Monday, March 17, 2008

Random Schizo Draft Post: Steelers Should Consider Everybody, Nobody

I think we're all fine with the idea that the Steelers could take Branden Albert at 1.23. Now, though, my fear is that he'll be gone. For all the alleged depth at offensive line, after Long, Clady and Williams, the idea of Otah, Cherilus or whomever doesn't thrill me. I know we've beaten this topic about the head, but there ain't much else to talk about.

(Unless anybody wants to discuss the merits of adding Mewelde Moore and Keyaron Fox as opposed to, say, making an effort to sign Brendon Ayanbadejo or Keith Rivers. If the Steelers were really serious about fixing the special teams, you'd think those two guys might've been in the free-agency plans.)

Apparently, CBs Antoine Cason and Aquib Taliq will pay a visit to the South Side, so cornerback, as always, is an option too. Particularly in light of John Harris' recent masterpiece explaining how difficult it could now be to re-sign Bryant McFadden now that he's hired Drew Rosenhaus as his agent. Never mind that Rosenhaus is also Juan Timmons' agent ... and Timmons was signed in time for the start of training camp.

And then there's the defensive line and hell, even linebacker if the right one's still on the board. But here's what I keep telling myself: the Steelers HAVE to draft their board. No matter what happens in the previous 22 picks. As has been mentioned countless times before, it all starts with the center. The front office crapped their pants on Sean Mahan, and Ben Roethlisberger paid for it last season. We all know that. But if the team fixes the center position, and assuming it won't take Kendall Simmons 12 games to get warmed up, is there any reason to think things won't be markedly better in '08?

There's still the little issue of replacing Alan Faneca, and that is enough to make me think Pittsburgh should trade up for Albert, but I'm probably overreacting. That said, the front office should consider it. (Kevin Colbert, if you're reading: yes, I give you permission to trade up. You're welcome.) There are countless needs, for sure, but isn't that always the case? Is this year significantly worse than previous ones? And if the team feels Albert can start immediately -- something that doesn't seem to be the case with Otah, Cherilus, Baker, so on and so forth -- isn't he worth it?

A perfect scenario has Pittsburgh landing Albert at 1.23, and trading up to get center Mike Pollack a round later. Those two picks go a long way in solving the o-line problems. And while guys like Anthony Collins and Oneil Cousins and and Otah countess others, no doubt, have tons of "upside," after some thought, I've come to the following realization: upside guys suck. Instead of grooming guys, how about this: draft guys that can start. It's one thing to take Timmons and have him learn behind Farrior and Foote. It's a little different when your job is protecting the franchise quarterback.

If Timmons blows an assignment, they give up a touchdown. Not great, but nobody died. If Johnny Upside, LG, misses a block, it's potentially Chaz Batch time.

Shorter 2008 Steelers draft: Take Albert. Unless he's gone. But don't let that happen.