Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Why the Steelers Should Sign LaVar and Draft a TE in the 2nd Round

... First off, congrats to the Pens. I can't say I've watched more than 10 minutes of hockey since leaving Boston in 1998 (and I saw two games then because some guy in my office gave me free tickets), but apparently, this makes some people very happy. The downside? Mark Madden doesn't move to Kansas City and become the white Jason Whitlock.

(Incidentally, since leaving The Page 2, I don't mind Whitlock so much. He's made more sense in the past few months than he did in the previous 10 years. Hmmm. I wonder if there is a correlation. Anyway, I should disparage him with the Madden crack. I apologize.)

... Also, Adam Gretz, when he's not covering California University sports, runs down the Sean Mahan signing.

... And since I'm contractually obligated to say at least one thing about the NCAA Tournament, I"ll say two:

1) All the pissing and moaning about UNC getting jobbed in the East bracket is a bit much. What, are we Duke fans? Come on people, suck it up.

2) Even though my buddy Andy's a Georgetown fan, and he's been waiting what, 20 years, for the Hoyas to be legit again, I'm not the on the G-town bandwagon. Don't get me wrong, I love John Thompson's II and III, and if UNC loses, I'll be pulling for the Hoyas, but I don't see them making it out of the East. But that's my opinion ... as a Tar Heels fans. (By the way, I've finally put my finger on what annoys the hell out of me about the interactivity of the internets: when people -- either writers or lowly commenters -- speak in absolutes. It drives me freakin' insane. How big of an arrogant a-hole do you have to be to declare something true by virtue of the fact that you've typed it? I think reading the AOL comments is getting to me.)

P.S. I hate Duke's guts.

... Speaking of lowly commenters ... to the ... uh ... commenters!

Laser Loop wonders if we basically cut Porter to sign Mahan. I agree with others that Joey would've probably held out without a new deal and while the team doesn't have to pay him if he sits out the year (and hell, they might even get him for next year too ... I think; that's right, isn't it?), it sure would be a big pain in the ass for Tomlin to have to deal with all the distractions that go along with a supposed team leader mucking up team chemistry for the first-year coach. I don't know jack about Mahan, but Bucs blogger ski seems pretty upbeat about him. And he's relatively cheap.

... Finnegans Wake lays out some offensive-line possibilities here and it seems pretty plausible to me. I think this almost certainly means the end of the road for Okobi, which kinda sucks because I always liked him. But I liked Porter too. Shit happens, unfortunately.

I'm still in the Levi-Jones-at-1.15 if he's available, but that's looking less and less likely. There has also been some discussion of the Steelers possibly taking a guard, but I'd be kinda disappointed with the pick midway through the first round. Maybe if the team traded down, and only if they had no intentions of re-signing Faneca. No need to waste a pick on a guy who ain't playing for three or four years... Unless Simmons' is out the door after next season. Ideally, Simmons would have the same success at center that Jeff Hartings had, Kemoeatu/Mahan would be the answer and guard and the Steelers would consider somebody like Ben Grubbs in the first round. At least not at 1.15, anyway.

(After going through this for a few years now, I realize I'm basically against Pittsburgh drafting anybody but offensive and defensive tackles, defensive ends, cornerbacks, quarterbacks and occasionally safeties in the first round. I can make logical arguments for running backs and maybe wide receivers, but that's it. What can I say, I'm weird ... and stubborn.)

... J_bd leaves this comment:
2nd round tight end??? I'm all about value drafting, but he must be a god. (forgive me, I don't watch college football much...figure I waste enough of my life watching on Sundays)
followed by Eric:
2nd round TE? dear lord i hope not. i'd like proof that the steelers plan on using the TE they already have before they spend another high pick on a 2nd one...
Okay, let me just say this: INSOLENCE WILL NOT BE TOLERATED!!!

Just kidding ... this time. Seriously, the TE-in-the-2nd-round thing is something I wrote about for SCI last week ... what, you didn't read it? Basically, if the Steelers are serious about Bruce Arians' changes -- what with the four-wide sets and all -- I think having another Heath MIller-type threat at TE is a good idea. The Pats and Cowboys both use a lot of two-TE sets for running and passing plays. It just seems that two Heath Millers (or a Heath Miller and somebody better than Jerame Tuman), Hines and Santonio is much more appealing than Hines, Santonio, Ced, Nate and no Heath.

(For the record, I like Tuman as a blocker. I know some fans are down on him because some fans are down on everything Steelers-related. I've never had a problem with him. I just think it's not impossible to find a guy who can both block and get open.)

I mentioned Zach MIller because heading into the Combine he was the top-rated TE, but then busted out a 4.8-something 40. Greg Olsen, the other likely first-rounder, ran a 4.4 or something (maybe faster) and will likely be the first tight end off the board. Miller is a much better blocker than Olsen, and even though he's not a burner -- neither is Heath -- he's supposedly pretty damn good.

Now, all of this presupposes a bunch of stuff happens before the Steelers pick in the second round -- maybe Pittsburgh gets Levi Brown or something ... I haven't really thought through all the details -- but it's not something we should dismiss out of hand just because I suggested it. Well, at least not before thinking about it for a few seconds, anyway.

... DJ reminds us of ROBO-Punter. I have seen ROBO-Punter and he is Daniel Sepulveda. I'm still president of the Draft Sepulveda in the 4th Round Fan Club. And in case I haven't reminded you recently: it's worth it; just look at some of the Steelers' recent fourth-round picks. Plus, the team should have a couple of fourth-rounders thanks to the comp picks. I read that Mike Barr will probably be back in camp, but if he was any good, he'd be signed by now. I mean, it's been four years already.

... Rob D asks about Willie Reid? You know, I don't think anybody knows (though I've heard Ricardo Colclough should be ready go to by training camp ... and yes, Tim, I'm a Colclough fan too). But it's an important question.

I was actually trying to convince myself a few weeks ago that Ted Ginn might be worth a first-round pick (maybe if Pittsburgh traded down) because of his return abilities. I think he's way overrated as a pass catcher; yeah, he runs a 1.8-forty, but Chad Jackson ran a 4.32 last year and I'm pretty sure he still sucks. Anyway, I thought the Bears were crazy for taking only a returner in Devin Hester with a second-round pick, but dammit if he wasn't worth it. That said, Ginn's not a first-rounder as a wideout/returner or both. I just couldn't talk myself into it.

... As the official draft guru of HSS, DJ has to agree with me at least once a quarter. I guess this is it. When I saw that LaVar Arrington would be back for 2007, I thought along the same lines. Namely, he could be a cheap fill in while the team grooms an eventual Joey replacement.

(Let me say, like my first-round draft issues, I'm similarly peculiar about free agency. Whenever I hear a big-name free agent is available, my first thought is: No, the Steelers shouldn't spend a crapload of money to sign [insert so-to-be overpaid underperforming player])

That said, the thought of LaVar coming (back) to Pittsburgh did cross my mind. And then I saw this, courtesy of FTID:
My wife went to North Hills high school and graduated with Lavar, and let me just repeat what she has said to me a thousand times about this guy, "He is an ASSHOLE!!!!!" (Yes, when she speaks it ends with exclamation points; it's weird, but I'm used to it). Apparently he used to push special ed kids down the stairs, intimidate teachers and belittle teammates. Several articles that I've read about this guy indicate that this is probably still true.

His work ethic is questionable and, based on every account that my wife has told me about this guy, he's dumber than a sack of rocks. She only ever had one class with him, but apparently he slept almost everyday and when he did say something it was illiterate in every way.

The Steelers run a system that is very, very complicated and I don't think this guy is willing to do the work to be successful in it. One of the reasons the Skins cut him loose is that he just flew to the ball and ignored the scheme. He basically tried to be LT without a scheme designed to let him do that, and often it was a disaster. He'd make a great play here and there, but then be totally out of position to give up a big 1st down or TD.

Finally, he'll want a big contract. I wouldn't even want the guy at league minimum.
That is a great story (well, except the part about pushing the handicap kids down the steps). So yeah, I'll pass.

Okay, later this week, we'll get around to our feelings ... or movies. We'll see.