A Blast From the Past: Seventh Round Draft Picks

I’ve decided to institute a new series looking at the Steelers past drafts. Given that one can’t properly evaluate a draft pick for at least two or three years, we’ll take the years 2010 – 2013. Why 2010? That was the first year I tried my hand at mock drafts. Just for fun, I’ll give you my mock draft picks as part of this mix.

Since I was writing for Behind the Steel Curtain during these years, I’m going to note some of the reactions from that site to the draft picks. It reminds us all that, as Gerry Dulac of the Post-Gazette said recently, they all look good on paper. Or, more to the point, we all find reasons to be excited about players the Steelers choose. It’s difficult not to. And yet the majority of draft picks don’t manage to hang on for the term of even their first contract. So let’s look at some of the things we were saying back in the day.

In 2010 the Steelers selected DE Doug Worthington. Here’s what site founder and editor Michael Bean had to say:

Quick Hit Reaction: Running long, but I don’t want to dismiss the Steelers final pick of this year’s draft as one not worthy of any attention. In fact, I think it’s one of the better picks of Saturday. Worthington lacks the type of athleticism to make scouts drool, but on the surface at least, I think he may make a whole lot of sense in LeBeau’s 3-4 scheme. He’s strong at the point of attack, clogs lanes well, and has no problem at all doing the dirty work so that others behind him can make the plays that show up in the stat book. Sound like anybody we know on the team? Not saying he will become Aaron Smith or Brett Keisel, but he at least fits the bill in terms of his skill set and size. We’ll see how Sonny Harris has developed this past year, but I think we’ll see either him or Worthington dressing this coming year at the bottom of the DL depth chart.

Here are a few selected comments:

Bluegrasssteeler said:

He’s got a great frame and long arms without the ability to eat space. Like his teammate Gibson, he’s got plenty of experience in a 3-4 – as a DE. This should make the transition a bit easier. Great value there. One thing I take away from this is that the coaches are bullish on Ziggy and Sunny being part of a good DE rotation next year. Otherwise you would expect them to draft a conversion DT a bit higher.

This is a general comment, but very interesting:

Watty4ever said:

love the picks.what I like most is that they swung for the fences on every pick, which means if 2 or 3 hit we’ll all be ecstatic …. and 2 or 3 of these picks are bound to hit it big.

 theobserver noted:

Worthington feels like the real sleeper. The guy looks like a black version of Aaron Smith. If he plays even half as hard as Smith, then he’s a keeper.

As we know, Doug Worthington isn’t currently on the Steelers roster. In fact, he never made the 53-man roster. He was waived at the beginning of the season, signed to the practice squad, and cut three days later. That’s the end of his story as a Steeler. He is, however, still in the league, and has been on a few rosters, and played in six games for Washington in 2012 and two for St. Louis (now, I suppose, LA) in 2015. He has a total of two tackles, one pass defensed, and one fumble recovery. For a seventh-round player, that’s not bad.

RB Baron Batch is one of the most interesting players the Steelers ever drafted. He made a bitt of a sensation in camp his first year, then was injured and IR’d, and gained sort of a legendary status as a result. Let’s see what Michael was saying about Batch when he was drafted:

Then there’s Baron Batch, the seventh and final selection by Kevin Colbert in this year’s three-day draft extravaganza. I will pat myself on the back and say that I was ahead of the pack in terms of expressing notable excitement about drafting the former Texas Tech star…We’ll get back to Batch’s unique personality and extraordinary extracurricular pursuits, but a quick word about why I felt Batch could in fact earn a helmet in 2011. Not to oversimplify things, but really it comes down to whether or not veteran third-down back Mewelde Moore re-signs with the Steelers once free agency re-opens…Money will be a key issue here…Assuming Moore is not with the Steelers next season, Batch has a great shot at not only avoiding being cut, but actually suiting up on gamedays and contributing to Bruce Arians’ offense. Batch is a competent receiving threat thanks to playing three years in Mike Leach’s wide-open offensive system. The Odessa, Texas native caught 102 passes as a sophomore and junior before seeing that total drop to 32 last season after the more conservative Tommy Tubberville took over Leach’s duties.

I won’t even really mention Batch’s running prowess. Why? Well, the Steelers are set for now with Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman set to handle the lion’s share of the rushing attempts. Were Batch to make the team, he might get the processional draw play called for him on third-and-long, or even the surprise carry during a two-minute drill before the half. But really, if he’s going to contribute to the Steelers, it will be as a pass-catching threat on third down, and perhaps more importantly, as the last line of defense blocking for Ben Roethlisberger on obvious passing situations. I’ve seen Batch play at least 20 times in college and I know he’s capable of handling that assignment. A lot of it is just having good anticipation, a high football IQ, and fearlessness. He’s got all three of those attributes in spades, and after some intensive work as a paid professional, I imagine his football instincts and intelligence will only improve.

Here are a few of the comments:

leroy jenkins said:

Mike Mayock loves this kid. He [said] on air that he overcame a lot in his life and is of the highest character. I did a little research and found his blog. By all accounts he seems like an incredible person. Needless to say he will not be hard to pull for.

Michael replied:

yup.

All the ‘experts’ are calling this a C and a wasted pick. Hogwash. He might not stick in Pittsburgh, but this is fantastic gamble by Steelers at this point in draft.

There were a lot of comments about him, and he was indeed generating a great deal of excitement. As we know, ultimately he didn’t stick. I don’t think he regrets this.

I have written a great deal about Baron through the years, most recently hereWhat was always interesting about Baron, at least to me, was his life outside of football. He had been writing for several years before coming to the Steelers. During the rehab for his ACL injury he began painting, and discovered his vocation. If you’re out of the loop on this, Google him. You’ll be amazed.

And what is even more amazing is the number of projects he is getting involved in. His football career seems a distant thing to him now. I met with him last week in his new studio, and had to tell him what year he was drafted (he was trying to remember when he first came to Pittsburgh.) In the months to come I’ll be writing more about what he’s doing, but the thing which amazes and excites me is his deep desire to leave Pittsburgh a better place than he found it. He may not have panned out on the starting RB roster, but it’s difficult for me to see this pick as anything but a slam dunk by the Steelers.

How about the Momma’s Mock Drafts? Did I do as well (or better) than the Steelers? Well, in 2010 my mock draft only went through the fifth round, so the Steelers have one up on me right there.

In 2011 I mocked two guys to the Steelers: TE Collin Franklin and QB Taylor Potts. In the case of the latter, I clearly picked the wrong Texas Tech player. Potts went undrafted. He was on the Rams’ off-season roster for about three weeks in 2011, and the Chargers gave him a look a year later. That is the sum total of his NFL career.

As for Franklin, he did a bit better. He also was not drafted, but after the Jets picked him up and cut him, he was on the Tampa Bay roster and played in two games.

As usual this got longer than expected, so I’ll finish with the seventh rounders in the next post.

5 comments

  • roxannafirehall

    Great idea for a series. The article drives home the point how quickly things change in the NFL. Ziggy Hood — a fading memory. Enjoying the articles while I’m trapped in moving hell!

    Like

  • I remember seeing Baron Batch at training camp his first year. I think I went three of four times that year (it’s a three hour drive each way for me.) Batch looked like the best running back on the roster in practice, before he tore his acl. He was impressive. It was so wet that summer that they spent a lot of time on the one artificial turf practice field. Didn’t his injury happen during practice on that field? I also remember when he came back from injury, and he was just a guy. I felt really bad for him because he looked so promising and I am so glad that he has moved on and is successful in something he enjoys.

    Like

  • Like the analysis. Regular retrospectives provide perspective that is lacking in virtually sports reporting. E.g., if one predicts in August and then reviews those predictions in February (not just whether he or she was right but why), that person’s predictions the following August will be better informed.

    Like

  • Pingback: A Blast From the Past: Sixth Round, Part2 | Going Deep:

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