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Ed: Lacy's Toe Injury Scared Off Steelers

Ed Bouchette 2 years ago

Good morning,
    One reason the Steelers passed on Eddie Lacy is a toe injury  the Alabama halfback has had. One team source said the Steelers would not touch Lacy because his big toe had been fused.
    There has been concern about injuries to Lacy’s hamstring and what has been reported as turf toe, but nothing’s been reported about a fusion. Either way, teams did stay away from Lacy – considered by many the best talent at halfback in the draft  -- until Green Bay made him the fourth back drafted with the 29th pick in the second round.
      Onto a few items and then some questions:
--- The Cleveland Browns think they got the better of the Steelers when they traded them a third-round draft pick for the Steeles’ fourth-rounder in 2014.
   Here’s what Browns CEO Joe Banner had to say:
“You don’t make a trade if you don’t think you’re winning it. If you win a trade within your division, you’re obviously better off than winning a trade within another division.”
   There’s more on that trade from a Cleveland perspective here:
http://www.cantonrep.com/newsnow/x1853931770/Trade-with-Steelers-tops-one-of-Browns-strangest-draft-days

--- Here’s a look at the second-round selection of halfback Le’Veon Bell of Michigan State from a Detroit perspective:

http://www.freep.com/article/20130428/SPORTS07/304280100/michigan-state-spartans-leveon-bell-pittsburgh-steelers-nfl-draft

-- Your questions:
--- YOU: Respectfully disagree with your criticism of the timing of the Landry Jones pick. I suspect the Steelers saw great value they couldn't pass up. And instead of seeing him as the heir apparent to Ben, perhaps it's better to view him as a young safety net who, in a year, can be an insurance policy for a QB in the final stretch of a career full of physical play and tough hits, a guy with enough upside to potentially inspire excitement when he's called on, rather than trepidation. I'd rather have third-round talent in the fourth than sixth-round talent in the sixth or seventh, like Zac Dysert.
ME: That’s how the Steelers saw it.
--- YOU: Fair to say that the wealth of supplemental picks next year made the trade of next year's third round pick more palatable?
ME: Fair enough to say that Kevin Colbert said it: “We traded next year’s third round pick to get Shamarko Thomas because we viewed him as valuable as a third round pick would be and next year we’re anticipating we’ll have some compensatory picks.”
--- YOU: You say that the Steelers "drafted for need" and abandoned their "best player available" philosophy. Do you believe that they left players they had graded higher on the board and reached with some of their picks? If so, who do you think was the biggest reach?
ME: Thought they reached on the third round with the receiver and with the quarterback on the fourth round. They wanted to draft a quarterback, said it privately and publicly.
--- YOU: Checked the picks online last night and laughed out loud. I'll grant you that maybe Jones was their highest rated guy at the time their turn came in Round 1, and it also filled a big need. Then the same thing happens in Round 2 (RB - Bell) and Round 3 (WR - Wheaton)? Sorry too many coincidences. I think all of these guys will be good to great players, but if you wind up having to draft for need instead of best player available eventually it catches up with you. This is the price they pay for some subpar drafts in the last 4-5 years.
ME: Or, perhaps it was all just a coincidence.
--- YOU: Could the signing of Gradkowski and the ostensibly premature signing of Landry Jones have anything to do with Ben's upcoming contract renewal?
ME: That’s stretching it. He’s under contract through 2015 and his “upcoming” renewal talks will not take place until 2014. I hardly think they can hold Gradkowski and a fourth-round draft pick over his head at that time.
 ---  YOU: With the Steelers targeting a young QB so early in this particular draft, is it any indication that another extension for Ben isn't automatic? This offseason has magnified the amount of cap space a franchise QB occupies and how teams with good young qbs can compete with such limited money available for rookies. I would sign Ben all day long and have him retire a Steeler but something tells me it's not automatic that it happens. Am I nuts?
ME: To continue on this topic for all you fellow cynics and skeptics, they did draft Dennis Dixon in the fifth round in 2008. We will know more, of course, a year from now but I fully expect them to sign Ben Roethlisberger to another long-term deal then.
 --- YOU: Does passing on Arthur Brown say anything about how the Steelers feel about Spence or did they just like Bell more?
ME: You may have noticed by now that they believe it will be a miracle if Sean Spence plays football again, so that would not be the reason. They apparently felt they needed a back more than a backer.

--- YOU: I have to laugh at all the people calling this the "worst draft ever." First, it's nonsense to think you can judge that immediately. Second, each pick seems perfectly reasonable, and you filled three areas of need. How bad could it be--at least at this point?
ME: I have no opinion on whether this draw was good, bad or indifferent, but I will tell you they did not “fill” needs until they find out if these guys can actually play in the NFL. They thought they filled needs in 2008 with their second and third picks, too.