Representing the Pittsburgh Steelers, RAWKC with the 24th pick in Arrowhead Pride's 2012 NFL mock draft...
YES, ITS THE BLOGGER YOU LOVE TO HATE.......
Today ....we will take a trip to the STEEL CITY......BLACK AND YELLOW, BLACK AND YELLOW TIME!!....( maybe its me but i used to change the words of that song to RED and ....well you know the rest).
LET US BEGIN.......The Steelers have been one of the most successful franchises in football history. They are still loaded with talent and have one of the best HEAD COACHES in the NFL in Mike Tomlin. But there have been some changes in the brain trust of the Steelers. Count on ole scraggly beard to come in and ruffle feathers!
Former KC head coach Todd Haley was hired as the new OC after BRUCE ARIANS was forced to retire, much to the dismay of BIG BEN. Haley came in and got right off on the wrong foot, as he so often does. But that's just the beginning ....WR Mike Wallace seems to have been watching to many reruns of MTV Cribs and Reshard Mendenhall is already questionable for the start of the season. So Haley does have his work cut out for him. (i will get more into the offense with my round two pick).
The STEELERS have a few holes to fill but plenty of talent to still be a power in the AFC offensively. On defense the Steelers have some areas that need immediate attention. Pittsburgh fields one of the oldest defenses in the NFL -- James Harrison, Ryan Clark, Ike taylor, Casey Hampton, Troy Polamalu -- all solid players but all 30 and up.
Most of us watched in horror as the STEELERS season ended at the hands of Tim Tebow but the story of the Steelers 2011 campaign was mired long before that. Injuries and Roger Goodell both dealt blows to the Steelers over the course of the year. And by the time the Steelers met the Broncos on a cold January night, the team was actually in a bit of disarray. Coming into the game the Steelers were short Aaron Smith at DE, a very wiley veteran (who I actually had the pleasure of competing against in college when he played at Northern Colorado), Smith was lost to a season ending injury. They were also without NT Chris Hoke another solid veteran along that vaunted Steeler D-Line. AND most importantly they were without FS Ryan Clark who has Sickle Cell Anemia . Clark was held out of the playoff game in Denver by his head coach as a cautionary measure. The altitude in Denver tore Clark apart at the last meeting between these two teams in Denver. Clark actually lost his spleen after that game.
AS A SIDEBAR ....its actually good to see a coach that cares for a player as opposed to the media blitz on a coach who wants TO HARM A PLAYER BY ANY MEANS.
The absence of these players combined with the in game injuries of Casey Hampton and Brett Keisel and the Steeler defense was prime for a letdown. Not to mention that the STEEL CURTAIN defenses two vaunted pass rushers -- Lamarr Woodley and JaMes Harrison were both at less than 100% -- after battling injuries through out the season. Maybe it was just me but when TEBOW started that weird looking throwing motion I knew trouble was brewing. The season ended prematurely for the Steelers and many were surprised.
BUT NOT ME....I actually picked Denver to win the game. I saw how the Steeler defense had been altered by injuries to the front seven and I also knew that an already weak secondary would be even more vulnerable without Ryan Clark. Now at the onset of this draft there were three players that i had pretty much set my sights on with the 24th pick. With all the top tier talent gone at this time I was focused on....
No. 1 Melvin Ingram - with all the injuries that Woodley and Harrison went thru last year the Steelers definitely need to add some new BLOOD TO THEIR PASS RUSH....and MELVIN INGRAM is a replica of James Harrison -- stoutly built with an explosive first step and athletic enough to still pursue down the line as well as drop into coverage. I knew it would have been a stretch for him to drop to 24th...but anything is possible (as this draft clearly showed me....)
No. 2 Cordy Glenn- the Steelers have been trying to solidify their O-Line for years now. Glenn is more than capable of coming in and starting right away.
No. 3 Dre Kirkpatrick- as the playoff game showed, the Steelers need help in the secondary as well. Their best CB is Ike Taylor who is THIRTYSOMETHING....Dre Kirkpatrick is just the kind of physical player the Steelers need in their secondary -- good size, great instincts and great in run support.
Now as i said ...THIS WAS MY BIG BOARD but as the draft began I noticed a trend happening.....a lot of you cats were playing close to vest with your picks.....almost as if you were more worried about being clowned for your pick as opposed to examining a team and then swinging for the fences!
SO A GIFT BEGAN TO SLIDE .....first off I assumed a certain player would go off the board at No. 9 to the Carolina Panthers. The panthers last year selected CAM NEWTON, who as I predicted came into the NFL and set IT ON FIRE. He was definitely one of the more exciting players in the NFL last year and ended up breaking records and going to the PRO BOWL. But alas the team won only six games due to a depleted defense and the inability to match a consistent running game with NEWTON. So i assumed that the PANTHERS or whoever picked for them would try to solidify the front seven and they did by taking my No. 1 player MElvin Ingram, a guy who I feel should have went to No. 7 Jacksonville.
And thats where the sliding begins ....I was then utterly disgusted and downright pissed of by the #11 pick! You know you messed that up. The Chiefs selected MIchael Brockers....another overrated LSU D-lineman?!.......after being stood up by Peyton Manning. The CHIEFS and PIOLi have come roaring back and in my opinion have had a stellar offseason so far. adding the real Peyton -- HILLIS that is -- and then after acquiring the best RT on the market in Eric Winston. The Chiefs are prime to swing for the fences with the 11th pick, not try to play it safe by picking another block clinger with a marginal upside!
After this three stooge like mishap of a pick I assumed my player would be picked at No. 16 by the Jets, a team that has went from a rowdy bunch of headbangers to a backbiting episode of the MOB WIVES almost overnight. But once again the "safe " pick was preferred and COURTNEY UPSHAW was selected. Upshaw is a MELVIN INGRAM without the burst. He is a solid high motor player but peaked in college in my opinion.
AND then standing there ....more brazen than Ice Cube when he left NWA and recorded NO Vaseline, and sticking out like TECHN9ne at a taping of the VIEW, there he was.....one of the most athletic players in college football history.....an enigma to most.....but a canvas for DICK LEBEAU....
With the 24th pick in the AP MOCK DRAFT ....THE PITtSBURGH STEELERS SELECT......DONTARI POE NT-MEMPHIS!
WE COULDNT HAVE ASKED FOR MORE.....top 10 talent at the 24th pick without trading up. Dontari Poe is the most polarizing player in the draft, a workout warrior with slighty above average game film.
But lets examine......Dontari Poe attended Memphis a school not necessarily known for churning out quality d-lineman. As a whole, defensive line play in college has dipped as the spread offense has become more prevalent and if you were to analyze all the D-LINE prospects this year they all seem to lack something. All POE lacks is proper coaching and talent around him. THIS kid is 6'4 346 lbs, as strong as any player in the league damn near and quicker than any player his size in NFL history! The Steelers need immediate help upfront. The key to Pittsburgh's defensive dominance over the years has been the ability to keep solid d-lineman on the field at all times. The 3-4 defense begins with a solid NT. This past year injuries and age slowed down that mighty front. With POE the Steelers have an immensely talented player to work in as CASEY Hampton nears the end of his career...he can play any spot along the d-line due to his quickness and power. With TOMLIN and LeBeau in his ear and with a foot in his A#$.....the sky's the limit.......
Previously (with approval results)...
9. Carolina Panthers - South Carolina LB/DE Melvin Ingram (Forgot to do a poll)
24. Pittsburgh Steelers -- Memphis NT Dontari Poe