Stillers 2014 Draft Review
The Stillers finished another of one of their most critical drafts in recent memory. With holes abounding all over, it was highly crucial to obtain numerous BFPA (Best Football Player Avail.) as well as addressing needs.
I shall reiterate what I often say each year...you must draft the BPFA -- Best Football Player Available. Not merely best athlete, but best football player. This is caveated a bit with a needs-based analysis; you may need to examine needs if 2 draftees are equal, and, of course, you may need to avoid spending a 1st rounder on a position that might be very deep. Of course, never do a rabid reach simply for need. This is what produces the likes of Jamain Stephens.
The 2014 Stillers draft went as follows:
Round 1. Ryan Shazier, ILB, Ohio St.
Round 2. Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Flame
Round 3. Dri Archer, RB/Returner, Kent St.
Round 4. Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson
Round 5. Shaq Richardson, CB, AZ
Round 5. Wesley Johnson, OT/OG, Vanderbilt
Round 6. Jordan Zumwalt, ILB, UCLA
Round 6. Daniel McCullers, DT, Tenn.
Round 7. Rob Blanchflower, TE, UMass.
Round 1. Ryan Shazier, ILB, Ohio St. By now, everyone is aware of Shaz’s promise, attributes, and so on. Those who know me, know I love this guy’s speed. He’s a legit 4.4 guy, which means he truly is a 32-down LBer, not a Slow-a-Foote simpleton wqho is haplessly overmatched any time the opponent passes the pill or runs wide. Of course, it took Kevin Dumbert and Mike Dumblin over FOUR years to realize the importance of speed at ILB. Taunto Farrior badly regressed in the 2009 season, getting tooled on lil’ swing passes on obvious passing downs to clodhopping backup RBs like Leonard of the Bengals. Undaunted, Dumbert & Dumblin pressed on, putting up with Taunto for another two seasons and then replacing him with a still slower clumsy-oaf, Larry Foote. As noted by my esteemed colleague Palmer Sucks, speed kills in today’s NFL. 1st and 2nd downs are not downs for running mindless plunges; they’re every bit the passing down that 3rd down has been. You therefore cannot hope to stave off getting ravaged when you’re badly outmatched with a wretched pile o’ shit like Larry Slow-a-Foote as a starting ILB.
Two things concern me about this pick. One, the Stillers and the entire NFL have been burned for years by over-rated Ohio Baters, who look great in the weak Little 10 Conference and then resemble turds when they enter the NFL. Two, Dick LeBeau despises playing rookies. Worse, instead of, you know, actually helping and tutoring the rookie defender, Dick, being the dick that he is, revels in confusing and bewildering rookies. Dick’ll throw a 590-page playbook at a rookie, along with scores of signals, hundreds of formations, and dozens of slang and lingo, and then get pissy if the rookie hasn’t memorized it all within 3 days. Sure, there is no one else to play ILB (aside from Slowfooted Vinnie), but rest assured, that doesn’t deter Dick The Dullard. Dick has no interest in teaching, grooming, or mentoring. He’d rather throw a rookie into the deep end of the pool, and then mutter to reporters, “Oh, well, so and so still hasn’t mastered the defense….” Last year after the draft, I wrote, “Under Dick, I wouldn’t expect Jonesie to contribute much, if at all, this season.“ Sure enough, Jones did jack dick. I expect more of a contribution from Shaz, but don’t bet the mortgage that he’ll be playing 59 snaps a game. In fact, for a sobering view of Dumblin & Dick’s outright refusal to give starting time to rookies, check out this superb article in the Trib Review.
Round 2. Stephon Tuitt. Like Shaz above, I’m almost always leery of over-hyped, over-rated Golden Domers, most of whom suck ass in the NFL. Tuitt seems to have the tools to get to it (no pun intended), but I have two legit, nagging concerns. One is that plugging, 2-gap DEs do not need to be taken in round 2. We learned this, miserably, from Hood and Heyward, and from Keisel and Aaron Smith. Two, as noted above, is Dick’s perennial penchant for bewildering and then rotting rookies, even well into their 2nd or 3rd season. (The list is almost endless.) Then, add the double-whammy that Dick despises playing rookies, plus Dick always reduces rookies to confused, meek, passive, bumbling stiffs with his overly complicated defenses. It won’t take Dick but 6 days at camp to take a bear-hunting, ravaging fellow like Tuitt and turn him into a confused, bewildered, meek sap who barely can eek out of his stance at the snap of the ball. Thousands of Stiller fans are assuming Tuitt will be ravaging QBs this season; the better bet, given Dick’s long, illustrious history, is that Tuitt will spend more time sitting than a CPA during tax season.
Round 3. Dri Archer, RB/kick returner, Kent St. Tiny, 173-lb. scatback from the MAC conference who wowed Dumbert & Dumblin with his blazing sub 4.3 speed. On paper, it looks like a brilliant selection, as he could be used as a swing-pass and screen receiver in Haley’s short-passing offense. Problem is, the game isn’t played on paper. For 8 games during the season, plus any home playoff games, the games are played on Heinz Mud & Sand Bog, the shittiest playing surface in the NFL. Archer’s game is based on being able to cut on a dime and give back change. Of course, his home stadium (Dix Stadium) at Kent St. is field turf, which is perfect for a shifty scatback. Now ask yourself this: how many times the past 10 years have you cursed and screamed as Randle El, Hines, Tonio Holmes, Willie Parker, Tonio Brown, and others slipped and slid on the Heinz Slop Pit, negating what could have been a much bigger gainer….? It’s the wrong pick for a team with a pig-slop playing surface. Would be a nice fit with Indy, Dallas, Atlanta, and Detroit, but is likely doomed to frustrating slippage time and time again. Needless to say, I despise this pick. Hopefully I’m wrong. By the way, last year’s #3 pick was an all state track star in high school and ran jet sweeps at Oregon St…..and then did jack dick as a rookie.
Round 4. Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson. The Stillers get their “big WR”…..just as they once did with Danny Farmer, Fred Gibson, and Limas Peed, who peed the bed. So, pardon me if I’m not all ga-ga and jumping for joy over Bryant. This is a show-me pick….show me this guy can play at the NFL level. Reports on Bryant are spotty. “Shaky hands – tends to double clutch the ball and makes too many easy drops. Lacks toughness desired to work the middle of the field. Academically ineligible for Chick-fil-A bow. Gee, sounds like a perfect guy for the laissez fairre staff of the Stillers. Might not be long for Martavis to become Margavis. Given the Stillers lethargic development of non-first round rookies, I wouldn’t count on anything more than 18 catches out of Bryant this season.
Round 5. Shaq Richardson, CB, AZ. This late in the draft, it’s a real crap shoot when yer looking at CBs. Few will recall that the Stillers drafted a CB in round 5 just last year, Terry Hawthorne from Illinois. Did absolutely nothing. Dick refuses to work with polished, highly accomplished 1st & 2nd rounders. A 5th rounder? Sure, he’ll contribute….perhaps in 2017.
Round 5. Wesley Johnson, OT/OG, Vandy. To me, a big boy to fill out drills at camp. Assuming everyone is back from injury, it’ll be a crowded depth chart on the OL, meaning Wesley has a thin chance of sticking. His only chance of making the squad, really, is if he shows that he can play both OG and OT at the NFL level, which could save a roster spot or allow the staff more versatility.
Round 6. Jordan Zumwalt, ILB, UCLA. I still have nightmares of LB Bruce Davis from UCLA, who was a wasted pick a few years back. Zumwalt will be asked to compete at both ILB and OLB so that, like Wesley Johnson above, he might give the team more depth than a solo artist. At 6-4”, at least he has some frame length should they try him some at OLB. Obviously, spec teams could be his ticket as well. Still, he has enormously long odds of sticking, unless injuries thin the herd.
Round 6, Daniel McCullers, DT, Tenn. Massive, 6-7”, 360-pounder who once weighed 402 ! Decent gamble this late in the draft. With Dumblin’s laissez fairre approach, Cullers will balloon up to 275, plus get into a drunken brawl or rampage with his vehicle on the Sauth Side. Oh, wait, that was Ta’amu, but I can easily see this happening again on a team entirely devoid of adult leadership. Plus, give Dick 4 days at camp before he’s stammering about “Daniel still needs to learn his technique, blah blah blah blah blah.” And let us not forget, last year it was Nick Williams, a DT taken in round 7, who ame with rave reviews about how he “blew up the combine, and some draft experts had him as a possible 5th rounder.” The only thing he blew up for the Stillers were some blow-up dolls in his spare time.
Round 7. Rob Blanchflower, TE, UMass. Typical, bottom-feeding, clod-hopping, dung-eating TE that Kevein Dumbert loves to acquire. Will serve little purpose and won’t likely push any of the worthless backups, either. Plus, he has en entirely gay name for a Pittsburgh Stiller.
Undrafted free agents --
TE Eric Waters
OLB Howard Jones
OG Chris Elkins
DE Josh Mauro
S Devon Carrington
QB Brandon Kay
DE Ethan Hemer
OT Kaycee Ike
DT Roy Philon
OG Will Simmons
All are obviously long shots to make the roster, and at this point, I’m not jumping up and down for any of this undrafted fodder.
To summarize, a solid looking draft, but with the Stillers, you have to assume few, if any, will do jack shit this season. Perhaps a few will chip in during the ’15 or ’16 seasons. As always, let’s see how these newbies look with pads and with real hitting, not merely running around in underwear at the Combine or feasting on inferior opponents at the NCAA level.
(Still Mill and Stillers.com -- when it comes to the analysis of the Pittsburgh Stillers, no one else comes close….)
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