I can't remember when I started to become interested in the NFL Draft, but I've watched it almost every year for the last few decades, and I become more interested every year. This year, I'm riveted, since my Steelers have a fairly early pick and they have so many needs. They're hurting at safety, linebacker (inside & outside), running back, tight end, and wide receiver, and this is a fairly deep draft, so there will be a lot of opportunity to get several players who can help them. So I'm sitting here watching and waiting for the 17th overall pick.
Interestingly, the last draft that I missed was when the Steelers selected QB Ben Roethlisberger in 2004. That was the same day as my wife's funeral. I'm reminded of the story of the two guys who went to their first NFL game, and they had terrific seats. Just before kickoff, an elderly gentleman sat down next to them, with an empty seat next to him. They asked the guy about having such great seats, but why was he at the game all by himself? The old man said that he used to come to every game with his wife, but since she had died, he came alone. They asked him if he had any friends or family that he could invite to come with him so he didn't have to sit all by himself, and the old guy responded, "I did ask, but they're all at my wife's funeral!" (If you didn't find that to be funny, it could be my fault.... I'm told I can't tell a joke.)
Last year was such a disappointing season for Steelers fans. I was very frustrated, especially how they lost several of their games. They just couldn't finish the way they used. Their defense finished number one in the league in yards allowed, but they didn't have many turnovers, and sacks were almost non-existent. That isn't how this defense has played in the past, and it really kept them from being successful. The offense was able to move the ball fairly well with the new offense under coordinator Todd Haley, but Big Ben was hurt around mid-season and the team struggled after he came back. The team just barely missed the playoffs. The off-season wasn't any better, as the Steelers lost many of their free agents. This is just one big reason why this draft is so important. The Steelers need to re-tool both the offense and the defense in order to remain competitive in the AFC North. Cincinnati and Cleveland should be better than last season, and the Ravens were Super Bowl Champions, even if they look less strong than they did at the end of the season. The Steelers many very well struggle. Ben, a franchise QB, will keep them in the running for the play-offs, but that's not a guarantee. If he gets hurt again and misses any time at all, the Steelers will struggle.
The names that have been thrown out as possibilities for the Steelers to select in the first round of the draft are all still on the board after 11 selections. That could be great news. The Steelers may have a decision to make if multiple names are still available. I continue to wait on the edge of my seat. This is exciting! But I still feel ridiculous that I care so much. It's so hard being a die-hard fan.
With the 17th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select.... JARVIS JONES, OLB, Georgia!