We’ve all heard it before, “You get what you pay for.” This holds true for most things in life, including the NFL. Last year in the 2011 Draft, the Atlanta Falcons paid a hefty price to move up to the 6th overall pick and snag Alabama’s Julio Jones. Who, by every definition of the word, is a GAMECHANGER and I say worth every bit they gave the Brownies in return. Jones as a rookie was one of the elite deep threats in all of the NFL. With nothing else to do but rise like Friday nights’ DiGorno Pizza, Jones was a safe and calculated risk by smart business people. I am well aware that it is out of the Steelers’ character to make huge, blockbuster type moves, but this could be the year to get a little crazy.
First reason: the Miami Dolphins could make the decision easy for them. With the trading of Brandon Marshall, the ‘Fins are definitely in the market for a WR1 all day long. Mike Wallace himself loves Miami, making it the one place I think he would leave Pittsburgh for. Not to mention it is obviously kinda tough to land a legit QB with no one to throw to. If such a deal was struck, it would give the Steelers the 8th overall pick in 2012 and strong position to grip NT Dontari Poe from Memphis. Add Alabama’s ILB Dont’a Hightower with the 24th overall pick, and all of the sudden the middle that became the weakness on defense, could be a strength for ten more years.
Seeing Wallace go would sting, but don’t forget that the Steelers gave away a SB XVIII MVP who actually made catches in the clutch on a final drive. No. 17 left us with a little something less than that in the final minutes of SB XV, and I’m pretty sure “Downtown” Antonio Brown would fair much better given the chance. Mike Wallace is an excellent player, but I have to say, I think Mike Wallace’s biggest fan is Mike Wallace. He lacks the hands and size that make Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitz a cut above the rest, and for him to think he should be paid like them is beyond ridiculous. But on the other hand the Dolphins have been rejected time and time again, so why not overpay an elite/established player who loves Miami? Wallace could be a perfect fit.
Second reason: Julio Jones, who was able to make an impact as a rookie on a team full of impact players. The Flacons did give up 2011-2012 1st rounders , 2011 2nd round pick, and two 4th round selections 2011-2012. Five players for one does sound over the top, but the Flacons needed a player now to keep them in the NFC conversation, which apparently is stacked enough to kkep Peyton Manning away from Arizona and Larry Fitzgerald. The team I thought to be the best fit for the soon to be 36 year old legend. But eith the Giants, Packers, and Saints setting the pace, and teams like Detriot, San Fran, Dallas, and Philly in striking distance, Atlanta needed to make the bold move to keep up with the Jones’s. The Steelers are still in the elite class of the AFC I do believe, but that vonted run D that has been the standard in Pittsburgh for so long, has shown cracks at times, and up the middle of all places. So I would suggest to take the Julio Jones route, and make that 5 for one deal and got get Dontari Poe. To add such a talented and athletic player to a veteran team such as the Steelers, at a key position such as NT, would be priceless. Fans and media over the last few years have been beating on everyone else on that defense, but it seems Casey Hampton gets a pass. But why? He’s not even close to the player he was 6 years ago and is the reason the LBs haven’t been as effective. The NT in a 3-4 sets the tone for the whole machine, and if he’s not getting off the double teams (which Casey doesn’t demand too much anymore,) the machine breaks down, which is what happened at key times this past year. All of these players leaving and breaking down is hard for me to see, as it is for any fan out there, but we must call a duck a duck, people. The weak link breaks the chain, and unfortunatley for us and the Steelers, our weak link is a BIG link to break.
So there it is folks, the answer to all the Steelers’ defensive problems in black and white. Too bad it’s way easier to be skeptical than realistic. Regardless, our Steelers are in good hands that won’t let this championship window close too soon…. we hope.