Fog of draft clearing

Fog of draft clearing

From the notebook of a sportswriter who's sticking the Steelers with a B+ because of the potential superstars at the top of the draft:

  • Jack Lambert would've liked this draft, particularly the second day. The retired Hall of Fame linebacker once said "the Steelers headed downhill when they started drafting guys who looked like Greek gods rather than guys who could play football."

  • Lambert wasn't talking about Mathias Nkwenti. The comment was made two years before Nkwenti was drafted, and five years before Nkwenti was cut. But Lambert speaks for the ages on matters concerning Steelers football.

  • Bo Lacy is the anti-Nkwenti, and therefore the anti-Greek god pick. It became apparent when line coach Russ Grimm said "It's a lot easier to coach when you know what you are going to get." Lacy looks like either an Arkansas hog farmer or a sportswriter. Nkwenti looked like a Greek god and performed like a sportswriter.

  • So on second thought, the pick of Lacy might not have been the worst. And the fifth- and seventh-rounders were suitable choices. I'm coming around a little bit on the second day, as long as I keep telling myself that the back-up tight end and the long-snapper who can cover kicks are only sixth-rounders.

  • If I say it enough, I'll be back in Kansas anytime now.

  • Steelers special teams coach Kevin Spencer, NFL special teams coach of the year by the way, told me Colorado State cornerback Dexter Wynn was the best kickoff returner in the draft, better than even DeAngelo Hall, and that Wynn "has some Dante Hall in him." Wynn was drafted in the sixth round after the Steelers took Lacy and before they took Matt Kranchick. Couldn't they have found a way to draft Wynn?

  • Ricardo Colclough, by the way, also impresses Spencer as a kickoff returner. Colclough will probably replace Antwaan Randle El and be paired up with Ike Taylor in the role.

  • One employee popped out of the war room and told me it was too bad the Steelers didn't have a chance to draft West Virginia running back Quincy Wilson in the seventh round. After being told the Steelers actually did have a chance to draft Wilson, he said, "Hey, I just work here."

  • In other words, Wilson would've been a fine seventh-round fit.

  • The Steelers passed on talents such as Will Poole, Kelly Butler and Isaac Hilton because of character issues. Butler, the 6-foot-7 right tackle from Purdue, was taken off their board immediately after he was arrested twice in one day a couple of weeks ago.

  • We often hear the phrase "at 1 p.m. on Sunday, all the choir boys should be in church" during draft season. It means the mean, tough, criminal types give your team a better chance to win. But aside from keeping its locker room in order, doesn't a team have a responsibility to the community? One of these days, a victim will successfully sue a franchise for knowingly bringing a criminal into its city limits.

  • Jacksonville is putting a championship team together. Last year the Jaguars drafted a franchise quarterback, Byron Leftwich. This year they drafted a big wide receiver (Reggie Williams) and a powerful tailback (Greg Jones). It looks like a blueprint worth following.

  • Of the two franchise quarterbacks out of the MAC, Ben Roethlisberger has more talent than Leftwich. Perhaps the Steelers will follow the same print and draft their new running back next year. Running backs should always be the last piece of the puzzle.

  • The passing over of Quincy Wilson is already forgotten.

  • Don't count the Steelers out of the Mike Williams sweepstakes just yet. The big wide receiver from USC should be available in the upcoming supplemental draft. The same draft order will be used to determine the three weighted lotteries for that draft. Teams with 6-10 records or worse will be included in the first of the three lotteries.

  • Auburn defensive end Reggie Torbor - who looks exactly like a young Jason Gildon - was at the top of the Steelers' second-day draft board. The Steelers, obviously, weren't the only interested team since Torbor was the first pick of the day. The Steelers settled for Nathaniel Adibi.

  • The worst move of the weekend was Cleveland's trade of a second-round pick to move up one spot for Kellen Winslow. Next was Buffalo's trade of two picks and next year's No. 1 for quarterback J.P. Losman, who has been dubbed a coach-killer because "he doesn't want those around him to do well." Losman transferred from UCLA because, by his own admission, he was too close to his family and friends.

  • Bills president Tom Donahoe was blasted by a Buffalo News columnist for showboating on draft day. Wrote Jerry Sullivan: "It's about time for all this brilliance to pay off, wouldn't you say?"

  • Donahoe told Buffalo reporters he attempted to trade up for Roethlisberger, but Donahoe couldn't have tried too hard. Jacksonville could've easily traded down four spots and landed an outstanding receiver. Houston drafted Dunta Robinson only four minutes into its 15-minute allotment.

  • Funny how slow Phillip Rivers looks now that he's with another team.

  • Funny about the hubbub in town concerning Bill Cowher's timetable for Roethlisberger. Cowher's only going into this with an open mind. Steelers fans are acting as if they haven't drafted a franchise quarterback in 34 years.

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