A word that was tossed around the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2017 draft as much as any other was “high-character.” First round draft pick T.J. Watt is a ‘high-character guy.’ Third round selection James Conner is as ‘high-character’ as they come and one could say the same for fourth rounder Josh Dobbs. But does all of this ‘high-character’ mean a greater chance of success in 2017 for the Steelers?
When pick number 30 went on the clock last week at the NFL Draft in Philadelphia, as is their custom, the Steelers wasted little time in getting their card to the Commissioner. Despite Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster (a top 5 value on most boards) still available and at an area of need, the Steelers decided that Watt was their man. This wasn’t a surprise, especially given Kevin Colbert’s infatuation with Watt that dated as far back as September.
But if all things had been equal and Foster hadn’t been a guy with numerous “character” issues, wouldn’t he have been the pick in a New York minute? Maybe, and maybe not but I don’t think the card would have been turned in quite as rapidly as it was had this been the case. Then again, if Foster had not had issues he wouldn’t have been available anyway.
The moral of the Steelers’ 2017 NFL Draft will center largely on the guys who are good people and who are considered to be of a high, moral character. Does that equate however to success on the field? This organization after all was one game away from the Super Bowl and I’m still not convinced they did what they needed to do to get over the “Patriots Hump” but I guess they feel satisfied.
I’m a believer that every great team has to have its’ villains. That doesn’t necessarily mean guys who commit high crimes and misdemeanors off the field but it should translate to guys who play with a chip on their shoulder and a sense of recklessness. Do any of these new Steelers have that ability to be saints off the field and monsters on it?
Only time will tell but what is obvious beyond any doubt is that the Steelers’ Front Office made it very much a priority to take players with ‘high-character.’ Whether that translates to greater success between the lines remains to be seen.
Photo courtesy: post-gazette.com