Steelers Countdown Series Highlights Importance Of Finding ‘Steelers Players’

The Pittsburgh Steelers website posted the second episode of “Countdown”, their behind the draft series, yesterday, which documents the process the team went through from the conclusion of the season and up to the draft.

While the majority of the content is fairly layman in nature that more faithful observers of the sport—like those who read Steelers blogs such as ours—would already be aware of, it’s always good to gain the perspective of the coaching staff and the owners through the interviews included in the series.

In this second episode, we get a chance to hear from head coach Mike Tomlin, general manager Kevin Colbert, team president Art Rooney II, and both defensive and offensive coordinators Dick LeBeau and Todd Haley.

The common thread that seems to run through the interviews in this episode gets at the heart of the draft evaluation process.

Namely, the evaluators strive to isolate the player from their college tape and instead try to project what type of player they will be, not only on the professional level generally, but also specifically for the Steelers. Haley perhaps put it best:

They’re not concerned with the Xs and Os, whether guys are making mental mistakes or doing it the right way. They have to have a big-picture vision for what these guys can become. I obviously know from being here and being the offensive coordinator what our needs as coaches are, what our wish list would be, what we’re missing, what will make us better, the quickest. But at the same time, you’re not evaluating really what they are when they’re eligible for the draft. You’re trying to have enough vision to see what they could be for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

As Rooney touches on late in the episode, one major part of this process is dependent upon the psychological player evaluations, which help determine which players have red flags or disposition issues, and if those concerns make said player ‘undraftable’ for the Steelers.

LeBeau also weighed in on the importance of the sit-down interviews in order to get a feel for what type of player you are potentially adding to your football team.

In this instance, the episode features LeBeau meeting with defensive end Stephon Tuitt, whom the Steelers obviously ended up drafting in the second round. In fact, many of the Steelers’ selections came in for pre-draft visits this year.

“That’s always been very helpful, to take the athlete off of the video, if you will, and put him eyeball to eyeball, man to man, and look at him and see if he’s the type of athlete you’re looking for for that role you’re going to want him to fill with your football team”.

As mentioned earlier, nothing revealed in this series has exposed any trade secrets or anything of the sort. But nevertheless, if you’re like me, you still like to hear it laid out succinctly by the individuals actually responsible for the process, so I for one am a fan of this new access.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Pitfan0513

    Very cool to get a behind-the-scenes look the leading up to the draft! With that said I still don’t want them on hard knocks!

  • Ike Evans

    I often hear my friends who are fans of another team say this guy or that guy would be good as a steelers when looking at draft prospects and a lot of times I Like….nope, that kid is not a steeler….its just a feeling like cj Mosley….I just could smell the ratbird all over that kid in a way I knew he wasn’t a steeler…knew they had guys higher on their list….while the whole draft 1 year I kept thinking tyrann Mattheiu just seems like a steeler…he has that thing I can’t put my finger on and who drafts him? Little bro Arizona lol….or even guys like mendenhall we do draft and just don’t fit our locker room….there’s just a thing maybe its a toughness thing or a mean thing or a demeanor thing…I’m not sure but you know it when you see it…guys repeat themselves on this team Kevin Greene, Greg Lloyd, joey porter, james Harrison……rod woodson, carnell lake, troy polamalu….Lee flowers, like Taylor, Ryan clark….Hines ward, Antonio brown…..there’s something tangible there I can’t put my finger on but I recognize it when I see it

  • Melly

    I enjoy the behind the scenes stuff. With that said, I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THEM ON HARD KNOCKS!!!!!! Cuz I cant get enuff!!!!

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    I thought the honey badger was steeler material also

  • Madi

    Would it be worth it to you if it hurt the team’s play or chemistry or anything else?

  • joed32

    He was kicked off the team at LSU for repeatedly failing drug tests, how would that make him Steeler material?

  • Melly

    How would u PROVE that them being on Hard Knocks would hurt the team’s play or chemistry? I would enjoy seeing the behind the scenes stuff. So lets say they are on Hard Knocks, and they win it all?! Are we gonna say they won it cuz they were on Hard Knocks??

  • TrueSteelerForLife

    The way he plays football…fearless

  • joed32

    And dumb.

  • John21

    Agreed. This access is unprecedented . Can’t wait until they show us their draft board! Ha ha!

  • joed32

    He’s not a goon or a thug or even a tough guy. He’s a very talented young man who can’t let go of the drugs. If he had he might have been a 1st round pick. Using drugs doesn’t make someone a bad a$$.

  • joed32

    Google didn’t turn up anything on Bettis and Kordell was gay. Gilliam was a heavy drug user and it cost him his career. I don’t have anything twisted but the post was implying that the Steelers should try to get drug users on the team because that means they’re tough and that’s the Steeler way. A large segment of NFL players use and the Steelers I’m sure have their share, but being a user shouldn’t be a criteria for finding players.

  • Madi

    We’re not in court, and you didn’t answer my question. I’ll try again. We both know that it COULD hurt the team in one way or another. Altering the way they do things, and making half the staff/team uncomfortable might not cost them, but it could and I doubt it’d help.

    So… WOULD seeing the show be worth it to you IF it hurt the team?

    For me, the answer is a big fat No. Personally, I wouldn’t take that chance just to see some behind-the-scenes stuff (which I also enjoy seeing). So I hope they never have to.

  • joed32

    I’m not intolerant at all. The original post was that just because the player had been kicked off of his team for repeated drug offenses it made him Steeler material and I claim otherwise. They accepted Adams with a prior failed test and I have no problem with giving players the benefit of the doubt. If you’re in the NFL and your using, you have to be smart about it, they only test at certain times and you need to lay off for a while before the test.

  • Melly

    I understand your point of view. Of course, I would not want my team to be hurt. BUT, I’d like to know how u would/could prove it?! The second “countdown” episode showed Tuitt talking w/ LeBeau. Are we to say that if Tuitt plays terrible it was because we saw that segment on TV?? Almost everything and anything these days are documented(on video, social media, etc). Fans are at training camp, reporters are at practices, etc. I don’t expect it to happen. But I would luv to be a fly on the wall!!

  • Madi

    I would love to see it all too, of course. And I don’t KNOW that it would hurt the team, it just seems likely to me. The point is, whether it hurts or not, it’s unlikely to ever be proven. But we both know it COULD hurt. There’s a real chance of that, and no chance of it helping. Who cares if you can prove it or not? You’re taking a chance.

    You say almost everything is already available to the public. Meaning they have very little private time. You want to make that private time even smaller, so that everyone can see what they do when we aren’t supposed to be looking? Not all practices are public. Not all the behind-the-scenes stuff is allowed out. Let’s leave them what they can get.