I must admit, hearing that the Minnesota Vikings already gave up on Randy Moss after four games was pretty comical. For the 13 catches, 174 yards, 2 TDs, and one hilarious press conference that Moss generated, Brad Childress gifted old friend Bill Belichick with a third-round pick. And the worst part for Chilly was that the Vikings only won one of those four games. But don't laugh too hard at Minnesota's generous ways with valuable draft picks. Something very similar happened in our own backyard yesterday.
You may recall the name "Thaddeus Gibson". Gibson, a linebacker, was a fourth-round pick of the Steelers in the 2010 draft out of Ohio State, and signed a three-year deal worth $1.58 million, including a $366,000 signing bonus. He hasn't suited up for the Black and Gold yet this season, but the team was allegedly happy with his development, knowing that he was somewhat of a project when they drafted him.
Unfortunately, Gibson plays a position that's very well-stocked on the Steeler roster. The team is pleased with the progress of fellow rookie LB Jason Worilds, and they needed to sign a defensive lineman to help a unit decimated by injuries. So in comes DE Steve McClendon, out goes Gibson. It was a calculated risk that no one would sign Gibson off of waivers, a risk that backfired on the Steelers yesterday. Both Philadelphia and San Francisco put in claims to sign Gibson, and he was awarded to the 49ers by virtue of their lousy record.
“Linebacker is our deepest position,” said Mike Tomlin. "He is the low man on the totem pole, so we had to make that necessary move. We were thin at defensive line. It’s just one of the casualties of this profession. It’s very much a reality, and that’s why we don’t take what we’re doing here for granted and we acknowledge that it’s precious.”
That's all well and good that the Steelers are deep at linebacker, so why take another one so high in the first place? Is this team so well-stocked at other positions that they can take a flier on yet another linebacker, when they already boast arguably the best unit in the game and another high pick (2nd round) in Worilds?
Usually I'm down with the Steelers' personnel moves, right down to dumping Santonio Holmes. But there's no doubt that they blew it on this one. We can laugh at the Vikings all we want (and we will, trust me), but this was crummy maneuvering and wasteful drafting by the Steelers. They're better than that.
And for those of you saying, "It's just a fourth-round pick," here are some Steeler fourth-rounders of years gone by: Dan Sepulveda, Willie Colon, Ike Taylor, Larry Foote, Aaron Smith, Deshea Townsend, and Earl Holmes. It's not a throw-away pick, and shame on the Steelers for treating it as such. They should have never taken Gibson in the first place.