Monday, May 05, 2014

Who Makes the Draft-day Decisions?

Thanks to Dave Bryan at Steelers Depot for the heads-up noting that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert are scheduled to hold a pre-draft news conference today at noon.

Our first thought upon reading this was they the two will reveal essentially nothing in brief statements, vague talk and empty platitudes. Dave Bryan suggests that some of the points discussed might cover the status of players such as Brett Keisel (still unsigned), Sean Spence and defensive end Nick Williams (comping off injuries).

We'd be interested in learning more about the draft-day decision-making process.  They'll never tell us, of course, but every once in a while a nugget slips out.

Before last December's game at Lambeau Field, we learned that the more Mike Tomlin talks about draft-day decisions, the more he makes it clear that they are his decisions.

"It was an easy decision for me."
-- Mike Tomlin

It was part of the following statement that Tomlin in response to a question about the decision to draft running back Le'Veon Bell with the 48th overall pick instead of Eddie Lacy, who went to to Green Bay with the 61st overall pick.  
“It was an easy decision for me. ... Probably it’s just a matter of preference. Just like I am sure Cincinnati went through the same discussions and thoughts when they took Giovani Bernard in front of both of them.”
Got that? No mention of Kevin Colbert or anybody else, including any of the Rooneys ....

"It was an easy decision for me."

And, since Tomlin mentioned Cincinnati's drafting of Giovanni Bernard, check out this excellent article by Geoff Hobson detailing the Bengals' process leading up to the drafting of Bernard.

By the way, Hobson notes that the Bengals had tight end Tyler Eiffert rated as the sixth-best layer on their draft board. They grabbed Eiffert at No. 21 overall, four spots after the Steelers drafted linebacker Jarvis Jones at 17th overall.

Who Makes the Decisions?
In 2008, was Tomlin's decision "an easy one" to draft Rashard Mendenhall over Matt Forte, Ray Rice or Chris Johnson?  There's not one player left on the Steelers' roster from that infamous, unfortunate draft class, nor are there any players remaining on the roster from the wasted 2009 draft class.

Was Tomlin also the one who made the decision to draft, say ... Alameda Ta'amu, Chris Rainey and, oh, take your pick

We'd like to know, but we never will.

Those draft-day decisions -- those failed drafts, the whiffs and misses -- are a large reason why the Steelers are coming off consecutive 8-8 seasons.

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