January 30, 2008

Mike Tomlin Likes 'Em Young...

"If I could identify anything at this point, I would say we need young, big people."
- Mike Tomlin
I refuse to talk about the Super Bowl today. Or New England. Or Eli Manning (though tempting).

Instead, I thought I'd get back to what I do best relatively well...err, at least ok - which is, prognosticate and sling bull about our Steelers. Specifically, I'm going to focus on the recent comment made by Zen Master Mike Tomlin you read above.

To begin, for your own edification:
Average Age of Offensive Line in 2007 = 28
Average Age of Defensive Line in 2007 = 30

Not that any of you were ignorant to this fact...but hey, I figure at least some of you probably don't have hours and hours to sit around and average out the age of the 2007 Steelers starting O and D-Lines. Frankly, neither do I, but somehow I managed.

Anyhow, assuming the only change on the Offensive Line is the insertion of Chris Kemoeatu at LG, that average age decreases by only one measly year, to 27 [PS - I'm not saying that's the ideal sitch, I'm just assuming the worst]. And as we well know, the Defensive Line ain't changing (at least it better not). Hence, easy math there.

It's pretty clear. The Steelers are currently an aging football team. Not old, but aging. We are still largely a product of the Bill Cowher era, and Mike Tomlin has made it one of his priorities to get great young talent along both lines in 2008. To that I say - AMEN. But assertions do not amount to guarantees. There's a number of considerations and other parties who weigh in on this sort of thing. And so just because Iron Mike wants to get younger, it will not necessarily be done.

Nonetheless, this may be a product of him wanting to assemble sort of his own regime. Perhaps it is as it should be - building the type of team THIS coach would like to work with. Or perhaps he just knows its good football. Either way, Tomlin's right. By far the oldest players on this team are the interior O-lineman and our three D-line monsters (who I love regardless of age).

And if talk in the front office is anything like the talk going on in the rest of Steeler nation - we should be looking at these positions in both the draft and to a much much lesser extent - free agency (notice use of the word should).

Although I admit, I'm still not quite ready to pour over draft prospects yet. I have heard a few names floating around that I can pick out for you. Steeler FANS (note: not necessarily Steelers executives...) have been talking a little Jeff Otah (strike that - a lot), Sam Baker, Sedrick Ellis, Gosder Cherilus, and I think even Quentin Groves. All great O-line and D-line prospects. I personally would be fine with any of these men as 1st rounders.

As for free agents - you'll remember the Steelers recently signed former IUP O-lineman Jason Capizzi along with DT Scott Paxson, and O-linemen - Matt Lentz, and Jeremy Parquet (promoted from practice squad). And while most of these were likely precautionary or just forward thinking (to training camp), you never know who can turn out to be a gem...a notion that Steeler fans are well acquainted with.

So at this point, as usual, I turn to you my friends. Who have you been eyeing in the way of young talent? Any free agents that strike you as valuable? Anyone NOT think we need to start amassing youthful depth at certain aforementioned positions? Any other positions you think we need to infuse with a little "upside"? Did any of what I just wrote make sense? (With regard to that last question, I'm still not sure myself...)

PS - Jeff Feagles is the great equalizer...(yes, completely unrelated - deal with it - my blog, my rules)...

Steelers' Tomlin Appeals for Youth [Tribune-Review]
Steelers Draft History (up to 2006) [Database Football]
ESPN 2008 Draft Central [ESPN]

Ballhype: hype it up!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree fully, but what bothers me is I here no one talk about cornerbacks. Ike is not a #1 and Deshea isnt getting any younger. I thought this was Tomlins forte. I would love to move Ike to safety where he would be an asset and cut Cedric Wilson, Sean Mahan, and Willie Reid, then go after Asante Samuel, Afree agent guard and tackle as well as a D-lineman, then finish up with the draft