Thursday, April 24, 2008

Should Colbert be on the hot seat?

Guest contribution courtesy of Nick Beckwith ...

Pittsburgh’s recent first round successes — Troy Polamalu (2003), Ben Roethlisberger (2004), Heath Miller (2005) and Santonio Holmes (2006) — have masked a problem, namely relatively poor drafting in later rounds. Over the last five years the team has drafted only six starters, and Brett Keisel (7th round) is one of the few late round players to blossom into a significant contributor. Therefore, if director of football operations Kevin Colbert is not on the hot seat, his chair should at least be a bit warm.

It is easy to criticize the man in front of the big board; it is more difficult to offer solutions. But I have, if not a solution, at least a new approach, which is simply the re-emphasis of an old approach. Pittsburgh must draft Steelers — players of high character and a strong work ethic who also display a love of hitting. I advocate drafting players whose idea of “going clubbing” is spending four hours in the free-weight section of Gold’s Gym.

Chuck Noll was of the opinion that his job was not to motivate players, but to teach motivated young men to be better players. I’m not saying the Steelers should ignore ‘triangle numbers’ (height, weight, 40-yard dash time) or the results of the various athletic tests of the Combine. I’m saying that football is a team game, and a united warrior attitude is the most important among many determinants of wins and championships. While so-called project players of great potential should not be eschewed, on-field production should be the defining characteristic of most of the players acquired in this (or any) Pittsburgh Steelers draft.

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