For football junkies, there is no worse “low” than the week right after the draft. The juxtaposition between an entire week of media sensationalism and the newsless drought that follows is a shock to the system of football aficionados. Worse yet, I truly believe that this impending withdrawal is foreseen by the majority of Steelers fans, wherein the subconscious release of their underlying anger (caused by the realization that there will be no NFL news for two months) culminates during draft weekend.
Case in point: Steelers fans’ reactions to the Steelers selecting Senquez Golson (CB, Mississippi) in the second round. If you listened to (or read) some Steelers fans’ reactions, you would have thought that Golson had beaten a puppy. The outrage was inconceivable.
–What a wasted pick. Bust!!!
–I hate this pick more than I hate the Ravens!!!
–OMG!!! WTF!?! %#@$ that guy!!!!!
What makes things worse, is the emotional flip-flopping that occurred before and after that draft pick was made. For an hour leading up to the Golson pick, I was reading posts on message boards, receiving texts from friends, and listening to talking heads say things such as the following:
–Just say “No” to Maxx (Williams).
–Tomlin is stupid if he drafts a tight end!!!
–I swear on my children, if Kevin Colbert drafts that tight end from Minnesota, I am going to burn my Steelers jersey!!!
Then the Ravens traded up, one spot right ahead of the Steelers, and drafted Maxx Williams. And you could hear Steelers fans’ heads exploding (almost literally) across the country. All of a sudden, Maxx Williams went from being the “stupidest pick ever” to being the “savior” that the Steelers missed out on… all in the span of time that it took the Ravens to submit their pick card.
–Ozzie stole our tight end!!!
–Colbert got outsmarted… once again.
–I would have traded my dog to get Maxx Williams!!!
Once again, some of the same people who were afraid that Williams might actually be the Steelers’ pick, were angry when he was indeed not the pick. That mindset reminds me of a three-year old who does not want to play with a toy… until someone else picks that toy up… and then the toddler screams like a banshee that it is “Mine!!!” In other words, Steelers fans have a ton of pent-up and/or irrational anger just waiting to be unleashed.
Delving even deeper into the topic of Maxx Williams being drafted by the Ravens, Steelerdom is divided into two camps on what transpired leading up to that pick. The first camp feels that the Steelers wanted Golson all along; thus, the Steelers name-dropped Williams to ESPN (Adam Schefter reported that they were trying to trade up, in order to get Williams) as a smokescreen in order to to have Golson drop to them. The other camp feels that the Steelers truly wanted Williams, and that Kevin Colbert simply got outmaneuvered by Ozzie Newsome. Of course, either way, both camps have an equal amount of contempt for Pittsburgh’s actual pick (Golson)… which I simply do not get.
Sure, people want a tall cornerback, because that is what the defense du jour (Seattle Seahawks) has. But for a few years now, the main problem with the Steelers’ secondary has not been height, but instead, it has been a lack of turnovers; last season, they only had eleven interceptions. For example, Cortez Allen is fairly tall, and on many plays, he will run stride-for-stride with the receiver… but he simply does not break up many passes. In other words, his height has not helped him locate the ball. Conversely, Senquez Golson is an interception machine; last season, he recorded ten interceptions, which is only one less than the entire Steelers secondary. Sure, Senquez does not have ideal measurables (5’8″) but he is exceptional at tracking the ball and breaking up the pass/getting the interception. In other words, if the problem was lack of turnovers, and Golson gets turnovers, I am not exactly understanding what the problem is that Steelers fans have with this pick.
— Maybe Golson is only a turnover machine, but he does not help out in run-support?
Nope. Golson is not only a willing tackler, he is fairly good at it: last season, he had zero missed tackles.
–Well… uh… maybe he was a good player on a bad Ole Miss team.
Nope. Ole Miss had a great season, in the toughest conference: the SEC. Furthermore, Golson was not only named first-team All-SEC, Golson was a unanimous first-team All-American. So, again, I am not exactly understanding what the problem is that Steelers fans have with this pick.
–But, but, but, he is not tall.
Okay… and, the point is what exactly? The best cornerback to come out of the 2014 NFL draft was Jason Verrett, who has almost the exact same measurables as Golson. I have averred for years, that I would rather have a short cornerback who can stick to the hip of a receiver, as opposed to a tall cornerback who gets juked. Sure, the shorter cornerback might lose a few inches on a jump ball, but the tall cornerback might be trailing the receiver by several yards, thus negating his height. For those who are still not convinced that Golson is a capable cornerback, the picture below should provide enough visual evidence to sway you; it shows Golson making a game-winning interception over the top of a very tall (6’6″) receiver.
So, as I once again wonder what the problem is that Steelers fans have with this pick, I remembered: Steelers fans are an angry brood. Look no further than the Antonio Brown incident from a few weeks back. It was reported that Antonio Brown was sitting out voluntary mini-camp, as a form of protest over his contract. Steelers fans attacked Brown, turning him every which way but loose. The vitriol spewed in Brown’s direction ranged from “playfully hateful” to “borderline psychotic.”
–Let Antonio go; he is too short anyway.
–Trade the greedy (bleep) for a draft pick.
–I hope that he gets run over by a truck!!!
Then Antonio Brown showed up to the voluntary workouts with pictures of his newborn baby. Whoops!!! I guess that all of that hate-filled rhetoric that had been aimed in Brown’s direction was mostly unfounded. Of course, Steeler fans being Steeler fans, they rationalized their comments by saying that Brown only showed up because the Rooneys had called his bluff… which may or may not be true, but it is besides the point. The point is: if Steelers fans were primed and ready to pounce on an established player who led the entire NFL in two major receiving categories, it does not surprise me that they unleashed that same type of verbal-onslaught towards a draft pick (Golson) with far fewer achievements.
It all boils down to this: I truly feel that some Steelers fans would not have liked any player selected. Rod Woodson would have been lambasted for being a track star. Deion Sanders would have been criticized for not tackling hard enough. And Mel Blount would have been ostracized for having the rules changed because of him. Maybe Steeler fans’ jaded reactions stem from displaced anger about the season being over. Then again, maybe when you are a fan base who has experienced so much success, your goal is perfection and anything less is simply not good enough.
In other words, I guess what I am really trying to say is: Dad, it is alright to stop texting me pictures of Oompa Loompas with the caption “Our second-round draft pick” written underneath.