead-up to the 2015 draft feels like the build-up to last year's. Only, you have Trae Waynes of Michigan St. playing the part of Justin Gilbert (or with the MSU connection, maybe Darqueze Dennard); Marcus Peters of Washington starring as Bradley Roby; Kevin Johnson of Wake Forest in the role of Kyle Fuller (the fans seem to love him); Jalen Collins playing the role of a project player with great upside or downside (he only started 10 games); Landon Collins as Ha Ha Clinton-Dix; and a bunch of 2015 edge pass-rushers with great upside playing a bunch of 2014 edge pass-rushers with great upside.
Also, the position of corner is once again reprising the lead role in How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Seriously, what is it with Steelers fans and the position of corner as a draft downer? You'll probably say, "By 22, all the good corners will be gone." Yeah, because those outside linebackers and edge-pass rushers (you know, the ones everyone thinks are elite), they always last until the latter portion of the first round.
In all seriousness, do you really think the Steelers will draft Owamagbe Odighizuawa from UCLA? (It took me an hour to spell that name, and you still can't spell Roethlisburger.)
Again, I could offer a pick (why not Jalen Collins?), but I feel like you'll want to return it first thing in the morning. Therefore, get whatever you want. I just want to go home and watch the game.