The big news today was that the Oakland Raiders traded wide reciever Randy Moss to the New England Patriots for a fourth round pick. Moss has more raw talent than any receiver who ever played the game, but character issues have prevented him from becoming a truly outstanding player. He is a real threat on the field, however, and if the Patriots can transform him, he could still emerge as the NFL's best. Most analysts yesterday believed that this move immediately made New England the favorite to win a fourth Super Bowl.
The Steelers traded up in the fourth round, which led to some real excitement for a moment. They traded up to select Daniel Sepulveda, a punter out of Baylor. That's right...a punter. By all accounts, he has been an excellent punter in college, and I appreciate the Steelers' attention to special teams, but I'm not sure I'm sold on the idea of taking a punter this high in the draft, particularly when the team really lacks some depth in other areas.
In the fourth round, they also selected Ryan McBean, a defensive lineman from Oklahoma State. This pick I like a lot. The name "McIlwain" is a derivative of "McBean", so I have to hope that somehow I am related to this 6'5", 280 pound Jamaican-born giant. He is extremely mobile for such a big guy (who will likely get even bigger), has overcome a lot of hardship in his young life, and has tremendous potential, if coached properly. With my cousin McBean shoring things up on the inside, I have great confidence in the future of the Steelers' defensive line.
The fifth round saw the team select Cameron Stephenson, an offensive guard from Rutgers. An Australian immigrant with Tongan blood (I dig the international flavor the Steelers are developing), he will bring some depth to the offensive line, and will likely practice at both right guard and center. A good choice. They also took William Gay, a cornerback out of Louisville. Rather small, my fear is that he will get burned in the NFL, facing the likes of Calvin Johnson and Randy Moss. This may be in essence another special teams pick. Finally, in the seventh round (the team had no pick in Round 6), they Steelers selected Dallas Baker, a wide receiver from Florida. It's hard to tell if he'll even make the team, unless it's on special teams.
While I think the Steelers had a solid Day 1 of the draft, there are a lot of questions concerning Day 2. Trading up for a punter? There are crucial areas in which the team is in need of depth, such as fullback, offensive line, and defensive secondary. I'm not sure these were the best decisions. But, I'm willing to give Coach Mike Tomlin and GM Kevin Colbert the benefit of the doubt. I, for one, cannot wait until training camp begins in the summer!