Friday, April 09, 2004

As the draft nears I get more confused
Ed Bouchette has a story in today's Pittsburgh Post Gazette discussing the possible reasons the Steelers might have in working out several draft-eligible WRs. Is this Plaxico's last season no matter how he does on the field? Will Cowher & Co. trade Burress before the start of the 2004 season? I hope the answer is no in both cases, but either way, the Steelers worked out Oklahoma State's Rashaun Woods and Wisconsin's Lee Evans -- both listed as top 10 WRs in most draft publications. If they hope to get either of these players they will have to do it quickly:
"Evans (5-11, 197), a Cleveland native recruited by Pitt, might be available to the Steelers on the second round, but Woods (6-2, 202) should be gone before they make their second pick. He caught 264 passes in the past three seasons at Oklahoma State. Evans runs faster with a 40 time just below 4.4. Woods runs closer to 4.5."
Let me go on record as saying that if the Steelers take a WR with their second pick I hope they don't win a game next season. Those kind of front office decisions can't be intelligently reasoned away -- especially when there are so many other needs (where to start: CB, OT, OLB, ILB, QB, RB). Not only that, but even if Burress isn't back in 2005, Pittsburgh still has Hines Ward and Antwaan Randle El -- and if you think that a team can't dominate in the passing game without a big wideout, take a look at the New England Patriots. I'd be happier if they took Philip Rivers in the first round and took a CB or OT in the next two rounds, and I've been nauseatingly clear about how I feel on Rivers being taken with the 11th pick.

I hope this is another 'smokescreen' the Steelers are using to hide their true intentions -- intentions that should include addressing the CB & OT positions before anything else. But with only eight days until the draft, I have the same feeling I used to get when I was 12 -- about eight days before summer vacation ended and school started.

Another thing:
In more encouraging news, the Steelers brought in QB J.P. Losman of Tulane yesterday and OT Shawn Andrews of Arkansas on Wednesday. The good thing about Losman is that he's not projected to go until the end of the first round or early in the second so if the Steelers want him they will probably trade down. Anything that brings the Steelers more draft picks is a good thing. This draft is so deep at CB that if they choose to go that route in the first two rounds they should be able to get a guy who can help out immediately and be a long-term solution also. This will also allow them to get Losman if that's there plan.

They could choose to take Andrews in the first round. Apparently there's a dropoff in talent at the OT position after Gallery, but Andrews is still a top-notch player and even though I haven't seen him play, I'm guessing he's no worse than the tag-team duo of Fordham and Ross.

These two scenarios should be much more attractive to the Steelers than any situation that includes taking Philip Rivers at 11 or drafting a WR in the second round. I hope the Steelers make the right decision.