Tag:NFL Draft
Posted on: April 24, 2009 9:59 am

A Tradition of Building Success

 When the Steelers organization hired Chuck Noll to be their head coach in 1969, a tradition was started.  Noll, along with the Rooney’s had chosen to build the team up in the draft instead of focusing on acquisitions through free agency.  The new head coach for the Steelers would use his very first draft pick in the NFL to acquire defensive tackle, Joe Greene.  In the years to follow, he’d use his first round draft picks for quarterback Terry Bradshaw and Franco Harris. 

Through his tenure as coach, Chuck Noll would continue to pull in high caliber talent utilizing the draft.  His most memorable draft, considered the best draft not only in franchise history, but also in the history of the NFL would be in 1974, when four of his picks that year would go on to be enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame. In that draft class, were the likes of Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth and Mike Webster.  No other team in the history of the NFL had a draft that netted four HOF players before or after that 74 draft. 

The Steelers would go on to win four Superbowls with this philosophy with Noll, becoming the first dynasty in a Superbowl era NFL.  After Noll retired, the Steelers organization would continue on with the mindset of build their team through the draft.  The teams under Bill Cowher would go on to win 8 division titles, two AFC Championship titles and one Superbowl ring. 

Once Bill Cowher retired, enter former Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator, Mike Tomlin.  Tomlin would take over the slot of  Steelers, after an .500 season.  His position would be any head coaches dream.  An organization that provided stability for it’s head coaches, and a team that was not hanging together by chicken wire and glue, but that had a solid veteran leadership and lots of young talent in the wings waiting to step in, thanks to the draft. 

Tomlin, in his first year as the Steelers head coach would advance into the first round of the playoffs, in his second year, have a Superbowl ring and going into his third year, poised to do a repeat, due to the low number of turnover through free agency, and the backfill available through previous drafts. 

Come this weekend, eyes will be on New York City and the NFL draft.  Most fans will be hoping for this person or that to drop to their team to fill immediate needs.  If you’ve been a long time Steelers fan, like many of us, you know that you’re not going to end up with what you believe the Steelers should pick, and we may end up cursing Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert as to why he felt he had to pickup ANOTHER tight end in the draft, or why go so high for a punter, or why not use the first round to shore up the offensive line.  Somehow though the picks seem to work out for the best.

Don’t expect an exciting draft for the Black and Gold.  Steelers will more then likely draft for the future and not “immediate” needs. But then, that’s how the Steelers have had such success since bringing in Chuck Noll, by building a team to be winners, not bringing in winners to build a team. 

Posted on: April 22, 2009 12:42 pm
Edited on: April 22, 2009 12:44 pm

Off-Season Blues...almost over

Well if you’re like me, you’ve probably looked over the potential draft picks, watched as many replays and NFL Films as you could, just to try to sedate your hunger for professional football.  Yep, there were some things that we could sink our teeth into and chew over a bit, like Jay Cutlers trade to the Chicago Bears, or the new rules instituted by the NFL for player safety. 

Still you have to admit, even with free agency, there’s that “dead” period between the end of the season and the NFL draft.  And yes, come Saturday, you’ll find me watching the draft.  No, I didn’t make up a mock draft, I leave that up to my husband.  He’s pretty good at spotting talent, but he usually does so only for trying to address the Indianapolis’s Colts needs.  Me, I groaned when the Steelers picked up a quarterback in the first round in the 2004 draft.  Then again when they picked up a punter in the fourth round of the 2007 draft.  So, hint, never listen to me about draft choices.

So we’re now three days away from the draft and not only are they gearing up for their picks, teams are starting to hold their voluntary training camps, including the Pittsburgh Steelers.  We now actually have activities that we can actually start watching and contemplating for next season. 

So there’s still a lot of the year to go before kickoff of the regular season, but hey, it’s promising.  Last years first round draft pick for the Steelers worked out with the team this week.  Running back Rashard Mendenhall had missed most of the season with a broken shoulder, so we really weren’t able to tell if the Steelers picking him up in the first round was a bust or not.  His ability is still promising…now if he remembers to lower his shoulder when he runs into Ray Lewis this season, which he will. 

With the departure of Nate Washington, this could be Wide Receiver Limas Sweed’s year to shine.  If he doesn’t try to watch himself on the jumbotron, he should be fine and could have a year like WR Santonio Holmes had in his sophomore year. 

The veterans who remained after the 2005 Superbowl win are looking to avoid the hangover that they experienced in 2006.  Okay, so it’s still the same old, same old, but hey, at least I get to see current pictures of players working out and don’t have to resort to watching repeat of cold weather games.

It hasn’t been that bad though.  I did manage to plant a butterfly bush which will probably bloom right about the time pre-season hits.  Sports wise, it’s exciting to see the Penguins in the hunt for the Stanley Cup and leading the current series 3-1.  Ya know, if the Pen’s do win the cup…wonder if there’s hope for the Pirates this season.

Okay…just three more days to go…can it get here soon enough?



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