Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Finally, Some Draft Thoughts

Hey, apparently there's a draft coming up this weekend. I have yet to mention it here primarily because a team usually has fewer holes to fill after going 15-1 than when they sport a 6-10 record. Still, I figure I might as well get my thoughts on the record since I can't do any worse than last season, when I implored the Steelers not to take a QB with the 11th overall pick because these picks often times don't pan out. To be fair, I was talking about Philip Rivers and not Ben Roethlisberger, but still, that was almost as bad as saying that T.O. was more of a detriment to his team than a help during the last Super Bowl. Almost.

Anyway, I'm lobbying the Steelers to take Matt Jones with the 30th pick. And in case you don't know, Jones is a quarterback (pause for effect ... ), but not like the one Pittsburgh selected last season. He's more like Kordell Stewart (wait! here me out), Hines Ward and Antwaan Randle El -- but more athletic. He busted out a 4.37-forty time at the combines, he's 6'6" and he also played basketball at the University of Arkansas. The only thing he hasn't done is play WR -- which is where he's projected to play in the NFL.

I know the Steelers could use some help along the offensive line, and you can never have enough CBs (and don't even get me started on TEs), but this guy could be a game-changer ... or he could be Huey Richardson, but given the depth of the draft at other positions, and the fact that the Steelers don't have any immediate glaring needs, this might be the best time to take a chance on a player like Jones.

And it's not like the Steelers don't need a WR. Plax is now in New York and Jones is an inch taller than Burress, but faster. And for all the complaining we heard about Plax not being able to catch the fade route, Maybe Jones could be Roethlisberger's new go-to guy in the red zone (unless you think the 2005 version of the 1983 smurfs -- Ward, Randle El and Wilson -- will win a lot of jump balls at the goal line).

More importantly, Pittsburgh can go back to the good old days of the 2001-02 seasons when then offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey had more trick plays in the game plan than Bellhorn has strikeouts over any two-week period. Can you imagine the Steelers breaking the huddle with Ward, Randle El, Jones and Kordell Stewart (they can re-sign Stewart this off-season since he might not make a team as a 3rd string QB)? They could run the weave all the way down the field. All that will be missing will be the sky hook from half court and the bucket of confetti.

OK, that's maybe taking things a bit far, but you get my drift. The Steelers are in the position to take a chance on a really interesting player -- one that could give the offense more dimensions than it had with Plax in the lineup and certainly more than they have now with their corp of short recievers.

Of course, this draft is also pretty deep at WR so even if the Steelers pass on Jones in the first round, they could get a solid player in later rounds, but where's the fun in that. And you know what, none of this may matter anyway, because the Jets, who pick a few spots ahead of the Steelers, might take a chance on Jones ... which means that we'll get stuck with Pittsburgh taking another offensive lineman in the first round. And while that may be the smartest move, it's just not as exciting as taking a 6'6" white guy who's never played WR, but runs a 4.37 and seeing what he can do.