Quite frankly, I’m absolutely exhausted when it comes to talking about the Pittsburgh Steelers and the defense’s epic collapse in Oakland. So I figured, why not write about something else right? Well, my topic today is Kevin Colbert and my blood is already boiling.
As you are well aware of, the offensive line of the Pittsburgh Steelers couldn’t run block at all on Sunday against a team that had just a week prior, given up over 200 yards rushing to the Miami Dolphins. Fact is, this has been a trend for this team since 2006 much in the same way the defense giving up leads has been a trend as well.
Everyone is looking for someone or something to blame. The defense is Dick LeBeau’s fault and the lack of running game is the players’ fault and the economy is bad because people paid for their iPhone 5’s with too much credit. Blah, blah, blah….
Here’s a novel concept, has anyone looked at the drafting history of the Steelers’ General Manager Kevin Colbert? Chances are good that you are familiar with it but have you paid special attention to the offensive linemen that have been selected during Colbert’s reign in Pittsburgh? Better yet, go back and look at this track record in Detroit when he was the Director of Scouting for the Lions. No, this isn’t the guy who makes the final decision on who to draft, but the director of scouting is often the go-to guy when it comes down to a final decision.
See if you recognize any of these names of offensive linemen drafted under the watchful eye of Kevin Colbert…
The Lions’ Years (1990-1999)
Scott Conover, Larry Tharpe, Mike Compton, Tony Semple, Ronald Cherry, Hessley Hempstead, Jeff Hartings, Juan Roque, Tony Ramirez, Chris Liwienski, Aaron Gibson
The Steelers’ Years (2000 – Present)
Marvel Smith, Mathias Nkwanti, Chucky Okobi, Kendall Simmons, Max Starks, Bo Lacy, Drew Caylor, Trai Essex, Chris Kemoeatu, Willie Colon, Marvin Philip, Cam Stephenson, Tony Hills, Kraig Urbik, A.Q. Shipley, Maurkice Pouncey, Chris Scott, Marcus Gilbert, Keith Williams, David DeCastro, Mike Adams, Kelvin Beachum
Obviously the jury will be out on the linemen drafted in the last couple of years but how many Pro Bowl players do you see on that list? How many permanent starters? Certainly drafting any position brings with it a certain amount of fate, luck and hope, but Colbert’s expertise in drafting linemen is lacking to say the least.
The only players that made any impact out of this list and this is just my opinion so bear that in mind are Jeff Hartings, Marvel Smith, Max Starks and Maurkice Pouncey. Surely there are arguments to be made I suppose for guys like Kendall Simmons, Trai Essex and Willie Colon but even if you add those three it still isn’t a very solid number considering the amount on the list. Please don’t even attempt to win me over with Marcus Gilbert either. When he proves he can make it through a game without getting banged up then I might consider him but not now.
The Steelers have been afforded in the last several years a very fortunate ‘problem’ in that they rarely draft in the top half of the draft. While that means the team typically does well season-to-season, it also means you better be damn good at evaluating talent in the late first round and beyond and I don’t know that Kevin Colbert has.
It would be very easy to site here and attack draft picks like Ziggy Hood and Cam Heyward and Lawrence Timmons, but that’s for another day when I am forced to discuss the defense once again. Plus, I can hold out hope that just maybe one of these guys will live up to their draft potential before its all said and done.
The bottom line is that we can bitch and complain all we want to about the offensive line’s struggles in running the ball and protecting the passer. We can question the blocking schemes and we can question offensive line coach Sean Kugler, but isn’t it getting to be time where we question Kevin Colbert?