Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hey, There's a Draft Coming Up

Okay, we're almost there folks, and this year more than any other, I still have no clue what'll happen. The latest rumors have the Broncos trying to move up from 21st to 10th and they have three names in mind: Amobi Okoye, Adam Carriker, and Patrick Willis. My first thought? "Well, they can't draft all three of those guys."

Seriously, 1.15 is turning into a pretty crappy draft position. The guys you'd like probably won't be there, and the guys who are good value after pick No. 20 are all that remain. Suh-weet.

Before getting to the comments, some housekeeping: I'll be around all weekend, and I suspect many of you nerds will be too. So when I'm not making up rumors over on AOL, I'll be following things here. Mark your calendars ... it's sure to be kick-ass.


... This, people, will be the turning point in the Steelers' 2007 season. Honestly, I'd forgotten he was released.

... As amazing as managing to re-sign St. Pierre before he signed a lucrative deal elsewhere, this is even more astonishing. MaG notes that a few hundred die-hard German NFL fans got together for a little mock-draft action. Seriously, somebody should send this to Roger Goodell. The NFL's plot to take over the world through football seems to be working. And by the way, this mock draft is the best I've seen anywhere. The only thing that would make it better would be if the Steelers took Sepulveda in the first round.

By the way, how bad does a team's punter has to be when its fans not only know which draft-eligible punters are available, but they have an opinion on who they prefer, and know exactly what round he should be drafted? Yes, Mr. Gardocki, it's time to start doing all that other stuff you put off because you were playing football.

... Cols714 (a.k.a. Anonymous) left this comment:
"If both Staley and Carriker are there, who would you pick? Or would you choose whatever LB you feel is the best.
Me, I'd go Staley."
Wexell picked Staley at 1.15 in the mock draft, but only because Carriker was off the board. I'm still in the Carriker camp, and I'll expand while answer two questions from the comments. First, Easy Like Sunday Morning asks:
Can I ask why folks (including Ryan) put DE in the top 3 needs? Assuming we stick to a base 3-4, seems to me that we have bigger needs at OLB, ILB, HB (we have 2), OG (after 07), OT, maybe even WR and P...
Followed by Randy Steele's question:

I agree. Carriker sounds like a solid pick for most teams, but for the Steelers he's a luxury, another player like Smith. Are they having second thoughts about Keisel as the other DE? Or do they really think he can switch to linebacker? Seems like a dubious decision from here.

All in all, I don't see how the front office can pass on a top quality OT if one becomes available to them.
Alrighty, let's see... First off, we'll all agree I'm no draft expert, but instead go on what Mike Mayock tells me. Remembering that, Carriker is Aaron Smith, but bigger. Scouts love this guy, love the fact that he's played in the 3-4, understands the whole two-gap stuff, and isn't so much interested in racking up sacks as he is in winning. More importantly, he's supposedly a top-10 pick. If he's around at 15, the Steelers are making out.

Also, Wexell makes the salient point that just because you have three starters on the d-line, that doesn't mean you (a) don't need depth (Kirshke and Hoke are in the last year of their contracts ... I think, anyway), and (b) don't need guys you can rotate into the lineup during a game. It's unrealistic to expect three guys to play 50 or 60 snaps, and that doesn't happen now.

Yeah, I agree, there are bigger needs at OLB, ILB, RB, OT, OG. I've been on the Steelers-should-take-a-tackle kick for a while too, pimping Levi Brown, Joe Staley ... basically whoever might help. But as was pointed out in the comments, the latest rumors have the Steelers not focusing on offensive tackle in the first round. I think guards, kinda like running backs (but not as much), are fungible and it usually doesn't make much economic sense to take them early. That leaves linebacker, and if the Broncos are moving up to take Willis, and Beason or Timmons are considered stretches at 1.15, well, that brings us back to Carriker.

In a perfect world, yes, the Steelers would trade down. But you know what, this seems to be the year that everybody wants to trade down. It just may not be possible. Right now, I'm still in for Willis, Carriker, Brown, Beason, though I'm guessing it won't be any of these guys ... assuming, of course, everything I've read in the past week is true (stifles giggle).