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The NFL Draft: The Ultimate ‘Shell Game’

If you are like me and can easily recall the days of the silver-haired Bob Barker on the “The Price Is Right,” then you may also remember one of the games. It was called the ‘shell game’ where a red or blue ball would be hidden under one of three shells and unless a contestant eliminated the guess work by nailing three prices of random items, then they would have to guess where the ball was. While we would all like to see Barker’s Beauties like Diane Parkinson or Nikki Ziering calling the draft from the main stage we are unfortunately stuck with Commissioner Roger Goodell. While he may be the Bob Barker in all of this, it is the scouts, general managers, coaches, and even owners who essentially are the shells who hide their precious secrets.

Everyone knows who the top picks will be and while we don’t know the order, we have a pretty good idea of just who will be in the top 10 or 15 picks. This is the tme of year in the NFL that can be most interesting because this where teams start to send mixed-messages, smoke signals and all sorts of ‘not so true’ information in the hopes of being able to get the guy they want while suckering other NFL teams into buying into some sort of rubbish about him. Already in the last 48 hours we’ve heard one nameless NFL owner claim that if Auburn QB Cam Newton were white then he would be a clear-cut #1 pick. OK, what really was the point of that comment? With all that has followed Newton as a student-athlete from Florida to his jnuior college to Auburn, does the color of his skin really matter? Anyone would have red flags surrounding him the way Newton does regardless of race, ethinicity, etc. So to me, is this someone in the top 5 possibly greasing the rumor mill already? Me thinks so. I’m also hearing all kinds of stuff about former Heisman Trophy Winner Mark Ingram and the fact that he could be completely slipping out of the first round. Again, why??? For the last 3 months he has been the #1 running back and suddenly he drops out of the first round? Strange indeed and I suppose you could chalk this up to teams and their needs not necessariy being running backs this year, but explain to me how a guy who has done everything right suddenly drops faster than a pass thrown to a Browns’ receiver? Is it fact or is it fiction? Maybe it’s a little of both.

Take a guy like the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers. Yes, I know Steeler Fans, his name still gives me the willies too, but for sake of argument let’s move on. Rodgers was a guy that easily could have gone in the top 5 or 10, but slipped into the 20’s before Green Bay snatched him up.  To be fair, a lot of teams didn’t need QB’s in 2005 with only #1 pick Alex Smith going ahead of him, but we must admit something was keeping teams away from Rodgers that day and who really knows how much is true or false? It certainly doesn’t matter in Green Bay where Rodgers is now the toast of the town. Don’t forget Randy Moss too. Easliy the most talented receiver in the draft but off-field issues pushed him down the draft board until Dennis Green and the Vikings drafted him. Warren Sapp? Same thing and ultimately he became a potential Hall of Fame defensive tackle.

So as the draft approaches, be cautious of what you are reading and hearing from the ‘experts’ because while the Todd McShay’s and Mel Kiper’s of the world are one thing, the GM’s, owners, and coaches are completely another. Keep on eye on our Steelers too, because we have been known to trade up a few spots to get the guy we really want. Of course that could just be a rumor too….


  • If you aren’t following guys like LaMarr Woodley, Troy Polamalu, Ike Tayor and Verron Haynes to name a few on Twitter then you are missing out. These guys are insightful, humorous, thought-provoking and just flat-out fun to read. Keep in mind this is coming from a guy who once swore off these social arenas but I’m really glad I started ‘tweeting.’
  • Keep those votes coming in for Hines Ward and his partner Kym Johnson on ‘DWTS.’ Hines has been great and deserves to keep going and I know the Steeler Nation will carry him to victory!
  • Want a real bummer? OTA’s, or Official Team Activities would have started today if it weren’t for this damn lockout.

Is it Spring yet?

Have a Great Day Steeler Nation!

Marc ‘SteelDad’ Uhlmann

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