Being the fifth oldest franchise in the sport, with their 81st season upon us this year, I would like to look at what is the best NFL record the Steelers hold.
For most of the offseason I have been talking about the Pittsburgh Steelers improving the offensive line in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft by selecting North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper. Not everyone disagreed with me however, most did not really like the idea of the Steelers taking another offensive linemen within the first two rounds of the draft. Now most everyone has taken Cooper completely off the Steelers board with the re-signing of Ramon Foster this offseason. Even though it could look like the Steelers have much higher needs than on the offensive line, there really is no other unit that you should ever stop trying to improve. Especially when a player like Cooper could possibly be there for the taking for the Steelers in the first round.
The 2013 NFL Scouting Combine is a distant memory and the Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t really done anything memorable in free agency.
Steelers fans looking for something to get excited about this offseason might have to wait until the NFL draft, which begins April 25
Since my last Steeler Addicts mock draft, which came before the combine, the Steelers have been awarded a compensatory sixth-round pick. That gives the Steelers a total of eight selections.
The Steelers must fill glaring needs at outside linebacker, running back and wide receiver and add depth at safety, inside linebacker, tight end and quarterback.
With so many needs coming off an 8-8 season, this is a pivotal draft for the Steelers franchise.
Well, my fellow Citizens of the One and Only Nation, I have come up with this idea and I hope you like it.
I’m going look at some part of our beloved franchise and evaluate the best of that item. I invite you to debate, discuss, and argue over my selections. I’m no expert. These are only my opinions and I openly admit I could be wrong, but I think my lists will be very close to what most of us would say if asked.
Also, I would like to invite you to suggest items for me to evaluate and rank. I’m always looking for ideas for things to write about.
We all thought that the Pittsburgh Steelers top priority this offseason would have to be re-signing unrestricted free agent CB Keenan Lewis. Obviously that wasn’t the case as Lewis signed a five year contract with the New Orleans Saints and Lewis said his farewell to Steelers’ fans on twitter via Dave Bryan of Steelersdepot.com. According to Lewis, the Steelers never offered the free agent CB any kind of contract this offseason which obviously made his decision easier to move on from the team that drafted him. Traditionally, the Steelers do not make a huge splash in free agency because they develop and pay their own free agents. Considering Keenan Lewis finally came into his own in 2012 there was really little to believe that he wouldn’t be in the future plans for the Steelers.
If the Steelers had kept the young CB, they would have had one of the best groups of secondary players in the league with veteran Ike Taylor and Lewis on the outside and Cortez Allen on the inside. Then throw in safeties Ryan Clark, Troy Polamalu and developing backups at corner with DeMarcus Van Dyke and Curtis Brown.
Since Kevin Colbert became the Pittsburgh Steelers’ director of player personnel in 2000, they have not missed on a first-round draft pick, although it’s too early to tell on Cameron Heyward and David DeCastro.
The 2013 NFL draft is no time for the Steelers to snap that first-round streak.
Coming off an 8-8 season, the 2013 draft is a pivotal one for the franchise. As frustrating as it’s been to see the Steelers miss the playoffs every third year since 2001, these non-playoff interludes have provided them with top-20 draft picks that they have put to good use.
A case can be made for the Steelers to trade out of their No. 17 pick this year for a choice later in the first round and a couple of extra picks later in the draft. The more picks they have, the better their chances of addressing all their needs, which include outside linebacker, running back and wide receiver.
The Steelers might not be so quick to peddle that No. 17 pick, however. As good as their first-round track record has been, it gets better the higher they pick.
The Steelers did well with first-round picks outside the top 20 before Mike Tomlin became the head coach. Santonio Holmes was chosen at No. 25 in 2006. Heath Miller went at No. 30 in 2005. Kendall Simmons, who started 80 games at right guard, was the No. 30 pick in 2002.
In the Tomlin era, however, the Steelers’ late first-round picks have been iffy even if they’re not total busts.
Special teams is the middle child of the football world. No, that’s not right. It’s the red-headed step-child. No one shows special teams any respect, and yet when a game is on the line, it is often the kicker who is relied upon to come up with the game-winning field goal. It is often the punter who is put in a position to pin the opponent deep in their own territory, shifting the field position battle.
To the casual fan, it might not seem like a big deal that the Pittsburgh Steelers have been awarded a compensatory sixth-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, as Pro Football Talk reports.
However, in analyzing the round-by-round value of the last 12 Steelers drafts, we were reminded that Antonio Brown and Chris Kemoeatu were sixth-round picks.
So, really, how can you not be excited about an extra sixth-round draft pick?
So what did we learn in this 12-part series in which the Steelers’ grades ranged from A-plus to F?
The purpose of this analysis wasn’t necessarily to grade the Steelers drafts straight up but to grade the Steelers’ ability to find the appropriate value in each round.
All eyes are on the Steelers’ first-round pick, No. 17 overall, in the 2013 draft. It will be a crucial pick for the Steelers if they choose to keep it. It’s their highest first-round pick since they had the No. 15 selection in 2007.
But winning teams aren’t built on first-round picks alone. The Steelers have reaped benefits from picks in each round of the draft since 2001.
When the Steelers find productive players in later rounds, it often leads to a high-yield draft. On the other side of the coin, wasted picks in the middle and late rounds often are the recipe for a lackluster draft.
The Steelers’ 2004 draft (click on the year for the article on each draft) was the exception. They drafted Ben Roethlisberger in the first round, but their value grade for that draft was C-minus.
The story of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2012 draft class can be made into a movie.
There’s David DeCastro’s comeback from a preseason knee injury, and the much longer odds Sean Spence faces returning from his knee injury.
There are the stories of redemption.
Mike Adams grew up a Steelers fan and had to beg the organization to put him back on their draft board after he lied about a positive marijuana test.
Bad boy Alameda Ta’amu has yet to redeem himself.
Chris Rainey didn’t get the chance.
There’s the underdog tales of seventh-rounders Kelvin Beachum and David Paulson not only making the team, but also contributing.
The script is still being written. Our assessment of the round-by-round value of this draft is based only on the rookie years of these players.
For an explanation of our grading system, click here.
At the risk of being sacrilegious, let’s relate the biggest news story in the world this week to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
If you’re a devout Catholic, reader discretion is advised.
A new Pope was elected Wednesday and greeted by thousands of worshipers at the Vatican.
If Steelers fans knew that Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin all would win at least one Super Bowl, perhaps they’d have been greeted by throngs of Steelers worshipers outside the team’s offices when they were hired.
The Steelers sure needed prayers when Noll was hired in 1969. Since then, the Catholic Church has changed Popes more than the Steelers have changed head coaches. That makes the Steelers head coaching position the only one in professional sports that parallels Papal succession.