We’re done with the offense. But we’re not quite ready for defense. That’s right, we’re on to the so-called third phase of football: The special teams.
Do the Steelers ever draft for special teams? There hasn’t been any out-of-the-blue “we’re taking Sebastian Janikowski in the first round” kind of snafuus from the team and nothing as glaring as these little gems from the past.
- In 1979 the New Orleans Saints spent the 11th overall pick on a punter named Russell Erxleben. He was later twice convicted of securities fraud.
- In 2016 the Tampa Bay Buccaneers used a 2nd round pick on kicker Roberto Aguayo, who is now out of football.
- The Jets drafted Mike Nugent in the 2nd round, he’s still in the league, but has never made a Pro Bowl.
- The Bears drafted Todd Sauerbrun in the 2nd round in 1995. But at least he made 2 All-Pro teams.
- In 1992 the Lions took Jason Hanson at the very end of the 2nd round. This ended up not being that bad of a pick as his 48 career annual value was tied for the most of any player selected in that round, although it took him 22 years to get there.
2007: 4th round, Daniel Sepulveda, Punter, Baylor
Well, there he is, the lone punter selected in the draft by Kevin Colbert. Sepulveda ran a 4.6 40 and was a great college athlete, but he ended up only playing four years in the NFL thanks to injuries. Fourth round is probably a little high for a punter and Colbert and the Steelers never repeated their mistake.
2017: 6th round, Colin Holba, Long Snapper, Louisville
In 2017 the Steelers spent a 6th round pick on a long snapper from Louisville named Colin Holba. While Holba is still in the leaguee, he didn’t make the Steelers roster out of training camp. To be fair it was towards the end of the 6th round and virtually no one taken after him has amounted to anything in the NFL except Seattle running back Chris Carson. But you still probably shouldn’t select long snappers in the draft in any round, ever.
2000-2020 draft special teams breakdown
Total selections: 2
Years selecting ST: 2/20
Selections by round:
1st round: 0
2nd round: 0
3rd round: 0
4th round: 1
5th round: 0
6th round: 1
7th round: 0
Selections by conference:
Big 12: 1
Big 10: 0
PAC 12: 0
Power 5: 2
Group of 5: 0
You shouldn’t select long snappers in the NFL Draft. … Don’t spend 4th round picks on punters.
Mic Drop: Adam Zielonka of Washington Times on McFarland, Brooks
Instead of trading for a proven running back like Leonard Fournette, the Steelers simply drafted a rookie with their 4th round pick. That rookie is Anthony McFarland out of the University of Maryland. To fully explain what McFarland brings to the table, Mike Asti was joined by Adam Zielonka, who is a sports reporter for the Washington Times. Zielonka also touched Antoine Brooks, the other Maryland product drafted by the Steelers.
Colbert Explains Why He Wanted Three Rounds Added to 2020 Draft
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert is offering an explanation as to why he wanted three rounds added to the 2020 NFL Draft.
Speaking with NBC Sport’s Mike Florio on the PFT PM podcast Tuesday, Colbert took the opportunity to clarify his suggestion.
“The reasoning was, part of it was selfish,” Colbert said. “You wanted to have a safety net because we’re dealing with less information, and the more picks you have, maybe you’ll have a little bit of a safety net again.”
With the league’s self-implemented travel restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, clubs were unable to conduct their normal scouting activities prior to the Draft. This included Pro Days, private workouts and in-person interviews.
Less opportunities to watch and speak with prospects results in a larger margin for error.
Colbert went on to say that it also would have benefited some of the fringe prospects in the Draft that never had the chance to showcase themselves at a Pro Day or other setting.
“The other thing was it would give the marginal player that didn’t get his opportunity to go to a Pro Day and to perform. Maybe there will be more players drafted and then those players will then again have the chance they might not get.”
Now without rookie minicamps, the challenges are mounting for clubs and NFL hopefuls.
“Every year a team might stumble upon a tryout player,” Colbert said. “Maybe if we ever get on the field, we can think of a way to help those because there’s a big group of players that aren’t getting opportunities because of the situation.”
Colbert reminded Florio that the Steelers discovered Devlin “Duck” Hodges as a tryout in camp last year.
It is unclear when teams will be allowed to return to the practice field for their offseason programs, with clubs currently conducting theirs entirely from home.
Mic Drop: NFL Draft Recap Show
It was eat, sleep, draft coverage, repeat for Mike Asti and the Steelers Now crew this past week. And now that the draft is over, Mike Asti evaluates each pick and gives his thoughts on some moves he says the Steelers should have made.