The All-Pro Names Mock Draft, Rounds 1 and 2


Another fine name already on the roster—Jordan Dangerfield (photo from USA Today Sports)

The excitement is mounting as stuff having to do with actual football is happening, like last night’s announcement of the league schedule for the coming season. Shockingly, given that the word on the street was that Pittsburgh was due to start the season with a home game, given that they haven’t had one for a few years now, they are once again starting on the road. Since the opponent is the Browns, this is perhaps less important that it might be if it were, say, the Chiefs. But then again, maybe it is now Cleveland’s time. Let us hope not.

The Chiefs, oddly, start out the season at Foxborough, and one wonders why the Chiefs drew the short straw. You would have thought it would be a rematch with the Falcons. As Michael North, the guy in charge of the scheduling, told’s Judy Battista:

It’s rare that you get to disappoint 32 billionaires and five television networks on the same day.

Seems like an odd thing to aspire to. Anyhow, as Mike Tomlin (or just about any of his players by this point) would say, “It is what it is.” A true tautology if there ever was one.

So let’s move on to the next major excitement, the draft, and wrap up my draft using the Best Name Available metric. We will move right into BLA (Best Looking Available) next week. Luckily for you all, I don’t have time to do an “All-Cooper” draft, but I easily could have, as there are a large number of players to choose from with either this first or last name. But there’s only so much intensive research I can do…

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The All-Pro Names Mock Draft, Rounds 3 and 4

Dreamius SmithThe Steelers have three picks in these two rounds, due to the compensatory pick, so let’s see what fabulous football names we can pick up in these rounds. (For an explanation of the metric please see the previous post.)

Rounds 5-7 were more offensively-minded, with the Steelers taking a guard and a quarterback before finally picking up a DB in the seventh round, but I didn’t expect this trend to continue. First off, the Steelers definitely need some defensive guys, and second, this draft is said to be a strong one for defense. 

It may be strong defensively, but there was something of a dearth of interesting names in the middle of it. (In case you’re wondering, I’m judging the likelihood of where a guy will be taken by his draft grade, which in fact is not a very good indication at all, judging by where guys were actually drafted. But it’s a place to start…

The picture which heads the article is of current Steeler Dreamius Smith, from his days as a Butler Grizzly, if they can be spoken of singly. I don’t want to ignore the guys who have pretty fabulous names and are already on the roster…
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If I Were Commissioner

NFL: Annual Meetingsby Ivan Cole

It’s relatively easy to be a critic. Untold thousands feel both qualified and emboldened to render judgment on the efforts of others and deem them as being either worthy or not. But the number of those who have the opportunity, courage, perseverance and skill to create products of high quality is exceedingly small, and critics, particularly the more self-assured and voracious of the breed, are rarely among them.

For several years, I have lamented the state of the National Football League, and the behavior of some its grand actors such as commissioner Roger Goodell. I continue to believe that they have earned the harsh critiques they have received and more. But, as I have said, it’s easy to be a critic. More difficult to discern is how reform is implemented, short of overseeing the demolition of a highly successful sports entertainment empire by way of the following:

  1. Moving forward towards an effete, toothless, flag footbally future that leeches away what made the sport great and alienates the game’s most integral and loyal fans.
  2. A suicidal, retro approach that eventually crashes and burns in human wreckage and lawsuits, or,
  3. Continue the ongoing corporate cook-the-goose strategy. A WWE in helmets, with the attendant vulgarity of values and practices.

How to proceed in a manner that creates a potential win/win/win for owners, players and fans? Here’s my best shot. Read more

The Man Who Saved My Love of the Game


“The Chief” with Dan Rooney on the left and Art Jr. on the right. (From Art Rooney Jr.’s website)

by Ivan Cole

“ If you haven’t noticed, though Dan Rooney is still technically Chairman, Art II is now the sole public voice of the Franchise. This, to my thinking, reflects a natural succession process, accelerated by health issues involving the elder Rooney. It’s Art’s team now.”

That was published on Monday, with no forewarning concerning how prescient it would turn out to be. Read more

RIP Dan Rooney

dan-rooney-rule-ap-810x540I’m certainly not the best qualified person on this site to talk about Mr. Rooney, and I suspect others who are better qualified will be writing pieces about his passing, but I couldn’t let the day go by without touching on what Dan Rooney has meant to the Steelers and to Pittsburgh.

One of the things which first intrigued me about the Steelers, long before I truly became a fan of the team, was the different way the team seemed to go about their business. All of this has been very well documented. The color blindness of Art Rooney (aka “The Chief”) and his multitudes of friendships with the most unlikely assortment of people. The strong commitment to family, church and community which pervaded the organization from the beginning.

Dan Rooney exemplified the best traits of his father. Like his father, he was a humble man. He lived his entire life in a small house in a not particularly salubrious area of town. He could have afforded something far more palatial but chose to remain there. Part of that was from a desire to see the neighborhood he loved return to the vital place he remembered as a child. He wrote a lovely article for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette in 2013 about the neighborhood, and in fact co-authored a book published that year.

He continued in his father’s tradition of caring about every person in the Steelers organization. One of the refrains you hear from players who come to the Steelers from other teams is how odd but refreshing it is to see the owners in the lunch room or in the hallway, and what a shock it is (in the case of an unheralded small-contract signee) to find out they know your name.

NFL teams are a business, and after all “NFL” stands for “Not for long.” And if you’re going to win, you have to take the “What have you done for me lately?”approach. But I appreciate that the way the Rooneys have always conducted the team brings an element of dignity to what would otherwise be a sausage mill.

One of the things I have always loved about the Steelers is training camp. And one of the things I have always loved about training camp is watching what happens when Mr. Rooney came on the field. He was never a tall man, and became quite bowed in recent years. But the players would inevitably gravitate to his spot on the field if they were free, and it was quite a sight to see Mr. Rooney with, say, Ben Roethlisberger. It was clear that he was held in great esteem.

Mr. Rooney was one of the most influential owners in football, and a true advocate for fairness, as demonstrated by the rule named after him, the Rooney Rule.

I suspect Art II was the de facto chairman of the team by the time Mr. Rooney was named Ambassador to Ireland. But I believe he passed on his values to his son, and expect the team to continue to be a place where new players marvel, as Alejandro Villanueva did recently, that the organization actually cares about you as a person. Thank you, Mr. Rooney, for showing the world that you can run a franchise without disregarding the humanity of the men who pass through your doors, however briefly.

There is a much more extensive article on Dan Rooney on the site, which you can find here.

Mock Draft No. 1—The All-Pro Names Draft

Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 5.34.11 PM

The guy on the right has perhaps my favorite name of anyone currently on the roster—Farrington Huguenin. It makes a good excuse to run this picture again.

Those of you who have been following my musings on the Steelers over the years know that I patented a metric for judging draft candidates, based on my lack of knowledge of college football, my inability to judge the suitability of potential candidates by watching film, and so on. It is called “BLA” which stands for “Best-Looking Available.” It even has an extremely tentative link to science.

But this post isn’t about BLA. This is an all-new way of choosing draft picks, and thanks for the idea goes to parsonpriem, whose comment to one of my recent posts revealed that there is a candidate for this year’s draft named Weston Steelhammer. This isn’t one of those nickname things, either, like the pitcher for the Reds who made his MLB debut last Thursday, and whose nickname is “Rookie.” No, we’re looking for the sort of name that is a part of a guy from birth, something that says he belongs in Western Pennsylvania, in the Black and Gold. And if he fills a position of need, all the better. Read more

Happy New Year 2017

img_0653by Ivan Cole

The new league year began about a month ago, but there is really no rush to focus on what’s to come. The Steelers have, typically and predictably, moved slowly and unspectacularly in free agency. With the draft and subsequent signing of undrafted free agents still a few weeks away, there are huge outstanding question marks concerning the pieces the team must try to piece together for a championship effort in 2017. We also will continue to be subjected to major spasms of MSU, with the major focus now upon these endless and idiotic mock drafts. [Editorial alert: several of those endless and idiotic mock drafts will be going up on this august site beginning Wednesday, and I have developed a new and even more pointless metric to add to the usual Best Looking Player Available mocks…] But the end is, mercifully, in sight. Time to take stock and begin to look forward. Read more

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