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The Draft We Will Look Back On: The AskQuestionsLater Take

Discussion in 'The Bill Nunn Draft Room' started by AskQuestionsLater, May 2, 2017.

  1. AskQuestionsLater

    AskQuestionsLater Writing Team

    Apr 21, 2016
    Ahh.. another NFL Draft has come to pass. After many months of scouting and analysis, teams have now acquired the players they believe can either bring them back to relevancy, challenge for the division or make the Super Bowl run. For the Steelers, the last part is definitely the most pressing. After a defensive rebuild that started not too long ago, Pittsburgh is now poised and more than likely faded to do battle against the New England Patriots yet again.

    Last years AFC Championship game saw the top three glaring weaknesses that proved to be Pittsburgh's downfall. They are as follows:

    1.) Lack of pressures.

    2.) Lack of an endzone threat.

    3.) Lack of a sticky man corner.

    These needs in addition to depth building were at the forefront of Mike Tomlins and Kevin Colberts strategy. Tyson Alanlu, Cody Sensabaugh and Justin Hunter were solid depth acquisitions. However, the draft is where the main weaknesses could be attacked and defeated.

    To that end, I, AskQuestionsLater, proudly share with you my thoughts on the draft as a whole and not from the sum of the picks.

    To begin, let us look at the Pittsburgh Steelers defense before the draft. Outside of edge rusher improvement, a cornerback was the biggest priority. However, this cornerback could not just be a single role player. Such a player would have to preform a multi-arrary of roles to maximize Keith Butler's Cover 2 Nickel. In addition however, such a player would have to be able to deploy themselves to be able to mask the "deep hole" deficiencies of the Cover 2 as Dick LeBeau did with Troy in his Cover 3 years ago. This form of versatility is not something new to us. Sean Davis himself played cornerback for his final season for the Terrapins. Even if that was injury based for his switch, it did showcase his useful traits. So, after the pass rushing presence on defense was addressed, a mulit role player who could play man coverage was needed.

    The biggest need was a pass rusher without question. Generating heat on a quarterback can sometimes mean the difference between victory or defeat. As I am sure we all know the hard way from the AFC Championship Game, anyone not named Javon Hargrave did not do much of anything to Tom Brady. Furthermore, the Jarvis Jones experiment has ended in disappointment. Even with an uprising Bud Dupree and a mythical age defying legend in James Harrison, the path was clear. However, as with Sean Davis before him, Bud Dupree was asked to play in quite a bit of spots for Kentucky during his Sophomore and Juinor Season. More importantly though, he was asked to do more of the normal for 3-4 OLBs. In addition, dpeth was still a need. A player who not only has the uses of being a quality pass rusher but also has a multi arrary of skills was needed; depth no less.

    This time, I will be discussing the offense, starting with the inability to obtain red zone production. In the first eight weeks in the regular season, Pittsburgh was in the top ten with a 66.67% coversion rate. In the second half of the season, Pittsburgh dropped to 14th; both according to teamrankings.com. Even with the fact that the AFC Championship game showcased just how bad the red zone efficiency was, a better picture of this was demonstrated against the Chiefs. All of Pittsburgh's points came from Chris Boswell and none from the offense itself. Much of it stems from player execution. The other reason was the lack of a reliable number two receiving option who could serve as a red zone option. A player was needed to cover up both roles. Realistically, making up for the lack of tight end production or insurance for both positions was also a requirement.

    Depth wise, the same could be said for the running back position. Yes, there is no need for a no 1 running back but having a good quality backup is needed. Much like the 2015 AFC Divisional playoff game, the 2016 AFC Championship showcased the lack of depth at the position. However, there was also the hard felt loss in 2015 without Roosevelt Nix. A lead blocker did indeed help Le'Veon Bell for sure. Having both rolled up into one player will benefit the offense.

    However, this does bring us to the most important position in football. A backup is always a need; a quarterback who often gets hurt doubly so. However, this backup does not just need to have the tanglibles. He needs to have the intangibles to ensure his team can still succeed. From leadership to comeback capabilities to galvanization, a quarterbacks backup can truly be the sum of its parts and can mean the difference between how the season goes for the team.

    The final discussion would be a long snapper and one that has brought about quite some controversy. Long snappers are also a part of the game itself. Often times, the long snapper is forgotten due to the supposed lack of "importance" or that the position is too easy to pickup. What many do not seem to understand or underestimate is that a long snapper is an integral piece of special teams. A botched snap can easily sway momentum to another team. A well executed snap can give either a punter or holder for the field goal unit more stability for a successful punt or field goal. While the long snapping position itself does not bring as much or if any versatility for the team, the long snapper can have an argument for the most important position of punting or field goal units due to their consistency.

    Now, where do I stand on the Pittsburgh Steelers now that the 2017 NFL Draft Season has come and gone? I believe that this team is now ready for another shot at Tom Brady or any other AFC team. Yes, we did miss out on a tight end and a safety but nabbing indirect contingency plans based on what they can provide in addition to acquirng needs is what constitues as a successful draft based entirely on face value. How these young men will develop will decide how far Pittsburgh will go. A heavy load to carry no doubt but a load that they know very well to achieve their shared dream with Pittsburgh; ascend to the stairway.

    All of this however, does not highlight what Tomlin wants in his prospects. Since 2014, Tomlins ethos for the teams draft picks now have a set of three requirements to construct and build his defense;

    1.) Age. Much like every team, the younger a prospect, the more time to develop.

    2.) Athleticism. Great athletes can make great players if they are compatible with the scheme.

    3.) Versatility. More so of the NFLs doing, teams now have to acquire multi role players who can fill various roles. The golden era of specific player types is no longer the status quo.

    From Ryan Shazier to TJ Watt on the defense, Tomlin does want to continue to use the Cover 2 Tampa 2 style. It is just that the surge and uprising of multi role players have accelerated his plans. Given the fact that such a rebuild from the days of "Old, slow and done" (Warren Sapp) to "Young, fast and fun", to me, it appeara we might have come full circle towards installing Keiths and Tomlins own take on Dick LeBeau's legendary scheme. In addition, Tomlin has solved a vast arrary of issues with the red zone production and reliability issues with one pick.

    As such, my final thoughts of this draft are an A on face value; changed from an A- minus shortly after the conclusion of the draft (sugar crashes do not help mental stimulation :lolol:). Again guys, all of what my opinion illustrates is only what it is, an opinion.

    Like humanity itself, distortions and cracks will appear within our opinions and beliefs. It is how the world progresses to ensure natural evolution keeps going forward. For us Steelers fans, we are no different. However, while we may be exact in some areas we do not have to subjugate ourselves to others. We are not a team looking to regain relevance. Nor are we a team vying to take over the division. We are a team who needs the final pieces for a Super Bowl victory.

    There it is everyone. My thoughts. Agree? Disagree? One thing is for sure and two is for certain:

    "The only way to know if you got the right guys is if they win you championships" - Kevin Colbert.
  2. SGSteeler

    SGSteeler Well-Known Member

    Sep 9, 2013
    Pretty good stuff. We got edge help, red zone/3rd down efficiency help, and nickel/boundary corner help that can play some man... sounds like we got some things that can help us in the first three rounds.

    I wish we would've gotten an ILB somewhere but the draft didn't fall that way. Realistically that's the only position I don't like our depth at. TE is a little weak if Green can't go, but if the draft is any indication of his health maybe he's good to go for the season.
  3. mac daddyo

    mac daddyo Well-Known Member

    Oct 22, 2011
    i think safety depth is weaker than ilb or te.:cool:
    • Agree Agree x 2
  4. Da Stellars

    Da Stellars Well-Known Member

    Oct 22, 2011
    We got a possession receiver who will help in the Redzone, so I'm fine with no TE.

    I feel we needed a Safety over Cornerback though. We have so-so corners as a whole, but with improved pass rush I felt we were "good enough". Our starting safeties are good, but if one of the back-ups needs to fill in long-term I am a little worried.

    Yeah we fell short against NE, but look at everyone we were missing: Bryant, Heyward, Green, LevBell. Biggest thing to get past NE will be home field and staying healthy. NE doesn't have a chance if that happens.

    Overall I think we got quite a few players that will stick around for awhile.
    Last edited: May 4, 2017
  5. TarheelFlyer

    TarheelFlyer Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2011
    The 3 obvious questionable spots on this team. All of them come down to health.

    TE: Green can be a stud....if healthy.

    ILB: I worry about Williams in coverage, but I doubt he is any worse than Timmons was last year. I'd still like to see someone who can help off of waivers.

    S: Golden and Dangerfield are our depth? I still think Gay ends up getting looked at as a switch, but we'll see.

    NT would be my 4th as I don't really like McCullers.
  6. Diamond

    Diamond Well-Known Member

    May 26, 2012

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