Football is a year round business, except for the fans. This is the dead zone, where training camp is still off in the distant future and the actual season seems like a lifetime to go. So, what do we all talk about? The combine and then the draft, that’s what. But, I’ve largely dropped out of that speculative watch party, in large part because in a lock-out shortened season, hockey is almost all encompassing, but also because I always hate getting geared up and excited about a certain player or position, only to have my hopes dashed when some other team picks him first or the brain trust goes in a different direction. Of course, that’s part of the fun, I realize, but I put my trust in the front office and the coaching staff to know way more than I ever could about the draft prospects and to choose well (the Rainey pick notwithstanding), so I’ve only been paying nominal attention to all the local pre-draft chatter. That said, I would like to put in my request to the team for consideration of the following, in no particular order:
– Quarterback (my personal plea). Please draft me a quarterback. I don’t want to supplant Big Ben, not at all. And we all know I love Charlie Batch, but in football years, he’s ancient. And what about Ben? Well, Ben is Ben; he puts it all out there on the field, so sometimes he gets knocked flat on the field. I think we all learned the lesson last season that we cannot go far without a competent quarterback stable.
– Safety. I like having a Texas player on the team. For one thing, it keeps Cowboy Fan Hubby, a UT alumni, from being able to go completely anti-Steelers all the time, because that gets really old and obnoxious. So, what about Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro? I understand his time was disappointing in the combine, but that’s a single event. Look at his body of work in college and then decide. More importantly, I love Troy and I love Ryan, but there is the constant nagging worry over their health and age.
– Offensive Line. There is debate over whether the team should use a high draft pick for another lineman this year. With the flock of injuries the line seems to have year after year, whether it be because of the black and blue division they play in, conditioning, or just the luck of the draw, I am always on the side of looking in that direction. I don’t know much about OG Jonathan Cooper, but the buzz is that he would be a good fit and potentially still available when the Steelers are on the board; therefore, he may be a stranger now, but sounds like I’d love to get to know him.
– Running Back. There are lots of holes to fill: an aging defense, a very aging back-up quarterback, and an injury prone offensive line, so there is not a lot of talk, that I am hearing anyway, of taking a running back early. Rainey is gone, Mendenhall I think we would all agree will be gone, so take a look, please, at a power running back. I’m not seeing any mention of anyone standing out in this year’s draft class, but that’s the beauty of the Steelers, they find the diamonds in the rough, and I’m betting there is one out there somewhere in the later rounds.
– To Te’o or not to Te’o? Finally, how could I speculate on the Steelers draft and not at least mention Manti Te’o? I’ve steered well clear of that subject for about as long as I can. Whatever bizarre prank was pulled on him, and no matter how incredibly gullible I think the kid must be to have fallen for it, CFH reminded me how naïve we were at his age too and cautioned me not to hold that against him because he would be a great acquisition, and the Steelers would be good for him. Originally resistant to bringing that kind of attention into an already fractured locker room, I am finally coming around to it.
But, in the end, I put my trust in you, Pittsburgh Steelers, just choose well for me.