Steelers Unlikely to Lose a Draft Pick
Only the NFL can take something as simple as fining Mike Tomlin and turning it into a confusing mess. That’s what they did when they tacked on the possible loss of draft picks that “will be considered after the final order of the 2014 draft has been determined,’’ according to the league release on the matter.
But as Ray Fittipaldo points out in his story today in the Post-Gazette, after consulting a source at the NFL, the draft pick would only be changed if that play that possibly cost the Ravens a touchdown affects playoff tiebreakers. There is little chance of that.
The NFL then has determined that Jacoby Jones might have scored a touchdown had Mike Tomlin not stepped into his path. They wound up kicking a field goal. That four-point difference theoretically could mean the difference between the Ravens making the playoffs and not making them based on a tiebreaker way down the list of tiebreakers. Point differential rarely comes into play.
So that is why the NFL ruled that draft picks could be taken away or altered. Yet, because it was ambiguous in its statement "Because the conduct affected a play on the field, a modification or forfeiture of draft choices” will be considered, the NFL fueled all kinds of speculation as to what that might be.
Basically, it means nothing because Baltimore’s position as a playoff team is so highly unlikely to be determined by those four points. But the NFL should have just come out and said that.
Onto some stuff:
--- Had the game officials called a 15-yard penalty on Tomlin for his actions on the spot, a lot of this stuff would have been diluted. Tomlin’s move would have been punished right then. Instead, despite one official running on the sideline and avoiding Tomlin while he did, and another watching in the area, no penalty was assessed. They could have gone so far as awarding Jones a touchdown. We will not hear if the officials were penalized for not calling one.
--- It is likely the Steelers will start an offensive line on Sunday that is 60 percent new from the one that started in Baltimore. Center Fernando Velasco is done, left tackle Kelvin Beachum won’t play and right guard David DeCastro may not play.
--- It’s a long shot, of course, that the Steelers will make the playoffs. It’s even a longer one that if they do, they will advance, particularly with all the injuries.
--- The more Jason Worilds plays and the more LaMarr Woodley sits, the more that decision between the two for 2014 is being made for the Steelers, or should be.
--- Mike Tomlin has done this before with his official depth chart, listing players at different positions than they play on the field, but this one is perplexing: Jason Worilds is listed as having started the past three games at right outside linebacker and Jarvis Jones is listed as the starting left outside linebacker, when it was just the opposite. Even Tomlin noted in his press conference on Tuesday how well Worilds was doing on the left side and he might consider keeping him there.