A Blast from the Past: Fourth Round Part 1
The 2010 draft pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers was DE Thaddeus Gibson.
I realize it’s silly to say “what if,” because there is no guarantee a player who excels in one system would excel in another, but just a few picks after the Steelers took Gibson the Bengals chose Geno Atkins. Sure, the Bengals run a 4-3, but it seems to me that Atkins would do just fine wherever he landed. He’s big, tough, and athletic. What’s not to love? After another handful of picks the Seahawks took Kam Chancellor. Well, I suppose the Steelers didn’t actually need a safety at that point…
The guy they actually picked made the 53-man roster after camp, played in two games, and was waived during the bye week. Then comes a curious progression. The 49ers picked him up off waivers and he played in two games for them. They then cut him at the end of training camp. The Bears picked him up and he played in two games for them. They then cut him at the end of training camp the following summer.
After that Gibson was picked up by both the Titans and the Cowboys but never played in a game for either team. He then headed north to the CFL, and eventually played for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for a year or two. (He doesn’t appear to be currently on the roster.)
Here’s what Draftinsider.net had to say about Gibson at the time:
Earlier, the discussion centered about the Steelers’ affinity for drafting linebackers and they did so once again midway through round four. This time, the team chose Ohio State’s Thaddeus Gibson. A hybrid even during his time in Columbus, Gibson was a linebacker recruit, converted to defensive end, but still took most of his snaps from a two point stance. From a talent perspective, Gibson could have potentially selected a round or two higher. In actuality, some of his Combine tests were better than the earlier selected Jason Worilds. His overall quickness off the edge is impressive. His pass rush repertoire has been limited throughout his career which resulted in only nine quarterback sacks over the past two years despite his impressive physical skills. The main concern around this prospect over the past two seasons is size. At the Combine, he tipped the scales at 243 pounds. While at Ohio State, Gibson played at a lower weight most of his career. As such the ability to set the edge and hold up against bigger offensive lineman in this particular defense is clearly in question. His final role on this team may eventually become as a pass rush specialist taking advantage of the athleticism Gibson does present.
In fact, he never did have a sack. (I’m not sure how you would look up such a thing, but I’m assuming he never played any non-special-teams snaps, so it’s pretty hard to get any sacks.) But his total stat line for six games was three tackles. So I suppose it isn’t too surprising that teams gave up on him.
The 2011 draft pick was worse in some ways. Cortez Allen looked like a keeper. I’m not going to speak ill of a guy who failed not through lack of trying but presumably because of some mysterious psychological fear of failure. As Ike Taylor always said, a DB has to have a short memory, and I fear Allen’s wasn’t short enough. A few years ago this looked like a great pick. But alas, it was not to be.
Allen is possibly an example of someone whose problems could have been foreseen by the new stats guru. Or perhaps not. I’m sure it’s more an art than a science. It’s a great pity, though. He’s currently listed as a free agent, but perhaps another team will take a flyer on him if they are running low on cornerbacks. Or perhaps he will decide to retire. Allen seemed like a quality young man, and whatever he decides, I wish him well in the coming years.
For the seventh round picks in 2010-11, click here; for 2012-13 click here. For the 2010 sixth round pick, click here, and for the 2011, 2012, and 2013 picks, click here. For the 2010 fifth round picks click here, and for the 2011-13 picks click here.