Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Tough Round One Ends with a Smart Pick

Brandon Albert.

Gosder Cherilus.

Jeff Otah.

Chris Williams.

Jonathan Stewart.

All of those players were mentioned in numerous mock drafts as being the #1 pick in the 2008 draft for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but who could have predicted an unprecedented first round run on offensive linemen, not to mention all of the trades in that same round?

So it was that, at 5:43PM EDT, the Steelers chose a running back in the first round of the draft for the first time in nineteen years (1989, Tim Worrley, Georgia). As frustrating as it is for fans, Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin did exactly the thing that smart, successful teams do -- they took the best player available, and one who was a good value at the #23 pick.

According to Ourlads Draft Service Mr. Mendenhall was the tenth best player available (and second best running back), irrespective of position, and Pro Football Weekly rated him as sixteenth best (and third best running back).

While there are questions as to whether or not he was something of a "one year wonder," (i.e. in his first two seasons at Illinois he had a combined total of 126 carries for 858 yards) Ourlads has this to say about the newest member of the Pittsburgh Steelers:
"Good blocker on blitz pickup . . . [c]an run away from defenders . . . [e]xplosive through the hole to burst up the field. Excellent inside vision and running instincts. Drives legs on contact. Not easy to bring down. Strong lower body."
At 5'10', 225 pounds he is the right height, but a little light. So eat up Rashard, and hit the weight room -- all the fans our hoping you're our new Bus.

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